Are You Sabotaging Your Prospecting Efforts?
So you wrote a killer prospecting letter, sent it out to a bunch of potential clients, and . . .
Nothing happens. No calls. No emails. Nothing.
Building a client base is one of the most difficult things to do when starting out. It takes time, and a lot of patience.
Yes, the economy is volatile. Yes, clients are slow to make decisions. Yes, marketing needs are constantly changing.
But one of the biggest reasons why you're not getting results from your prospecting efforts may have absolutely nothing to do with your prospecting letter!
Crawl, then Walk
Before you start on your next prospecting campaign, take a look at your list of potential clients.
If you're like most people, your list probably includes some of the biggest direct marketing companies in your niche. You figure, these people specialize in direct response, so that's where I should try first.
After all, why not try to get work from Gunthy-Renker, Healthy Directions, QVC or any one of those giant companies? They are the best of the best. At least you can be reasonably sure they use freelancers and are looking for writers, correct?
It's a reasonable assumption. Yes, these are all great companies, and they do hire freelancers. But if you approach these companies too soon, you could be making a very common mistake -- like sabotaging your prospecting efforts before they even begin.
Writers for "A" list companies
When you finish school and look for your first full-time job, you know you'll never get hired as the president of a company, right? It works the same way in freelancing.
Most of these big companies hire "A" list writers with a proven track record. That includes a full portfolio of very strong samples as well as some experience working in the field.
A proven track record
My advice? Add these great companies to your "long term goal" pile. Not to say you won't get there-- but right now, you need to have an action plan with companies you have a chance to write for. And there are plenty of them out there. I suggest you look for small to mid-sized companies and local businesses to cut your chops on. They would be far more open to your expertise, portfolio and skill level at this point in your career.
Writing for small to midsize companies
The majority of my clients are small to midsize companies. I call them my bread-and-butter clients, because they hire me again and again for years at a time. I can depend on them for a certain amount of billings every year; they pay my fees and are very appreciative of the work I do for them.
Many of the bigger companies will use you once or twice, and drop you if you don't have a control right out of the gate. Talk about pressure -- and the emotional roller-coaster that comes along with it.
If you still want to put your name in front of the big companies, that's great.
HINT: Offering to write a white paper, insert, or catalog copy is a good way to get your foot in the door.
But always remember that local businesses, small companies, and even work sites like Upwork can help you earn much-needed income and build your client base (and a track record) faster than anything else.