A More Personal Approach
Cold calls... by percentages, they are one of the most effective sales methods. The first key is getting to the right person. The second key is asking the right questions. And the third key is projecting the right image and sound across the wires. Let's discuss in this order.
Who is it you'd like to talk to?Getting to the right person is essential. If you call the office's main line and ask "for the person in charge of renderings", you haven't made an ounce of effort beyond looking up the phone number, and you get a big fat "L" for LAZY. These days we have an incredible amount of information right at our fingertips. Once you decide you want to target a specific company, read every page of their website and see if you can come up with a list of potential people to talk to. Then go to LinkedIn and see what more info you can dig up. Conduct searches for these people and also for projects shown on the company website. Doing your homework will get you a long ways toward choosing the right person to contact.
The next step is actually getting this person on the phone. Typically, you won't find direct lines or mobile numbers for these individuals. Odds are quite good you will need to call the main office line, and the receptionist is there to screen for sales people. But since you've done your homework, it should be easy to get past this obstacle. You have a person's name, and if you can mention a recent project this person worked on, you've got a great chance of being patched through. You could even mention something like "I need to talk to so and so about the renderings for the XYZ project." If you end up in voicemail, that's ok. Hang up. Try again the next day. Give it at least three tries. Then leave a voicemail. But not just any typical boring voicemail. Make it a memorable voicemail. Be funny or engaging. Just don't leave a voicemail that leaves you thinking "oh geez, maybe I shouldn't have said that." But give them a reason to call you back! This means before you make your call, you should anticipate leaving a voicemail, and most importantly, you've already given ample thought to what you will say.
Oh gosh, what do I say?Now, when you finally DO get to speak to this person, what do you say? "How are you?" "Am I catching you at a good time?" "What do you currently do for renderings?" NO! Don't be like every other boring salesperson that people just want to hang up on. In fact, most of the questions or statements that come to mind should be tossed aside. It's time to think a bit differently.
At this moment, you have a very short period of time to introduce yourself and set up an appointment for later. Don't attempt to get yourself hired for a particular project right now. Just focus on the appointment. You DO want to quickly mention your expertise as an archviz artist, but you DON'T want to tell them all about yourself. You DO want to reinforce the notion that this person is concerned about productivity and saving time, and that THIS is the ultimate benefit of 3D renderings. And, you'd like to know if it makes sense to set up a time to meet or at least talk further about how your renderings can help speed up their workflow. After all, time is money. (Though you need not remind them of this.)
Before you begin setting up appointments, you should write out a number questions to ask these potential clients. These questions should be engaging, and focused on improving their workflow. Try to avoid "yes/no" questions, or other questions that yield a one-word answer. Get these people to talk and open up to you. Don't ask what their current rendering solution is, and how well it's working for them. That information has little value in helping you obtain their business. Seek to understand WHY they make certain decisions about renderings. This will give you insight into how you can best help them. Your list of questions should form a "funnel" and "lead" your prospect to the realization that "Hey, I WOULD like to meet with this person. I think they might actually be good for my company." It IS important to find out exactly how you can help them be more profitable, and if you can solve some problem along the way, they will find YOU that much more valuable.