Friday, October 17, 2008

5 Things About Phone Calls

Calls can be tough especially as a freelancer trying to get your name in with an agency, art buyer, photo editor, or any creative. Mail and email are easier because they are so much more impersonal. I like calls... granted I don't always have the time to get the calls or spend hours a day chatting with artists (while it is part of my job description I'm also responsible for a boatload of other things) but I do enjoy the calls.

5 things I like:
1. Staying on my radar/quick check-in - this doesn't mean call me every month but a twice a year check-in following up on a portfolio review or promos sent in, keeps you in mind.

2. Casual conversation - I like the casual and slightly more personable calls than direct sales call which can come off as pushy. Telling me what you're working on and asking how things are going at whatever agency is a great approach.

3. Directing me to a new personal project or artist show - I love to hear about things like this that might be considered outside of the advertising realm. Especially if you're doing a show in my area that I might not have heard of... but a personal invitation or update about a project I might be interested in is definitely welcome.

4. First time caller approach/schedule review - best way to do this is to leave a quick message or if you actually get a voice, to schedule a meeting or portfolio review. Cold calls don't really work if the art buyer/ photo editor/ et al. is not familiar with your name or your work.

5. Talking about your artwork - I love to chat about the photographs and recent work you may have done whether it's a production or personal. To me it's cool and it shows your passion. It touches back to the casual call and stays away from the super sales/hire me call.

5 things I do not like:
1. "Any work I'd be great for going on right now?" - I know this is the prime reason you are calling but starting the conversation with this is a turn-off. To be completely blunt... if you were perfect for a job, I would have called.

2. Too personal - unless I know you outside of work please don't get too personal. If I have met you once or only had a couple of phone conversations it's slightly uncomfortable for me to hear about overly personal information (like your colonosopy appointment that morning... don't need to know).

3. The website tracker call - It's been talked about before (especially on but these are totally creepy. After just visiting your website, a call to say "I saw you were on the website - anything of interest or can I do something for you?" Wait a week or two if you have to do this and don't mention you saw me on the site.. it just reeks of desperation ... and did I mention creepiness?

4. Calling several times in one day - Most likely I am sitting at my desk working on something and looking at the phone to see if I recognize the number. Call once and leave a message - if you don't hear back in 3-4 weeks give another call. DO NOT call ten times in one day but not leave a message it pretty much guarantees that I won't pick up or that I won't return a call once the message is finally left.

5. The over-sales call - Meaning you sound like a stereotypical car salesman (no offense to car salesmen). Coming off over-eager and over-pushy is too much and will end the call quickly. Saying your perfect for whatever client and have done some spec work with them in mind is not an appropriate route. There's a fine line you have to walk here with selling yourself and your work but not overdoing it.
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