How to ask for whatever you want

Apart from the most obvious question we’d all expect a new copywriter to ask (which is: how can I get my first client?), the next most obvious question should be:

How to ask for whatever you want

Luckily, it’s also the title of this article, which is a continuation of my persuasion series you can start reading here (if you’ve missed any episodes, start there, it will make more sense of what follows).

Without using persuasion techniques, the only thing you’ll be able to sell are products needed immediately by desperate customers who have nowhere else to turn.

Which means you’ll need to spend a fortune (and a lot of time) finding out precisely where they are, by which time, if they’re desperate enough, they’ll already have been found and sold to by your competitors. They win (great), you lose (I’m sorry).

It’s also why market share really is everything when it comes to sales without persuasion. People know where to find you when they’re desperate (and, by being a market leader, you’ll also have enough money to keep advertising to them whilst the rest of us pick up the scraps).

Big corporations know the only way to keep winning is to crush their competitors one by one. Each competitor crushed unlocks another bunch of hungry customers.

And just in case you didn’t know, competitor crushing also starts with a series of questions:

1. Can we make our product better than theirs? This is so obvious, yet so useless in practice, however, it’s still the first question to ask (and the most used despite its uselessness).

2. Can we buy the company? The answer is usually no unless a significantly higher value than the company is worth is offered. Most corporations go down this path. They call it mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It involves huge sums of money and massive corporate bonuses so it’s no wonder it’s the most popular. If they say no, then a hostile takeover can work (but with a much higher risk of reputation damage).

3. Can we crush the competition? Obviously a very dangerous path full of lawsuits (and therefore cost), but still highly effective. There have been many incidents of “dirty tricks” campaigns where companies bad mouth their competitors or worse (often through third parties so no one’s the wiser). This is the villains’ choice of course. Not recommended.

4. Can we kill the product? This is done using innovation. Don’t create a better product, create a whole new industry or niche. Ford did it with mass production. Apple did it with the smartphone. Very rare but highly profitable (and something we can do too).

And that brings us to the headline of this article (“How to ask for whatever you want”).

But what has any of this got to do with asking?

Simple. Before you ask – you need to know what you want.

Let’s look at the question posed at the start: “how can I get my first client?”

It’s a great question, but it misses the point.

You cannot get your first client unless you know who that client is.

You need to pick someone (or some company).

You can spend all the money in the world on ads and never get a single client (many have tried and failed).

You can create the most amazing website full of helpful tips and tricks for how you do what you do, and fail to get a single client (ask the countless online course creators who have failed to earn a single penny).

Or you can choose a specific person or company, and spend 100% of your time finding out what they need, then present it to them on a plate, oven baked, ready to eat.

The difference between these two approaches is staggering. The first (build it and they will come) will ultimately cost you your life. The second will give you a life.

Every starving artist who ever existed only discovered this after they died.

It makes no difference how much of a genius you become, you need to know who to ask if you want to make that genius count – oh, and you’re still going to need to become a genius too!

The reason is simple:

Success is only guaranteed when the right pieces are in place:

1. A hungry or needy audience

2. A product that fulfils that hunger or need

3. A way to find that audience

4. Zero competition (or awareness of competition)

Get those right and you will get what you want.

How do you do it?

You join the ICA and go through ProCopyClub along with our new Elements of Persuasion class.

Next up: Let’s get rhetorical part 1