Type or Dial? The Jobs Are in the Phone

This post was written by John White on Fri, 28 Nov 2008 15:49:07 +0000
Posted Under: freelancing,Hiring writers,rapport with writer

“People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to.”

I’ve come across this several times since hearing Renato Beninatto of Common Sense Advisory pronounce it at a localization conference several years ago. It’s an important piece of information for writers who approach me peddling their services.

Web 2.0 pundits drone on about giving us, your prospects, value, whether we’re ready to buy or not, and it makes good marketing sense, but how do you implement the sales sense so that we prospects who like to buy, don’t feel as though you writers are selling to us?

How about you, Mr. or Ms. Writer? Are you going to type or dial?

I couldn’t turn this notion into a book, but it’s worth a blog posting: I believe that the jobs are in the phone. The real jobs, I mean.

They’re not on the Web, they’re not in the classifieds, they’re not on Elance/Monster/LinkedIn/Twitter, and they’re not in e-mail. They’re in the phone.

Put yourself in my shoes. You like to buy but don’t like to be sold to, right? Let’s say that, if a writer has the moxy and self-confidence to phone you and introduce themselves there’s a 10% chance that you’ll buy from him or her.

Now rate that contact against writers who introduced themselves to you by other means on the same day:

  1. E-mail – Would you rather buy from somebody who sent you unsolicited e-mail, even if it looked as though s/he knew something about your company?
  2. Direct mail – Here are writers casting fate to the wind and the US Postal Service. Would you rather buy from them?
  3. Online marketplaces – You’re making a cattle call, trying to find a writer for $10/hour. You’ve got to separate the wheat from the chaff and hope you’ve made the right choice among people who are crouched behind their firewall, waiting to see whether a fish bites (pardon the mixed metaphor). Would you rather buy from them?
  4. Personal recommendation – A colleague walks into your office and says, “Are you still looking for a writer? I used to work with a really good one, and I can have him get in touch with you.” Would you rather buy from that writer?

I can’t speak for everybody, but I would rate #1-3 far below the 10% chance of hiring somebody who phoned. I’d probably rate #4 at 20%, but that’s the only thing that would trump a live caller — with me, at least.

Let me ask again: Are you going to type or dial?

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