Man, I used to think one of my copywriting and direct response marketing idols Gary Halbert must have been a REAL cranky guy to work with as he used to show up to many of his seminars with baseball cap on his head that boldly proclaimed “CLIENTS SUCK”.
Wow, can you imagine if you were one of his clients sitting there… who had just probably paid a couple of grand to be there… and you see the great Gary Halbert strut into the meeting room wearing that hat? I’d probably spit my coffee out all over myself or start choking on my dang donut.
But from everything I’ve ever heard about him, Gary Halbert was not the kind of person who really gave a rat’s rear end about anyone’s opinion. BUT… as arguably THE most successful direct response copywriter and marketer of his time in history and MAYBE of all time, he had earned the right to be as cocky and offensive as he wanted to be, knowing that there would ALWAYS be a huge line of people just begging to throw their money at him.
This was the complete opposite where I was mentally in my short lived copywriting career.
The thing is, as a relatively new to the business Freelance Copywriter, getting clients seemed to the ONLY thing that really mattered to me.
So, for MUCH longer than I wish to admit, finding and securing work from the elusive folks that would be willing to write a check for me was all that really mattered to me.
And out of sheer panic not to go bankrupt I tended to be VERY timid when talking to any potential clients and I SWEAR looking back at it now, I KNOW that they absolutely could SMELL the desperation just dripping off of me like sweat on a hot July day here in Florida.
It put me at a terrible disadvantage when it came to negotiating the terms of my deals and while most of my early clients were still very fair to me… there were a couple that smelled blood when talking to me and absolutely (in a figurative manner) went in for the kill when it came to our business negotiations.
I was what Gary Halbert’s associate and friend John Carlton calls a “Clueless Rookie” and I was FAR more dangerous to myself than to anyone else.
At times I would have made more money for myself asking “would you like fries with that?”, than in writing sales copy that was making my clients money hand over fist. I’m not bragging here, I just know that even during my “rookie phase”, I had the basics of direct response marketing down and knew how to craft a good basic sales pitch and that’ll put ANYONE world’s ahead of 99% of the population.
So, despite being super frustrated and at times on the verge of “tossing my clubs into the water” or something like that, I kept pressing on and discovered there was some truth to that UNIVERSAL law that you hear about that basically says that once you start putting something into motion, even it’s REALLY slow at first or riddled with landmines that you occasionally step right on, that if you keep pressing through you’ll eventually start building up some much needed momentum and seemingly out of nowhere you’ll be coasting along getting some taste of success.
That’s EXATLY what happened to yours truly.
I went from ZERO to SIXTY in terms of landing some real, high-paying, long term clients that allowed me to quickly go from a state of “Not So Quiet” desperation to a position of POWER when it came to negotiating new deals
What a GREAT feeling to not have to be all worried about getting hired in order to pay my bills, or you know, EAT.
I had enough money guaranteed coming in that even if I really WANTED a particular copywriting jobs… I didn’t NEED it, and man that just changes the whole ball game
So, that brings me to my point about FINALLY having that “Ah Ha” moment where I got where Gary Halbert was coming from when it came to his attitude about clients. And here’s the thing… I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty positive that with him being the genius that he was, that wearing that hat was just a great psychological tactic to let EVERYONE know that was in NO way, shape or form in NEED of anyone hiring him. And, if they wanted him to grace them with the honor of having him write for them that they were going to have to pay him EVERY PENNY that he deserved (and he deserved a heck of a lot as his copy MADE money).
Anyways, I recently was contact by a company that asked me to re-write all of the copy for their web site, sales brochures, social media, email campaigns, etc.
Now, this was a BIG job and I quoted a pretty large fee which they agreed to! I was happy to get the gig but soon started having some regrets as this was a DULL, DULL, DULL project… BUT I agreed to do it and they were paying me well so I jumped into it with everything I had.
Again, they had ALL of their materials already written. My instructions were to take what they had and “bring it to life”… make it more lively and exciting as what they had was VERY technical and boring.
So, I did exactly what I do best. I wrote some hard hitting sales copy with lots of ACTION VERBS and POWER WORDS that were colorful and added lots of character to how they were presenting themselves.
The way we had structured this deal since there were so many different parts to it was that I would write in 4 stages… I would take two elements at a time, present the work, they would pay me and I would move onto the next part of the project.
Well, when I presented my first completed work to them I was quickly told that my copy was TOO over the top and TOO direct and they were NOT going pay me for my work! And, they were firing me from the rest of our agreed deal.
If this had happened even just a few months ago I would have been VERY upset but instead I remained relatively calm… reminded them that THEY CAME TO ME… I didn’t solicit them… they came to me and hired me based off of reviewing the type of sales copy I write and wanting me to do that for them. Which, is exactly what I did, but then I guess they got COLD FEET about having copy that a little on the “edgy” side and more ballsy compared to the VERY DRAB, technical copy they already had.
I told them that it was fine to cancel the remainder of our agreement but THEY WOULD pay me for the work I had already spent two full weeks working on… OR they would hear from my attorney.
I QUICKLY had my full pay wired to my paypal account and I calmly washed my hands of them and gladly said “Sayonara” to ever dealing with them again.
That was it… no hard feelings… no bruised ego.
You know why? Because I KNOW that my copy does the only thing it is supposed to do… it GETS RESULTS.
I have the proof that my gets my clients more sales than they ever have gotten before and that they are making LOTS and LOTS of money… which make them HAPPY to pay ME LOTS of money!
So, while I am far from being at the level of Gary Halbert I am VERY confident that the skills I have developed from several years of studying the art of Direct Response Copywriting that I don’t have to EVER settle again for being used and abused by ANY clients as I’ll always be able to find plenty of clients based on showing the proving results I have already gotten for others.
If you want to learn these VITAL business skills yourself I will soon be launching a copywriting coaching club where I will be working with a limited number of entrepreneurs and wanna-be freelance copywriters to show them step by step my system for writing direct response sales copy that gets the ACTION you or your clients desire.
Get on my VIP Email List now to be among the first to be notified. I’m sure Sir Gary Halbert would 🙂