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Monthly Archives: August 2010

3 Do’s & Don’ts When You Meet Potential Clients

You have a meeting with a potential client and you’re excited. The phone is finally beginning to ring and your business is taking off. Congratulations!

After the euphoria subsides and you slowly float to earth, the anxiety sets in and you begin to worry about what to do, what to say, and how to make sure he hires you and not some other freelancer.

Here are 3 Do’s and Don’ts to help you make a great first impression and turn this potential client into a paying client.

3 Do’s for a Successful First Meeting


1. Arrive on time.
This one’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many freelancers show up late for meetings. So arrive on time, even a few minutes early. Your potential new client will be impressed by your punctuality and you will feel calm and focused.

2. Observe the proprieties.
Make eye contact, smile, and shake hands firmly. Okay, that’s three packaged as one because you do them simultaneously when you first meet someone.

3. Arrive prepared.
Arrive prepared to sign this client at this meeting. Make sure you have the following items with you: your business cards, marketing brochures, laptop, portfolio, and two copies of your contract (one for you and one for your client, so you both have a signed copy).

Avoid These Don’ts to Make a Good Impression


1. Do not wear jeans.
Let me repeat this because it is critical. Do not wear jeans even if it’s casual Friday for the client company. Make sure you are dressed professionally.

2. Do not answer your cell phone.
Better yet, turn it off as you enter the meeting. When I am in meetings with clients or potential clients, and even when I visit with friends, I turn off my cell phone, so I can give them my undivided attention. When I first enter a business meeting of any type, I usually take out my cell phone and casually say, “Let me turn off my cell phone, so we’re not interrupted.” This subtly indicates that I think they are special because they deserve my undivided attention. It also acts as a prompt for them to shut off or silence their cell phones, as well.

3. Do not lie.
When you lie about your experience or on your resume, you will inevitably get caught because the publications community is a small one and people talk to each other.

Use these three Do’s at every meeting you attend, avoid the 3 Don’ts, and you will be on your way to impressing potential clients right into hiring you on the spot.

Do you have a favorite Do or Don’t for meetings with potential clients? I invite you to share it with us.

Write On With Confidence!

Cara
The Writers Inkwell Muse

How to Write With Surgical Precision

When you write something, an article, a book chapter, even a letter, how do you do it? What I mean is, do you find writing easy and effortless or do you work at it, at least a bit?

The aura that surrounds writers includes the perceived ability of professional writers to write well the first time, every time. People who are not writers seem to think that people who are writers have some secret gift for putting words on paper the right way the first time.

Do you write it and your’e done? Or do you write it, read it, edit or rewrite, read it again, then repeat the process?

Inevitably, every time I teach “Writing for Results,” someone says they’re taking my class because they want to learn how to ‘do it right the first time.” By ‘do it right’ they mean they want to write, with every word, sentence, and phrase correct the first time and be done with it.

Delving into their determination to do it right the first time usually yields the information that their sixth grade teacher or a college professor told them they couldn’t write and never would.

Let me assure you that even professional writers usually do not write perfectly correct the first time. We write our first draft, then we mull that over. Then we rewrite our second draft. Sometimes we may even write a third or fourth draft or more. At some point, we decide that what we have written will do and we begin to copyedit the document. That may take us through it a few more times.

I usually tell my students, “If you want to do it right the first time, you need to get over that because doing it right requires more than one time through the document.

If it’s any comfort to those of you who still feel like you need to do it right the first time, keep in mind that writing with the surgical precision you think professional writers have is a result of the writing and editing process.

On a magazine the editorial process goes something like this: the writer writes a first draft, re-reads it and writes a second draft (or third). The writer then submits the article to the magazine’s editor who edits it. The editor then hands the article to the magazine’s copyeditor who does a thorough copyedit. The copyeditor then hands the article to the magazine’s proofreader who does the final editorial review prior to shipping it to the printer.

I get exhausted just thinking about the editorial process for one little article. . . .

Write On With Confidence!

2

Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead

Imagine my surprise when I opened the unexpected package and learned that I’d won an amazing book, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.

It was sunny, warm, and beautiful, and I had a clear schedule, so I took the book outside, intending to read it from cover to cover. Instead, I found myself savoring every word as I realized that this is a book to read and study, so that its lessons can be learned and applied.

That was Thursday. Today, I want to share with you what I learned in the Introduction and Chapter One, “Create a Unique Business Model.” As most Deadheads know, and as the book’s authors write, the Grateful Dead turned the music industry’s “business model on its ear.”

Instead of doing concert tours to promote record album sales like other bands did, the Grateful Dead focused on earning their income from live concerts where they created an experience for their fans that was unlike that of any other music band at the time or since.

Instead of playing the same songs in the same sequence at each concert, each show, and I’m quoting the book directly here, “had a unique set of songs, and each song was played in a unique way.”

This is part of the reason fans were drawn to attend each show. It is also why some of the Grateful Dead’s fans, known as Deadheads, made a career of following the band and attending their concerts wherever they played.

Another thing the Grateful Dead did differently from other bands was they allowed their fans to tape and even film their concerts. The band was unconcerned about “losing control” of their music and, in fact, encouraged their fans to exchange their recordings. The Dead even set up an area at each concert where fans who were recording the concert would get the best sound.

By creating this unique business model that was unlike what any other band at that time was doing, the Grateful Dead created a multimillion dollar music empire and their fans were their biggest promoters.

How can you, as a freelance writer, use the Grateful Dead’s unique business model to take your business to the next level?

Businesses that stand out from their competition are few and far between. The book’s authors suggest that you ask yourself what you do better than your competition, then find a way to use that to position your business as the one with the solution to your customer’s problems.

As I read each chapter, I will report back to you, my readers, and we’ll discuss how you can use these marketing gems to help catapult your freelance writing business to success.

I’ll begin with me following the Grateful Dead’s example of losing control of their music content by ‘losing control’ of my blog content. If you want to reprint this blog post or any blog post on the WritersInkwell.com site, you have my permission to do so as long as you include the copyright and URL information that appears at the end of each blog post:

To Use This Article on Your Blog or Web Site, It Must Be Offered Free to Your Readers and Visitors and Include the Following Paragraph:
Copyright © 2010 Cara Morgan and WritersInkwell, LLC. This article is republished with permission of Writers Inkwell with the understanding that it is only republished on blogs and web sites that offer this reprint free of charge to their readers and visitors. To read more articles from Writers Inkwell, please visit www.WritersInkwell.com.

Good Writing Is Concise

“A successful book is not made up of what is in it, but what is left out of it.” —Mark Twain

I couldn’t have said that better myself. In fact, I often find myself pouring over many of Mark Twain’s famous quotes and opinions about writing. He was a master of clarity, conciseness, and the dry wit.

Here’s some advice from the legendary Mark Twain about concise writing:

“I never write metropolis for seven cents when I can get the same for city. I never write policeman when I can get the same for cop.”

Twain also once wrote, ‘Eschew surplusage’ in an effort to emphasize how important concise writing is in helping the reader easily understand the message the writer wants to convey. (Here’s the URL for the online Merriam Webster dictionary site, in case you want to look up the definition of those words.)

But how can you write concisely? Try this daily writing practice to help you make your writing more concise:

Every day spend five minutes writing about any subject that interests you. The only guideline is that you must write using only one syllable words. I know this sounds difficult, however, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised by the amazing word pictures you will write.

I invite you to dip your pen into the Inkwell and share your one-syllable essay with us or tips about how you make sure you write concisely.

Write On With Confidence!

The Writers Inkwell Muse