Cold calling...no way to even talk to an operator

13 replies
Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted here. My direct mail campaign that I mentioned months ago is going OK. Following up via phone really helped get a few things going, but nothing solid yet.

There's one large, local company that I sent several mailers to, but I can't follow up. I can't find the individuals phone numbers online, and when I call the main office there is no option to get to a directory, or talk to an operator, or anything. If I don't select between two options, it tells me it is canceling the call. I've been trying off and on for months.

Anyone run into that before?
#callingno #cold #operator #talk
  • …think it through…

    If you can't speak to them - can any of their clients?

    Suppose you do start writing for them - with a spectacular sales piece - but nobody can respond.

    Even though it's not your fault 9 times out of 10 the copywriter gets the blame.

    Ask yourself - Do you need the hassle?


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author TaborWriting
      Hey Steve, thanks for the thought. I hear you completely. But at the same time, they are a multinational consumer product industry, so they're cranking out a lot of content. Might not be a fit in many different ways, but I guess it's not being able to know for sure that's getting to me
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      Taylor Barranco, Chief Copywriter
      Tabor Writing. Words Illuminated.
      www.taborwriting.com
      taylor@taborwriting.com

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  • In that case forget about phoning.

    And use the copywriters favourite tactic...

    Keep writing to them.


    Steve


    P.S. A story goes…a copywriter who was mad keen to grab the client wrote every week for 3 years (no response).

    Then with a flash of inspiration on week 157 he starting handwriting the letters and guess what?

    Still no response.

    Until circa week 227 a phone call saying, "Please will you f****** STOP writing …come and see us we may have a job for you"
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  • Profile picture of the author splitTest
    Originally Posted by TaborWriting View Post

    It's been a while since I've posted here. My direct mail campaign that I mentioned months ago is going OK. Following up via phone really helped get a few things going, but nothing solid yet.
    Tabor, I read your original thread... You had mailed to about 90 businesses and were worried because you hadn't gotten any website visits and such.

    Now I'm curious about what you mean by the campaign is "going OK."

    "Following up via phone really helped get a few things going, but nothing solid yet."

    A few things going, but nothing solid? What does that mean?

    Not to pry, but I'm just curious. So much of this field has become just about bullshit, so I get caught up in the stories of newbies who really get out there, do the mailings, make the phone calls, and try to make it happen.

    Plenty come to the board asking for advice, but few "pass it on" by updating us (and other noobs) on their progress & experiences.

    Anyways, this is a multinational -- yet you can't even reach an operator (or someone else at the company to guide you to an operator)? Have you tried searching their marketing press releases and checking who's listed as the "Contact"? The phone number (and direct extension) is often there too. That might give you a toehold.

    Also, wouldn't a multinational consumer product company work with an agency of some sort? Their freelancers probably work with the agency too...
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    • Profile picture of the author TaborWriting
      Thanks for the reply, splitTest. Yes, it's very weird, but there are no gatekeepers, just a machine that gives you a couple of options. It is bizarre. Whenever I have found marketing information, there's no numbers associated. It's really interesting. I did find one email address but I have had no luck.

      I'll explain my mailing situation. I sent the mailings, but I didn't have anyone contact me directly. I finally decided to do follow-up calls. I got a few that asked me to call later as they prep for their next fiscal year content push. I also reached a few that weren't fits. Many I need to continue following up with. But, no real work yet. Some good potentials on the horizon, though.

      My main difficulty is following up. I'm a supervisor at my day job and so I can't be coming and going often to do follow-ups because I'm accountable to my team and my manager. Also, we have been down and extremely busy so I haven't even been able to take breaks most days to get a chance to connect with anyone over the phone. It's been difficult for sure. I actually brought my wife in, gave her a script and asked her to do some follow-ups. That's where I got the hottest leads because she was able to talk to someone over the phone.

      They probably do work with an agency but I just want to cover my bases. I had another local multinational that I talked to last summer that does use agencies, but the marketing director knew that the ones they were using weren't emphasizing in copy, which is what he needed. We just never were able to hook up because of transitions in his company. (He's on my follow-up list too).
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      Taylor Barranco, Chief Copywriter
      Tabor Writing. Words Illuminated.
      www.taborwriting.com
      taylor@taborwriting.com

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      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by TaborWriting View Post

        Yes, it's very weird, but there are no gatekeepers, just a machine that gives you a couple of options. It is bizarre.
        The phone system itself is a gate keeper. Obviously that's not the problem since your wife was able to get through.

        Call the main number, hit zero or do whatever you need to do to get a live person on the phone.

        Ask, who do I speak to about [X THING]? Great, can you put me through?

        Another trick - ask for a department you know exists if it's a large enough company, like the mail room.

        Get someone from that department on the line, find out their name, ask them who you speak to about [X THING], ask them to transfer you, tell whoever picks up that [SPECIFIC PERSON'S NAME] in [DEPARTMENT YOU CALLED] recommended you speak to this person about [X THING]. Am I speaking to the right person?

        Now you've got a conversation.
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      • Profile picture of the author splitTest
        Originally Posted by TaborWriting View Post

        Thanks for the reply, splitTest. Yes, it's very weird, but there are no gatekeepers, just a machine that gives you a couple of options. It is bizarre. Whenever I have found marketing information, there's no numbers associated. It's really interesting. I did find one email address but I have had no luck.

        I'll explain my mailing situation. I sent the mailings, but I didn't have anyone contact me directly. I finally decided to do follow-up calls. I got a few that asked me to call later as they prep for their next fiscal year content push. I also reached a few that weren't fits. Many I need to continue following up with. But, no real work yet. Some good potentials on the horizon, though.

        My main difficulty is following up. I'm a supervisor at my day job and so I can't be coming and going often to do follow-ups because I'm accountable to my team and my manager. Also, we have been down and extremely busy so I haven't even been able to take breaks most days to get a chance to connect with anyone over the phone. It's been difficult for sure. I actually brought my wife in, gave her a script and asked her to do some follow-ups. That's where I got the hottest leads because she was able to talk to someone over the phone.

        They probably do work with an agency but I just want to cover my bases. I had another local multinational that I talked to last summer that does use agencies, but the marketing director knew that the ones they were using weren't emphasizing in copy, which is what he needed. We just never were able to hook up because of transitions in his company. (He's on my follow-up list too).

        Thanks for the update Tabor. Those "call me later -- we're in prep for our next push" responses do sound promising.

        You're getting managers to consider where your services might fit into their marketing (which is a lot better than the flat-out rejection many get)... Sounds like you're on the right track and hitting many of the right notes with your copy and scripts.

        Good to hear it.

        Something to keep in mind: with all that hustle and determination, you'd probably have a decent shot at selling your own products too. Information products and such... And your day job wouldn't much get in the way of that, because you can do it all in your spare time. Just a thought.
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        • Profile picture of the author TaborWriting
          Ha, thanks Steve! Yep, I'm definitely not willing to throw in the towel.

          Angie, thanks for the points. Those are great. In my haste, my narrative may have been a bit confusing. We have been doing things like that. It's just one particular company where I can't even get to an operator; pressing 0 terminates the call, actually. Maybe it's a one-off?

          SplitTest, thanks for the idea. Might be something to really look into!

          Thanks again everyone.
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          Taylor Barranco, Chief Copywriter
          Tabor Writing. Words Illuminated.
          www.taborwriting.com
          taylor@taborwriting.com

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          • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
            Originally Posted by TaborWriting View Post

            Ha, thanks Steve! Yep, I'm definitely not willing to throw in the towel.

            Angie, thanks for the points. Those are great. In my haste, my narrative may have been a bit confusing. We have been doing things like that. It's just one particular company where I can't even get to an operator; pressing 0 terminates the call, actually. Maybe it's a one-off?

            SplitTest, thanks for the idea. Might be something to really look into!

            Thanks again everyone.
            Yeah, sounds like a one-off.

            What if you were a customer?

            What company in their right mind intentionally disconnects the line if you could be a lead and you're trying to get a hold of an actual person?
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            Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    There are tricks to get around gatekeepers.
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    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • You know what, it's actually refreshing to read Mr Barranco's posts.

    In a skew whiff virtual "get rich quick" "make a $29,797 in a week just by w r i t i n g", "live the dream, drive the car live anywhere you want" made up reality…

    We get to see what starting a copywriting career/ business is like in the REAL world.

    It's a tough slog, not only do you need the skills, techniques and ability...

    You must have shedfulls of perseverance.

    If you can stand it...

    It all comes good in the end.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
    I'd wait to call on the big multinational until you have better research. Don't call to find out if your services fit into their marketing. You should have a very good idea where your services fit into their marketing before you contact them, and be able to offer suggestions on where you can help.

    Don't even worry about calling them for now. Use your copywriting skills to create an ongoing campaign that demonstrates both your talent and your knowledge of their business. You want to be positioned correctly because once you get in, they will use you over and over, and will refer you to other people in the company and even outside vendors.

    It's a long game, but if you do it right, your positioning and pricing will be in much better shape.

    It sounds like you are building the copywriting business on the side while working full time. I suggest you concentrate on getting wins. I would start with mailing and calling smaller businesses and organizations where it is easier to reach the decision maker. Your better half can run your whole business development effort this way. You'll get sales, testimonials, referrals, cash flow and confidence.

    Build a history of winning over and over. It's not just the money. You want the momentum. Scoring goals and building momentum is vital in the beginning.

    All the while, you are laying groundwork at Big Co. Eventually you will get a shot, and at that point you will have a much better story to tell. You have more knowledge and expertise, and can back up what you are saying with real world experience. It will come through in your writing, your phone voice and your in-person presentation.

    If you already have a fairly established business, I'd still stay off the phone. Create an ongoing mailing campaign that compels them to call you.
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author jessegilbert
    Banned
    yes. it is hard to get in contact with the right people. everyone has support desks. it has benefits but people may also miss out on good business deals from being too hard to contact. note to self: get dedicated JV deal filterer to answer all calls in person
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