How to Prospect for Insurance Clients – Or Any Other Professional Services Clients

When you’re marketing yourself to local prospects, using the phone is often the way to go. I know, I know … no one likes to make cold calls. If you’re still new to the copywriting field, though, you can really benefit from picking up the phone and making some calls.

The first step is to know what your goal is when you call. Typically, you want to find out three things:

  • Whether the company uses freelancers
  • What upcoming projects the company anticipates
  • Who the best contact is for your services

With this information you’ll know if the company is a good prospect.

Your script could read something like this: “Hi, my name is Heather Robson, and I’m a freelance copywriter. Who’s the best person for me to talk to about my services?"

Stay friendly and cheerful – even if the person you’re talking to isn’t – and, in many cases, you’ll get the name of a contact. You might even get connected to the person you need to talk to right away. So, have another call script prepared in case that happens. It might go something like this: “Hi, my name is Heather Robson, and I offer freelance copywriting services to local professional service companies. Do you work with freelancers?”

The answer to this first question will likely sound something like, “Yes, but we have a freelancer we’re happy with,” … or, “Yes, but we don’t have any needs right now.”

Don’t worry. Both of those are good answers for you, because at least you know they work with freelancers. If they’re currently working with another freelancer, ask permission to keep in touch. Sometimes needs change or expand, and you might be a good fit in the future.

If they don’t currently have any needs, that’s when you ask what projects they expect to begin in the next six months. Follow up by asking permission to contact them closer to the project launch date (usually two to three weeks beforehand).

If the company does use freelancers, also put them on your periodic contact list and drop them a line every four to six weeks. This keeps your services on their radar. If a need arises, chances are good that they’ll contact you just because you’re visible.

Using Direct Mail to Find Clients

Of course, the phone is not your only way to prospect. You are, after all, a direct-mail copywriter. You should use direct mail, too. Put together a one- to two-page introductory letter targeting people who offer professional services. Introduce yourself and your services. Touch on the benefits you bring to your clients. And then make an offer in your letter. You could offer to send a free report if they contact you for more information, or to critique one of their existing marketing pieces at half your hourly rate.

Go through your local phone book and put together a mailing list. Then send out your letters. Keep careful track of who gets back to you. These are your hot prospects, and you should follow up with them every month or two by mail, email, and phone.

There are all sorts of ways to stay in contact with prospects by giving them extra value. You could send out a monthly copywriting tip by postcard. You could call to let them know about a special offer you have for them. You could send them an article you found that you think would interest them. The possibilities are endless, but remember to add value to your contacts. It will make prospects much more likely to contact you about projects when they come up.

My Challenge to You

Since you’re a direct-mail copywriter, you know about testing. These two prospecting methods are a great way to make connections and land clients in the insurance industry or in any professional services industry.

I challenge you to commit to sending a specific number of mailings each month and making a specific number of phone calls each month.

Keep the initial contacts for each method separate, and keep track of which is building you a better prospect list. This will help you see the results you’re getting. There’s nothing better to motivate you than to see real results. And it will help you see which approach works better. Then you can put more of your energy into what’s working best for you.

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: October 14, 2008

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