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Kim Wilson
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Selling Yourself with Results
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and Associates

You can stick your big corporate list back in your briefcase. And don't bother showing off your plushy portfolio unless the prospective client specifically requests to see some of your samples.

Despite popular belief, your samples or big corporate client lists is not what interests prospective clients the most. Nor does pitching the benefits of your writing services or demonstrating how skillful or fast you can write.

What interests prospective clients the most is results. Results sell because clients know results solve problems—potentially their problems.

If clients are going to invest a lot of money in your services, they are going first to make sure you are competent enough to achieve their anticipated results.

Your results are a benchmark of your talents and skills. Your results sell your true potential and nothing more. Your results immediately tell the prospective client if you are capable for the project or not. Results are specific. They leave no "gray" areas of ambiguity, exaggeration or alteration. When you tell a prospective client that you helped XYZ Company pull in 1,021 orders, it's 1,021 orders, no less, no more. That's what sells, not: "I helped XYZ Company pull in thousands of orders" or worse: "My copywriting services helped XYZ Company generate many orders."

If you've been soliciting work from small businesses, schools, private institutions, or home-based businesses, you might have been able to successfully sell yourself without showcasing your results. But this is "sloppy" marketing. If you want to seek bigger clients who'll pay you more, you must sell yourself with results.

Big corporate clients, big businesses and specialized manufacturers in billion dollar industries are schooled in gleaning results you've gotten for other clients from your promotional or informational material. If you don't sell yourself with results, the work will be outsourced to another freelancer who does.

Understanding the Power of Results
The biggest benefit of selling yourself with results is that it immediately satisfies the most important prerequisite to securing work: your ability to produce results. Clients really hire you for only one reason. That one reason is how you can help solve their problems. Pitching your writing services or exaggerating how well or fast you can write does not satisfy this major requirement. Results do.

Results are outcomes that solve problems. When prospective clients review results you've gotten for other clients, they're veritably assessing how these results can benefit their businesses.

Your results have the ability to:

A. solve the client's immediate problem;
B. solve a future or potential problem;
C. achieve better results than what another writer could achieve;
D. define the client's needs.

A second benefit of selling yourself with results is that results are a reflection of your skills and abilities. Results sell you, the writer. Pitching your writing services or client list only defines—not sells!—what you're capable of writing and who've you worked for.

When you write: "I can write you a killer press release, one that gets results." Who really cares? It lacks impact. In fact, it sounds hyperbolic, and the prospective client will want to know where the proof is to back up this claim.

The other alternative: "One press release I wrote for XYZ Company ran in The Boston Globe, USA Today, The New York Times, including twenty-five other newspapers with circulation in excess of one million. The outcome: nationwide exposure of the company's new product line which helped the company rake in $120,000 in sales in six months."

Now that's a lot better. The statement contains specific, factual information. And it's short, simple, concise, clear, and answers the prospective client's primary question: What results can you achieve for me—not what can you write for me or how well you can write.

A third benefit of selling yourself with results is that your results not only sell yourself with great credibility and impact, but they also demonstrate your ability to write result-oriented copy and foreshadow the benefits of your services.

If you pulled in 1,021 orders for XYZ Company, the benefit of your services is that you can increase the company's sales with your PR services. Your results supplement this claim.

A fourth benefit of selling yourself with results is that your results can immediately pigeonhole yourself as a top expert in your field. Because results are an extension of your abilities and talents, they can showcase you, the writer, and how you can help the client solve his problem. The statement: "I helped XYZ Company pull in many orders with my PR skills" cannot pigeonhole yourself as a top PR expert, since anyone can make that claim. However, "I helped XYZ Company pull in 1,021 orders with my PR services," can pigeonhole yourself as an expert in your field, because you may be the only writer who can achieve these arresting results. If this is the case, you can easily separate yourself from your competitors.

A fifth benefit of selling yourself with results is that results help pitch yourself with clear, concise informational material—especially results—tends to have a greater impact because it's more objective, rather than subjective. The client will believe in your results, not your slanted, long-winded result-absence claims.

Crafting Results
The most difficult part in assembling results to plug into your promotional and informational material is first to produce the results. If you're a beginner who has not kept track of results you're getting for your clients, you'll be coerced into pitching the benefits of your writing services and/or showcasing your client list to make an impact. For now, that's okay—but begin collecting results. If you've been keeping track of results you're getting for other clients, you can begin showcasing your results that will help sell you, the writer.

Results are composed of two elements: outcomes and how these outcomes have benefited your clients or how they've helped solve their problems.

Take inventory of every assignment and project you've done for clients. Then ask yourself this one question: What outcome did this assignment or project produce?

Next, ask yourself this question: How did this outcome benefit the client or help solve his problem? For example, if you wrote a press release for XYZ Company to promote its new product line, what was the outcome of the press release? It might have been exposure in USA Today, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, as well as fifteen other major newspapers with circulation in excess of one million.

How did this outcome benefit the client? You might have helped the client rake in $120,000 in sales within six months which increased the company's annual income by 2.5%.

After you've written the outcomes and the benefits of each outcome for each assignment and project you've done for your clients, do an assessment to find out which results are the most impressive, which ones can pigeonhole yourself as an expert in your field, and which ones you want to use to sell yourself.

Put Your Results to Work For You
The next time you prepare your sales letter, brochure or business newsletter, make sure you accentuate the copy with results. Results, by themselves, can sell yourself and potentially persuade the prospective client to outsource work to you.

One way to grab the prospective client's attention is to begin your copy with a problem that he could face or may be facing, then pitch yourself as the person who has the answer—and support your claim with results you've gotten for other clients who'd faced the same problem and show how these results had benefited the clients.

Your results will show prospective clients that you have what it takes to solve their problems—and that's all what really matters to them.

There will be times when you'll still need to showoff your big corporate client list or exaggerate the benefits of your writing services. And samples and clips are still necessary if prospective clients want to see some sort of tangible proof of your results. However, you must prioritize the effectiveness of what works and what works the least.

Results work the best. They're priority number one. They sell solutions. So always use them first.

Brian Konradt is the owner and operator of FreelanceWriting.com, a Web site dedicated to help writers master the business and creative sides of freelance writing. Mr. Konradt is also the principal of BSK Communications & Associates, a communications/publishing business in New Jersey, which he established in 1992.









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