How Copywriters Can Attract Their First $10,000 Client With Discovery Calls

Written by Jean Paul

Your first $10,000 client is an important milestone. Not just because of the money but because of the emotional breakthrough. Nothing beats knowing that your expertise is respected and appreciated. You also have more fun doing your work.

Getting a high-end client it’s not as hard as it may seem, once you know how to do it. It’s just like riding a bicycle; once you’ve learnt it, you can always do it again..

Are you tired of constantly trading your time for money? Do you wish you could earn higher fees without becoming a “famous guru”? Are you ready to take your business to the next level?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, let’s make it happen!

What’s this all about?

My name is Jean Paul and I specialise in solving core marketing and technical problems. At the moment I’m focusing on working with self-funded SaaS startups. I also help struggling freelancers get traction fast. This includes writing sales copy and other content. I also come up promotional strategies where this content will be used.

You are about to discover the method I learned through a very painful experience in the past. I was in desperate need for money. None of the marketing products I had purchased were working for me. The courses I owned seemed to be great for selling small ticket products/services. But…

…as soon as I tried applying the same tactics to high-end clients, it just failed.

I was determined. I searched for a solution that didn’t require hours of endless work for peanuts. As a result, I started to attract people who are willing to pay top dollar for my services. Of course, I was way out of my comfort zone in the beginning. Needless to say, I wish I had a shortcut such as this one.

Who is this for?

If you work directly with clients, this is for you. I created the model mainly to attract clients as a freelance marketer/copywriter. But, it applies to other areas as well. It’s based on business fundamentals and core sales psychology. This means you can apply the principles to any market you’re in.

The approach you’ll find here is designed to put you in position of power. You’ll not be seen as “just another” consultant or copywriter. Your clients will regard you as their trusted adviser, and you’ll be paid accordingly.

You’ll also shift away from selling your service as a commodity. Your offer is not simply providing a “quantity” such as landing page copy or an email series. Rather, you’ll base your pricing on the results your client expects.

The Process Layout

Attracting a 10K client is a process. You need to remember that it happens in stages. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to rush it. Sadly, that will only slow down your path to success.

Here is a rough guide to what we’ll be looking at:

  • The foundation – This is where you set up your business to attract 10K clients. You will discover where to find clients. You’ll also understand how to build a pool of prospects suitable to what you offer.
  • Initial consultation (free) – At this stage, your prospect would have expressed the desire to work with you. Your free consultation will help both you and your client to find the core problems.
  • Discovery consultation (paid) – This is the first time your client gives you money. You’ll gain access to more information about your client’s business. You’re going to look at the efforts your client has made towards achieving their goals. This includes analytics, past campaigns, and all existing marketing. Doing this is important for two reasons: (1) you will be able to quote your client on the exact issues you have found. You don’t want to provide a 5-figure quote based on guesswork. (2) you’ll also have a taste of what it’s like to work with the client. If you don’t enjoy the working relationship, you can end it right there.
  • 10K Gig – At this point you have a full-blown working relationship with your client. Since you’ve already discovered what needs to be done you can focus on getting results.

Feel free to adjust this process to suite your needs. Some of the steps are counter-intuitive and will be out of your comfort zone. Take it one baby step at a time. You’ll surely have your breakthrough as long as you stick with it.

Who wants to give you money?

Even for a successful business, $10,000 is a lot of cash to shell out. As you can imagine, not everyone is capable of paying you that kind of money.

You need to decide who in your target market is a suitable client. You probably have specific criteria, here are some of mine:

  • the business needs to generate at least $300,000 a year
  • the owner must already be using some kind of direct marketing methods
  • ideally, they have paid for other marketing products and services in the past
  • the business should be at minimum three years old
  • I need to feel comfortable with the nature the client’s business

Here is the most important thing to remember: provide at least double the value of what you’re getting paid. The value could be financial or emotional. It’s easy to understand the financial value. You simply ensure you bring in more cash than your fees.

When it comes to emotional value, it all comes down to how much the result matters to your client. For example, one of my friends charges over $20,000 and above to help couples trying to conceive a child. This is purely about the emotional value a child brings to one’s life.

Action step: Write down your own criteria for you to accept someone as a client. Pick the top 5 and use them as your guide.

Your Contribution List

One of the most common questions I get is “Where do I go looking for clients?”. My favourite answers is “Everywhere!”. Here are just a few places where I’ve found clients:

  • Facebook groups
  • Warrior Forum
  • YouTube
  • Networking meetups
  • Mastermind groups
  • Referrals

The secret is to focus on meeting people who fit your criteria.

There is a difference between high-paying clients and others. When you’re playing with the “big dogs” you can’t be too pushy. It’s all about attracting people through contributing value.

You can still use the usual marketing tactics but you have to make sure you have a long-term strategy. In other words, don’t just try going for the kill. Make sure you fully understand what your client wants and needs before you make your pitch.

Building Your High-Value Network

Your next step is to build a high-value network. This allows you to have a pool of potential clients at any given time. It also entrenches your influence. You’ll be able to contribute value simply by introducing people to each other.

Without a high-value network, you constantly have to wonder where your next gig is going to come from. You’ll find it much harder to have credibility due to lack of recommendations. The worst part is you may end up feeling like you have no influence.

So what’s the contribution list in the first place?

Your “contribution list” is simply a list of people you want to work. You’re going to be proactive about adding value to each person on your list. There are two kinds of people you want:

  • potential clients – this is self-explanatory
  • potential connectors – this refers to anyone who can introduce/endorse you to potential clients. This includes important names in your market, Facebook group owners, etc.

Your goal is to get to know them over time. If they have a Facebook group, create some content that makes their group more attractive. Stay on top of what they’re doing. Are you aware of a book that could help them? Send them a copy, or at least an Amazon link if you’re on a budget.

In my case, just sending a link to a book has been enough to start a conversation that led to over $10,000 of fees.

At the same time, create content that’s relevant to your target client group. You should have at least one website that shows your ability. You want to become effective of helping people using written, audio, and/or video content.

You will become as magnetic as the content on your website. Your contributions will become more and more effective. That’s when you’ll start getting enquiries from potential clients.

Your contribution list is NOT a broadcast list. You have to send specif stuff to each person – that’s why it’s best to keep that list relatively small. This is the hardest part of attracting high-paying clients.

Action step: Where can you meet potential clients? Try to think of both online and “real world” options. Build up your contribution list to about 10 people to begin with. Pay careful attention to your list’s goals and challenges.

Your First Consultation

If you’ve followed the steps above, at this point you should see some buzz about your work. You’ll start receiving questions in your inbox. You’ll find yourself tagged in questions on Facebook groups. Others start recommending your solutions to problems. Magic happens when clients start to contact you!

Your first breakthrough will come when you get a request to speak on the phone/Skype. You may also get direct requests about the kind of services you offer. Once this happens, it’s time to give your potential client a complimentary consultation.

Make sure you have a page on your website dedicated to your consulting offer. I believe that should be the target link for all your promotions.

You don’t need anything complex. Just a simple contact form that has bullets listing the kind of challenges you can help with. When starting out, you can simply arrange the consultation via email. Once you get rolling you can start looking for a booking system.

Too many people get stuck here. They waste hours of time looking for a booking system or some other kind of automation. Don’t fall into this trap! Stick with the basics so you can get started quickly.

Action step: Write down a list of top 3 – 5 problems you can confidently solve. Make sure you make everything specific to the kind of business you’re interested in. Place that above your contact form on your website.

Let’s take a look at how to structure your first consultation with a potential client.

How to Structure Your First Consultation

Oh yes! So a potential client has booked a slot to speak with you. You’ve built enough credibility for someone with money to say “Please help me with my problem!”

That’s good news.

That’s also the beginning of the business relationship.

Your first consultation is all about finding out the core issue. You’re going to uncover your client’s core business/marketing problems. You’ll also understand what the clients feels they need – even if it’s not the right solution. At this point, you want to be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes.

Here is how I like to do it.

  • First I like to get to know the clients a little bit. I’ll usually spend two – three minutes on that, a bit more if necessary. You may have heard arguments saying that you shouldn’t do any small talk in the beginning. It’s a common belief that clients are busy and have no time for “chit-chat.” I don’t agree with that belief.Your potential clients are people, just like you. Even though they may have successful businesses, they’ll still feel vulnerable. After all, they’re about to expose their deepest problems to you. Doesn’t it make sense to make them feel comfortable first?
  • As the next step you want to get a clearer picture of what’s going on. Ask general questions about the business. Find out how it started, and what kind of customers it attracts. You need to have a basic understanding of the specific situation. Every client believes their business is different. Make sure you pay attention to what’s important to them.
  • Let them tell you their problems. Once you’ve got your client talking. ask them about the specific problems they’re facing. You can dig deeper into it at this stage. Find out as much as possible but don’t try to go into consulting mode yet.

Your most important task is to ask questions and to listen. You’ll have a chance to propose a solution towards the end. If you try to do it too early, you may just turn the client off.

  • Find out exactly how the problem is affecting them. This should lead you to the root of the pain. Your client will tell you the effect of the problem on both personal and business levels. Again, listen intently and make notes.
  • Ask about the perfect scenario. One of my favorite questions is “If you had a magic wand and could make everything perfect, what would you do?” The point here is to get deeper insight into what your client is working towards. This kind of question opens up the mind. You may find that your client needs a moment to think about this. Allow them, don’t interrupt their process.
  • Tell them what you’ve learned so far. That’s right! Look into your notes and summarize quickly what your client has told you. This is important for two reasons:- your client will appreciate your effort to fully understand their situation- you will confirm that you’re both clear about what you’re trying to achieve

Once you and your client are happy, it’s time to close the first sale!

Action step: Write down a list of questions relevant to your niche. Make sure you’re covered for each stage of the consultation.

Moving To Paid Consulting

For some, this is a dreaded moment. You have to actually ask for money!

Here is the good news: closing should be a very simple and natural process. When you follow this method, you don’t even have to create a pitch. Why?

Because chances are you client is just as eager to close as you are! After all, they have to solve the problem somehow. But there is a catch.

You still need to build some more trust. This time, however, you will be paid for it.

What you’ll close your client on is the Discovery Process. What it means is that you’re going to dig even deeper into your client’s business. You will get a chance to investigate further.

Typically, here is what I’d say to a client: “Based on what we’ve got so far, here is a list of 7 things I believe we must do.” I then present the list to the client to get a confirmation. Once the client is happy, the conversation will shift to how much it’s going to cost. Here is how I answer:

“I can give you a rough figure but I’ll need more access to give you a solid quote. In order to get you the best results, I will spend two weeks investigating this further. My fee will be about 10% of what I expect the final quote to be.

You will receive a document with my findings and proposed course of action. If you’re happy with my plan, we will take out the initial payment from the quote. Otherwise, you will still be left with the exact solution you need.”

Simply put, you’re giving the client a plan and an option. They either implement it themselves, or you do it for them.

Now, you want to check if the client is happy with this. In my experience, it’s only serious business owners who appreciate this process. If they agree, I would say: “I believe this project will come up to somewhere between 10 – 12 thousand dollars. My fee for looking deeper into this is $1000.”

Then, I wait for the client to speak. Allow your prospect to think for a moment. In most cases, if they’re serious, you will close the deal. What’s better: to risk a large amount or a small one?

I first learned the concept of Discovery from Perry Marshall. ( I have to give due credit! ) Check this out, especially if you work in the B2B arena:

As I mentioned earlier, you are going to make a thorough assessment of the current situation. You need to know what, within the business, is slowing your client down. Here are some of the things I look at during this process:

  • stats/analytics
  • key numbers such as cost of acquiring a customer
  • figure out the top performing campaigns
  • see how quickly we can eliminate waste
  • if there are recorded sales calls, I’ll listen to them

You will have your own key areas, depending on your niche. Feel free to use my list as a starting point. Your main goal is to get a clear picture based on hard data.

When I first heard of the concept of Discovery I thought it was crazy. “Why would someone pay me just to quote them?” I’m glad I gave it a try. High-end clients tend to appreciate the fact that you’re not just jumping in. It demonstrates that you are committed to results. You also have full confidence when you’re ready with the final quote.

Once your client agrees, it all becomes pretty straightforward. You need to get paid, get to work, and deliver the results!.

Action step: Write down the kind of information you need from you client. This will help you to discover their true needs and wants.

So… how do you get the big bucks?

So far, you’ve successfully gone through the paid discovery process. You know what your client wants and needs. You have created a document with a solid action plan.

Your client may have some questions after reviewing your plan. Of course, you still have to tell them what your price is. To take care of this, we will schedule a phone conversation to finalize the deal.

This may sound weird: practice saying your price out loud in front of a mirror. If you don’t sound confident, your client may get wary. Get comfortable saying “ten thousand dollars.”

I still practice saying large amounts before speaking to a client.

Once you get on the phone, the rest is easy. Just the fact that the client is still speaking to you is a good sign. Clarify any concerns. If you’ve been talking for a while, and the client hasn’t raised the topic of money, bring it up.

I do it like this: “Is there any other question or concern you have?”

If you’re happy to proceed, I’d like to tell you the final quote.” Wait for an answer. You’ll probably hear something like “OK”.

“Great, so the final figure comes up to $10,000 minus $1000 you’ve already paid. That leaves us with $9000”.

Once you say your price, keep your mouth shut! Don’t get uncomfortable with the silence. Wait for the client to speak.

What if the client tries to bring the price down?

This happens sometimes. If they insist, and the amount they offer sounds reasonable, I agree on one condition. It will take longer to complete the project. That way, I can work on other stuff to meet my own financial targets.

Most people like to split the payments in two: half upfront, half at the end. I do it slightly different.

Here is how I like to break down the payments:

– Subtract the discovery fee from your final quote.

– Ask for 30% of the remainder upfront.

– The next 30% is due halfway through the project.

– Final 40% once the final work is handed in.

That’s because in the mid-term I end up with more money ( 60% + discovery fee ). Your client may also feel more comfortable with smaller payments.

Once the client agrees to the final figure, you will then send an invoice. I like to use WaveApp because it’s simple and easy to use! WaveApp will create a professional invoice and send it to your client.

Action step: Practice asking for amounts of money that make you feel uncomfortable. In addition, create a practice invoice with a high amount. This will help your brain get used to a new level of income.

A quick recap…

Your foundation:

  • You need to decide your criteria for accepting a client
  • Network offline and online with people within your niche
  • Keep studying their challenges and goals
  • Make a list of potential clients and connectors
  • Contribute as much as you can to your list ( no broadcasts! )

Once someone expresses interest:

  • Setup a complimentary consultation
  • Move to paid consulting ( Discovery Process )
  • Come up with an action plan based on hard data
  • Deliver results!

Here is what to do next…

You are now fully equipped with a framework that will get you your first $10,000 client. Read through once again. You will probably come up with new ideas as you go through each action step. If you have any questions feel free to ask them below.

Now, go get yourself a $10K client!

About the author

Jean Paul

Jean Paul is on a mini-hiatus, working on his next big project. In his spare time, he thinks about the next season of Game of Thrones. Visit him at

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