Earlier this year when I decided to stop writing about the Mongolian Mining industry and start writing for clients who had brilliant, super duper services that actually made a difference to people’s lives, I decided I would have to seek out aforementioned cool people and let them know I wanted to help.
If you’re doing a “where’s my perfect customer” brainstorm right now, this cringe-worthy moment is my valuable lesson to you… without the embarassment.
To start with, here’s what did work:
List your cool services
Start the art of seducing your customers by brainstorming the great things that you love to do that you can do to help other people.
Mine included things like: web copy, sales copy, eBook writing, ghost-writing, article writing etc.
List customer qualities
Be specific as you can, it might be that you want them to have a sense of humour, you want them to be easy to get on with, hands off / hands on, it doesn’t matter. If you start off with perfect, even if you come close to finding (and securing) that customer you’re going to be pretty happy working with them.
So, I wanted someone who was passionate about their business, someone who knew how important their audience connection was to the success of their business, and someone who would be good fun. I also wanted someone who used a lot of quality content on their site.
(And here comes the mistake).
List ideal customers
One person on my list of people to approach was Johnny Truant. I whipped up a ghost-written post in his style of writing, all about the importance of creating an 80s montage in your business. I thought it rocked, I sent it over with a nice little email I thought he’d respond to, confident that the subject matter and style would suit him and his business like a velvet smoking jacket.
The title was this:
You don’t need to weld or dance in a tavern, but you have to move your ass if you want to hear Flashdance
(I still like that title and one day I might even publish the post) I waited a couple of days for him to say “Amy, please let me put my name to this, no wonder they call it ghost-writing because the way you’ve captured my style is both spooky and unprecedented”.
What I received back was:
I’ll be totally honest… this is very strange…
There was no criticism with the writing, and Johnny could see what I was trying to do, but I had completely missed the mark thinking he was my target market.
What I Forgot to Do
I forgot to ask the question: “Is there any obvious, blatantly staring you in your face reason why they WOULDN’T pay for your services?”
Why Johnny Said No
Johnny Truant LOVES to write.
He’s just released a course all about the importance of telling stories when making sales.
Funnily enough, I’d even done my research and should have known this. I know he has an unpublished book in his closet that he takes out from time to time to read back to himself and he thinks it’s brilliant.
His response continued:
There’s nothing wrong with what you did, but writing is so personal to me that I’d never dream of having anything ghostwritten… If you’re pitching people like me to ghostwrite for, I think it may miss the mark because writing is something I’d NEVER outsource. It’s something I love and is very personal.
In hindsight, though I felt a bit silly at the time, I don’t think I’d have avoided writing and sending him the post because I got feedback pretty much straight away that I wasn’t on the right course, and I could make the changes in who I was checking out on Twitter or Listorious.
Your Free Lesson
- Think carefully about your target market
- Don’t let the thinking put you off taking action
- Get feedback from your prospects if possible
- Take notice of said feedback and change your course accordingly
Hey Danielle, thanks, it’s been very theraputic just to get this out of my system – I highly recommend it!
Danielle Baird says
Cheers to you for being so brave! (In both sending your post and talking about your story here)
Marian Schembari says
Lady, I am so impressed you posted this. We’ve all been there – those awkward little situations – and the fact that you just came out here and talked about it and illustrated the lessons in a way where they applied to you and to your readers…. BRILLIANT! I don’t think I’d have the balls to do that but I’m so so glad YOU did 🙂
Marian, you told me I had lady balls! I think that is one of the BEST compliments I’ve ever had. 🙂
I’m so glad you liked it, I really want to share more content like this – (as long as it’s useful and not just embarassing stuff!).
It’s kind of good to know that you can hit a few bumps in the road and not have everything crumble because of it. 🙂 (touch wood!)
Iain Gray says
“I’ll be totally honest… this is very strange…”
Brilliant. Just Brilliant.
Good on you for just going ahead and doing it. So many people worry themselves into a frenzy about what will happen if they get rejected, write the thing, delete it, write it again, and then spend the rest of the week feeling guilty about not sending it.
And guess what? If you get rejected… it means you got rejected.
So true Iain,
Months before this would have been my worst case scenario, everything I wouldn’t have wanted to happen after pitching.
Even though it made me feel daft that what I thought was awesome was actually a little…creepy – it did show me that the world didn’t stop spinning because of it.
Debbie Ferm says
I love this, Amy! Because I’ve done some things that are so damn embarrassing that I can hardly think about them without cringing. But when you put it out there like this, it takes the power out of it, and just makes it seem funny:)
Good on Johnny for responding that way. I’m sure he felt funny about it, too!
I’ve been sitting on this little “lesson” since May because it made me feel like such a plonker!
Figured it was time to just hold up my hand and say: ” Oh yeah…umm don’t do this… “
Johnny B. Truant says
I love that you made a lesson out of this. Now I don’t have to feel like as much of a dick. 🙂
You were awesome about it, I should have put in the bit about how Tim Brownson told me to do it (which I might use as my excuse for everything these days).
Your feedback was so helpful it really made me see my target market more clearly, so thanks!