What Really Matters When Selling Your Services

When I was twenty-one, I bought my first new car.

I did all the research, consulted consumer reports, and discussed my plan with my parents. I knew exactly the car I wanted to buy before I ever stepped into the dealership.

I had looked into a car loan and already contacted my insurance company.

My mom and I walked into the first dealership. No one even came to talk to us, so we left without buying a car.

At the next dealership, I told the salesperson I was there to buy a car.

The first thing he did was ask me if I was old enough to drive.

When I assured him I was, he turned to my mom and started talking to her.

We left the dealership without buying the car.

I was ready to buy.

I had the money.

I had the desire.

I wanted to buy a car.

Yet I walked away, went to a third dealership, and bought my brand-new Toyota Celica there instead.

Have you ever had an experience like that? Where you walked away without purchasing? Then gone somewhere else to buy the product?

This happens a lot more than most people realize. And it could easily happen to your potential clients too.

Maya Angelou once said during an interview with Oprah, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

That is so true. It’s been twenty-two years since I bought that Celica, but I still remember that I felt insulted by the salesperson.

When it comes to your own copywriting clients, how do you make them feel?

From the time you say hello to the end of your project, do you do things to make your client feel important, valued, or significant?

Do you make them feel like one of many in a long string of clients on your “to-do” list, or do you make them feel like they are your main priority and only client?

Do you make them feel like you are just in this for the money, or do you make them feel like you are fully vested in helping them succeed? (For tips on how to close more sales without sounding salesy, check out my article Boost Your Income by Asking the Right Questions.)

Do you make them feel like they are in just another meeting, or do you make them feel pumped up, excited, and inspired after you meet?

So what can you do to improve how you make your customers feel when selling your copywriting services?

Here are seven tips for how you can improve how your clients feel about working with you:

Establish rapport. Do you jump right into your sales pitch, or do you try to make your prospect at ease? Develop common ground as a basis before moving forward. Maybe you attended an event in the person’s industry recently or saw that he plays golf in his bio online. Asking questions about something the person is interested in will help you bond.

Be prepared. Nothing builds confidence more than being prepared. Reviewing programs related to the type of project you’ll be doing or subscribing to and reading emails sent by the company you’re meeting with prior to your scheduled appointment will boost your confidence and theirs. For example, if you’re meeting with a B2B company, reviewing Secrets of High Performance B2B Copy will help you talk about the differences in writing for that market.

Demonstrate excitement and desire to help. Focus on how you can help the company profit or solve a problem instead of talking about what you need, what you do, or what you’ve done. Be sincere. People can sense when you really want to help them and when you are just trying to sell them something. Instead of saying, “I am a marketing consultant and copywriter and wondering if you hire freelance copywriters,” say, “I receive your daily email and am wondering if you are looking for any freelance copywriters to help you increase your response.”

Have a contagious positive attitude. Be enthusiastic and excited when you are talking to your prospect about their project. If you are on the phone when talking to your client, don’t multi-task. Stay focused, engaged, and alert. Pay attention not just to what you say, but how you say it. An old sales trick is to smile while you are on the phone. People can “hear” the smile in your voice.

Convey your message clearly. Do you have difficulty speaking about your services clearly? Join Toastmasters if you need help in this area.

Your reputation. What type of reputation are you building or what reputation will precede you? Do you offer lots of ideas? Do you hand in your copy on time? Are you always positive and happy? Always think about the reputation you are portraying. As you build up your list of clients, your reputation may be what helps you win new clients through referrals.

Your image. Whether you meet in person or virtually, you portray an image. How you and your virtual image look affect the way you are perceived. Think about your appearance before you meet with people. Details count. One of the best salespeople I ever worked with taught me to think about the little things that can make big impressions like driving up in a dirty car, manicured nails, and wearing scuff-free shoes. When corresponding virtually, it’s even more important to think about details because it’s harder to build a relationship that way. If you are going to be on a call, make sure there isn’t any background noise, dogs barking, or kids interrupting. Take the extra time to review your emails for typos before you send them and leave out the informal smiley faces from your professional correspondence. Details like these help you look more professional.

While people won’t remember the details of your encounters, it’s the details that add up to make the experience and leave the impression.

It’s the emotions you evoke and how you make them feel as you build relationships with your prospects and clients that will make them want to do business with you. If you have any tips on building a relationship with a client or prospect, or if you have any questions for me, please share them in the comments below.

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: July 1, 2011

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