Create a 10-Second Commercial Guaranteed to Generate Interest in Your Business
Cindy Cyr here …
Today, I’ve got some tips for pitching yourself effectively to potential new clients when you first meet them.
And a story fellow copywriter John Wood told me recently is a perfect illustration of my point.
“I was standing outside a clothing store at the mall and started to make a phone call,” John said. “When a guy about 20 came up and said, ‘Could I get bus fare to Barrie?’”
John brushed the guy off by telling him he was on the phone.
But after watching repeat failed attempts at getting bus fare with other shoppers, John asked the guy why he needed money.
After hearing the guy’s story, John told him, “If you plan to get to Barrie anytime soon, you need to change your opening line. You need to put people at ease. You need to tell people who you are and why you need the bus fare.”
“I’m a student. They can see that. They know I don’t have any money,” said the guy.
“You have to tell them,” said John. “You have to introduce yourself and tell them, ‘I’m a student and I’m trying to get back home to see my parents, but I got caught short on cash. I don’t even have enough bus fare back to Barrie. I was wondering if you could be so kind as to help me out a bit?’”
After John’s instructions on what to say instead (and a couple of bucks to get him started), John saw this young man strike up a conversation with a woman and then get on the bus.
The different approach allowed the young art student to get a conversation going long enough to get what he wanted: bus fare.
You can do the same when promoting yourself. Don’t use a direct, almost aggressive approach (like the young man’s first attempt to get bus fare). It comes across as self-serving and salesy and repels prospective clients.
A better way to gain attention is to paint a picture that will get your prospect’s attention and make him curious enough to ask you questions about what it is you do.
To do this, give ultra-specific information about your work as a freelancer. For example: “I work with Apple software–using camera shop owners to create story-driven marketing and mission-driven non-profits wanting to change the world.”
An ultra-specific message removes the threat of talking to you because at this point, they don’t think they are your target audience. This lets their guard down and eager to satisfy their curiosity. So they’ll ask you, “How do you do that?”
This is your opening to give more details on how you help business owners.
This pitch should be thought out and rehearsed in advance. In fact, business coach Doug Wilder suggests you create two “commercials” for yourself: one 60-second commercial and another 10-second one.
Prepare “commercials” to use whenever you meet potential clients. Having them ready to go at conferences, networking events, and whenever someone casually asks what it is you do can help you take full advantage of these opportunities.
The 10-second commercial is what you say when people ask you what you do. The 60-second commercial goes into how you do what you do.
For your 10-second commercial, you want to include:
- Your niche
- Your unique ability
- One to three benefits you provide
- One or two brief phrases of how you provide the benefits
- At least one ultra-specific element
Here’s an example of a 10-second commercial I use: I empower member-based information-marketing companies to uncover existing opportunities, generate leads, and make sales more effectively online through the power of the written word and a marketing strategy specifically designed for online audiences.
For your 60-second commercial, you want to go into more detail about how you do what you do. Here are a couple of things I say in my 60-second commercial:
- I help company owners get beyond the ambiguous to define what truly makes their company unique.
- I provide powerful, effective copywriting services that clearly state what my clients can do for others in an interesting and compelling way using better words to get better results.
When you act as if the person you’re speaking with is not your target audience and give an ultra-specific “commercial,” you’ll arouse curiosity that gets people truly interested in what it is you do. And that can lead to new business, referrals, and more.
A business card can also be a key factor in successful self-promotion. Just make sure your card doesn’t blow your chances of getting to the next step in the process.
Have you created a great 10-second commercial for your business? Share it with me here.
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Even the most successful writers make mistakes. It's always a good idea to proofread articles before submitting them. Better yet, have someone else look for the errors you don't want to make.
At best, they look like a ketchup spill on a clean shirt. Worse, they lose the intended meaning. Worst, they can cause a reader to make undeserved comments about a writer's literacy level.
In your article on creating a 10-second commercial, the next to last paragraph reads "A business can also be a key factor in successful self-promotion."
I'd be willing to make a small wager (nothing like Mitt Romney's $10,000) that you intended for that line to read "A business card can also be a key factor in successful self-promotion."
I'd pay a fair percentage of a writer's fees to avoid mistakes that a good proofreader will catch..
Guest (Paul Balles) –
Hi Cindy, I enjoyed your 10-Second Commercial article. It was very thought provoking. I hope to put your tips to use in the future.
Guest (Tim ) –
Cindy, great article.
When I first read your 10-second commercial example, I found all the multi-syllable words in a long sentence just a bit overwhelming. Hope my comment doesn't offend.
I am inspired to work on creating my own perfect pitch - I'll add it here when it's done. Would appreciate all feedback.
Terri Mitchell Melb Aust –
I'd get a little clearer on the expression.
Which is simply editing. :-D
To do this, give ultra-specific information about your work as a freelancer.
For example: “I work with Apple software–using camera shop owners to create story-driven marketing and mission-driven non-profits wanting to change the world.”
That sentence is slightly non-sensical to the human ear.
Sound principle. Srub it up a bit.
Thanks for the article.
Tia Dobi –
My typical response when asked what I did created the deer in headlight glaze. Until a branding agent at a network meeting explained that wasn't what I did at all but "how" I did it.
I had a Staging business--the process of preparing a home for sale for maximum dollars in the least amount of time . . . yada yada yada.
After the branding agent's brilliant observation, I implemented his recommendation: "I expedite house sales." People became excited and wanted to learn more. Positively priceless!
I don't have a story related to copywriting yet--I just started the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting two days ago. Yeah me! :)
Paul, thanks for your comment. You are correct, everyone makes mistakes. Even good proofreaders. In fact, having worked for a major newspaper, I'm aware that even the most prestigious publications like the New York Times experience typos from time to time. It might interest you to know that my articles for AWAI receive multiple proofreading sessions by multiple people before they are printed and a great deal of care is put into trying to avoid mistakes. I apologize for the mistake and am sorry if it offended you. I have contacted AWAI and asked them to correct the unintended error.
Cindy Cyr –
No offense taken. That was only meant as a guide and is one of several that I use. You make a good point and I'm sure your reaction will help you to create a great commercial for yourself. I look forward to reading it when you finish.
Cindy Cyr –
Great article Cindy, I would like to share my 10-second commercial with you and any critique would be welcomed.
I do research in the Alternative Health and Fitness Industry for copywriter's and marketer's. I find specific information on the Internet, helping them save valuable time so they can concentrate more on what it is they do best without having to worry about the time-consuming task of research.
How does that sound Cindy?
Marcellus Greene –
Cindy, I think it is a shame that this reader made such a big deal out of a very small mistake. It is too bad the only thing he could find wrong with it was One missing word. The information you provide in your articles are FREE! Most people have to Pay for this type of information and access to articles you write and others write here on AWAI.
I am known for my snakiness, however, this reader has gone out of his way to be down right cruel. It is just sad and shows his narrow-mindedness. I wonder if this reflects in his everyday interactions with people. Perhaps he was having a bad day and misplaced his anger.
We all make mistakes - I'm sure I've made numerous ones typing this. I'd ask for forgiveness, yet I don't care.
I appreciate your articles and feel this was well written. Thank you for the good information! I'm definitely going to work on my 10 second commercial.
Guest (Sondra) –
"I help you get more clients like your best clients, with sales letters, postcards, email promotions, and web pages that sell. Or you pay nothing."
-> Kevin Donlin Client Cloning Systems
Guest (Kevin Donlin) –
Kevin--nice! The only thing I might work on is the very first part, "I help you get more clients like your best clients" That is a little awkward. Maybe something like, "I help you turn more of your prospects into your best paying customers" Play around with it a little--I really like it though!
Cindy Cyr –
MG, You've done a nice job here...I might start with the benefits you've listed instead...something like, "I help Alternative Health and Fitness Industry copywriter's and marketer's save valuable time..." You might even throw in something about how you help them make more money per hour. "I help Alternative Health & Fitness Copywriters and marketers save time and make more money per hour..."
Cindy Cyr –
GMC--Very helpful--I hope everyone reads your comment!
Cindy Cyr –