This post was written by TCCS member, Diana Ioppolo
So you’re a copywriter. You love writing and helping businesses grow, and get a kick out of hearing great results from your clients. But when it comes to selling yourself and your business, you feel a different kind of kick.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- You’ll happily write sales copy for your clients, but suffer a mental blank/break out in sweat/eat all the chocolate whenever you try to write your own.
- The thought of getting into proper clothes, going to an event and talking to actual people is the stuff of nightmares.
- You’re a writer, not a salesperson. You don’t want to have to put yourself out there and convince someone of your worth.
I know the feeling. As people who love to write, we’re generally comfortable with our inner world (and often prefer it). The way we communicate with words is a thousand times more polished than how we sound in real life. It’s our strength and one of the reasons we write for a living in the first place.
But the reality is we aren’t ‘just’ writers. We’re also small business owners. And as part of that ‘other’ job we need to embrace sales and do what’s needed to grow our business.
The difference between marketing and sales
We often talk about the need to market ourselves and work ‘in’ our business to keep attracting quality leads. But what exactly is ‘marketing yourself’, and how is it different from sales activity? And do you need to do both?
“Marketing and sales definitely go hand-in-hand,” says Sales Coach Jenny White from True Potential Sales. “Marketing is a great way to build brands, awareness, and trust, but you also need to consider algorithms, SEO and your competition.
“When it comes to sales, there are no variables other than yourself. Making that personal connection can be that one extra step that puts you ahead of your competitors.”
So yes, you need to do both.
Here’s how to differentiate between the two:
Marketing your business is activity that:
attracts people to your business
writing a blog post
updating your website copy
posting on social media
Sales activity for your business is about:
providing solutions to specific problems
convincing someone to choose you and your business.
making a new connection on LinkedIn
going to a networking event
sending a client some useful information
When they work together, marketing helps bring people in and sales help turn them into clients. And who doesn’t want a healthy list of their ideal clients wanting to work with them?
Embrace sales by shifting your mindset
So now you know the difference between sales and marketing. And you know that sales activity brings in leads, which in turn brings in money. But that doesn’t take away the fear of putting yourself out there.
The first step to overcoming this fear of sales is to get into a different mindset. Challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs around sales can help you shift your mindset and leave you feeling more comfortable about approaching people.
I don’t want to come across as pushy.
You won’t be pushy if you’re helping someone solve a problem. If you find out what they need, and help them come up with an answer, you’re actually giving someone what they want. Approach the sale from the position of a helper.
But what if they say “No”?
Would getting a “No” be such a bad thing? What would the consequences be? Chances are there wouldn’t be any. If anything, you can use the opportunity to find out why they said “No”, and use that information to help address any of their objections
I’m not sure why they’d choose my services over someone else’s.
I think this one comes down to the infamous Imposter Syndrome.
Ask yourself, Why wouldn’t they choose me? People have chosen you in the past. You know how to do the work. You’ve done the work. Have a look at some of your own client testimonials or your past work and remind yourself that you can do this.Would getting a “No” be such a bad thing? What would the consequences be? Chances are there wouldn’t be any. If anything, you can use the opportunity to find out why they said “No”, and use that information to help address any of their objections
I don’t need to sell myself. Why can’t my work speak for itself?
People who don’t ask for things are often overlooked for the people who do. You can do great work and hope people notice, or do great work and tell people about it (and build your sales pipeline at the same time).
Easing your way into sales
Now that you see sales a little differently, you might be ready to dip your toe in the water. Here are a few things you can do to ease into the practise and start flexing your sales muscle.
Do your sales activity when you’re feeling most upbeat and positive.
We all have times when we feel our best. It could be in the morning when we’re bright and alert, after we’ve gone for a run and are full of endorphins, or when we’ve just received some particularly good feedback. Capitalise on these feel-good moments, as they will create the perfect frame of mind for you to tackle the ‘scary’ thing.
Have a plan.
Having specific objectives and targets can take the thinking out of what you’re doing, and let you approach things one at a time. You plan could be to:
- get ten new LinkedIn connections a week
- attend a networking event and get three new contacts
- identify five current clients you could upsell to.
Focus on warm leads.
If you aren’t ready to cold approach anyone yet, focus on warm leads. These could be people who know you and your brand, follow you on social media, or previously expressed interest. You can write them an email, arrange a coffee catch-up or send them a link to a recent (and relevant) blog post you wrote.
Listen, listen, and listen some more.
When getting in touch with people, try not to think about the sale. Let your client or prospect do most of the talking and take note of their challenges. Show your listening by rephrasing what you’ve heard back to them, and think about how your services can help them.
Boost your sales by scheduling these activities into your week.
If you want to get serious about sales for your business, it’s time to start scheduling sales activity into your weekly plans. Here are some copywriter sales tips to help you get started.
- Re-connect with people. They could be old colleagues, someone you met at a networking event, or friends of friends.
- Add value to existing relationships. For example, send periodic emails with interesting information or a tip they might find useful for their business.
- Upsell. Could you sell any additional services to your current clients?
- Follow up. Do you have any enquiries or proposals you could follow up?
- Take a close look at your email list. Are there any potential clients that could benefit from a bespoke outreach email?
- If you haven’t done so already, do the TCCS LinkedIn Booster Course.
- Pick up the phone. Making phone calls to current customers is the most effective prospecting tactic. Develop a plan and structure around any sales calls you might make. Much like public speaking, being prepared can make a big difference in how you feel and how confident you sound.
- Meet with people in person. People choose to work with people, not brands, and building a connection in person can really strengthen relationships.
Over to you
How do you feel about sales? Do you make time for regular sales activities for your business? If you’ve got more leads than you can handle, what would be your number one sales tip for copywriters who could do with more leads?
Diana is a copywriter and digital marketer who helps service-based businesses with effective and practical marketing solutions. She loves writing, marketing, and the internet, and in her spare time wrangles two little people while attempting to become a morning exercise person again.