The most powerful sales approach of all can be found in our craving for certainty.

brain's need for certaintyTo put it at its simplest, our brains have a smart side and an incredibly dumb side.

What’s scary is that the dumb side has way too much influence over the decisions we make. This is particularly true when it comes to our hopes for the future.

To illustrate what I mean, let’s look at an example.

Imagine two experts, both of whom are going to give us some advice on how to lose weight. Specifically, they are going to tell us how to lose 10 lbs over the course of the next 30 days.

The first expert is a doctor and researcher who has been studying weight loss for 30 years.

He talks about the multiple influences involved – genetics, food choices, exercise, family dynamics, mental health, work stresses, time of year and so on. He explains the complexity of weight loss and how one plan might work for one person, but not for another.

He makes some general recommendations, but again qualifies his advice by pointing out the multiple variables involved.

Now for our second expert. He may be a doctor, or not. It doesn’t really matter.

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Monday Spark: You’ll feel better as a freelancer when you see the difference you can make.

small business clientsI was asked recently to identify my most memorable job from the last 30 years as a freelance writer and copywriter.

The interviewer was probably expecting me to come up with a job I did for one of my big-name clients from the past, like Apple, Yahoo! or Chrysler.

But I didn’t. My most memorable job is one I did for a friend about 25 years ago. I wrote a direct mail letter to help him grow his one-man business. And it worked gangbusters. In fact, a week after the mailing was sent out he had to hire three more people to keep up with demand.

Why was that job more satisfying than some huge project I did for a much bigger company?

It was satisfying because I could clearly see the results. I could see by how much I had helped my friend and his company.

In other words, I had made a difference and could see it.

With much of our work, we never really get to know if our contribution made any significant difference…

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Opportunities for online copywriters in 2012 [VIDEO]

online copywriting opportunityI put this video together for anyone who is thinking about specializing in online copywriting.

I was inspired to make the video by a few people who had approached me and asked whether or not there was still a viable opportunity for online copywriters, or whether the market was already saturated.

That’s a reasonable question – and I think and hope this short video answers it.

As you will see, I actually think the opportunity is bigger than ever, and for 4 specific reasons.

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Your new site visitors and subscribers don’t know who you are, yet. [TIMELINE]

Yesterday I was reading an excellent post by Chris Brogan, Start Fresh.

In his post he talks about how while you move forward with your career, many of your readers have stepped in half way through the narrative. They may not know where you “came from” or how and why you do what you are doing today.

Very good point.

For myself, I have been earning my living as a writer for 30 years now, and I have been publishing my online newsletter for over 10 years.

I guess a small proportion of my current newsletter readers have been with me from the beginning. But I’m sure most haven’t.

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Think like Michelangelo: A freelancer’s guide to choosing great clients.

part of the sistine chapelHistorically, artists have always needed to find a patron. Sometimes the church, sometimes a nobleman or a merchant.

Without the support of a patron, artists wouldn’t have had the resources to do great work. We all have to eat.

And those patrons often gave pretty clear instructions regarding the topic of the art. For example, painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel wasn’t Michelangelo’s idea. The work was commissioned by Pope Julius II.

In fact, Michelangelo was reluctant to take on the project. He would rather have been sculpting.

But you know how it goes…what the client wants, the client gets. (Particularly when, in addition to being the Pope, you are also referred to as “Il papa terribile”.)

The thing being, the artist’s life isn’t so very different from the freelancer’s life.

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Are your freelance copywriting services perceived as an expense, or as an investment?

cash registerMaybe you don’t think about your services in this way.

But your clients and prospects do.

As a prospective client looks at your estimate, she will perceive it in one of two ways.

“This is going to take a chunk out of my budget for this quarter. I wonder if this is really the best use of my dollars.”

Or…

“This is going to cost me a few bucks, but it’s going to generate a truck load of extra sales.”

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