There are two fundamentally different paths to success in a service business…
The first is to find and close all the hot leads…
The second is to sell to everyone else…
Closing hot leads: The lazy copywriter’s way to riches?
Again, copywriters make great punching bags. And, most of my personal stories are from the copywriting industry. If you sell other services, look for the parallels, don’t just say, “but I’m a blah blah blah…”
When it comes to the copywriting industry, there are a tiny number of businesses that recognize what a copywriter is. There’s an even smaller number that really value copy. And among those, there’s a yet-tinier fraction that really, really value direct response copy like I write.
When I went full-on into my freelance copywriting career in 2010, that’s who I went for. I hung out my shingle as a direct response copywriter, writing long-form, “beat the control” copy, primarily for wealth-oriented publishers.
Those were hot leads.
They knew who people like me were, and valued people like me.
The good news is, this made it easy to find them. All I had to do was to go to AWAI and similar events, where all the direct response people came together. Simply because we were both in this same industry, it cut about 80% of the crap out of conversations with potential clients. I didn’t have to explain my methods OR my madness. I simply said, “I’m a copywriter,” and they knew. Then, I had to prove I knew what I was talking about, but that mostly just involved showing them copy I’d written before.
If you want to be totally lazy about marketing yourself as a copywriter, this is a GREAT approach.
HERE’S THE DANGER:
This is probably the “default” for most people who buy into copywriting. Other skill sets and niches have their defaults, too. That means that these people are inundated with others just like you. Yes, they can offer the biggest opportunity, in terms of fees and royalties. But you also have a huge number of writers wrestling each other for all the good opportunities. They expect more.
Go for this market, and you can get away with being lazy when it comes to your self-marketing. But you better be ready to deliver A-level copy if you really want to succeed. What laziness you get away with in finding clients must be made up by delivering the uppermost echelon in service delivery.
If you’re in any business, offering any service, and you simply want to serve the BEST clients in the space, you’ll discover they’re easy to find. Hot leads are very visible. But you better be ready to battle some fierce competition to work your way into their inner circle.
Selling everyone else: The blue sky opportunity…
If the A-list marketers that I’ve sold my direct response copywriting services to since 2010 (and part-time since 2007) are the “hot leads”…
Everybody else is either warm or cold.
Creating examples based on my skillset…
Someone who uses direct response marketing, but doesn’t regularly go to the same conferences I do or regularly hire freelance copywriters is probably a warm lead. They may recognize the power of the approach, but because they don’t regularly hire people like me, they’re not hot.
A business that’s succeeding in spite of their marketing and has no freaking clue what direct response or copywriting is — but that I see the opportunity in for one reason or another? Definitely a cold lead.
And it’s a spectrum. In fact, this is basically just another way to look at Eugene Schwartz’s market awareness spectrum…
If someone is largely UNAWARE, they’re ICE COLD.
If they’re PROBLEM AWARE, they’re COLD.
If they’re SOLUTION AWARE, they’re WARM.
If they’re OFFER AWARE, they’re HOT.
And if they’re MOST AWARE, they’re probably a current or past client.
Why would you choose to chase leads that are cooler, and less aware? Well, because of the danger mentioned above. Hot leads are fewer and further between. And they have a line around the block of service providers too lazy to do the work of real customer acquisition, who are all competing for the same gigs.
By moving your marketing towards warm and even cold leads — going for prospects who are less aware — you suddenly open up a much bigger market.
Drawing the parallel — the reason the top direct response copywriters earn what they do is because they can write a direct response sales message that goes to cold and ice cold audiences, and heats them up to make the purchase in a single sitting. These are the promotions that generate 100,000s of new customers at a time, and make the copywriter a small fortune. Because, for example, it’s much harder to make something work to the millions via mass media advertising than it is to make something work to lists of financial newsletter subscribers.
Not only is this market bigger, it also has a unique benefit: B-list services delivered here are valued like A-list services in more competitive markets.
I’m NOT arguing that you should deliver inferior service. Quite the contrary. If you’re in a market where you can deliver A-list services to clients who are used to the C-list, that’s ideal. What I’m arguing is that it simply takes less to impress clients in colder markets.
And this isn’t just about being lazy on the service side. Rather, a HUGE benefit of this is being able to simplify and productize your services, and use others to deliver the service following your proven process. If you want to grow and scale a service business beyond just you, this isn’t just a benefit, it’s pretty much required.
Plus, if you’re just getting started, you’ll enjoy the fact that impressing these clients is much easier as well.
In short: If you put the effort into creating better marketing on the front end, designed to attract and convert cold leads, you’re suddenly playing in a different market where you can get and serve a much larger number of clients.
… AND… Even if you’re occasionally going to a hot market with the kind of marketing designed to serve warm-to-cold markets… They’ll often zip right up to the front of the line, and appreciate you all the more because you’re the whole package.
But the big question is: what does that marketing look like?
The secret to selling to warm and cold markets: Indoctrination…
I mentioned that top copywriters get paid the big bucks by selling to cold audiences in one sitting.
While that’s still relevant on the internet — especially in the world of sub-$100 products — that’s largely a relic of the direct mail days, where you had to get ROI in one shot.
Today, and especially when selling high-end business services, there’s a different approach.
It aligns PERFECTLY with my Value-First Funnel Strategy.
It’s an indoctrination process.
The idea is that if they’re cold, you need to warm them up… If they’re unaware, you need to make them aware.
You must create a system for educating and motivating your prospects to want to do business with you.
You can’t expect them to simply meet you and hire you in one message. You have to get their attention, build interest, create desire for your offering, and then ask them to take action.
And you do that systematically, automatically, with an effective client-acquisition system.
That’s what I’m teaching, starting next week, in The Client-Getting Blueprint.
It’s the NEXT training for BTMSinsiders members. And it kicks off with a live, members-only webinar, next Thursday at 1 PM US Central time.
I’ll give an overview of the blueprint in the webinar. Then, I’ll go deep throughout the program, and let you look over my shoulder as I implement this to sell my own services to much colder audiences than I typically work with.
(Members can register from inside the course player.)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,