In my first version of Effective Client Email I gave you a guide to cold emails. While I still think the content I provided will help you send better cold emails, it won’t be in the next version of ECE.
Today we’re going to talk about why I’m not including guides on cold emailing or cold calling prospects with your business.
It can work but…
Can cold emails/calls work to get you business? Yes they can, and when you’re starting out you still may need to do that. Cold emailing or calling should only be a stop gap to generate leads while you spend the real time building your business reputation.
The big problem with cold contacting prospects is one of positioning.
Where you want to be
You want to be the expert in the eyes of your prospect. The person that’s best to help them with their problems. You get to this point by putting in some effort with your marketing. You do this by writing case studies of successful businesses you’ve helped.
Most of the time when you cold contact people for your services you’re not the expert in their eyes. You’re simply a service provider trying to get their business. This puts them in the driver’s seat for any negotiations on timing, hours, pricing, or deliverables as you try to earn their business.
Long term, this sets you up for low expectations when it comes to how you communicate with clients. Many of my coaching clients take months to break the mindset and turn into the confident expert that they really are, all because they started from a position of little leverage with their prospects.
So what do I do then?
Now what do you do if you’re just starting? What if you’re sitting in a job you don’t love, wishing you could be out on your own working for clients? In short, what if you don’t have that reputation of an expert yet? Well, for starters, as Jon Acuff would say in Quitter, don’t quit that job yet.
Stay in that job and start your marketing so that when you get out of the job in six months or a year, you’ve built a reputation you can use as leverage.
Use that job to build out your network. Go to conferences and get to know people in your industry. Some projects won’t fit those people you meet, but will fit you, and they’ll send them your way. My network of colleagues refer work to me all the time. The network of colleagues is what got me listed as a preferred provider on many of the software platforms I use with my clients.
Use that time in the job to build up your savings of 3-6 months’ expenses so that when you go out on your own you have a safety net to land in when things are harder than you anticipated they’d be.
If you find yourself out of work one day with no reputation to speak of, then of course do what you need to do to get work in the door and provide for yourself and those who depend on you. Just don’t get stuck in the mindset. Put together a good marketing plan and keep executing on it every week to build your reputation.
If you put the time in now to build that reputation you’ll be able to leverage it for years to come. While others struggle for work, you’ll have more leads than you know what to do with.