Topping It Off: How An Oil Change Shop Can Help Double Your Copywriting Business Profits

Sometimes you never know when you're going to be hit with inspiration …

You know what I'm talking about. You're doing something mindless, not really paying attention to what's going on around you, and BAM! Something remarkable pops out of nowhere.

It happened to me recently at – of all places – an oil change shop. No, it certainly wasn't Harvard Business School. But the lessons were as valuable – if not more so – than anything I could have learned in those hallowed halls.

Here are a few I picked up from this visit …

Lesson #1: First of all, I wasn't sitting in a grungy, oil-stained garage while they serviced my vehicle. It was a clean, well-lit waiting room with fresh coffee, magazines, and cushy seating. It was obvious that they wanted me to be relaxed the entire time.

Plus, one entire wall of the room was made of glass so I could look out and see the actual work going on in the service area. Nothing hidden from sight here.

How does this apply to you? Simple. While you're working on a client's project, make them as comfortable as possible. Keep them updated on your progress and let them see everything you're doing as it's finished. This will ease their anxiety level (especially if it's their first experience with a copywriter) and help them understand exactly what you're doing … and why you're doing it.

Now your client feels more involved in the project, which helps to build a stronger relationship between you two. And stronger relationships between copywriter and client tend to translate into bigger and better paydays for both of you down the road.

Lesson #2: Soon after my car was pulled in, a friendly service tech came in to speak with me. He gave me a quick rundown of my vehicle's checkpoints – lights, tire pressure, etc. – and let me know everything that was working correctly.

Then he proceeded to suggest improvements I could make in my car's performance by changing out certain fluids and filters. He even showed me the actual air filter from my car, complete with dirt and bugs, and offered to quickly swap this out for a new one. "Should only take a couple of minutes," he added.

Anybody see what's happening here? This is a classic upsell, and it's brilliant marketing on their part. You can do the same with your clients by offering to improve on what they currently have.

First, look over all of their marketing materials from top to bottom and pull out something that's obviously working well. Compliment them on how great it looks, how well it's pulling, etc. Clients love affirmation of their marketing efforts, just like anyone else – especially from professionals like yourself. So play this up from the very beginning.

Then, start suggesting improvements. Point out places in their copy that are weak and need a boost. Offer up reasons why their landing pages, sales pages, autoresponders, etc. are not working based on your expertise. By doing this, you're basically showing them the "air filter" complete with all the nastiness that's making their business run slower.

Once you've exposed the ugliness, position yourself as the "savior" by offering to fix everything. Tell them exactly what you'd like to do so they understand the process. Don't talk price yet – that comes later – just stick with how you'll solve their problems.

Finally, make sure you add a timely statement to your offer. Notice how the tech casually mentioned it would only take a "few minutes"? Do the same with your clients. Tell them you'll get right on it and give them as quick turnaround.

And here's another tip: always overpromise on delivery dates. Tell them a week and get it to them in 3 days. Tell them 2 weeks and send it over in 10 days. Your clients will LOVE this, and you'll look like a million in their eyes.

Lesson #3: As I was getting back into my car after the oil change, I noticed they had done a quick vacuum of the interior. Certainly not necessary (and definitely not asked for), but they did it nonetheless. Sort of an extra unmentioned perk that comes with the service.

How can you apply this principle? Easy. While you're doing the actual paid work, throw in a couple of extras for good measure. Could be some new AdWords copy, a different headline suggestion to test, or even a quick Twitter or Facebook post – no charge. Doesn't have to be a huge time-consuming task. Just something you can quickly crank out that adds value.

This shows that you're willing to do what it takes to help your client's business and money isn't the only factor here. In short, you CARE. And that will go a long way towards getting more work from this client (not to mention some juicy referrals).

So there you have it – 3 quick marketing lessons that spawned from a simple visit to the oil change shop. Take these and apply them to your own marketing efforts right now and see how it works.

Doesn't matter whether you're into sales letters, autoresponders, SEO, social media, or whatever your specialty. These three tactics can help you to quickly double your income this year, and every year.

Now go get 'em!

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Published: March 23, 2011

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