Are You Marketing Yourself Effectively?

Cindy Cyr here, taking over The Writer’s Life this week …

This week, I’d like to share some of the strategies I’ve acquired through the years to greatly increase my success when selling myself.

Strategies you can use to help sell your writing services and land more clients.

I'll be the first to admit …

 … I am not a natural-born salesperson.

In kindergarten, my teacher was concerned because instead of making friends with the other kids, I would “talk” to the big stuffed animal in the corner.

As I got older, I became more confident about meeting people, however, I still greatly preferred getting an introduction versus walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation on my own.

And for years, especially when it came to selling, powerful people intimidated me.

Eleven years ago, I was still intimidated by people I perceived as powerful when I took a job as a sales rep at a news publication. At the time, I needed a job and some of my friends thought I'd be good at it.

That job didn’t go so well.

The owner yelled at me on a regular basis … telling me I was “terrible” and that I “couldn’t sell to save my life.”

It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed to quit that job, move on, and begin working on a solution.

And a year or so later, when a friend told me the regional publication she worked for was looking for a sales rep, I decided to give advertising sales another try.

I interviewed for the job and was hired.

This time, things were different. Despite the new publication being what I considered a harder sell, I soon found I was very good at selling advertising.

In fact, out of the six dedicated sales reps selling for that publication, I consistently sold 43% of the total monthly revenue by myself.

But that’s not all.

During my time as a sales rep there, I received a sales award for top in sales competing against hundreds of salespeople in the company. I also developed a new positioning concept which resulted in exceeding my revenue goal by 250% … conceived an idea which increased total revenue for one month's publication by 20%, and conceptualized an advertorial product which increased total yearly revenue by 8%.

So what made the difference?

I used a three-step process I learned in a sales seminar to improve my selling efforts.

Before I tell you more about this process, I want you to think about your own experiences with selling your copywriting services to clients …

Do you avoid making “cold calls”?

Are you stalking and chasing potential clients you believe will eventually become good customers but haven’t yet made any real commitments to you?

Are you accepting too many “think-it-overs” because you’re afraid if you ask for a decision, the answer would be no?

Do you have goals for how many clients you’ll contact but don’t hold yourself accountable?

If any of these sound familiar, you could be missing a crucial step for improving your client-getting ability.

The good news is, when you take this step, you can dramatically improve your results.

Let’s look at the three-step process you can take to improve your results when selling your services to clients:

Step one: Identify the barriers that prevent you from finding, developing, and closing more copywriting clients.

Step two: Identify the cause of those barriers.

Step three: Take action to correct.

That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

The problem is, most people either skip the second step or don't dig down deep enough to discover the real reason they are having trouble making things happen.

It’s important to look at both the obvious tangible reasons you aren’t selling your services as well as the intangible reasons.

For example, some roadblocks have to do with your sales technique (a tangible reason). Perhaps you need to change what you say and do to get the type of results you desire.

If that's the case then … I found reading sales books, going to sales conferences, and studying sales techniques help refine your approach.

But if the real reason for your avoiding prospecting is a fear of rejection (an intangible reason), then learning new methods and what to say or how to say it isn’t the answer.

You have to confront the reasons why you are so afraid of rejection. It could be that in your mind you associate rejection with failure and shame and as something that should be avoided at all costs.

To conquer this roadblock, the solution might be as simple as thinking out the worst possible scenario that could happen when you make a cold call which is that the person on the other end of the phone says, "No." The world didn't end. They just said, "No."

By adopting the popular mantra for salespersons, which says, “Every no brings you that much closer to a yes,” you’ll expect to receive a certain number of rejections before you experience success.

In my case, I was intimidated by people I perceived as powerful. You can imagine the problem that caused, considering most of my sales appointments were with CEOs and company owners.

Once I identified this as the real problem, I took the steps necessary to change how I thought about powerful people. I came to realize that these CEOs and company owners were no different from me. They were committed to their company, hardworking, and ultimately we wanted the same thing—to find ways to make them more profitable. This breakthrough helped me feel more comfortable with talking to them about what I was selling.

The key is to identify the real reason why you’re not succeeding the way you want.

If you don't, you’ll end up working on the wrong problem and missing a crucial step in the process because you can’t remove anxieties, fears, and a self-limiting mindset with new strategies alone.

You must first change your beliefs or mindset. To help you do that, I’ve written an article: Is Your Present Mindset Keeping You from Reaching Your Full Potential?

You don’t need to be a natural-born salesperson to get clients and sell your copywriting services. Anybody can do it.

You just have to zero in on the real reason or reasons for your lack of success and address each one. Once you do, you'll find marketing yourself becomes second nature and you'll be well on your way to a successful freelance writing career.

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Published: June 27, 2011

2 Responses to “Are You Marketing Yourself Effectively?”

  1. WOW Cindy,

    I love this 3 step process! I know it will help me, and I think it will help many others as well.

    I think we all have things that stop us.

    I really love the last paragraph, "You just have to zero in on the real reason or reasons for your lack of success and address each one. Once you do, you'll find marketing yourself becomes second nature and you'll be well on your way to a successful freelance writing career." This is a very true statement.



    Tonimarie Marrese

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