[Editor Note: You may not know Seth Czerepak, but he’s a marketer and copywriter worth following. Not because I say it, but because marketing legend Dan Kennedy says it. Dan saw fit to write the forward for Seth’s book…
In this column today, Seth discusses one of the most overlooked elements of closing high-paying Clients. And that’s to put yourself in a position to ask high value, high quality, credibility building questions. (In other words, show you know what the heck you’re talking about.)
Also, you can get a free chapter of Seth’s new book The Sexy Sales Letter at the end of this column: http://www.amazon.com/Sexy-Sales-Letter-Formula-Mechanics-ebook/dp/B00N4LD3A6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496645&sr=1-1&keywords=the+sexy+sales+letter
Let me know what you think, ok? Go ahead and share this with colleagues or let me know your thoughts in the comments below.]
When you’re a new copywriter, finding work and actually GETTING PAID for it is REALLY EXCITING. That is, for about the first 90 days…
You start to realize that $200 or $500 per project just doesn’t cut it when it takes several hours (or more) to write a good letter.
Once you add up the time it takes to find clients and to do research and once you subtract the money you’re forced to pay Uncle Scam, you’re left working for a telemarketer’s wage.
That’s when you start asking the question that keeps almost ALL new copywriters awake at night…
Where Are All the High Paying Clients?
If you’re reading this, you’ve hopefully already picked up Rick’s guide on how to find copywriting clients. If not, I’ll show you how to get your hands on that in just a moment.
But first, let me say that finding high paying clients isn’t that hard. The hard part is getting those clients to HIRE YOU and to PAY YOU what you’re really worth.
That’s what keeps most copywriters AND marketing consultants starving for REAL income.
But if you’ve ever been deep sea fishing, you know you can’t just hook a fish like a grouper or a swordfish, pull him into the boat and expect him to cut himself up into steaks and climb into your oven.
Copywriting clients are the same way. Finding them isn’t that hard. Getting them to “bite,” is a bit of a challenge, but with a little practice, you can usually get 10% to 30% of your contacts to agree to a phone or Skype meeting.
But if you want to get them EXCITED about reaching into their pocket, pulling out their credit card or their checkbook and paying you $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000 for your next copywriting job, you need to blow them away in the first 20 minutes of your meeting.
THAT is what I’m going to show you in this blog, and you’ll be AMAZED at how easy this is….
I’m also going to give you a FREE (FREE as in, no opt in required) chapter from my new book “The Sexy Sales Letter Formula.” This book GIVES YOU the exact formula I’ve used to whip up amazing long form sales letters in just a few hours.
So you’re just moments away from knowing where to find the clients and how to blow them away with a great piece of sales copy. But first, let’s look at three ground rules for landing those “big fish” clients…
RULE #1: CLOSE THE MEETING FIRST
Most new copywriters fail to close clients because they go for the close a new client project by email. Just think about how many clients you’ve talked to over the past few months who seemed ready to go. But the moment you told them to send you the money so you could get started, they vanished like a stain of breath on a mirror.
This is like going to an online dating site, starting an IM or email conversation and asking for your “date” to come over to your house for a night in. A respectable “client,” just isn’t going to say yes…so you’re left dealing with the lower end of the food chain.
Stop doing that. And stop giving out information about quotes, timelines and rates. Instead, make it your FIRST PRIORITY to get your prospect either on the phone or, if your client is local, to get in front of them for an in-person meeting.
If they won’t do this, I’ll bet you my left kidney that they aren’t ready to pay you for a project either. So you’ll screen out the tire kickers right away.
Most important, the moment you start going for the meeting FIRST, you’ll start closing twice as many sales AND your client quality will go up dramatically.
Of course, the fear, for most newbies, is that they’ll be “found out.” I get that. Hell, that fear paralyzes most sales people, so you’re not alone.
But that’s exactly why YOU should go for a meeting. You’ll set yourself ABOVE all the consultants and copywriters who are afraid to talk to the client in a “real time” setting.
You’ll also have the chance to demonstrate some real SEASONED expertise, by doing something which most sales people fail miserably to do…
RULE #2: BUILD CREDIBILITY WITH QUESTIONS
When I met Zig Ziglar (probably the most well-respected trainer in history), back in 2007, and I asked him the secret to becoming a world-class sales person, he said:
“Son, you just did it. You asked me a question.”
He followed this statement by telling me that good questions are the sign of a real expert. Amateurs, on the other hand, think that they have to sell themselves by going on and on about what they’re going to do for the customer. This puts them immediately into a position of perceived weakness.
You’ve probably even heard that “The more you tell, the more you sell.” That’s true when you’re writing a one-way communication like a sales letter. But when you’re meeting with someone on the phone or in person, questions become the trump card for building credibility.
Just think about the last time you went to the doctor with a problem. They probably asked a lot of questions and gathered a lot of information before making a diagnosis. Questions are peculiar in that they demand answers. They also demonstrate interest and give a person a chance to talk about themselves.
If you do this right, the deal with be 90% closed by the time you’ve asked the fourth question. This is also a HUGE relief once you accept it.
It frees you from the pressure to perform and it puts you, instead, into a position of ultimate power and authority. I’ll show you how in a moment. You’ll literally feel the raw confidence oozing out of your pores the moment you start using this for yourself.
I know, it sounds crazy, but believe me, MOST copywriters and consultants simply don’t do this. They’re too busy trying to “close…” which leads us to…
RULE #3: DON’T CLOSE THE PROJECT, OPEN THE CLIENT
By using questions, you turn the meeting into an INTERVIEW instead of a production where you have to perform and impress. This is because, instead of BEING interviewed and scrutinized by the client, you’re interviewing them.
This creates the impression that YOU are qualifying them. Which, if you’re doing things right, you should be. Questions also put your client in a very receptive state. Many times, the client will be ready to get started without you having to “pitch” anything.
Hell, I can’t tell you how many new clients have said that they hired me because I was the “first person who had asked them questions.” Most of them time, the only questions I get are questions about how to get started.
But perhaps most important, by asking these ten questions, you’ll NEVER have to worry about “saying the wrong thing” during a client meeting. You’ll never have to worry about being asked a question which you can’t answer. You’ll also intuitively know whether you really want to take the project on.
And finally, you’ll be shocked at how many clients will need to “think about it,” but call you weeks or months later, just because you left the most positive impression in their mind. I’ve had a few meetings which ended in the client choosing another writer, only to come back to me after that writer just couldn’t cut the mustard.
Why is this? According to the clients, it’s because I asked them the questions which the other writer didn’t even think to ask.
That said, here’s the EXACT formula I use to close half of my meetings with brand new copywriting and consulting clients. I’ll lay out these 10 questions one at a time, along with some explanations which will help you “coach” the client through the responses…
10 Discovery Questions for Closing New
Copywriting or Consulting Clients
QUESTION #1 – DEFINE THE PROBLEM:
“What’s the single most important problem
which your product/service solves?”
This should be the problem which your client’s CUSTOMERS are most aware of and most concerned about.
Most of your clients will respond by talking about what THEY know the problem to be. But you have to START by connecting with the problem which the CUSTOMER is most aware of and most concerned about. Many times, this problem is merely a symptom of the real problem.
But if you can describe the perceived problem to the reader so clearly and so vividly that they feel like you understand them, like you’re reading their mind, you’ll establish instant trust and credibility.
QUESTION #2 – DEFINE THE PROMISE:
“What’s the single most important PROMISE
which your product/service will deliver?”
Again, this should be the promise/benefit which your client’s CUSTOMERS want the most and think about achieving the most.
This can be worth a fortune when it comes to creating your marketing messages. I’ve seen products that flopped turned into super successful campaigns, simply by changing the core promise of the product. In some cases, the new benefit was a mere side benefit in the beginning.
A great example is the George foreman grill. It started as a Taco maker. But no one wanted it. They could have left it there, but instead, they repositioned it a tool for losing weight, and it sold like crazy. Again, same product, different benefit.
Bottom line, regardless of why the product owner created the product, the only benefit that matters is the benefit which the customer is willing to pay for.
QUESTION #3 – DEFINE THE HASSLE:
“What hassle does the product/service help the customer avoid?”
This “hassle” will become your “Without____” statement, which you’ll use in your headline or one of your sub headlines.
It should be something which your customer is afraid they might have to go through in order to solve the problem or achieve the benefit.
Again, it should be a hassle which your CUSTOMER is most aware of and most wants to avoid. Here are some examples, pay attention to the phrases AFTER the word “without…”
“Lose 10 lbs of Belly Fat WITHOUT Boring Cardio Sessions”
“Double Your Conversions WITHOUT Hiring a Copywriter.”
“Cure Your Acne WITHOUT Drugs or Medications.”
BTW, if the hassle ends up being something which your client’s competitor requires the customer to go through, all the better.
QUESTION #4 – DEFINE THE FEAR BARRIER:
“What does your reader secretly fear will stop them from
solving the problem or achieving the promise?”
Many times, this fear barrier irrational, so you’ll often have to do some digging to discover it. Of course, sometimes it’s valid, but it should ALWAYS be the secret fear which your CUSTOMER is worried about.
This becomes your “Even if ____” statement in your headline, your guarantee or one of your sub headlines.
Here are some examples, pay attention to the phrases after the words “even if…”
“This System Will Double OR Triple Your Profits, Even if You’ve Been
Struggling to Grow Your Business for Years.”
“This Cutting Edge Workout System Will Melt Pounds of Belly Fat in Just Weeks, Even if You Have a Slow Metabolism and Have Been Stuck at the Same Weight for Years”
This is REALLY effective for crafting headlines and guarantees. Speaking of…
QUESTION #5 – DEFINE THE GUARANTEE:
“What are you offering to do for the customer if the product or service doesn’t
fulfill the promise or solve the problem by the promised deadline?”
This should be something which is ballsy enough to make the customer think:
“Wow, this company couldn’t possible stay in business if they had to do this for everybody.”
Many times, this will be your opportunity to demonstrate some creative expertise. Most clients have never thought beyond the “100% money back…” angle, which, by itself, is lame and overused.
QUESTION #6 – DEFINE THE PROMISE DELIVERY TIME AND/OR THE SMALL ACTION REQUIRED:
“How long, on average does it take your product
or service to produce the desired result?”
OR, if a timeline doesn’t make sense for the type of product or service…
“What’s one simple action required of your customer in order for the product or service to work?”
The time period which is required for the promise to be achieved or the problem to be solved should be something which your client is willing to attach their guarantee to. For example, here’s a delivery time (along with a ballsy guarantee)…
“Lose 30 Pounds in the Next 30 Days or I’ll Give You a 200% Refund.”
Or, here’s a different type of delivery time, where the result is accomplished within done in minutes/hours per day/week etc…
The simple action, on the other hand, should be something which makes your product or service sound more appealing than the alternative. Here are two examples using a small action instead of a delivery time…
“3 Simple Habits that Will Cure Your Acne for Good.”
“Lose a Pound a Week by Working Out Just 15 Minutes a Day.”
Notice that in both these cases ^, I disguised the exact actions required.
QUESTION #7 – DEFINE THE MOST CREDIBLE ENDORSEMENT:
“What’s the most credible expert endorsement or
customer testimonial you have for their product?”
I’m sure this one is self-explanatory.
QUESTION #8 – DEFINE THE HIDDEN THREAT:
“What’s the REAL cause of the prospect’s problem OR the thing
which is REALLY blocking them from achieving the promise?”
This “Hidden Threat” should be something which your client’s customer isn’t aware of, BUT you should be able to prove it as the CAUSE of the problem you uncovered in question #1.
For best results, it should challenge their current assumptions about how to solve the problem or achieve the promise.
For example, let’s assume your client’s customer wants passive income and that we’re showing them how their current marketing strategy is the biggest obstacle to achieving that. Their marketing strategy then becomes the hidden threat….
“Is Your Marketing Strategy BLOCKING YOU from Earning Passive Income?”
This is a bit more complicated and only needed for “Stage #1” sales letters, which I talk about in “The 24 Hour Marketing Miracle,” and “The Sexy Sales Letter Formula.” I also cover this in detail in the modules for The Value Mechanics Selling System.
My advice, you might want to hold this question, and the next two, until AFTER the first client meeting. I’ll leave that up to you, but in most cases, you’ll know, intuitively, whether the client is ready to close after question #7.
QUESTION #9 – DEFINE THE SECRET INSIGHT:
“What’s the REAL path to solving the prospect’s
problem OR achieving the promise?”
This is the same concept as the Hidden Threat. Only this time, it’s the path to the promise you dug up in question #2. The best way to do this is to present it as a piece of secret knowledge and something interesting or curious.
It should be the “secret sauce” which makes your client’s product the most relevant, superior and unique solution for either solving the problem or delivering the promise. I like to use Nick names to disguise the secret, for example…
“Give Me the Next 5 Minutes and I’ll PROVE How ‘Value Mechanics’ Will Double Your Sales and Profits.”
This is really effective for “Stage #2” sales letters, which I talk about in “The 24 Hour Marketing Miracle,” and “The Sexy Sales Letter Formula.” I also cover this in detail in the modules for The Value Mechanics Selling System.
QUESTION #10 – DEFINE THE REDEEMABLE “WEAKNESS”
“What’s something about your product or service which appears to be a weakness, until
the customer realizes that it’s really something which allows you to deliver a superior solution?”
This is SUPER powerful, once you get your client to jump on board. Asking this question will also give you an idea of whether the client’s ego is going to be a problem in creating a good message.
For example, let’s assume your client is running a catering business which specializes in SUPER high quality presentations. I’m talking food that looks so good, you want to take a picture of it and hang it on your wall.
Since it takes extra time to prepare this kind of spread, speed becomes your redeemable weakness. This is REALLY effective for “Stage #3” sales letter openings when your client is in their comparison shopping mode.
“We’re not the fastest catering company in town. That’s because we take extra time and care to make sure that your guests are blown away by how beautiful your table settings are. Our platters of fresh sushi, crisp organic salads and juicy, grass fed meats are look so beautiful, your guests will want to take pictures of them before digging in!”
Notice that what appeared to be a weakness became a means of superior positioning. Of course, the positioning has to mean something to the reader. For example, in the case above, I’d make damn sure the person reading the copy was willing to pay MORE MONEY to hire a catering company who could deliver a visually appealing spread.
This question alone ^ has landed me a lot of work in creating USP messages, but that’s another story.
For now, remember these three rules…
RULE #1: CLOSE THE MEETING FIRST
RULE #2: BUILD CREDIBILITY WITH QUESTIONS
RULE #3: DON’T CLOSE THE PROJECT, OPEN THE CLIENT
Asking these 10 questions will make you look like an expert, even if you aren’t one yet. Better yet, after about a dozen of these meetings, you’ll start to BECOME an expert. You’ll see what I mean when you start using these questions.
Now, here are a few resources, and a free gift to get you started…
Part #1: How to Crush Writer’s Block
- The biggest, most crippling myth about writing, and how to be free of it forever.
- How to wipe out writer’s block using the “not so secret” method of a dead drunk writer.
- How to maintain a total Zen state during EVERY stage of the writing process.
Part #2: How to Bring Order to Chaos
- How to ALWAYS know how long your sales letter should be.
- How to organize your initial “scribblings” into a well-structured sales letter.
- How to dig the gems out of your letter and find an irresistible “hook”
Part #3: Hooks, Headlines & Openers
- How to get your reader to make a “semi-buying decision” in the first 7 seconds.
- How to melt sales resistance using a cool, “under the radar” opening technique.
- How to command instant respect and credibility, even if your reader has NEVER heard of you.
Part #4: Make them Drool Like Pavlov’s Dog
- The most powerful selling secret ever revealed, and how to use it to spin words into gold.
- How to use hypnotic writing without sounding like a “creepy hackjob.”
- How to bypass your reader’s analytical mind and make them desperately WANT to buy.
Part #5: How to Melt Buying Resistance
- The ONLY objection you’ll ever need to overcome, and how to squash it like a grape.
- How to wipe out 90% (or more) of your competitors by “narrowing your category.”
- How to bond with your prospect and make them to buy with a smile on their face.
Part #6: How to Close With Confidence How to arouse internal pressure instead of relying on desperate scarcity tactics.
- How make your reader feel like they’re sitting across from you at a coffee shop instead of reading a sales page.
- The amazing psychological profiling formula for creating an airtight guarantee message and call to action.
- CLICK HERE to Download your FREE Chapter (ONLY Available on This Site)
#2: FREE 14-Day Trial of “The Value Mechanics Mastery Club”
There’s an invitation in the back of the full version of “The Sexy Sales Letter Formula” about how to get your free 14 day trial. You’ll also find details about everything included in the full monthly membership.