When a Prospect Already Has a Go-To Copywriter…

“Sorry, we’re already working with another writer…”

Ever have a prospect tell you that?

It’s happened to me a few times.

In some cases, they already have a go-to freelance copywriter. Or they do their writing in-house. Or they have an agency handling all their marketing communications.

This sort of thing happens all the time. And here’s what most of us assume when we hear that response:

They’re all set. I guess I need to move on…

Nonsense!

You know what it means when Paul the Prospect tells you, “We’re already working with another writer”?

It means Paul is taken care of today. All is good now.

But tomorrow is another day.

Their writer could go on maternity leave. Or get really busy with another client.

Or she might decide to join the circus and quit this freelance thing.

Now Paul is in a bind. Because he has no backup. He foolishly believed that his writer would be around forever.

Here’s the thing you need to understand. Part of Paul’s job is to have a reliable and current “file” of creative professionals he can tap into should his go-to people get too busy or become unreliable.

It might not be part of his official job description, but it’s a key part of his job.

Failure to have this network of resources will impact his job performance. Which could impact his career.

So, yes. Important stuff!

I had a client for several years who hired me every time she moved to a new company. She worked mostly with tech start-ups. And part of her value-add was her ability to bring in a team of marketing professionals to solve her employer’s marketing challenges.

I wrote several white papers for her when she was with Company A. Then she moved on to Company B and needed help reworking their website’s copy. So she hired me again.

A year later, she migrated to Company C and needed help with some marketing collateral. So she reached out to me yet again.

I love clients like her!

Can you see how her ability to deliver for her employer hinges (to a great degree) on the quality of her Rolodex?

(For my young Padawans, a Rolodex is a 20th century contraption used for storing your contacts and their contact info.)

Okay, back to my main point…

Paul doesn’t need me today because he loves working with Susan. But if he’s smart, he’ll keep my information handy.

Because Susan may not be around forever. And Paul’s job performance hinges on his ability to keep the marketing machine cranking along — even when Susan decides to sell all her belongings and join the carnival.

So next time you get the, “Oh, we’re all set here. We do a ton of writing but handle it in-house…”

Respond with, “That’s great! Do you mind keeping my information handy in case things change in the future or there’s a sudden surge in work? I’d love to get a shot at being your backup writer. I know your market well and can hit the ground running.”

Or maybe, “That’s great! Do you mind keeping my information handy in case your current writer decides to join the circus or a cult?”

Kidding!

But seriously, get on Paul’s Rolodex. Stay in touch every couple of months by sending him a relevant article or piece of content…

And don’t be surprised when he calls you with an assignment.

About Ed Gandia

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