Giving It Up On The First Date

17 replies
Laura is a little insecure.

But she really wants to find The One.

So when she meets a man she's attracted to, it's hard for her to hold back.

She gives too much, too soon.

You know what I mean, right?

She shacks up on the first date.

Then she'll send off a text the next day - wondering when they can get together for another date. She tells him how deeply she feels a connection with him.

He texts back, "I'll be pretty busy for the next couple of months. And honestly, I'm not looking for anything serious right now."

Laura's devastated.

"Why does this always happen to me?!?!" she wonders

A lot of copywriters are just like Laura.

You give away tons of invaluable information that helps entrepreneurs enhance, grow and/or change their business model into a profit-producing-machine.

But wait.

They haven't paid you yet.

You just let potential clients pick your brain.

When the time comes that you put your foot down and communicate some boundaries by saying things like, "Dan, I really want to help you out. But you've gotta pay me before I can continue giving you so much information. We need to keep this about the video script, which you haven't even retained me for yet. If you want me to help you create your product, I have to be compensated for that too."

But Dan already got what he wanted. You put out way too soon - just like Laura. And quite frankly, Dan was never really that serious about hiring and creating a relationship with you.

Sure, give potential clients information.

Show them that you know what the hell you're talking about.

But know when to say, "Sure, I'd love to help ya out with that. But first, we've got to get our agreement sorted out and money needs to exchange hands."

Because whether your potential clients know it... or not... they're much more likely to value your expertise and insights - IF they pay you.

Mark

P.S. I'm a firm believer in giving. But you have to have boundaries to be taken seriously by people.
#date #giving
  • Profile picture of the author AnabelleFlorida
    Mark, you're so right!

    As a new copywriter I felt I needed to do that a lot to prove to potential clients I know what I'm talking about and can do it!

    BTW ... your example ... it stung my eyes a bit to read it. Though I have experienced guys getting too close then thinking they have a right to own you. They get upset, not because you actually did something bad to them, but because they assumed too much.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing this up, the right balance with a potential client really is important.
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    “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” ~Oprah Winfrey

    “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~Ayn Rand
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by AnabelleFlorida View Post

      As a new copywriter I felt I needed to do that a lot to prove to potential clients I know what I'm talking about and can do it!
      A lot of copywriters NEVER show their portfolio.

      All they have is the reputation for being good.

      And yet...

      They don't put out on the first date; they know what language works and provide just the right amount of information to close deals.

      Keep in mind Anabelle...

      The vast majority of potential clients that contact you aren't hot prospects.

      They want to pick your brain or haggle with you to get a lower price.

      You'll hear things like:

      "I'm talking with a few other copywriters and your quote is by far the highest."

      It's all BS.

      It's your job to charge what you're worth (i.e. what provides you with enough money to focus on the job at hand - without constantly prospecting for your next gig.)

      That's in everyone's best interest - whether your potential clients get it... or not.

      Mark
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      • Profile picture of the author AnabelleFlorida
        Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

        A lot of copywriters NEVER show their portfolio.

        All they have is the reputation for being good.

        And yet...

        They don't put out on the first date; they know what language works and provide just the right amount of information to close deals.

        Keep in mind Anabelle...

        The vast majority of potential clients that contact you aren't hot prospects.

        They want to pick your brain or haggle with you to get a lower price.

        You'll hear things like:

        "I'm talking with a few other copywriters and your quote is by far the highest."

        It's all BS.

        It's your job to charge what you're worth (i.e. what provides you with enough money to focus on the job at hand - without constantly prospecting for your next gig.)

        That's in everyone's best interest - whether your potential clients get it... or not.

        Mark
        Thank you so much, Mark.

        I guess it's a confidence issue. I'll work on that
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        “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” ~Oprah Winfrey

        “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~Ayn Rand
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      • Profile picture of the author Memetics
        Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post


        You'll hear things like:

        "I'm talking with a few other copywriters and your quote is by far the highest."

        It's all BS

        Mark
        This is so true yet shows interest in your own abilities in that they haven't just gone with the cheapest offer on the table.

        What most people want when they decide to to buy is VALUE.
        The higher the value, the higher the price they are prepared to pay if it's the real deal. By charging what you think you're worth the higher value of what you're offering is tacit in the interaction.

        Remember Anabelle: The client can't read your mind, you could be the next rising star in the copywriting world for all they know.

        Be outcome independent and let them know your time is valuable by rationing it when they try to pick your brain for ideas.

        If some wheeler dealer type tells you you're the most expensive simply reply; "I know".

        The hidden upside is that if they decide to not take on your services...That now and then a marketing program can go belly up at the split testing or the neuro marketing stage and people's careers can be on the line.

        When that happens and the client is in loss aversion, firefighting mode and running scared from their superiors, then someone will say.

        "we can't risk it, we'll have to use that Anabelle woman who's really expensive to redo the copy"

        Then they've picked you because you are the most expensive.
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        • Profile picture of the author AnabelleFlorida
          Originally Posted by Memetics View Post

          This is so true yet shows interest in your own abilities in that they haven't just gone with the cheapest offer on the table.

          What most people want when they decide to to buy is VALUE.
          The higher the value, the higher the price they are prepared to pay if it's the real deal. By charging what you think you're worth the higher value of what you're offering is tacit in the interaction.

          Remember Anabelle: The client can't read your mind, you could be the next rising star in the copywriting world for all they know.

          Be outcome independent and let them know your time is valuable by rationing it when they try to pick your brain for ideas.

          If some wheeler dealer type tells you you're the most expensive simply reply; "I know".

          The hidden upside is that if they decide to not take on your services...That now and then a marketing program can go belly up at the split testing or the neuro marketing stage and people's careers can be on the line.

          When that happens and the client is in loss aversion, firefighting mode and running scared from their superiors, then someone will say.

          "we can't risk it, we'll have to use that Anabelle woman who's really expensive to redo the copy"

          Then they've picked you because you are the most expensive.

          Interesting. I certainly haven't been thinking along these lines.

          I guess it's the fear of not "winning" the job.

          I'm such a giver :p

          What could be getting in the way of my thinking on this (up until I read this thread) is that right now in my life I don't neeeed the money from copywriting to live comfortably. It's nice to get it of course, and I enjoy making money don't get me wrong, but it's not a necessity.

          I guess I'm not really thinking of the future (near future) and maybe I'm too nice

          I get an email from a friend of a friend and I'm off giving away all kinds of ideas and even writing or rewriting some copy for them before they've even had a chance to ask if I could help them!

          How Much Is Too Much?

          So you have to give a little to bring in new clients ...

          * But when do you know you're giving too much?

          * Is it a feeling that comes with time?

          * Is there some kind of rule I should stick to?


          You guys have really been great and beginning to change my attitude on this. And a special Thank You to Mark for starting this post.
          Signature
          “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” ~Oprah Winfrey

          “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~Ayn Rand
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          • Profile picture of the author copyassassin
            You're giving away too much if one of the two ISN'T happening:
            • client doesn't take some form of action to show he's commitment to your process before starting to MAYBE work with you
            • If you haven't been paid anything

            For my corporate clientS, I make them fill out a discovery form and pay me $450 in advance.

            Link is Corporate Discovery Intake Form | Libman Tax Strategy

            Adam

            p.s. I'm such a slut. I'll give it up on the first date

            p.p.s. Now what my wife is married (too me), she doesn't give it up


            Originally Posted by AnabelleFlorida View Post


            How Much Is Too Much?

            So you have to give a little to bring in new clients ...

            * But when do you know you're giving too much?

            * Is it a feeling that comes with time?

            * Is there some kind of rule I should stick to?


            Simple:
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  • Profile picture of the author Goroddy
    That was good copy.

    I'm just starting off on the copywriter journey ... reading, writing, studying, taking courses.

    Some time in the next six months I'll be aggressively looking for clients. The first few I get will be receiving the benefit of all my training for next to nothing.

    I'll give them much more value than they pay for because I want to build my portfolio and testimonial base. I'm not sure of any other way I can quickly build up a good testimonial base.

    Your post is a great reminder of one of the pitfalls newbies encounter; the key is to get out of 'give it up' mode as quick as possible and make 'em put a ring on it

    Much appreciated,
    Rod
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

    A lot of copywriters are just like Laura.

    You give away tons of invaluable information that helps entrepreneurs enhance, grow and/or change their business model into a profit-producing-machine.

    But wait.

    They haven't paid you yet.

    You just let potential clients pick your brain.
    As SERVICE providers you do have to show that you know what
    you are talking about but you don't have to give SPECIFIC information
    to the client's business before money changes hands. That's why
    copywriters maintain blogs write books and do seminar presentation--they
    are showing their expertise. When the client develops confidence
    in you and want to apply that knowledge to his business then it is
    time to charge your fee.

    I once had a (potential) client many years ago who wanted a critique
    of his website. To demonstrate that I knew what I was doing I gave
    him a list of tips (much as we do here on the CW Forum) and he then
    emails me back telling me that he applied them and conversion was
    high enough that he didn't need my services again.

    Lesson learned.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author jimmyjohns2345
    I love how laura went from giving it up to charging for her services. Good post, just cracked me up.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Interesting post.

    Something I always thought was genius, is what Ogilvy & Mather did with their full page ads on advertising, etc.

    They basically gave away million dollar ideas knowing it would position them as "the" experts to go to when you wanted advertising. I think I have 7 or 8 or so different ads for different subjects they did.

    Some copywriters (I've noticed) are afraid if they give away too much, their prospective clients will simply use the info themselves and have no need to hire them.

    The exact opposite is actually the case. The more you give, the more of an expert you're perceived to be.

    Any potential client that would take the info and attempt to use it themselves to write an ad:

    1. Wouldn't have ever hired you anyways.

    2. Would soon find out with all the info they still didn't have what it took.

    Anyways...

    I'll occasionally click on links that someone has put in their signature where they're advertising for clients.

    Often I'll read some sales letter about what great work they do, or what a wizard they are with creating a sales funnel...or what so and so said about them.

    I'm convinced that although it may make the copywriter proud of their ad...it does less at setting them apart as an expert then what an ad like I mentioned would do.

    Getting back on track...

    Lots of clients that talk to you...even though they read your glowing sales letter promoting your services...are still unsure if you're an expert at what you do.

    If you had it all laid out, exactly how and why, what you know, how you go about things...there really wouldn't be anything to talk about except how much of an investment they would need.

    I realize I rambled on a bit, but hopefully my point came across.

    You've probably seen one of these ads before:

    Ogilvy & Mather Direct Ad # 4: "How To Create Advertising That Sells"
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      The exact opposite is actually the case. The more you give, the more of an expert you're perceived to be.
      Great response.

      I totally agree, especially the quote I isolated.

      But there's defintiely a balance between giving and withholding.

      Also...

      The business is very different than "the good 'ol days." Because of the internet, there are a lot of people doing business that would have never had the chance during the Ogilvy Era. There's also a lot more copywriters - making the profession go from revered to dime-a-dozen.

      So in a sense...

      Giving MORE is an even bigger deal than ever to separate yourself from the non-experts.

      But you also have to be careful about weeding out the prospects that will gladly pick your brain - without any intention of hiring you.

      Mark
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post


        The business is very different than "the good 'ol days." Because of the internet, there are a lot of people doing business that would have never had the chance during the Ogilvy Era. There's also a lot more copywriters - making the profession go from revered to dime-a-dozen.
        I do agree, a lot has changed.

        But Ogilvy and Mather is still going strong.

        Couple months or so ago I got a full advertorial they came out with that gave detailed instructions on how to create a website that smashed the competition.

        They're still putting out very detailed advertorials on different subjects.
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

          I do agree, a lot has changed.

          But Ogilvy and Mather is still going strong.

          Couple months or so ago I got a full advertorial they came out with that gave detailed instructions on how to create a website that smashed the competition.
          I wonder if they copied my lead...

          "Warning: Don't Buy Web Design Until You Get Answers To These 5 Questions!"

          Ask them what's the difference between a website
          that looks good, and one that gets your phone ringing.
          The surprising answer is in one word
          [Answer: tested]

          Want more leads..? then ask your web designer whether putting price on the offer page is right, because knowing this gave SafeSoft Solutions, a supplier of call center equipment, 100% more leads


          Get more buyers to your showroom, by asking your designer which 3 design layouts matter most? Hyundai Holland tested these 3, and got 63% more requests for a test drive


          Want to have quote requests left on your website? Then make sure your designer places the form in the correct place. This was tested and made a 110% difference in the number of leads


          Want more phone calls from buyers? Then you had better make sure your designer puts more emphasis on one of these 2...great offer...credibility...because Cook Travel tested the 2 and one got 48% more phone calls each day.


          Don't risk your future with un-tested web design work and call xxxx xxx to get all these questions answered now, because this is far too important to ignore.

          A community service by [company name]

          Seize the opportunity now, by phoning xxxx xxx

          Best,
          Ewen
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          • Profile picture of the author max5ty
            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            I wonder if they copied my lead...

            "Warning: Don't Buy Web Design Until You Get Answers To These 5 Questions!"

            Ask them what's the difference between a website
            that looks good, and one that gets your phone ringing.
            The surprising answer is in one word
            [Answer: tested]

            Want more leads..? then ask your web designer whether putting price on the offer page is right, because knowing this gave SafeSoft Solutions, a supplier of call center equipment, 100% more leads


            Get more buyers to your showroom, by asking your designer which 3 design layouts matter most? Hyundai Holland tested these 3, and got 63% more requests for a test drive


            Want to have quote requests left on your website? Then make sure your designer places the form in the correct place. This was tested and made a 110% difference in the number of leads


            Want more phone calls from buyers? Then you had better make sure your designer puts more emphasis on one of these 2...great offer...credibility...because Cook Travel tested the 2 and one got 48% more phone calls each day.


            Don't risk your future with un-tested web design work and call xxxx xxx to get all these questions answered now, because this is far too important to ignore.

            A community service by [company name]

            Seize the opportunity now, by phoning xxxx xxx

            Best,
            Ewen
            Actually, yours is probably better.

            I always found their website frustrating.

            Home | Ogilvy & Mather

            Then again it may work for their clients.
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    • Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      The more you give, the more of an expert you're perceived to be.
      Here is a good example from Bruce:

      copywritingmaniac.com |
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Fereday
    Good post - I've found there's a happy medium between advising potential clients and giving "it all up"... finding that balance is the tricky part.
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