How to Talk Your Way to New Clients
As much as you (or I, for that matter) would love it, potential clients are not going to come to you. You must reach out.
In the January 30 Golden Thread, I suggested talking to local service and business clubs and similar organizations to get exposure. I can hear a chorus of moans. “Public speaking! I hate public speaking.”
The members of these groups want to hear you. They’re receptive, encouraging, and courteous. They’re eager for the information you have to give. And, many of your listeners are looking for solutions to business problems your copywriting can solve.
Two Reasons to Step Up to the Podium …
If you’re just starting out in copywriting — or trying to build your existing business — speaking to these groups gives you two huge advantages.
1) You’re the “expert”
Every beginning copywriter faces the challenge of not having enough work to show off. So, what can you offer that makes you a desirable copywriter?
Your training. The skills you’re learning at AWAI. Your rapidly-growing expertise.
And the quickest, easiest way to make yourself the “expert” is to stand in front of eager, targeted listeners. You have information and knowledge they want and need.
Just by your being there, your audience feels “since he was asked to speak, he must know what he’s doing.”
2) Face-to-face contact builds lasting relationships
Speaking to these groups lets potential clients put a face — and smile — to your words. You’re no longer simply a name asking for work. You’re a real person.
No more getting voice mail. No more hoping they got your letter. No more playing phone-tag.
They know you personally. And, they like you because you’ve done a favor for the organization they belong to.
What They Want to Know …
Do not talk specifically about your copywriting business. Your audience doesn’t want to hear a commercial. Instead, talk about something members can benefit from … like the advantages of a targeted, direct-marketing campaign.
In this case, you’d tell how such a campaign costs them less than other types of advertising. (But, be careful if a local radio station owner is in the audience. In that case, change your pitch accordingly.)
Your goal is to provide solutions for business problems. Let the audience make the connection between those solutions and you. Help them make that connection by giving them a physical take-away from your presentation. This could be something like “10 Reasons Why Targeted Marketing Will Save You Money, Time, and Stress.”
Make sure your name and your contact information is printed on the take-away. Also, staple a business card to it.
Be sure — and this is important — to stay around after your presentation to chat with members.
Know Your Audience and Their Group …
Never go to these meetings without finding out about the group you’re talking to. For example, if you’re talking to Rotarians, compliment the group of the success of their End Polio Now campaign.
You’ll not only make friends by researching the group, you’ll understand more about the members, their passions, and their goals. Remember: The key to successful sales is “know your prospect”!
Where to Find Eager Listeners …
It’s relatively easy finding groups to talk to. As a Rotarian myself, I know how eager these organizations are to find interesting speakers at their meetings. And, how hard it is to fill the slot consistently. If you ask them, you’re assured of a sincere invitation to speak.
Here are a few suggestions:
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: Do an Internet search on “Chamber of Commerce” and (one at a time) the cities and towns you’re willing to travel to.
KIWANIS: International service organization — www.kiwanis.org. Click the “Find a Club” link on the home page. After putting in the city and state or postal code near where you want to speak, you’ll be taken to a map of local clubs with web addresses. Use these to find contact forms for individual clubs.
LIONS CLUB: International service organization with emphasis on vision and hearing — www.lionsclubs.org. Click “Find a Club” on the top right-hand side of the home page. On the page that opens, put the city and state or postal code where you want to speak in the box under the heading “Find a Club.”
OPTIMIST CLUB: International service organization with emphasis on children — www.optimist.org. I couldn’t find an easy link to local clubs. Do an Internet search on “Optimist Club” and the cities or towns you’re willing to travel to.
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL: International service organization — www.rotary.org. Click “Club Locator” on the small menu in the upper right-hand corner of the home page.
SOROPTIMISTS: International women’s service organization with emphasis on women and girls — www.soroptimist.org. Click on the “Our Clubs” link on the left-hand side of the home page. Then, on the map that opens, click where you’d like to speak.
TORCH CLUB: Locally-based professional organization in 70 locations throughout the U.S. — www.torch.org. Click on “Connect to a Local Club.” Then, click on the map that opens.
Finally, do an Internet search for other local business and professional groups that host speakers at their meetings. Also, target specific professional groups like local medical, educational, or legal organizations with an Internet search.
Be creative. Look in local newspapers and libraries for meetings of local organizations. Listen to local radio shows. Listen in on conversations around you. Ask your friends and associates.
Once you start actively looking for groups to speak to, you’ll be surprised at how many you’ll find. And, how receptive they are to your message and your services.
Your name will get around. And, the loyalty you build with these groups will pay off with new clients.
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Thanks for all the great ideas on what to talk about and what groups to research.
I have made it a goal to use public speaking as part of my marketing efforts as an SEO copywriter. To get there, I've joined Toastmasters. Not only am I getting more comfortable in front of groups, but I'm also doing a fair amount of networking - a side bonus.
If the idea of public speaking fills you with fear and loathing, you might consider Toastmasters as a way to take it one step at a time.
Susannah Noel –