Welcome to THE WELL-FED E-PUB!

 

Serving upfood for thought and tasty tips for the prospering FLCW*. Come on in, sitanywhere and bring your appetite!

 

*FLCW,peppered throughout the ezine, stands for "Freelance CommercialWriter" – the designation for anyone who freelances for businesses(as opposed to writing magazine articles, short stories, poetry, etc.), andtypically earns $50-125+ an hour. 

 

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VOLUME 9,ISSUE 2 – FEBRUARY 2010 – HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

Publishingthe first Tuesday of every month since May 2002 

Read itOnline at: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/feb2010.html 

 

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"THEWELL-FED WRITER," 2009 EDITION – NOW AVAILABLE!

FR.EEe-Bonus & U.S. Shipping. http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ordertwfw.shtml.

 

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GROUPCOACHING FEBRUARY PROGRAM! TWO SLOTS LEFT!

Nextsession starts February 10, 2010 (and filling fast, so don’t wait!) Details: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml. 

 

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I NEED YOURGREAT STORIES FOR THE EPUB! I'm seriously low on ALL courses and would love toget your success stories, strategies, tips and features. See"Coffee." 

 

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THISMONTH'S MENU:

 

I.APPETIZER: CONFUSING COPY, CLUELESS REPLY

Yet OneMore Example Underscores Truth: “There’s So Much Work (to Do).”

 

II."FIELD" GREENS: CLIENTS SWAPPING PRICEY AGENCIES FOR FLCW’S

IA FLCW’sClient Drops Ad Agency, Gives Her More Work, AND Saves Money! 

 

III.MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: CREATING CONNECTIONS OVER COFFEE!

AussieSales Pro: Sharing Coffee with Clients Breaks Down Barriers, Builds Rapport!

 

IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

NZ FLCWSets Calling Fears Aside, Is Pleasantly Surprised at How Nice People Are! 

TIP: IAFLCW Says Odd Email Address Prompts Conversations from Prospects!  

 

V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THE WELL-FEDE-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- GROUPCOACHING! Now Filling Final Slots for February Program: 2 Left!   

- TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog

- MISSED MYTELECLASS? Full 38-PAGE e-Transcript – Just $12!

- AWAICopywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get 2 Bonuses (no charge!)

- How CanMy Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I. APPETIZER:CONFUSING COPY, CLUELESS  REPLY

Yet OneMore Example Underscores Truth of “There’s So Much Work (to Do).”

 

Like I keepsaying, writing is everywhere (in case you wonder who might use people likeus). There’s no business out there that doesn’t need to generate a lot ofwriting. Which means, by definition, and fortunately for us, bad writing iseverywhere as well (when those clients use bad writers or unskilled internalfolk). Of course, unfortunately for us, some potential prospects just don’t getit – don’t perceive there’s a need.

 

So, whileexamples like the following one don’t necessarily lead to fertile opportunitiesto get hired (though if I dug further, who knows what I’d find?), itunderscores the depth of the ongoing need for what we offer. AND provides somereliable entertainment.

 

So, a fewweeks back, I’m checking out the details and ticket prices of an upcomingconcert on the venue’s web site. Under pricing, here’s how it reads:

 

Tickets:Children $20, $30, $40   Subscriptions: Children $20, $24, $32

 

Huh? I lookfor a general customer service email address to ask someone what in the worldTHAT means, and there is none (and for the record, this is a big, prominentevent venue attached to a major university). I’m reduced to emailing one of theindividuals listed as one of the managers. And as it’s a weekend, notsurprisingly, I didn’t hear back until Monday. Impressive. 

 

So inresponse to my bringing the confusing copy to their attention, I receive anemail back explaining that $20 is for children, and $30 and $40 are adultprices for different parts of the theater (and the other prices are if you’dbought a five-event series (of course, no info on how to do that linked fromthere).

 

Got it.But, apparently, SHE didn’t, as evidenced by here final comment: “Sorry youfound it so complicated.” Sort of a nice way of saying, “Sorry you couldn’tgrasp what should have been blindingly obvious to anyone with an IQ over 50.” Iwrote back:

 

“With alldue respect, the wording WAS confusing, and confused prospects don’t buy (Ihadn’t). I promise it wouldn't just be me who found it complicated. Justbecause people don't email you in droves pointing out something confusingdoesn't mean it isn't). Just a suggestion to make it crystal clear:

 

Tickets: $30,$40 (Children $20)   Subscriptions: $24, $32 (Children $20)

 

Never heardback. And just to confirm I wasn’t a dim bulb, I emailed the exchange to a goodfriend of mine who’s a copywriter, ex-journalist, ex-Marcom pro, instructor ofbusiness communications at a local college, and someone with a phenomenal sensefor what good communication looks/sounds like. Her reply: “She’s an idiot!You’re SO correct. I might have to use that example in my businesscommunications class!”

 

Incidentally,my friend regularly emails us (names removed, of course), emails from some ofher students, who are so utterly clueless about proper communication (at leastthey’re in the right class!) as to take one’s breath away. And many of thesewill be the communications people we’ll likely be dealing with in a few years.The future for us is bright indeed. On that happy note, let’s eat!

 

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II."FIELD" GREENS: CLIENTS SWAPPING PRICEY AGENCIES FOR FLCW’S

IA FLCW’sClient Drops Ad Agency, Gives Her More Work, AND Saves Money!  

 

Got thisgreat piece from Iowa FLCW Darcy Maulsby (yettergirl@yahoo.com,www.darcymaulsby.com; profiled on p. 312 of ‘The Well-FedWriter’). Darcy’s story here highlights an exceptionally positive trend forcommercial freelancers, thanks to the down economy: companies shedding priceyagencies in favor of more economical freelancers. Remember, the economy maytaketh away, but it also giveth. Also, check out a cute story/tip of Darcy’sabout her unusual email address in the Dessert section. Enjoy! 

 

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Hi Peter:In a recent post on The Well-Fed Writer Blog (check out 12/27/09 post at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog), you noted companies droppingpricey agencies but still needing to get the work done – creatingopportunities for folks like me. So true.

 

For severalyears, I’ve written a quarterly newsletter for one of Iowa’s leading retirementcommunities, which relies on an agency to handle its other marketing work.During a meeting in late 2009, the marketing director at the retirementcommunity asked if I would be interested in helping them with theorganization’s advertising. As she explained, “We’re not a Fortune 500 companyand don’t have unlimited marketing budgets, so we’re trimming costs by movingaway from our agency.” 

 

I jumped atthe chance. Now I’m assisting this client not only with the newsletter, butalso monthly ads, sales brochures, newspaper columns, the annual report,photography and more. Everyone wins, because the client gets the work done at amore affordable price, and I get more projects, while earning my full rate.

 

Peter, I totally agree with yourassessment that it’s time to stop thinking of ourselves as freelance writersand start promoting ourselves as problem-solvers. After all, the companies thatare surviving in this economy understand the value of good copywriting and arewilling to pay for it—because they know it’s still a bargain.

 

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III.MAIN “MEAT” COURSE: CREATING CONNECTIONS OVER COFFEE!

AussieSales Pro: Sharing Coffee with Clients Breaks Down Barriers, Builds Rapport!

 

Got thisgreat piece from Aussie sales pro Tessa Stowe. All clients are humans first,crave good human connection as much as anyone, and like anyone, like to dobusiness with those they’ve connected with. And as Tessa points out, coffeeshops are a great place to do that. While her advice is geared to straightsalespeople, what we do as freelance copywriters is close enough to make theadvice just as sound.

 

By the way,Tessa teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps toturn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREEmonthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell yourservices by just being yourself. Sign up now at www.salesconversation.com.

 

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COFFEE-SHOPSELLING

 

Imagineyou’re a senior exec in a company with many reporting to you. From the momentyou walk into the office, you automatically act and talk your role. You havelots of responsibilities and you take them seriously. When people meet you inthe office, you play that role, as that’s what people expect. Your days arefull, rushing here and there.

 

Now supposethat in the middle of your hectic day, you’re invited out for coffee with afriend, where you know you can relax for a moment and just be yourself. Howwonderful and re-energizing would that be in the middle of your busy day?

 

Years ago,I was selling a multi-million dollar billing system to a telecommunicationscompany. I needed to meet with many people to put all the pieces of the sales“puzzle” together. Scheduling meetings was always difficult as they had fewmeeting rooms.

 

As a matterof necessity, I started inviting people out for a coffee meeting. As we steppedout of the office environment and into the coffee shop, a curious thinghappened. More often than not, the person I was having coffee with left theirrole behind and I had coffee with just the person behind the role.

 

We’d spendthe first few minutes just enjoying the shop environment and discussing what wewere up to personally. They’d begin to unwind, relax, and start to just bethemselves. When we got down to business, I’d tell them how much I’d appreciateany help, insights or tips they could give me to do my job better. It was likea floodgate had opened up, and the information and help would flow.

 

At the end,they always thanked me for the coffee, told me how much they’d enjoyed theconversation, and that we must do it again soon. They obviously enjoyed theexperience AND getting out of the office. When I next rang them and said,“Let’s catch up over coffee,” they’d do their best to fit it in their schedule.They wanted to get out of the office and go for a coffee. My colleagues wereconstantly amazed at the ease with which I got meetings, and with just aboutanyone.

 

By the way,I made that large sale, and I attribute it to these coffee-shop meetings. Sowhat are the lessons that I learned from “coffee-shop selling”?

 

1) Meetpeople in their office, and they’ll more than likely act the role they play inthat environment. Get them out that office and into a coffee-shop setting, andthey’ll be far more likely to just relax and be themselves.

 

2) Ifpeople feel relaxed in your company, they will open up to you.

 

3) If youmake it enjoyable to meet with you, people will meet with you.

 

4) If youshow that you appreciate someone’s help, they will help you.

 

So, whenyou can – and, no, it’s not always possible – invite your prospectout for a coffee and make it an enjoyable experience for both of you. You’ll beamazed at how they’ll go out of their way to get out for that coffee –and help you in the process.

 

©TessaStowe, Sales Conversation, 2010

 

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IV.DESSERT: Sweet Success Stories and Tips

NZ FLCWSets Calling Fears Aside, Is Pleasantly Surprised at How Nice People Are! 

TIP: IAFLCW Says Odd Email Address Prompts Conversations from Prospects!  

 

Got thisencouraging piece about cold-calling from Aussie (though now living in NewZealand) FLCW Mark Schneider (mark@westernwriter.net, www.westernwriter.net). As Mark’s account illustrates,the reality rarely is as scary as the imagined. And while he credits NewZealanders with being especially nice (no doubt true), my experience here inthe US of A is largely the same. And note his post-call follow-up process,which puts him in front of those same people again and again. Enjoy!

 

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Peter:Having recently emigrated from Western Australia to Dunedin in the beautifulSouth Island of New Zealand, I’ve had to re-start my copywriting businessagain, virtually from scratch. “Scratch” in this case is a lot of cold calling,which has caused me to reflect on this most feared marketing strategy,especially the truth of Wendy Meyeroff’s observation in last month’s E-PUB (http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine/jan2010.html) that “all they can do is say no.”

 

My coldcalling around Dunedin’s graphic designers and web designers has been anencouraging reminder of just how rarely people actually say “no.” NewZealanders are an open and friendly bunch and most are happy for a chat overthe phone and interested in what you have to offer.

 

Even thosewho already have a regular copywriter have been happy to take my emailedmarketing package and many have emailed me back telling me how impressed theyare with my work and my professional approach.

 

The trickis to develop a formula and stick to it. In my case that’s a phone script thatI hardly deviate from, followed by an emailed package consisting of anintroductory letter, some examples of my work in PDF format, a resume and acopy of my client newsletter. I follow that up with a flier in the mail. Easy!

 

The otherkey to success is to smile when you’re talking over the phone. Sounds weird, Iknow, but somehow your enthusiasm and sunny disposition just shines through onthe other end of the line, making you a pleasure to talk to.

 

And youknow what? The more you do it, the easier it gets! So my advice for anyonestarting off in this business is to put your fears aside and just do it –you’ll be pleasantly surprised, honest!

 

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During arecent email chat with Iowa FLCW Darcy Maulsby (yettergirl@yahoo.com, www.darcymaulsby.com; featured in the GREENS section ofthis issue), I noticed in her email signature (like the email/URL combo above),her email didn’t match her web site. I suggested, in the interest ofprofessionalism, that she make the email consistent with the URL (i.e., darcy@darcymaulsby.com). Here’s what she wrote,underscoring the power of “different” to attract attention and break the icewith prospects:

 

Hi Peter:I’ve debated this for years (yes, I do have the professional email address),but the funny thing is, this is an area where breaking the rules has paidoff. 

 

Youwouldn’t believe how many people ask what “yettergirl” means. I’ve had guessesranging from a “New York-Jewish thing” to “are you Amish?” (What????) It’s agreat conversation-starter, and people remember the email address because it’sso unusual.

 

In caseyou’re wondering, Yetter refers to the little town of Yetter, Iowa, (population49) where we haul the grain from our farm. My agricultural clients like thisstory, since it has a farming tie, and my urban clients get a kick out of it,too. I’ve always said I’m going to put Yetter on the map, and I guess my e-mailaddress is getting it done!

 

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V. COFFEE,MINTS AND TOOTHPICKS

- THEWELL-FED E-PUB NEEDS ALL COURSES!

- GROUPCOACHING! Now Filling Final Slots for February Program!   

- TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog 

- MISSED MYTELECLASS? Full 38-PAGE e-Transcript – Just $12!

- AWAICopywriting (& Other) Courses: Register Here, Get 2 Bonuses (no charge!)

- How CanMy Mentoring Service Serve You?

 

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I'MSERIOUSLY LOW ON ALL WELL-FED E-PUB COURSES!

Got a greatstrategy, approach or specific expertise you're willing to share? Turn it intoa Feature (MAIN COURSE) for the EPUB (400-500 words; query first). ALSO, sendyour "GREENS" (200-300 words), TIPS (150-200) and SUCCESS STORIES(200-300) to peter@wellfedwriter.com.Archived issues at http://www.wellfedwriter.com/ezine.shtml. 

 

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GROUPCOACHING! NOW FILLING FINAL SLOTS FOR FEBRUARY PROGRAM!   

In thestart-up stage of your commercial freelancing business? Looking for someguidance, confidence and camaraderie? Check out Group Coaching! Series #3begins on February 10, 2010 and I’ve filled 10 of 12 slots already, so don’twait. For full details and to register, visit: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/groupcoaching.shtml.      

 

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TheWELL-FED WRITER BLOG is Rockin'! http://www.wellfedwriter.com/blog 

 

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MISSED MYTELECLASS? "Thriving as a Freelance Commercial Writer"

 38-PAGE e-Transcript! $12: www.wellfedwriter.com/jan07tstranscript.shtml.

 

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AWAICOPYWRITING (& OTHER) COURSES: Register Here, Get 2 Extra Bonuses!

Six-FigureCopywriting, Graphic Design, Internet Writing, Fundraising, Health Market andmore! TWO Bonus CDS: http://www.wellfedwriter.com/awai.shtml.

 

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HOW CAN MYMENTORING SERVICE SERVE YOU?

For detailsand testimonials, visit www.wellfedwriter.com/Mentoring.shtml.

 

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