How to Prepare a Client to Hire You
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with two potentially-lucrative new clients.
They were referrals from another client, which meant I started with an advantage.
In both cases, they responded favorably to my initial contact and follow-up conversations ensued.
They both asked me to draw up a proposal, which I did and sent over.
After some follow-up emails, I discovered I hadn’t landed either project. One even said I was out of his price range and told me that “if you can get those rates, good for you.”
I was dumbfounded. I thought for sure I’d get at least one of them.
This wasn’t the norm for me. I am usually very good at closing client work, especially when it is a referral.
It wasn’t until a few days later, when I was reviewing Dan Kennedy’s Look Over My Shoulder, a monthly newsletter in which Dan shows you actual copy he’s working on along with pointers and marketing your services tips, that I realized where I went wrong …
I hadn’t prepped my clients properly.
As a freelancer, it’s your job to prepare your prospect to want to hire you.
You have to let him know how you can help him. You have to prove to him that you are worth more to him than what you are charging. And, you must make it clear to him that he's not spending money by hiring you, he's making money.
When I looked back, I realized I had not sent my usual materials. Sure, I gave them samples, but I hadn’t given them enough information about the successes I’d had. I hadn’t sent them articles I’d written either.
In short, I hadn’t given them enough information about my experience and expertise to make price a non-issue.
Have you ever paid more than you normally would for something just because you were convinced the quality was better and that you were getting a deal?
The same idea applies when you are selling your services.
You want to remove the apprehension clients have about hiring you and convince them you not only deliver outstanding results, but that they are getting a deal by hiring you at the price you quote them.
Now, there may be someone who is a better writer than you or may be more qualified. But, if you prepare your client correctly, they will be convinced YOU are the best for the project.
Marketing Yourself Effectively
There are a lot of different ways you can build up your image with a client and pave the way for them to want to hire you. Below are some top self-marketing materials you can send to clients to create that frenzy that makes them have to have you.
1. Create a case study of work you did for another client. Case studies show a challenge your client was having, the solution you provided, and the results. This showcases your successes in a measurable way. When you are starting out, you might even consider asking for this in return for writing copy.
2. Send testimonials. Include testimonials with everything you send. You can put some below your email signature. Create a page of testimonials to include with items you mail. Or, even create videos and other testimonial pieces.
3. Send an article related to your prospect’s business that you wrote showing expertise. If you have an article published that relates to the industry your prospect works in or shows your knowledge of the subject, send it to your prospect.
4. Send a “shock and awe” package. Dan Kennedy introduced me to this idea. It’s a great way to make a big impression on your prospect, especially when you are selling a high-dollar product or service. The package, designed to overwhelm the recipient, is stuffed full of a variety of materials and convincing information and delivered to her unexpectedly.
Typically, the package arrives in a large box by courier or some other impressive delivery service.
Here are some of the items you might want to include:
- Folders or binders with testimonials and case studies about you
- A sales letter
- DVDs of yourself giving presentations
- A collection of articles you’ve written or that have been written about you
- A book you’ve written … or, if you don’t have your own book yet, Dan suggests you consider including a book on copywriting that you recommend the client read to get a better understanding of the subject
- CDs of audio recordings of interviews with you
5. Send a CD or DVD of a speech you gave on a topic related to his business. If you’ve given a speech on a topic related to your prospect’s business, send a CD or DVD of it to him. If you’re just starting out, you might think about joining a Toastmaster’s Club and practice giving speeches on topics related to your niche. Then, ask someone at Toastmaster’s to video you at one of the events so you’ll have that available when you are ready to start contacting clients.
What if you are new and don’t have any of this stuff?
Even if you’ve never been hired by a client to write copy, you can still use these methods to win a client. How? By using your experience from your pre-writing career.
For example, when I was starting out, I asked clients and colleagues from my past jobs to give me testimonials about my character and work ethic. I collected a dozen or so testimonials this way to use on my website and in my promotional materials.
I also listed companies (and the industries they were in) I had experience working with on a page titled, “Clients & Experience — a partial list.” As I gained more clients, my new clients were added to the list and past experience was removed.
You can also create a package that is set up like a FAQ section. In my packet, I start out listing typical questions a client might ask along with my answers. Some of the questions you might include are:
- What are your qualifications as a copywriter?
- Do you have a direct response and copywriting background?
- Do you have experience working in my field?
- What kinds of projects do you handle?
- What do you charge?
- What do your clients say about you?
Get creative. If you don’t have any articles to share, perhaps you can create articles the company you are targeting could use.
Plan ahead and get involved with organizations where you can speak about copywriting and have it recorded — like at your local Chamber of Commerce or other local business groups. For example, Meetup.com lists groups that meet in your area by subject or interest. I belong to an SEO Meetup group and an Internet Marketing Meetup.
When you pave the path with credibility and materials that indicate you are qualified, you will help prepare your client to hire you. Because, let’s face it, people want to be around successful people … and when you paint a picture of success for them, they will want to be around you and hire you for their project.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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