Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post #18: 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career

PUBLISHER NOTE: If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know about the upcoming freelance writing seminar in October. Details.

Many have inquired about what will be discussed at the seminar. So, in order to answer your questions and to get you prepared for what to expect, I've started a series of posts entitled "40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career."

To start at the beginning, click here. And, welcome to the blog. Now, on to today’s post . . .

How to approach a new business owner & become their freelance writer of choice – for life!

One problem common to almost every business owner is acquiring new clients. While retaining old clients is essential to success, you must have a steady stream of new ones to remain viable.

One of the best– and cheapest -- ways for freelance writers to do this is to contact new business owners. As I discussed in yesterday’s post, because they are just starting out, they need everything – brochures, web copy, sales letters, etc.

“But,” you may be thinking, “how do I go about this?” Following is a plan of attack to getting those new business owners as clients.

Want to learn exactly what to do to earn $100, $150, $200/day or more as a freelance writer, editor and/or copy editor? Inkwell Editorial's upcoming Freelance Writing Seminar will tell you how. Details. It's a career anyone who can read and write can start  with the right information.

Freelance Writers: A specific plan for getting new business owners as clients

Implement what I’ve labeled a call-mail-call program.

1. Placing the call: If you’ve done as I advised in the last post and purchased the new business registration list from your local business license office, then you should have the name of the business, the name of the proprietor and the type of business right in front of you.

Tip! Don’t make the first contact a sales call. Your first call should go something like, “May I speak with [name of proprietor] please?”Most of the time, you will have reached the owner of the business owner. At this point, they’ll say something like, “This is she. Who’s calling?”

You’ll respond, “My name is Yuwanda Black and I’m a freelance writer who specizliazes in helping new business owners acquire new clients. I’m calling you today for two reasons.

One, to congratulate you on opening your [type of business – eg, cleaning service, auto repair shop, real estate agency, etc.]. And two, to send you some information on increasing sales. Before sending out the information, would you mind verifying your address for me? Is [repeat address as listed on the list you purchased] correct?”

At this point, they’ll usually say yes or no. After getting the correct address, you’ll then follow up with, “Would you prefer to receive this information via email?”

If they say yes, get their email address and get it out to them pronto!

To end the call, congratulate them again on the opening of their business, and let them know you’ll follow up in 5-7 business days to see if they have any questions about the information you sent.

Eg, “Thank you for verifying your information. I’ll get that in the mail right away, and will follow up in 5-7 business days to see if you have any questions. Congratulations again on the opening of your business. I look forward to speaking with you again soon.”

2. Mail: This is the easy part. Mail out the promised information – the same day you make the call.It can be as simple as a postcard with your website information, which is where they’ll get detailed information about your services.

To entice them to log on, direct them to a page especially targeted towards new business owners. Eg, I specialize in helping new business owners:

**Increase Sales by ??%: This works because any increase in sales is good because they probably don’t have many (or any) when they first start;

**Start off Right by Getting Customers for Life: By sending out a monthly newsletter, a joke of the day, a business tip of th4e week, etc., new business owners start to build customer loyalty (eg, customers for life); and

**Get Fresh Leads Month after Month after Month: This can be as simple as starting a monthly drip campaign via postcard mailings. Wonder what I mean by drip campaign? Its effectiveness is explained in Post #7.


3. Follow-up phone call: Call on the fifth day to see if they received your mailer. If they say they didn’t receive it, send it again and follow up in 3-4 days this time.

If they did receive it, ask if they have any questions. No matter what they answer to this, always end with, “There are a number of ways I can help you start to acquire clients. They’re all cost-effective and relatively easy to start.”

When is the best time to discuss how you’d like to get started?

Notice how I don’t ask any yes or no questions – other than did you receive the info I sent you.

It’s an old sales trick, but never give a prospect the chance to say no, because plenty of them will take it. While this may seem a little pushy, it’s always awkward acquiring clients.

To push through whatever trepidation you have in this area, think about how much this client could mean to your business over the course of 2, 3 or 5 years.

Two or three awkward phone calls is worth it to acquire what could be worth tens of thousands of dollars worth of business over the years.

See how relatively easy it is to market to new business owners? You have more to offer them, simply because they need more of what you have to offer and probably have no providers in place to handle their needs.

Often, being first also means being last. As in, being the first freelance writer they deal with means you may also be the last one they deal with (ie, they become your client for life).

Now, get to your county’s business licensing office and purchase that list!

As always, editorially yours,
Yuwanda (who is this person?)
What’s in Inkwell Editorial’s Newsletter?

Missed the last issue of Inkwell's freelance writing newsletter? The 9/12 issue featured an interview with freelance writer, Gordon Graham, aka, that white paper guy.

Gordon charges $90/hour just to edit a white paper and a minimum of $4,000 to produce one from scratch. Wanna know what he had to say? Sign up to receive your copy to read his informative, in-depth interview. Next issue will be published on 9/26.

Gain clients, web traffic and brand awareness. How? Let us interview you for our popular newsletter? Full details. Read the first issue here.
Copyright Notice: May be reprinted with the following, in full: Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to InkwellEditorial.com.
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