Know why your clients work with you

I’m a copywriter. Morning noon and night seven days a week, all I do is think about the written word and how it relates to my clients and their prospects. But that’s not why my clients hire me.

Every day, I write at least 5000 words, which equates to a short novel every two weeks. But that’s not why my clients hire me either.

The questions people ask me when they’re considering working with us, usually equate to the inputs they expect, and not the outcomes they want. They want to know the design of e-books, they want to know where their press release will end up and how long the blog posts will be. The thing is, if I answer those questions then I’m doing them a massive disservice.

What my clients really want, is connection which leads to interaction which leads to someone expressing an interest in using their product.

My clients want more clients. And they want to trust that I can help get them.

I can explain the number of words I write, the platforms our business uses and the results we’ve had with other similar clients, but that isn’t going to deal with the real issue.

When I’m in a meeting and a client starts asking me the wrong questions, for the right reasons – it’s time to change the conversation.

“Angela, you’ve seen our work so let’s assume for a moment that from a content, social media and design standpoint we tick all the boxes. What we really need to talk about is the current gap between what you want to achieve, and what you are achieving.”

I use a version of this in almost every meeting I go to. Not to be clever, in fact it shines a spotlight on any potential gaps in our offering, by making the conversation about genuine outcomes rather than hypothetical inputs. What I mean by that, is that I could easily manipulate our statistics or results for clients, I could show them some cool design to get them excited, but what I can’t manipulate is real and scientific facts.

From there, Angela and I get clear on the problem she is experiencing – needing more clients. Then, we use real-world metrics to define a potential solution through a relevant and meaningful gap analysis.

The client understands the problem.

Then, I tell Angela our solution, the price, and the measures that will be put in place to ascertain the effectiveness of the project.

Then, I do something that I was taught for many years not to do. I leave.

I believe that “closing” someone is a great way to start a relationship on the wrong foot. Angela needs time to go through the psychological stages of change without me in her ear pushing her down a certain road.

The added bonus is that we only end up working with people who want to work with us. In our business that’s not only pleasant, it’s also mandatory. Effectively communicating a business to a large market involves honesty and openness, and if people work with us begrudgingly then it just doesn’t work.

For us, sales is allowing the right people to show up, rather than forcing everyone to join.