Charming hard-nosed clients …

Let’s start with Charitable Giving.

Recently, I offered my copywriting services to a local charity for free, not only to bump up my own portfolio, but also to promote them (standard practise for those of us wanting to break into a particular niche).

Anyway, it sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Who’s going to turn down an experienced sales and marketing professional when the charity has a major event coming up?

So, the charity got in touch to say that their head honcho wanted to meet me as soon as possible. On arrival I was told that the charity didn’t need a copywriter – even for free. Uhuh ..would an email or phonecall have been too much trouble?

We’ve all had bad interviews. It happens. Apart from grabbing the interviewer’s head and ramming it down a toilet, what else can the interviewee do?

Try and rescue the situation.

Successful salespeople build trust and rapport by empathising with their customer and mirroring their speech patterns and actions, suggesting that, like the customer – they are trustworthy and likeable.

So I did just that (except for agreeing there was no need for a copywriter), I listened intently as the customer explained how it would take him too long to get a newcomer up to speed, how he wrote all his own press releases, how he realised that the website needed radical updating …

… and how the sponsorship director had left two weeks before and he hadn’t found anyone to fill their place and how it was just down to him and his secretary now …and would I like a job?

By nodding encouragingly, and making reassuring noises I’d got the gig …which I turned down.

The alarm bells had sounded

in my head when (after prompting) I was told that people were leaving and not being replaced. The word, ‘rats’ and, ‘sinking ship’ featured heavily in my decision – especially as new recruits were, seemingly, actively discouraged.

However, no matter how inflexible a customer appears to be at the start of a meeting, they can be persuaded to change their mind if they feel listened to and understood – I’ve had enough successes with this method to know it’s worth a try.

So despite the charity having (ahem) a none-too-eyecatching website and not keeping the public up-to-date on their events and future plans, a copywriter was surplus to requirements.

I wish them well in their endeavours.







Published by

Sam Horsey Copywriting

Yorkshire-based freelance journalist & copywriter, espresso addict and lover of sourdough bread.

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