A Frequently Untapped Source of Clients

The other day, I was re-reading the classic story, Acres of Diamonds, written by Russell Conwell that tells the story of Ali Hafed.

Hafed owned a farm of good land filled with beautiful orchards and gardens. There was a stream on his land that contained an abundance of shimmering stones and Ali’s wife used them as decorative ornaments around the house.

A wealthy and contented man, he lived on the farm with his family until one day he heard a story about a group of people that had discovered diamonds in a faraway land.

He became obsessed with the idea of pursuing diamonds and could think of little else. So he sold his beautiful farm, left his family behind, and went off in search of these precious gems.

His quest lasted many years. He forgot the faces of his family. His appearance changed. He lost all hope. And he eventually took his own life.

One day while crossing the stream, the new owner of the farm noticed a sparkle of light coming from a moss-covered stone lying in the water.

He took it home and placed it on his mantel for decoration, believing it to be a common crystal.

Then one day, a friend came to visit who happened to be a gem dealer. When he walked into the living room, his eyes immediately fell upon the shimmering rock sitting on the mantel.

Upon closer examination, the gem dealer friend exclaimed that the rock was the largest diamond he’d ever seen!

The farmer proceeded to tell his friend that there were many more like it. He took his friend to the stream where many more diamonds sparkled in the water.

The farm became one of the largest diamond finds in history.

It turns out what Ali Hafed had ventured out to search for in vain in unknown lands, he already owned but never recognized.

The treasure he had searched for already existed in his own backyard.

That’s kind of like what most of us do when we look for clients.

We go to networking events where we don’t know anyone.

We send emails to people we don’t know.

We put our resume on a job site.

We expect to find clients “out there somewhere.”

But the truth is, just like Hafed, you have a valuable, familiar resource that will gladly introduce you to paying clients.

You won’t have to convince them you are a good copywriter either.

You can tap into it today … even if you’ve never had a paying client, don’t have samples to show, and don’t have your website done.

It won’t cost you anything and can open the door to your dream clients.

So you’re probably thinking, “Okay, Cindy, tell me already.”

But first I want to caution you that once you find out what this resource is, there are a couple of secrets to getting the best clients from it. If you try to shortcut this system, you’ll seldom produce meaningful results, and instead of getting the juicy referrals that lead to the dream clients you want, you’ll become a prisoner-of-hope waiting for a telephone call.

So what is this resource?

It’s the people you already know.

I have to confess I’m guilty of neglecting this source myself. But what a mistake!

When I started my freelance writing business, I knew if I could just get one client, I'd be well on my way. So I told some of my closest friends what I was doing and what I was looking for.

My first three paying assignments came from referrals from friends.

If you’re not already aware, referrals from people you know are extremely powerful.

They open up opportunities and get you the “in” you need.

In my case, as a newbie copywriter, I didn’t have any samples to show, nor did I have a website.

However, the fact that my friend was vouching for me was enough for me to land the projects.

These three assignments alone have been worth more than $74,000 to me.

In fact, when I look back, my best clients and most lucrative contracts have all stemmed from referrals from people I already knew.

What about you? Do you ever think to yourself, “If only someone would give me a chance …”?

Doesn’t it make sense that the best people to refer you are the people who already know you, like you, and trust you, and more importantly …

 … really want to help you achieve your goals because they are your friends?

So often, we think we can’t get the clients we want until we write that one great control or unless we send out tons of letters to complete strangers – searching “out there somewhere.”

However, enormous opportunity for getting clients – your dream clients even – lies within the network of people who already know you and can introduce you to the people in organizations you want to work with.

Of course, even if you have gotten referrals from friends, there’s a good chance you can get even better clients by adding some simple steps to your process. I’ve covered them all in my article How to Get All the Clients You Need from People You Already Know.

So, if looking outside your network isn’t bringing the results you hoped for, refine your client search now to start with your friends. When you do, like me, you’ll discover your best copywriting assignments come from these referrals.

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: May 10, 2011

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