Taking my own medicine and making cold calls

By Justine Clay


Three little words: there are those that make your heart sing…and those that make your stomach drop.  In my experience there are three words that are particularly anxiety inducing for creative talent – The Cold Call.

When it comes to New Business development, I believe that the cold call is a valuable tool, so I’ve been giving some serious thought as to how creative talent can get past this block.

I realize it’s not easy – when I first began my career in talent management, my boss handed me a list of clients and told me to start at the top of the list and pitch our talent.  I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awful at first…but the more I did it, the better I got.  And when I opened the doors to my own talent management agency in 2005 (www.plumrep.com), cold calling was something that was integral to building new business.

I started Pitch Perfect this year so that I might share my skills an expertise with a wider range of talent than those in the Plum Creative stable.  While we focus on everything from how to put together a great portfolio to how to manage your projects like a pro, I devote a whole section of the Essential tools for Creative Talent workshops to making a cold call.  I figured it was just a matter of getting started and that, like me, the talent would get over the discomfort in time.  Right?  Wrong!

The fatal flaw in this assumption was that the talent actually HAD to start making those calls.  I was met with cries of “it’s just not me” and “I hate talking about myself”.  I was stuck.

And then one day it hit me.  I realized that I too was procrastinating in pitching Pitch Perfect.  I could always find something else to do and put it off for another day. There came a point where there was no alternative but to ask myself what the dickens was going on.  And it struck me – this wasn’t about pushing the undeniably talents Plum Creative artists, but rather myself as an expert.  This was personal!  And to that point, the reason it’s so hard for creative talent is because they’re not pitching someone else, but themselves! AH HA!

In my case, with the realization of my fears came power.  Now I knew I was letting my insecurities get the better of me, I could override them.  I sat at my desk – wrote out my script (not to read, but more to order my thoughts so I would bumble when I got on the phone) and I made 3 calls.  Guess what happened?  I got 3 favorable responses!  I felt FANTASTIC!  And you know what, when you feel that good, you’ll make even more calls.

So, when you feel that you can’t possible do it, try these steps:

– Be a little introspective – ask yourself why you’re scared
– Acknowledge those feeling (and then send them packing)
– Get your thoughts in order in the form of a script
– Make 3 calls

The worse thing that can happen is they don’t hire you.  But if you hadn’t called to share what you do with they, they certainly never would have.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Give it a whirl.  I’d love to hear how you get on, so feel free to drop me a line at justine@pitchperfectpresentation.com