Years ago, I interviewed an independent sales trainer for an article I was writing for Sales & Marketing Newsletter. At the time, he was (and, I believe, still is) the most successful sales trainer in Canada, with an enviable roster of high-profile clients.
I asked him how he built his business.
Considering that he trained salespeople, I assumed his answer would be along the lines of making a gazillion cold calls a day.
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
He said, “I help people. Specifically, I look for people who I can help today, who may be able to help me in the future.”
He went on to explain that he actively seeks out ways to help those who could be potential clients, or could potentially recommend him to their clients and colleagues.
The more I spoke to this sales trainer, the more I realized he practiced what he preached.
For example, each month he would arrive one hour early for a monthly meeting of the professional association we both belonged to. Why? So he could offer sales coaching — at no cost — to those who needed it.
He reported that this strategy alone resulted in more than $100,000 in new business for him over a two-year period.
I can’t think of a more pleasurable way to attract clients and referrals.
As a copywriter, how do you make this strategy work for you? Here are some ideas
- Online forums and discussion boards. At these online “water coolers,” members are constantly asking for advice and assistance. If you have the answers, you can position yourself as a go-to expert.
- Know-How Exchange. This is a service of MarketingProfs.com, an online magazine. But I suspect many other publications offer a similar service. Just last week, someone was seeking advice on writing copy for a landing page.
- Your own professional association. Make yourself available at meetings and conferences. I’ve recently volunteered to coach members of one of the groups I belong to: ASJA.
This altruistic approach to attracting more clients and referrals only works if you focus on helping, not selling. Don’t promote your services in these situations. Instead, treat each helping opportunity as a way to make a genuine contribution to someone’s business. If you do, you’ll be remembered the next time someone needs a copywriter.