Come to think of it, I do sales pitches all day long—both with potential clients, and then once they're client, what I write for them is a pitch. One definition of copywriting is words that sell, but I like to think of it as words that persuade.
Persuasion gets a bad name, but can you think about a time you’ve been positively persuaded? How did the person persuading you influence you? How did you feel afterward? Enlightened?
Boiled down, persuasion happens when you get someone excited about something. It could be political issue, a social justice issue, or purchasing something that will help them solve a problem—preferably YOUR SOMETHING.
Most people freeze up when they are put on the spot to say what they do. But this is the very first pitch you make when you meet someone…(whether they are going to buy from you someday or refer you to someone).
In a formal elevator pitch, I was first taught to state my name, my business, and who I help and how I help them. It’s awkward and doesn’t feel natural, and sounds so sales-y! So you’re probably going to avoid doing a good job of pitching yourself right off the bat.
This was my first one from years ago:
I help businesses who need to get their writing done so they can focus on their clients and running and growing their business. I help with websites, content marketing, product launches, and newsletters.
Clear...and there's even some benefits in there, but it's totally unmemorable!
So I like to tell people some detail of one of my current, interesting projects....like:
I get paid to learn all about ancient Tantric practices! And write about it. (All true!)
Some notes about pitching:
You get better with practice. Your assignment is to practice pitching 10 times next week. This could be to friends.
Do research on your client beforehand. I'm not trying to freak you out, but every time you have a sales conversation, it’s basically a job interview, so come to the conversation prepared.
Have an initial conversation where you LISTEN like crazy. Let them do most of the talking. Guide them to give you the answers you need. Then set up a time to craft a proposal. Send it right before the call so they are reading it with you. Go over the proposal on the phone...this way you can handle objections right then and there. If they need to think about it, that’s fine. Just ask to make a concrete date and time to follow up.
You SHOULD hear no sometimes. And you’re going to have to get comfortable with that. Oh, it stings at first! "No" builds resiliency and that’s a KEY skill for entrepreneurs. You'll also learn a lot about what to do next time. Just remember that there are infinite more possible clients for you and this is not your financial ruin. PS--if you are not hearing no, it could actually mean you are undercharging.
Spend some time understanding objections people have. It’s either time, money, or will this work. Learn what these are and try to answer these before your potential client can bring them up.
Think about your blocks to selling. I had blocks to selling because of confidence issues and some conflicting feelings about capitalism. But I had to work through that because I’m a writer who writes things that sell things! What I realized was there was a reframe—that the very thing that made me dislike “sales-y stuff” was actually an asset because there were others who didn't like to be "sold to" either.
I eventually decided that I only write things that respect people’s intelligence…. Stuff that gives them everything they need to know to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy something. And that my aversion to “salesy writing” was actually an asset.
Ultimately, you’ll find a way to do it so it feels good.