Why is it that we’re full of ideas on promoting our clients’ businesses but shrivel up and look for somewhere to hide when it comes to selling our own?
Many of us chose this road because we’re happier tapping keyboards than greasing palms. But if you want to thrive, and not just survive, an ongoing sales strategy is vital.
1) 80% of sales come after the fifth contact
If you take anything away from this list, it is this: According to the National Sales Executive Association (if it exists), 80% of your sales come from after the fifth contact. What’s more surprising (or not) is that nearly half of sales people never follow up the first contact, even though it contributes just 2% of sales.
Whether these stats are valid or not, the underlying rule rings true. Typically, nobody is ready to buy the first time they hear about your company. You have to build their trust first. So consider how you can plan a sequence of messages to your target list that builds rapport with each one e.g. email, post card, letter, lumpy mailer, telephone call.
2) Find their motivator
As in the wacky world of copywriting, selling successfuly doesnt come from lies, clever wordplay or convincing someone to buy something they dont need. It comes from finding out what their motivations are and the problem they want solved. You then simply present yourself as the shining beacon they’re desperate for.
For copywriting prospects, this includes getting more leads, improving their website’s conversion rate, getting more sales from their existing customer base or empowering their sales team with a shiny new brochure.
3) Network in your local area
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, the best places to look for clients isnt on freelance bidding websites. Not unless you’re just starting out and want to build your portfolio. If you’re a bit more seasoned, you’ll find the pay derisory and you can waste hours diligently submitting proposals into a black hole.
Instead, check out Eventbite for networking events where you can connect with the local business community. I know it’s maybe not when you signed up for when you last hung up your suit, but there’s an abundance of local business owners eager to work with a copywriter they can meet in person and pay a fair rate.
4) Approach local PR, marketing and web design agencies
These can be a goldmine. Personally, I havent had much success when phoning and getting past the gatekeeper on the front desk. But one tactic is to track down the names of account managers or creative directors on LinkedIn and then penning them a spritely letter. Instead of blandly boasting about what a wonderful writer you are, tell them about a gap in their services (e.g. inbound marketing, SEO the right way, video production) and why you’re the perfect plug.
5) Offer a Demo
This suggestion is contentious. But some freelancers are finding success from a novel new approach to getting paid, adapted from a restaurant trend. Instead of quoting a prie, they’re offering their services for free on the proviso that the client then pays what they think the work is worth at the end.
Obviously, you’re going to need to pick carefully who you offer this to. It’s best to avoid low ballers, soloproneurs and startups that dont have the requisite cash and are after a freebie. But if work is slow, and you see the opportunity to quickly turnaround some work to show off your skills, then this could be an enticing offer to get prospects saying yes.
6) Give a Talk
Let’s get this straight, public speaking is terrifying. Once, on a networking drive, I showed up for ‘Toastmasters‘ (the clue is in the name) without having done my background checks and then having to give an impromptu speech on an accomplishment in my life. Time slowed, the room started to warp and people’s eyes bored into my very soul. But then I sat down and realised it hadn’t been that bad.
Giving a free talk to a local business group on how how to improve conversions, get more leads and make more money with better copywriting is one of the best ways to show off your knowledge and become the ‘go to’ copy person in town.
So now you have no excuse to sit watching daytime TV and blame it on the ‘summer lull’. Start putting your sales strategy together and hunting down those clients. Remember that the best copywriters are also the best marketers and whatever you spend on postcards, letters and phone calls is an investment in your copywriting business’ success.