How about a little fresh (and counter-intuitive) advice for those of you who are fairly new — aren’t yet getting consistent clients — and who want to be fully booked?
First, it’s Mailbox Monday. Which means it’s time to answer YOUR questions. About marketing, selling, business, life — story selling — whatever!
To have your question answered in an upcoming issue, shoot it to me at [email protected].
Second, an important point about today’s question.
This question comes from a copywriter. I’m going to speak specifically to him as a copywriter.
… And yet, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a copywriter or something else. If you need to bring in consistent sales, what I’m going to write about has the potential to completely transform the way you sell, and how many people want to pay you for whatever it is you offer.
It’s especially applicable to any professional service business… And yet, it can be made to apply even if you’re selling products. One of the biggest opportunities to create breakthroughs in your business (no matter what industry, market, or product/service type) is to take something that works really well in another industry or business, and adapt it to work for you.
When your competitors aren’t doing it, sometimes it means it doesn’t work in your market. But often, it just means that nobody’s taken the risk of trying it yet… And because of that your market has never seen it… And when they see it they respond to it in spades and suddenly you’re outperforming everyone and they don’t know what hit ‘em!
Wow — we haven’t even gotten to the question, and I’ve already delivered one of the biggest breakthroughs you could possibly ever learn in marketing and business!
Here’s today’s question…
The single biggest marketing concern I have right now is one I’m sure you’ve heard many times before … How to get the right marketing mix in place to get a few good, well paying clients when I’m just starting out and don’t have a ton of experience.
The good news Richard is once you solve this and put it behind you, you’ll never have to face this same problem again!
You may eventually reach a point where you’re no longer starting out and you do have a ton of experience, and you need to juice up your pipeline again…
But that’ll be even easier because you will have solved one of the hardest problems out there for anyone starting a new business — how to get your first few customers in through the door.
First, let’s play Mythbuster for a minute…
Mythbuster: Nobody wants to hire a novice…
Sit right over here on the couch. That’s right. Yes, you can lay down. Now close your eyes. Focus, and relax, as you listen to the sound of my voice.
We’re going to take a journey down, down, down, into your subconscious.
I want you to meet your biggest skeptic. And you may or may not know it, Richard. But *he’s been living inside your brain.
(Note to my female readers: I’m using “he” for Richard throughout — but this definitely still applies. I don’t care what gender you want your subconscious to be — but for Richard, we’re going with it.)
And while he lives there, he gets to watch all your conscious thoughts float by.
You start to think, “I need some clients.”
And he shouts out, “Nobody would ever hire you!”
You don’t hear it, consciously. But it registers somewhere as a pang of doubt.
“Who might work with me?” You wonder…
“Nobody! Why? Because you’re a nobody!” His reply hits you without you even really being aware. But suddenly, you’re feeling bad…
“Why the heck would they hire me?” Now you’re asking with doubt — almost asking your subconscious to tell you why they would NOT hire you…
He’s happy to oblige… “They’re not going to hire you because you’ve never done this before. You probably can’t do it. Even if you do a half-good job, it’ll be a fluke, because you have no clue what you’re doing. You don’t have any experience, and nobody hires anyone without any experience!”
Your subconscious is an asshole.
Sorry if that offends your finer sensibilities. But until you teach your subconscious to behave better, it’s like a puppy that hasn’t been housebroken yet. It pees and poops all over the house. Except in this case, the house is you’re trying to keep clean is your conscious thoughts. You MUST potty-train your subconscious mind!
Here’s the thing.
There are businesses and individuals who hire novices every day. Every freaking day.
Every copywriter who ever wrote for money was once a novice who’d never been paid a penny to write in their life. We all were born naked. And we all started our careers with zero real, in-the-trenches experience.
The good news? Once you get past that FIRST experience, you will have experience. More will be better, but once you get the first one, you’re now “experienced.”
Not only that, you will have moved from “not started” to “started.”
Then, you can tell your subconscious to shove it! The trickiest bit is to get over that first huge hump of going from zero to one. Once you’ve done that, it’s only a matter of adding on.
But this goes all the way down to belief.
It’s time to move on, but if you need more motivation, read this, and commit to force yourself to “Be scared shitless” by the end of the week!
New (and contrarian) advice that could totally change your life…
I only kind of did this when I went out on my own as a freelancer. I wish I’d have been more conscious of it then.
But the more I’ve applied it, the more powerful it’s been.
Start a “wait list” for your services.
You’re a professional. You’re in demand. People want to hire you.
And when those things are true, people can’t just call you up and hire you to start working today.
Back on the couch, but let’s take a look at what your prospect’s subconscious is thinking if they get a whiff of the possibility you may be available TODAY, right now…
You tell your prospect, “I can get started immediately.”
Before she even has a chance to respond, her subconscious shouts at her, “Immediately? Why’s this Richard guy not busy? What’s wrong with him? Doesn’t he have work to do right now? If not, then maybe he’s putting off someone else? Do you want to be the client who hires the guy who 1) nobody else wants to hire so his schedule is open, or 2) is willing to put you off for the next client who shows up with money?”
She may, logically, like that you’re ready to get started immediately.
Most of our logic sits in our conscious mind. That’s why we think we’re logical creatures.
But the subconscious holds a ton of sway over our emotions. So even as she’s logically thinking that you’d be good because you’re available immediately, her subconscious shouting is poking at her negative emotions, until the emotions start to cloud the logic out.
And she doesn’t quite know why — but suddenly she feels WAY less confident in you, and way less interested in working with you.
And she’ll either tell you that she’s changed directions, that she found another fit, or — the worst — she’ll just stop responding to your follow-ups.
We are ALL this way. ESPECIALLY those of us who believe we’re exceptionally logical and that emotion doesn’t dictate our actions.
The wait list, on the other hand, reverses all the subconscious shouting. Instead, it’s screaming, “WHAT?! This Richard guy isn’t just going to drop everything for me? That must mean he’s good! He’s in demand! He’s professional! We want to work with THAT GUY because we NEED some professionalism around here! Heck, he’ll probably make you look good!”
And so, even though they don’t want to wait, they’ll go for it. (And probably be willing to pay much higher fees, to boot!)
And so, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NOBODY IN FRONT OF THEM IN LINE, start telling your prospective clients that you’ll have to figure out where to fit them into the schedule. Or that if they want to hire you, you can put them on your wait list.
At the very least, tell them you can start in 2 weeks, as long as they get a 50% deposit on your fee to you within that time.
“But Roy, you’re saying, I don’t have prospective clients!”
I’m glad you brought that up…
You still need to do the dirty work…
We worked backwards here. We set you up for success, before we got into the tactical. Because if you don’t come at it with the right mindset and the right mechanism in place to receive these prospects, you’re not going to do as well with them when you get them.
So what do you do to get prospects interested in you in the first place?
I don’t feel like typing this again (how’s that for radical transparency?!), so I’m going to go ahead and copy and paste an excerpt from my article, 3 Things New Copywriters MUST DO To Start Getting Paid…
Use David Ogilvy’s “Ideal Client List” strategy…
Don’t remember where I heard of this first, but I know David Ogilvy used it to build his advertising agency, eventually getting 45 of his 50 ideal clients to retain him. I also know Chet Holmes taught it as his “Dream 100” client strategy. I’ve used it before, to great success.
Sit down and decide your criteria for a perfect client. (That link is my list, for copywriting work.)
Also, decide what niche you’re going to be working in — what kind of businesses you’d like to work for.
Then, get to researching.
Come up with a list of at least 10 but no more than 100 “ideal” clients for you. Even better if you can come up with a name for their Director of Marketing, or some other leading title within their marketing department. Better still if you can come up with contact info.
Really spend your time getting this list right.
The first time I sat down to do this for my own business, it was non-Agora direct response financial/investment publishers, who I could find to be using long-form sales letters or other copy on their websites. (Non-Agora because most of the financial publishers under the Agora parent company hire in-house copywriter teams, and by this time I was 100% freelance.)
Then, make it a point to start reaching out to these businesses, in a very friendly way.
Play the long game, knowing it can also yield short-term results.
Reach out to your ideal clients, and introduce yourself. Ask them about how they use copywriters, and if you can be of any assistance. If you have literally zero work history, you can send them an irresistible offer letter, though I would do it carefully, one at a time. (You don’t want to be known to all your ideal clients as the person who works for free.)
Then make it a point of staying in regular contact with these businesses, and the individuals in them who work with copywriters. Get to know them, and get to be known by them.
Be helpful, without expecting anything in return.
My friend Brian Kurtz calls this the “100-0” networking strategy. Give 100%, expect 0% in return. You’ll almost always get more than 0% in return — the key is to never expect it.
Over a long enough time, you’ll get 25%, 50%, 75%, 90% of these ideal clients. As long as you play the long game.
And in the short term, one or two will come through with a project for you.
Basically, the BEST marketing when you’re getting started is to pick the people who you think you’ll be a perfect fit for (that part is most important and shouldn’t be glossed over) and then go out and sell yourself.
It’s the “dirty work” of getting started, but if you’re unwilling to do it, maybe you should just listen to your subconscious and go get a real job. (Tongue planted firmly in cheek there — I’ve already told you what I think of that asshole!)
I’ve thoroughly over-delivered, once again.
I’ve had two people tell me in the last week or so — with totally straight faces — that I should be charging you for this. And they’re right.
Most so-called “gurus” don’t put half the value in a single $99/month newsletter as I put in this baby — and you’re getting it free, every day of the week.
That just means when I do have something to sell you soon, you should probably just buy it out out of pure guilt… 😉
(I did just make an announcement to that list — hope you didn’t miss it! And in the next couple days I plan to point folks to a HUGE free giveaway that’s totally relevant to the topic. But you might just miss out if you haven’t signed up yet.)
Alright, make it a great week.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,