— August 30, 2017
Listen to people and offer advice. Don’t just talk about yourself.
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But there will come a day when you’ll have to step away from your keyboard, iron a shirt/blouse and go speak to living, breathing business owners.
I know it’s not what you signed up for when you shelled out for that expensive copywriting course, promising you could work from home in your PJs and never have to do real businessy things like “networking” ever again.
But trawling through Facebook groups, battling over poverty level rates on Upwork or email bombing lists you’ve harvested on LinkedIn will only get you so far.
If you want to work with serious players and high ballers (who’ll pay you $ 10k+ per project) you need to make some moves in the real world, making eye contact and greasing palms.
Live events are where ballers hang out
Unfortunately, most of us in this madcap copywriting world are committed introverts.
That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
It’s why we’re so good at getting into people’s heads, emphasizing with the pain they feel in their gut and conjuring up the emotional triggers that helps us sell stuff.
However, at a live networking event, hiding in the corner pretending to read your emails ain’t going to win you many new clients. So what can you do?
Thankfully, over the years of relentless marching into networking events, bold as brass, I’ve developed a few tactics for connecting with the right people and sparking new business opportunities, before kicking open the nearest fire escape to scurry home and recharge.
Today, I’d like to share them with you:
1. Dress smart
I know we’re all complicated and ‘multifaceted’ types. But people make opinions based on first impressions. So we just have to accept it and dress like professionals.
However, getting the iron out does offer an added bonus…
Along with presenting yourself as a reliable wordsmith, who pens high converting copy as surely as lightning strikes the tree, dressing smart is like putting on a suit of armour. It puts you in the right frame of mind and to feel like you have a serious service people need to know about.
Wearing an ironed shirt (or a smart T-shirt under a blazer) will give you the confidence that you have a look that reassures prospects. Turning up in your slacks and “witty” T-shirt (“we dress like this because we’re creative”) will have the reverse effect.
2. Walk up to people and say “Hello”
If you’ve attended a networking event before, the idea of entering a room of people you don’t know and walking up to introduce yourself can feel so far outside your comfort zone that you’re convinced your body will shut down in protest before you’ve even opened the door.
When, in fact, there’s nothing much to it.
I’ve done it so many times now that I don’t even think about it. I just look for the nearest group of people that looks interesting, walk up and introduce myself with hand outstretched.
Here’s the truth: Nearly everybody HATES networking. But if you want to make connections outside of the interwebs and step up in your career, it’s a necessary evil.
Attendees get this and will always be open to welcoming you into their conversation.
3. Ask questions. Don’t just talk about yourself
Any door-to-door salesmen worth their salt knows that the most powerful way to sell is to LISTEN. Find out about people’s business. Ask them what their marketing challenges are. What tactics have they tried and which have been a black hole for spending money (i.e. SEO).
Then give them advice on what to do. Help them to solve a marketing challenges that’s been bugging them or give them tips on why to try instead.
But…hold back a little.
Give them some chickens but don’t hand over the farm.
Give advice freely. But hold back on giving them an entire marketing strategy in one sitting. Just give them enough advice to get them interested and then tell them how to contact you to book a consultation.
4. Take PRINTED case studies
Reassuringly stiff business cards are good and all. But if you really want to impress people, proudly handing out printed, attractively designed case studies is a powerful way to do it.
You could do a case study about:
- How you built a funnel for a client with a clear ROI
- A breakdown of a sales page you did that converts well
- How to write a soap opera sequence instead of pure promotional emails
- How to use toll free numbers to generate leads
- A traffic source that isn’t yet swamped and offers cheap, targeted clicks (more on this to follow).
Then present your case study like you’re giving them a gift. Explain how you are giving them a strategy that can ramp up their response rates and sales in a matter of days.
Remember to follow-up to see how they’re getting on. If they haven’t had time to implement it or are struggling to action it, propose you do it for them for a very reasonable fee.