Adding emotion to your proposal

Presented live on Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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Joanna’s wedding is coming up in a month, s’maybe that’s why she’s talking about “emotional proposals” in today’s tutorial.

Except, of course, this proposal is all about landing business.

In today’s Tutorial Tuesday, you’re going to see:

1) How important it is to tap into emotion in your proposals,
2) That you need to spend more words than you’d think and 
3) How Joanna writes “emotional proposals.”

If your proposals get big ol’ rejection stamps on ’em, tune in to the video below:


Joanna: So we’re talking about proposals today. We’re talking about actually getting just a little more emotional with your proposals. I’m going to walk you through a proposal to give you kind of an example of how to put these things together, but proposals are a huge opportunity. A lot of freelancers are scared of proposals, or they put them together in a really technical way, or they’re so busy trying to rush to the point because they worry that the prospect won’t read a proposal. Which there are lots of different ways to present a proposal, to be totally fair, but when it comes down to it, this is somebody who’s considering hiring you for several thousand dollars. They’re probably going to read more than you think they willing that proposal. So we talk a lot about this stuff in the 10X Freelance Copywriter, but what I want to talk to you about today is really getting into being into some emotions. And you don’t have to be emotional throughout your proposal, but there are really good points when you’re writing your proposal where you can stand to have a little more emotions.

Joanna: Okay. So you should my screen. Yesterday I had this weird moment in a different session, where it only showed the first slide for like the first 16 minutes of my presentation. So let me know if this doesn’t advance. Okay, here we are. That proposal needs some love with a side note that you should never stop being a copywriter. Now, what do I mean by that? A proposal is not admin work. A proposal is not where you sit down, you don’t outsource it, nobody else writes it. This is the job of a copywriter. Where you take everything that’s your prospective client said to you in the pre-proposal calls that you have and you use it to craft a persuasive argument in favor of selling you to selling your services for as a solution to their problem, okay. So it has to be problem based. People do not hire you because they have nothing better to do with their money. They’re hiring you for something real. What do they really need from you?

Joanna: Your job is to listen for those things. Listen for examples, listen for everything they’re saying in those pre-proposal calls where you should have two of those calls generally. And then you take that and you actually use it in the proposal. You don’t just let it live inside your head. Although it should also be there, but you put it into the proposal. So as a copywriter would, using copywriting frameworks and making sure that you run this, like you put the proposal together just persuasively, but while you’re at it, it’s important not to focus just on the facts, on the things that they’ve said but also on some of the emotion that will actually help them get on board with saying yes to you. So I’m going to walk you through the opening part of a proposal that I put together that follows everything that we always talk about when it comes to proposals. It’s the opening of the proposal that was supposed to be for 10K. So the client was like, we want this one thing and we think it should cost about 10,000, which, I mean it would’ve been more than that, but they wanted to spend 10K. And the proposal that I actually presented was for $180,000.

Joanna: So a little bit more than the client was expecting, but what happened there? What was going on? And then ultimately the reasoning for nearly 200,000 is a separate conversation entirely. But let me walk you through the proposal itself. So I’ve blocked out the things that I just protecting the client in this case. So don’t worry about anything in black because you don’t have to worry about it too. You’ve got your usual a headline on a proposal and this, we use better proposals. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the software better proposals, but we use it. So if you’re wondering what this is in that’s what it’s in. So we open up by matching where they’re at. You have ambitious, aggressive goals. You have at least five key segments you want to address now, if not yesterday. And then we get into those five key segments. That’s the block that’s blocked out here. You have micro funnels to set up and when asked what your priorities are for copywriting, you listed in this order. Now just focusing for a second before we move onto the next part. You is at the beginning of basically every sentence? It’s the subject of every sentence. This is not about, we. We’ll do this for you. We are this. We’re not there yet. We first we’re copywriters putting a proposal together so you always talk about them first. You do not talk about yourself first.

Joanna: They don’t care about you yet. They might care about you a bit later once you sell them on how you understand them and will solve their pains. Okay, so we’re leading with you. Rewriting your sentence to begin with you will make your copy better every single time. So always do that. This isn’t something we just teach. This is what we do. We only teach what we do. So open with you all the time. And this is all stuff that you learned in the pre proposal calls. Okay, we’re not emotional yet. We’re just doing basic copywriting stuff. This is again talking about what they, about your prospect and then matching what they know. So they do arrive here and they do believe they have ambitious, aggressive goals. We’re getting them nodding along, okay cool. Yes, I’ve listened to you. You have five key segments, et cetera, et cetera. Great.

Joanna: Then we move along and this is blocked out to what those, so we said you have micro funnel set up and when asked what your priorities are for copywriting, you listed in this order and then we blocked out most of them because they get into some specifics there that nobody needs to see. But your goal there is to list out what they said they’re looking for. Where we’re starting to stack up that they need more than they think they’re hiring you for. So then we wrote the digital marketing work in the funnel opportunities to say nothing of the impact really, really good results based copywriting could have for the redacted business is palpable. The growth team has so much to do and because of that, you are investing in bringing in outside copy consultants as well as adding a great conversion copywriter to your team. So this was all true. This is what they told me. The only trouble the world is in a conversion copywriter drought. 99% of marketers don’t know what a copywriter should do and the same number of copywriters are clueless to. So we’re agitating the problem, right? Agitating what they’re looking for, that they have these big needs and then we’re getting into the solutions that they’re considering, right? They’ve considered bringing an outside consultant as well as adding a commercial copywriter to their team.

Joanna: Okay, great. We’re agitating it. We’re making sure that they remember what drove them to this proposal in the first place. So we’re all on the same page. Then we get into it. Fact is it’s impossibly easy for anyone anywhere to call herself a conversion copywriter. And that proceeds to write what I can’t help but call nonsense. Now anybody who’s watching this and it’s like Joanna, that’s mean. It’s the reality. There are a lot of bullshit artists out there who are acting like they can write copy and who never take any training and never actually practice. And then they think that they should propose that they should write copy for people who have real businesses that are trying to grow. And copy is your online salesperson. It’s like somebody wandering off the street and saying, I’ll be your salesperson. You might fluke out once or twice, but you better go take some training. So this is where we’re just matching and building on this idea. So, and objection to hiring us might be, oh, I’ll just hire someone else who can do this. And when I was in a conversation with this particular client, they were saying that, oh, there’s so many conversion copywriters out there and there are a few. There are not so many.

Joanna: So I was working through that with them setting up my solution as the solution. And that’s what you need to do as well. Your prospect needs to understand that everything they thought was the right solution or an alternative to you is wrong. You are the best solution for their needs. So then we get into, and this is where we start to move toward the emotional stuff. So we’re getting them on board with, okay, there are a lot of people out there who say they can do this, but here’s why we do it best. And then we get into getting aligned fully on what conversion copywriting really is. So we say another fact, we pioneered the term and idea of conversion copywriting after more than a decade of beating creative controls with the style of copywriting that’s made for modern audiences, but rooted in the best of old school direct response copywriting. We did this for large and small businesses serving a range of markets. We know what conversion copywriting is. And when you hear the term, you know it too, you know, it’s data driven where we talk analytics and can’t make a move without triangulating across three, four, 17 sources. UX and SEO aware et cetera.

Joanna: So then we keep going. And then this is the point at which we get into something that’s emotional for the client. User centric. We know the customer is the product. We know we’re not selling. And this is something that is specific to what the client is in the business of. We know we’re not selling blank, whatever blank is, but, and this is what you can say, right? You can sub in we, so you say, I know you’re not selling then whatever they think they’re selling, but rather, and this is where you get into the emotional thing. So make them feel something. We know we’re not selling blank, but that swell in a dad’s chest when he hangs the sign he blank next to the front door of his family’s cabin, et cetera, et cetera. So this is where we’re actually talking about something that’s far more emotional. I’m just gonna move this so I can fully read that out for you.

Joanna: Zoom it gets weird sometimes. Cabin which for busy parents the modern equivalent of building the cabin itself. So this is the point at which we’re actually getting emotional. So you’re reading through something and you’re getting all of these facts and arguments and things like that. And then we’re talking about how their product is an emotional thing. We start to tap into a strong, warm emotion when we’re introducing our solution. And then we get logical after that, so, oh, so make their product, make sure it’s clear that you get the emotion of their product and that you talk about their product in a way that feels emotional once they’ve already bought into the fact that you might be the right one for them. Now you’re going to layer on the emotion and then go back. It just kind of happens in waves and then go back and be logical, right? So then we followed that emotional scene of this busy father creating a sign for a cabin that he bought but the making of the sign feels like actually having built something real for his family.

Joanna: Okay, based on science, that’s where we get logical again and measurable because clients of course want things that are measurable. So we want to touch on the stuff that’s really important and logical, but make sure that you have a strong, warm emotion in there at some point. What do they need to feel in order to be drawn into your proposal? And then we get through and we moved toward the end of the actual proposal before we get into the proposal. So this is all still preamble. This is all still build up and it cannot be cut. It cannot be removed. You need to get into this stuff because that’s how you set yourself up as the right person to hire. Then as we finish off this opening part where we say, you mentioned a lot of copywriters out there, the market is crowded. It is crowded, but within this endless supply of shoddy product, you need the best possible product, et cetera, et cetera. Then we hit them in the end with one last hit of warm emotion where we’re agreeing with their vision. We’re saying we want to be part of that vision. And they’re left feeling like, okay, good. This is someone who gets it. I can logically say yes to them. I can logically say no to alternatives I’ve considered and I feel something good about them.

Joanna: Maybe they were hard on the world of conversion copywriters, but they get what I’m selling and the emotion of that. And I liked them more by the end of this. So all of the stuff that’s in what I’ve just gone over, it all came from the pre proposal call outside of the actual language around that cabin parts. So we know the customer’s product, we know we’re not selling blank, but that swell in a dad’s chest when he hangs the sign, he blank next to the front door of his family cabin, which is for a busy person the modern equivalent of building the cabin itself. If you strip those sorts of points out, it won’t ever feel like, there won’t be any real feeling to it. You’re just creating a piece that is logical, but nobody walks away feeling anything. And they don’t feel excited about what you can do for them either. So never underestimate the power of adding emotional scenes into your proposal once you’ve at least got your client nodding along with you throughout. So you don’t have to open with the emotion. You could try that of course, but follow this sort of framework where you at least open with their problem, agitate it. Then the solution. Agitate the solutions they’ve considered.

Joanna: Then start getting into how you’re the right solution without saying what you’ll do for them yet and then talk them through what you’re actually doing, what you do as a conversion copywriter, which includes emotion, science being measurable, et cetera, et cetera. They accepted the hundred 180K immediately. Like it was shocking. It was shocking how it worked out. You can get that too. When a client expects to spend a certain amount of money and then you convince them that they need something else and they believe in you because you actually can do this work because your proposal is a sales page. It is that sales piece that they’re looking for. So if you write it like that, including adding emotion into it and in addition to the other things you’re already doing as a copywriter, putting a proposal together, then you can get people to say yes and even get them to spend more than they expected to spend. Okay, so how do you actually do this? It’s a whole thing, but it does come down to listening. So in that pre-proposal call that you have, you need to listen for the emotional side for what your client gets emotional about.

Joanna: What are those moments? And you can repeat exactly what they say. You can take that example that I gave. That emotional the idea of like building a sign or creating a sign and putting it on a cabin that you purchased and feeling like, okay, I’ve made something for my family. That wasn’t the exact example that the client gave, but the client gave examples like that. And so you can just listen in your pre-proposal call and take what they say and put it into your proposal just like any conversion copywriter would do. You’re listening to what they say. You’re putting it into a framework that’s designed to convert and you’re making sure you’re hitting notes like, am I emotional? And then to follow emotion basically immediately with logic. We will see you on our next tutorial Tuesday, the next two. We have special guests in. I’ll let you know more about those by email. Thank you, Carey for being here with your badass background which people were saying they love which is awesome. And thank you everybody as well. We’ll see you next Tuesday. Have a good one. Bye guys.

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