We writers have the hardest time pitching our books to our readers. It can also be something else, like pitching the services we offer (editing, proofreading, etc.) or the interviews we’re interested in (inviting people to guest blog, to take part in our podcast, etc.) or the jobs we want (cold e-mailing publications or news outlets or places that are hiring writers).
Here is the thing.
Most of the time we do it wrong, and it’s because we’ve never been trained in the art of selling, and have a knee-jerk reaction to anyone attempting to teach us.
Well, I’m about to teach you as I’ve taught myself, after failing and failing and failing, many times, then failing again.
When you talk to people, make it about them. Because, guess what.
IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!
Pretend you’re them. Would you want to get yet another cookie-cutter email that clearly aims to sell and doesn’t care one bit about YOU being busy with your own stuff?
So how to go about it? Here are the 7 steps for you on how not to come across as a jerk, and how to really really REALLY help the person on the receiving end. They'll love you for it.
Communicate your excitement in the subject line. “Stoked to reconnect!”
In the body of the email, use their name. Their first name, like you’d talk to a friend.
Pre-write the email copy if you have to, but customize each email to make it personal, and the two things you do are: after greeting them by their name, thank them for their time and congratulate them on something new and awesome they’ve done (got a new puppy! finished 107th book! jumped to the Moon!)
Pitch the benefits, not your product!!! (You new book, your editing services, etc.) What will they get out of it? How much will it help them?
Ask if they need your help, and ask for the sale, but not for the actual sale. The goal of the cold email is to talk more, not to sell your product yet. So say “Do you need help with this? If so, I’d be thrilled to chat more!”
Offer them something they can’t resist. A free book. A free hour of proofreading. A free dog-wash (you come over and wash their dog…you know, get creative.) ANYTHING.
End on a question. Always end on a question. Which is a simple open-ended question. “How does this sound?”
This way you’re inviting them to continue the conversation, which was your goal to begin with.
It may take up to 5 meetings (or communications online, depending on your product), and every time your goal is to sell the next meeting, and the next, and the next, until the person trusts you enough to buy.
Be patient. It’ll pay off in ways you can’t even imagine.