What Shaving Dogs’ Butts Can Teach You About Getting Your First Client

“I shave dogs’ butts.”

That’s what Wall of Famer Suzy Sharpe used to tell people when they asked her what she did for a living, even though she owned her own dog-grooming shop.

But eventually, she grew tired of the lack of freedom that came with owning the business and decided to sell it.

It was easier said than done. Three years went by with no takers. By this point she was getting pretty frustrated. Fortunately, she received AWAI’s letter for the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. She devoured it and decided to take action by putting what she’d just learned to use  …

She wrote a sales letter to sell her business and mailed it to over 1,000 larger dog-grooming shops in the region. And to her delight, the business sold within five days!

From that point on, Suzy was hooked. Today, she enjoys the freedom she never had shaving pooches’ behinds.

You can use Suzy’s same strategy to get your very first client. Here’s how:

Pick a niche: For Suzy, initially, it was the dog-grooming niche. For you, it will most likely be different. Figure out what you’re passionate about. What are you knowledgeable and experienced in? Maybe you invest in stocks as a hobby. In that case, the financial niche would be perfect. Or maybe you’re a health nut, in which case the alternative health market would be a good niche. This will take a little introspection, but it’s critical to giving you the best chance of starting your career off on the right foot and quickly landing your first few assignments.

Create a prospect list: When Suzy decided to take matters into her own hands, she researched the name and address of every dog-grooming shop in her region. In your transition from aspiring to professional copywriter, you’ll need to do something similar. Select 100 businesses that could potentially benefit from your copywriting services. The best way to do this is by going to your local library and picking up a copy of Direct Marketing Market Place – a reference book listing companies who use direct mail. Once you’ve got the names of the companies, research their mailing addresses in addition to getting the name of the person in charge of hiring copywriters.

Write a smokin’ hot sales letter: Once Suzy had her prospect list together, she created an irresistible sales letter, explaining all the benefits and reasons why potential prospects should buy her business. You’re going to write a sales letter selling your copywriting services. Explain to potential clients how they will benefit from your services. How your skills can help increase their sales and profits. And a good reason to get in touch with you soon. Put every ounce of persuasion you have into this letter. Use all the tips, techniques and strategies you’ve learned from AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

Mail, follow-up, repeat: Here’s where the magic happens. Once you have your sales letter ready to go, it’s time to mail it out. Wait about a week, and then follow-up via phone with any of the companies who have not contacted you. Call to see if they received your “package.” See if they have any questions, and ask if there are any upcoming copywriting projects they might need help with. Once you’ve followed up with everyone on your list, it’s time to repeat the process, starting by creating a new prospect list of 100 companies.

Do this religiously for three months, and you’ll be on the path to living your version of “the writer’s life”!

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: December 5, 2008

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