How to Get Ushered into Your Client's Inner Sanctum of Trust on Your Very First Project
There are a lot of things that go into building a successful copywriting business. But there's one thing every freelancer should be hell-bent on achieving. It's so important, I think, that it's fair to classify this sole achievement as the "holy grail" of freelancing.
Without it, it's awfully difficult to make any sustainable progress. But grasp it, and the odds of long-term success as a freelancer tip quickly in your favor.
I'm talking about landing a client that consistently puts well-paying assignments right in your lap, without considering sending those assignments to another writer.
THAT is the holy grail.
Can you imagine a faster or easier way to reach your income goals than by having a client that automatically hands you work? And what if you had two or three of these clients? Can you say, "Never have to cold call again!"?
Shortcut Ahead: This Way to the Holy Grail!
Well guess what? I know a shortcut to the holy grail. It involves a very specific type of copywriting assignment that ushers you right into your client's inner sanctum of trust … which is exactly where you need to be before any client starts handing you multiple assignments.
First I'll tell you where I found this shortcut, then I'll tell you exactly what it is, and how to use it to quickly win the trust of any client.
Our quest for the holy grail begins in the business-to-business (B2B) industry, which is where I make my living as a freelance copywriter. My clients are marketing managers, directors, and VPs. These people need to produce a boatload of marketing materials in order to support their company's sales efforts. But here's something that may shock you: these marketing folks do not constantly compare the work of one copywriter to that of another. They simply do not have the time.
Have a look at this partial list of the kinds of marketing materials B2B companies hire copywriters to produce:
- Email Marketing Campaigns
- Newsletters and E-newsletters
- Landing Pages
- Web Sites
- Online Video Ad Scripting
- Case Studies
- Thought Leadership Articles
- Sales Letters
- Direct Mail Packages
- Sales Presentations
- Brochures & Sales Sheets
For B2B companies, where marketing directors value a relationship with a good copywriter, you can be the go-to writer for most, or all, of these projects.
What that means for you is, impress a few key B2B clients and you'll attain a level of loyalty from them that can secure a steady flow of work without much worry of competition.
Compare this, for just a second, to writing copy for the major consumer markets like health, financial, and self-help.
In those markets, it's tougher to break in (you'll usually have to beat a great control) and tougher to hang on to clients (your control will have to keep beating submissions from world-class copywriters). And the moment someone writes a better sales letter than you, you're out, and you have to battle to get "back in" or hunt down another gig.
But how exactly do you earn the trust of a new B2B copywriting clients quickly, and kick open the floodgates for ongoing work? There are a number of ways to do this, but let me show you the fastest way I know …
Here's the Shortcut!
I've shared advice with literally thousands of freelancers, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've revealed what I'm about to tell you. I really do consider this a trade secret. It's the best technique I know for turning a new prospect into a loyal client. It's my shortcut to the holy grail. And it's so powerful, this technique can work on your very first project with a brand new client!
You've seen the list of B2B copywriting projects above. Okay. Now sometimes a new prospect will call you with one of these specific projects in mind, which must get done right away, based on some pressing circumstance. For example, he or she may need a brochure written for an upcoming trade show. However, this is not always the case.
It's been my experience that quite often you'll be talking to a prospect who has a bunch of copywriting projects in mind which need to be produced, but exactly which project gets done first is up for discussion.
THAT is your opportunity to take the shortcut path into the inner sanctum of trust where the holy grail can be yours.
To take the shortcut, you need to steer the client toward the one project from the list above which has the highest likelihood of turning you into a star in their eyes – and quickly …
It's the case study.
Write this down:
When dealing with a client for the first time, unless they specify a certain project that must be done first, always suggest that you begin your relationship with a case study.
Quick definition: A case study is a one-to-four page "success story" that explains how Company A helped one of their customers, Company B, achieve specific business results.
So if Company A sells their accounting software to Company B, and Company B loves it, this constitutes a success story. In this example, Company A would hire you, the copywriter, to write the case study.
Got it? Good. Now here are three reasons why a case study project works like magic to convert your first-time prospects into loyal clients:
It's not a huge investment for the client. While you can charge a good chunk of change for a case study (around $1,200 to $1,600 for two or three pages) it's really a small investment in the client's eyes. This lets the client ease into a new relationship with you, an unknown (to them) copywriter, with little risk.
The fact is, it's much easier for a new client to say "Yes" to giving you a case study project, versus immediately handing you a multi-thousand-dollar web site overhaul. (That can come later.)
You penetrate the "inner sanctum" on your very first project. As the writer of a case study, you get ushered right into your client's inner sanctum – that is, you get introduced their most prized possession – the one thing for which they work tirelessly to secure and protect – their happy customer! Talk about intimacy. And trust. Handle this interview well and your new client will look upon you as a trustworthy pro. (And you haven't even written anything yet!)
Case studies make clients happy. When you write a case study, think about what you're writing … a story about why your client's company is so wonderful. It's filled with shouts of praise, straight from the mouths of their customer. Think this goes over well when you hand it in? You bet it does!
Clients absolutely love reading their own case studies for the first time. And as the writer who captured and presented all these kudos you benefit from all the warm and fuzzy feelings flying around their marketing department.
You can see how this type of project is pretty much a fool-proof way for you to score major points in the trust and loyalty department, so that your very first visit into the inner sanctum of trust is actually the beginning of a long stay there. And once you’re in there, my friend, the holy grail can be yours.