For new writers, it’s a leap of faith to believe that what they do moves them forward to getting their first B2B copywriting client.
It is said that 30-50% of those looking for their first client will find them within their own circles. Work associates, friends, or new acquaintances you meet locally are part of that group.
I had a difficult time believing that would happen, until it happened to me.
A Herd of People, A Wealth of Opportunity
What opportunity exists within your world where you can meet a lot of potential clients? Your local Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce has regular meetings attended by local businesspeople. Other than a potential membership fee to join, the meetings are generally free and are informal.
Here is what you can expect from a Chamber meeting:
- You get your name and face in front of many people at one time. An efficient use of your time since you can meet many contacts the same day.
- Meet and gain new friends. Let’s face it, being a writer can be isolating. It’s nice to be in a new tribe with fellow businesspeople.
- This can be a regular part of your marketing plan. Meetings/events occur with regularity, which means plenty of ongoing opportunities to meet new people.
- It’s a good way to get referrals. One person will pass your name to another. (This is how I got a client.)
- You can obtain phone numbers and email addresses from those you meet and then follow up with key people by sending an email. Keeps you top of mind for future work.
- Your travel is local. Another time-saver.
- You will learn some “tricks of the trade” from those who have been in the trenches. They can offer marketing tips.
Yes, it can be scary. If your Chamber is anything like mine, it is well attended.
Facing crowds of the unknown can be nerve-wracking. In a sea of people, you may think, “Can I really go up to a stranger and introduce myself?” Yes, you can. It’s all about having a game plan and dealing with the minutia.
Got the Elevator Speech Down?
The first part of the game plan is having your elevator speech.
Be ready to tell people what you do. Keep it simple. Two to three sentences will do. If they are curious, they will ask for more information.
You don’t want to bog down a new acquaintance with excess explanations early in the conversation. “I am a writer for the (your niche) industry. I write (articles, web copy, case studies, sales letters, whatever)” is a good start.
It helps to write your speech and practice in front of someone who can critique your responses. That person can ask questions about your business, which will help you prepare for the real thing. Stumble over your words in a practice situation and you will stumble less when it counts.
What do you talk about after the intro? Ask about them and their business. After all, you do need to learn about them to determine if you can offer a service. Besides, letting them talk takes the heat off you. It gives you time to regroup and think about your next step.
Your Signature Piece: The Business Card
The second part of your game plan is handing out the business card.
This is where the details, or minutia as I call them, comes in. Learning how to deal with the minor things helps prevent major awkwardness. You don’t want to be too intrusive by handing a card first thing.
And don’t try to hold a plate of food, a drink, and other cards when it’s time to give out one of yours. Forego the food (minutia), have a place to set the drink down. Ask for their card and hand yours at the same time. One smooth operation.
Also, have a pen handy (more minutia) to jot a note on each card about your encounter. Later on, the notes will help when you personalize a follow-up email.
The Most Important Part of All: The Follow Up
How do you leave a lasting impression?
The next day, gather the cards with your jotted notes. Email each person you met and state how good it was to meet them, including a short recap of your conversation.
This has become a lost art of sorts but it sends a powerful message. It shows that you cared enough to take the time to follow up. Your acquaintances will remember you for this.
But What If I’m An Introvert?
I attended one Chamber event and noticed a quiet man standing in the back of the room, alone. I approached him and introduced myself. After some discussion, he admitted he did not like these events but felt he needed to attend for marketing purposes.
We exchanged cards and talked about how difficult it was to simply go up to someone and start a conversation. He had a successful computer repair shop, so he was doing something right. While talking, I realized he was a person of his word and stood by his work.
I was impressed that he made the effort to attend even though it obviously made him uncomfortable. It told me that sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to make any headway.
It also proves that good things can happen when we slay the “I can’t do this” demons. The man who slayed the demons won me over that day. I have since referred customers to him.
It Can Happen to You
My success story? A Chamber employee recommended me to a dementia treatment team who needed an article written about their new program.
As it turned out, two members of the team were former colleagues I had not seen in a while. I wrote the article and helped them with some marketing ideas. The article generated a lot of interest within the medical and senior communities.
It was a great start for me as a writer.
Forge Ahead, Be Strong
Other than attending trade shows or speaking before groups, there is no better marketing tool than the Chamber of Commerce to move you forward in your search for B2B copywriting clients.
Don’t let your fears or your introversion stop you. Follow the game plan, practice the elevator speech, and make that smooth transition when handing off the business card.
You will be richly rewarded in so many ways. You will meet new business associates, avoid the seclusion we writers face daily, and best of all, gain clients.