If you often wonder why you don't get chosen for copy jobs, you need to read this

13 replies
Back when I first started taking copy clients and writing for others... I'd send out a proposal for a job... and then sit back and wait.... and wait.... and wait...

And if I didn't hear back from the prospect... I'd start second guessing myself.

Did I say something stupid? Is my price too low or too high?

I'd get all worked up wondering why they weren't responding back and hiring me.

It took some work over the years, but I soon was able to "train" myself to not care as much if I didn't get hired for a job.

These days, if I even send out a proposal for a job, once it's sent... it's out of my hands and out of my mind as to thinking about it again.

In other words, I no longer get worked up, or really think much about proposals at all.

Once I send it, that's it... I either hear back from the prospect or I don't.

Of course, it helps when you don't really need the jobs... that can take a lot of worry off your plate.

So, when I got this email from Jason Leister the other day...
it put into words exactly how I used to feel... and how I feel now.

Except Jason wrote it better than I could have... so if you find yourself
getting worked up after sending out a proposal... and you don't hear back from the prospect... this email from Jason will help you.

The Client Letter
June 25, 2013
The Northland
Sunny 64 Degrees

Over the weekend, I sent you an email asking two questions. The first question was about the biggest challenge you face in your business.

The second question was your best idea for WHY that challenge hasn't been solved yet.

I got a lot of honest and clear responses. Thank you!

One of the responses I got several times was the frustration about prospects not being willing to pay good money for good service.

One subscriber shared with me the name she's given to these types. She calls them "askholes." They simply ask you a bunch of questions and then leave without hiring you.

I have to tell you, that name made me chuckle and I plan on using it... a lot!

Basically, the situation comes down to people needing what you have, just not wanting to pay you for what you have.

So here's my take on a situation like that...

Most of the prospects that approach your business will not be right for you. That's just how it works.

If you try to make them right for you, or if you get frustrated because they're not right for you... well, approaching it like that isn't going to help you.

But if you go in expecting that the vast majority are not right for you, you can make your job about disqualifying them as quickly and kindly as possible.

While I STILL don't fully understand why, "disqualifying" someone often has the uncanny side effect of making them want what you have even more.

All we want with a prospect is a decision. It doesn't matter which one. Yes or no. The problems really begin when we start caring what the decision is.

This "shift" in perspective is similar to another I made not too long ago that has truly improved my life. I made the decision to see my work with clients simply for what it is and nothing more. No more stories, no more drama, just people who need things done working with people who can do those things.

Now when I come up upon an annoying client situation, I don't get all bent out of shape (angry) like I used to. It's a client, for goodness sake. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not my life unless I MAKE it my life.

The next time you speak with a prospect, why not try going in with the expectation that you will DISQUALIFY them? Really, look for reasons NOT to work with them.

Don't step on the emotional roller coaster where you "get your hopes up" and then find out they just wanted free advice. MOST people just want free advice.

You might just save yourself a ton of frustration viewing things that way. Plus, you might just end up getting more clients.

Jason Leister
Editor, The Client Letter
Art of Clients
#chosen #copy #jobs #read
  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin

    I agree - the beginning of wisdom is the attitude that whatever decision people make about hiring or not hiring you has more to do with them than with you. You have done your part, and now it's up to them.

    Marcia Yudkin
    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    In the over 10 years of writing for clients I know that it is far
    better NOT to get a client than to get a bad one. The stress
    caused by a bad client cannot be paid for with any copywriting
    fee. The doctor's bill will always be bigger than your fee.

    So it is always better to filter upfront than later on.

    -Ray Edwards
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Nice post. If someone isn't smart enough or doesn't have the money to hire a good copywriter, they're probably not someone you want to work with anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    As long as you're marketing yourself well, you shouldn't get too worked up about getting a specific gig.

    I've had plenty of experiences where everything is moving forward perfectly and I'm really excited about working on the project. Then the topic of money eventually arrives and it turns out their flipping nuts. In other words, they expect way too much for way too little.

    It happens.

    A lot.

    The key is making sure your prospecting is passive (or as close to it as possible,) so you continue getting inquires, while you're working on a big gig. That way, you don't fall into the trap of getting paid well for something, working on it for a month, then finding yourself broke (or close to it) and desperate for another gig.

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  • I've done some coaching with Jason in the past.

    He's a good guy.

    Invests a huge amount of time in lead generation.

    Some stuff I have found useful...

    1) Only working with people who use copy guys already. Too painful and useless trying to explain to someone why they should hire a copy guy.

    2) Getting clients with leverage.
    A lot of time people are reluctant to spend cause they can't see themselves making the money back.

    3) building a list...I started this year and it's already paying off.
    "Peter Brennan is the real deal, In the first 12 hours we did $80k...and over $125k in the first week...if you want to be successful online, outsource your copywriting to Peter"
    Adam Linkenauger

    For 12 ways to sell more stuff to more people today...go to...www.peterbrennan.net
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    • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
      Originally Posted by Quality Copywriter View Post

      I've done some coaching with Jason in the past.

      He's a good guy.

      Invests a huge amount of time in lead generation.

      Some stuff I have found useful...

      1) Only working with people who use copy guys already. Too painful and useless trying to explain to someone why they should hire a copy guy.

      2) Getting clients with leverage.
      A lot of time people are reluctant to spend cause they can't see themselves making the money back.

      3) building a list...I started this year and it's already paying off.
      Good points Peter! Yeah, I agree Jason is a good guy.

      If I remember right... he's giving away his "how to get clients" report on his site, I bought it YEARS ago and found it pretty useful.

      But yeah, Jason is someone I've followed since I got into the biz... I like how he focuses on the mindset of being a productive, happier copywriter.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    The same principles apply to writing content, etc for clients. I used to get upset when I quoted and people didn't even reply with a decision. Now I give them my quote and information and then I move onto the next one.
    Those who are wise enough to take advantage of my services are always happy. Those who don't...miss out and it's not my fault.

    There's a saying in sales... some will, some won't, so what!

    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Website / Blog for more info.

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    • Profile picture of the author QuoteUS
      Good advice. Selling services is like any sales. It can be a numbers game.

      When you're starting out, you tend to live or die with each prospect. As time goes on, you learn that the "no" answers were actually for the best. Also, they mostly are not personal. It's just not the right time/fit/etc.

      Build a pipeline so you don't hang on each reply.
      AuthorPop: This free WordPress plugin gets your guest bloggers to send you traffic!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jennie Heckel
    Hi All,

    When I get a client request for a quote from one of my websites, or a referral from a past client or even for a repeat project from a past client this is what I do.

    The 'sweet part' of this strategy is...

    This works very effectively to stop problems with clients who are just contacting me to 'pick my brain' and really have no intention of hiring me or any copywriter.

    They are only interested in asking a few questions FOR FREE (or get a quick review of their copy) and don't want to pay for the advice and expert knowledge.

    My Steps:

    1. BEFORE I even pick up the phone to chat with a client about their project, I send a quick email with a short note about my current booking schedule and attach my questionnaire.

    I always kindly request they fill out a questionnaire and I include that as an email attachment in the first contact email or skype. The questionnaire must be filled out and returned to me which has questions about their project, products, FE and BE offer, marketing efforts, market share, pricing, etc.

    2. This questionnaire must be received back prior to scheduling time for a phone consult.

    This is a super quick way to separate those that are good clients (ones I DO want to work with) from those who would just waste my time and are too lazy to fill out the questionnaire.

    3. If they fill out the questionnaire out and return it to me and quest a time for a phone consult then I will email them back with my current available schedule and a fixed appointment time.

    4. SPECIAL NOTE: I take time to review their responses from the questionnaire before I book a firm time for a phone consult.

    The reason why is there are some products I won't write copy for, so at that time, it is a simple email to say" Sorry, this is not a good fit for me" and then I can refer them to another copywriter I feel will be able to help them.

    5. My questionnaire is only 20 questions but it gets to the meat of the matter right away.

    So if a lot of the questions on the questionnaire are blank (no answers) this gives me a good handle on whether the client is market savvy or not and if I want to put the effort into working with them or not.

    6. The First Phone Consult is no more than 20 minutes long and is free.

    We go over the questionnaire answers I received and I print it out before hand so I can make notes as we discuss the project and it is at that time I give them a quote for the work.

    At that time I also review my current booking schedule to confirm a time I can do the work for them. Then we discuss the time for completion and any delays which may occur due to their being gone on vacation, out of office, etc. (Which is the last question on the questionnaire.)

    IMPORTANT: This is not a confirmed booking until I get the 50% deposit to start the work.

    7. Then when I receive the 50% deposit from the client I book the time to do the work.

    I send them a confirmation payment is received and an invoice for the rest of the payments.

    8. All products are to be uploaded to me at that time so I can review them. NDAs signed if requested and returned etc.

    9. Any additional phone/skype consults are paid an hourly fee as agreed as my time is valuable and my clients respect it.

    I do charge a consulting fee for product development advice which some new clients do need and want. Many times I ask a client to boost their product offer (if they have it priced too high) to add audios, timelines, mind maps, videos, quick start guides, etc. to help boost the QUALITY of the product so I have a great product to write high converting copy for!

    10. How to end problems with time wasters who call you and just want to "ask you a question about this little thing..." after the first phone consult.

    Now, if the phone call is a quick call for an update for a product development question and only takes 5 to 10 minutes then I don't charge.

    But if the client goes over 10 minutes and wants more time that is fine...BUT

    I tell them my flat rate charge for 20 minutes is and what they would owe me now if they want more of my time.

    Generally the "little problem they had to bother me about isn't all that important' then and they decide to ask the quick questions they needed the answers to and don't waste too much of my time.

    Remember... As a copywriter, time IS MONEY, so make sure you spend it wisely.

    SPECIAL NOTE: Many clients do ask for a longer strategy session which I do and the payment is paid in advance of the phone/skype consult.

    If you are up front on this and tell them you charge a certain number of dollars an hour for consulting and THEY KNOW THIS AHEAD OF TIME, it helps the client respect your time.

    And even better you get paid for your marketing and copywriting expertise.

    I hope this helps you understand how I try to stop the 'time wasters' who ATTEMPT to 'pick my brain' and how I TAKE CONTROL of the project right from the beginning.

    This helps me get more done in less time and make more money with my clients, and gives me more uninterrupted time during the day to focus on my writing.

    This may seem a little harsh, especially if you are in the habit of letting a client call you at any time, and waste hours and hours of YOUR PRECIOUS TIME YOU SHOULD BE WRITING AND MAKING MONEY.

    I had a copy cub who had a really bad time with a couple of new clients doing this (spending hours on skype over several days with him -- brain storming ideas for their project) and I told him to start charging for skype time and be up front about it and they will RESPECT YOU MORE FOR THIS IF YOU ENFORCE IT.

    On skype it is easy - you are just "Offline" but with a phone call - there is always the answering machine and I ALWAYS SCREEN MY CALLS.

    If you do this and stick to it in the end your copywriting business will have a LOT less hassle and frustration for you and all your clients.

    If YOU respect and VALUE YOUR TIME and YOU GET THAT VALUE across to your clients then you won't be wasting hours on the phone "talking about projects" -- instead YOU'LL BE SPENDING A LOT MORE TIME WRITING and making a LOT MORE MONEY in your copywriting business.

    Good luck to all!

    Jennie Heckel
    Sales Letter Copwriter
    ******* WSO & JV ZOO COPYWRITER -- VLS & SALES LETTERS PROVEN TO CONVERT ******* Get Higher Profits From Launches That SELL! Proven Copywriter with 17 Years of Copywriting Experience. Contact Me Via Skype: seoexpertconsulting Copywriting Website: http://www.VideoScriptCopywriter.com

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    • Profile picture of the author elmo033057

      Right on! Right on! Right on!
      Your advice was great, and I too have wasted tons of time with people that want all sorts of consulting but don't want to pay. Not only are you going to save time and money, but you are also going to find out pretty quick which people will take your advice and which ones will not. I cannot tell you how many people I have dealt with in the last few years that will TOTALLY waste your time. Heck, they won't even keep a data base of their own customers and market back to them, which in my opinion is insane.

      Anyway, I loved your post! Is there any chance that you may post the form that you use in a .pdf ?

      Thanks so much for sharing!
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by Jennie Heckel View Post

      This may seem a little harsh, especially if you are in the habit of letting a client call you at any time, and waste hours and hours of YOUR PRECIOUS TIME YOU SHOULD BE WRITING AND MAKING MONEY.
      It's not harsh at all. In fact, it's helping the client not waste their own time on things that really don't matter.

      Boundaries are a HUGE part of ANY successful relationship or partnership.

      If you take the time to establish what YOUR boundaries are BEFORE your relationship develops, it'll definitely send the message that you value your time.

      After all...

      If you don't value your time, why should anyone else?

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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Personally I find the original post a little confusing.

    2 things I think about:

    1. "She calls them "askholes." They simply ask you a bunch of questions and then leave without hiring you." Well yes. If they're asking YOU the questions you're really screwing up.

    You need to be asking THEM intelligent questions that demonstrate you really know your stuff and care about their success and help them to stop and think about what good copy and good marketing can do for them.

    2. I only do some kind of proposal after I already know someone is going to hire me or if I just want to get rid of a prospect by proposing so high I know they won't hire me.

    I don't see the point in doing a proposal for someone who is still in the process of working out who they're going to hire.

    A proposal doesn't help them make that decision.

    I'm going to send them samples, talk to them on the phone and send them marketing
    ideas...but not a proposal.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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