10 Things You Must Understand About Prospective Clients

In your quest for clients, it’s just as important to understand what motivates their decisions to hire copywriters … as it is to understand what motivates your prospects to buy.

Here are 10 insights to help you understand that motivation … and harness it to boost your career.

  1. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS NEED YOU.

    You may imagine that, by promoting yourself, you are intruding on or interrupting your prospect. Maybe you’re even thinking, “They’re probably already working with someone.” But often, that’s not true. If you approach each prospect with the idea that they are waiting for YOU, and that they need YOU, you’ll make a better presentation.

  2. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS WANT TO LOOK GOOD.

    Things are scary out there. No matter the industry, things aren’t the way they used to be – not for you and not for them. What they want from you, over and above what they’re asking for, is for you to make them look good. That’s your real job.

  3. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS ARE SORT OF LAZY.

    This means you have to help them find you, help them reach out to you, and then, of course, help them work with you. The fewer the obstacles, the more likely they are to follow through.

  4. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS HAVE A LOT GOING ON.

    Don’t lose sight of their big picture. In their office, there are 10 things happening at once. Interruptions galore. They can’t get anything accomplished. Their desk is a disaster area. Their voice mail and email are jammed. In short, things are out of control. You’re just one of many things they’re trying to focus on. So now you understand why they might not be calling you back.

  5. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS ACT ON IMPULSE.

    We all do this. Prospective clients see something interesting. They get excited and call for information. When it comes, it sits in a pile. Don’t waste your time actively pursuing this type of impulse inquiry … but don’t entirely write them off either. Put them on your regular mailing list, and let them come back to you. Real needs and desires stand the test of time.

  6. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS NEED TO PIGEONHOLE YOU.

    Help them do it. Give them a box to put you in – with a label on it, like “business-to-business” or “direct-response copywriter” for the healthcare industry. There’s plenty of time to tell them more about your full range of services later.

  7. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS RARELY KNOW WHAT THEY NEED.

    Listen to them and provide a solution to their self-defined needs. If necessary, explain (without trying to persuade) why the quick turnaround they say they need might not be the best thing for them. Offer a couple of alternatives for them to choose from. Then let them decide.

  8. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS NEED TIME.

    Believe them when they say they have to think about it, or that they have to sell the idea to someone else. We all need time to think, adjust, and clear our plate. Give them the time they ask for, and then keep in touch, reminding them that they were interested. And remember that some things will never come to fruition. That’s life.

  9. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS ARE PEOPLE.

    Your relationships are not with companies. They’re with humans. Relationships are more important now than ever. With everyone moving around, you’d better believe they’re taking the “Rolodex” along with them wherever they go.

  10. PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME.

    How do you want to be treated when someone is marketing to you? How often do you want someone to be calling you? How much freedom and time would you like to have to think, to ask questions, and to make your decision? They way you want to be treated is they way you must treat prospective clients.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: March 13, 2006

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