Secrets to Getting More Clients By Creating a Powerful Cover Letter (Part 1)

* Note – Since I want to be as detailed as I can be so I can get my point across, I’ve decided to split this guide into 2 parts. That way, the ideas on each part can be easily digested and you won’t have a case of information overload. Enjoy!

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© WavebreakmediaMicro / Dollar Photo Club

It’s 6 am and you eagerly get up to check your email for any replies on the writing projects that you applied for – you didn’t get any!

It’s frustrating – I know.

This is especially true when your bills are past due and it’s time to pay the rent. It’s in situations like these when you start questioning whether or not writing is really for you.

I know the frustration all too well. I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago and I ended up working for peanuts just to make both ends meet. Those were the trying times indeed.

But then you have to ask yourself – What exactly is the reason why your prospect clients aren’t replying? Why on earth are they ignoring your cover letters? More importantly, what can you do to stop this from happening AND increase your chances of getting hired to thrive as a freelance writer?

If that’s what you’re hoping to learn, then you’re definitely in the right place! Allow me to share with you the techniques that I applied to my cover letters that helped me land more clients.

Hold your horses!

Before we jump into that, let’s briefly talk about how NOT TO craft your cover letters first. I’ve gathered a few examples:

Example 1.

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I hope you aren’t sending threats cover letters like these, otherwise, it’ll take you YEARS before you get any replies from the cover letters that you’ve been sending. There’s no way you’ll succeed with this kind of cover letter.

Example 2.

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While this one’s surely better than the first, there isn’t much reason here for the prospect client to get back to you. Simply put – this one doesn’t pack a punch!

Example 3.

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The moment your client sees “Dear Sir / Madam”, this is what happens to them. 🙂

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“Dear Sir / Madam” is a common greeting that spammers use AND someone who isn’t quite cut for the job. Instead of using that, you ought to use the prospect client’s first name. If you can’t find it (which does happen quite a lot), then simply use “Hi” or “Hello”.

This cover letter (just like the second one) doesn’t really have much in it. It’s boring and it doesn’t provide value to your prospect clients.

That’s about it for the don’ts!

Now let’s talk about the techniques that you can apply to your cover letters to get better results.

I’d like to emphasize how although there is no one-size-fits-all technique that you can use, the ones that I’ll be sharing are the techniques that I’ve personally used that got me more clients. Just be sure to tailor fit these techniques to your profile, what’s stated on the job post, and your prospect client’s background.

Here goes:

Always add a CTA at the end of your cover letter and use an assumptive sentence.

For those who are new to this, a CTA (Call to Action) is the instruction that you give to your audience to elicit a response from them. It could be asking them to add a comment, to email, or in our case – to hire us.

Adding your CTA at the end of your cover letter is ideal since it doesn’t get diluted by the other messages that you impart in your cover letter. That said, your instruction becomes more “sticky”!

Making your CTA an assumptive one is also a game changer! This is a technique that most salesmen use to increase their sales. AND IT WORKS!

It’s exactly because of this that a salesman whose worth his salt, DOES NOT ask whether or not you want to buy a product. Instead, he immediately assumes that you will buy and give you options.

Notice how they’ll say…

1.) “Would you like this car in white, or in black?” (if they are selling cars). They don’t ever ask “Do you want to buy a car?”

2.) “Would you like to buy a box of candies or just 2 packs of it?”. They don’t ever ask “Do you want to buy a candy?

3.) “How would you like the product delivered? Via express or regular mail?”.

I’m sure you get the gist. Now here are a couple of ways that you can use this technique in your cover letters.

1.) “Are you looking for 2 articles per month or is it three?“

2.) “Should we discuss the details via Skype or should we meet?”

3.) “Do you want the article about (niches) first? Or should I work on the (niche) piece?”

Adding the CTA at the last part of your cover letter AND using the assumptive close has a lot of psychology behind. With these two elements in your arsenal, you’ll surely increase your chances of being considered for the project.

More than just the assumptive close, another technique used above is the alternative close (since more than just assuming, we’re giving alternatives as well). Read more about the assumptive close here.

2.) Use the same exact keywords that the client used on their job post.

I gotta tell you – it’s quite common for applicants to recycle their cover letters. By recycle I mean copying and pasting the same cover letter on different job applications.

It could be because they’re (1) lazy (2) do not know how important cover letters are (3) they’re playing the numbers game or (4) they’re not really serious about wanting to get hired. Which ever the case is, know that your clients can smell a recycled cover letter even before you send ‘em. Trust me, you’ll be missing a lot of opportunities if you do this practice.

Instead of doing that, I urge you to use the exact words/phrases that the clients used in their job post. This tells them that you actually read the entire post and are serious about wanting to get hired.

If you want to take this technique a step higher, instead of just using the actual words that the client used in the job post, you can also use the lingo that’s being used in their niche and mention some reputable personalities there.

Doing this makes you look like you know exactly what you’re talking about and that you are well accustomed to their niche. With that as your advantage, chances are good that you’ll be given the job.

3.) Empathize with the client and sound very conversational.

Whatever the client says in their job post, use it to your advantage. Talk about it, and let the client know that you’re on his side.

How do you do that? Here’s an example.

Job post excerpt…

“I’m looking for an experienced writer in the real estate niche…”

You can reply with something like this.

“Hi client’s first name!

Considering how name of their business is an industry leader in the field of real estate, you hit the nail on the head by looking for experienced writers…”

Since you affirmed the client by agreeing with what he said, he’ll have a positive state of mind making him a bit more open to what you have to say. He becomes very receptive of your ideas, since you made him feel important.

He’s probably thinking, “This guy is a sensible person since he can see the reasoning behind my actions. I’ve got to checkout what else he has to say…”.

When they’re in that kind of mindset, it means that you’ve gotten past several of their defense layers putting you in a good position to pitch your services.

Great! You’re still here! Liked what you read so far huh? 🙂

Stay tuned as I publish the 2nd part of this guide. In the mean time, I urge you to let the ideas above marinate in your minds and start taking action. Be sure to tailor fit them according to your profile, the job post, and the client’s personal profile.

Please share you comments below. 🙂

About Jimmy Rodela

Jimmy Rodela is a Freelance Writer and a Content Marketer. He is the Founder of the Guild of Bloggers. He is a contributor on websites with millions of monthly traffic like Yahoo.com, Business.com, Monster.com, Business2Community and SocialMediaToday.com. Follow him on: LinkedinTwitterFacebookGoogle +,Read more about me

21 comments

  1. Patrick Swaize

    Superb advice! I have been searching through the list of jobs available on different freelancer sites, and I’ve always been stumped when it comes to my cover letters or project proposals. I think that you have some very good point here, which I’m eager to try out for myself, and see if I can maybe have a higher chance of getting accepted.

    • Hi Patrick,

      I’m glad that you liked the tips. These tips have worked quite well for me and I’m confident that it will do the same for you.

      Do share with us what happens on your response rate once you start implementing the tips. 🙂

  2. Hi Jimmy,

    I originally read this post a few days ago whilst exploring your blog, and as soon as I read it I began to put your tips into practise with some writing jobs I’d been applying for. I’m happy to say that not only did I find it much easier to write my proposals, but I’ve actually had far more success than usual too! Out of the 10 jobs that I applied for, I managed to secure 7 of them, which is incredible considering that I tend to only get accepted for 1 out of every 10 I apply for. Thank you for sharing these tips to your readers, and I hope that I can continue to produce these results as I apply for more jobs 🙂

  3. Wow this has been great help. I’ve written to people through e-mail in the second bad way, the one where I’m all nice and talking in a way to get the person on board. Never really worked for me. I will try the other methods mentioned, should be interesting to see how it works for me.

  4. With example 2 having a smiley face, that doesn’t help any either. It creates more of a unprofessional mentality to the client. I try to never use smiley faces when I talk to prospective clients, because they want pros. And using sir and or madam in greeting someone is just a plain no-no. Just don’t do it, please don’t.

  5. Nice post guys. I truly am learning a lot from reading your blog and it’s very helpful to my learning process. I’ve had my annoying about of bad cover letters to employers. I’ve always wondered why they never reply, and I now know it’s because I just don’t do the right things. I’m not professional sounding so I often am too friendly for my own good so I think that hurts me a bit. But I am learning.

    • Hey Roger. A mix of both would surely get you better results. You just have to find the right balance between sounding friendly and sounding too professional.

  6. The second example sure doesn’t pack a punch, but it can generate some potential clients. I’m one of those people who often am kind when it comes to talking to potential clients, so I often talk like that. Thought I suspect I will gain more clients by talking like a business person, so I think I’ll start following your tips and rules here.

  7. I am very thankful for all of this. I’ve never had much luck with my cover letters and I know I have a lot of work to do to perfect them. I’ve tried my hand at cover letters in the past and never really had much luck with them. I am going to try all of these especially the CTA option, sounds quite appealing.

  8. I’ve tried doing the CTA option in one of my e-mails, and never got a reply, though I did have some success with one person, but not anyone else yet. I must be doing something wrong, maybe my language isn’t settled yet, I’ll flesh it out some more before I send another e-mail to another person.

    • Hey Nick. You can share your cover letter with me. I’d be glad to check it out and share with you some points that you might need to change (if there’s any). It could that you’re just targeting the wrong clients that’s why you aren’t getting any replies.

  9. I try often to empathize with the client, it’s usually the best way of keeping in contact with a client and keeping that continued business. I’ve always made sure to be at their level of conversation so that I would have it very easy. It’s very helpful to know what a client wants and I believe I do.

  10. The cover letter has always been my biggest problem. I can never draw in the clients like many others are able to. My writing is good, I have the quality down, I suppose it’s just my side of how I write to the client that is ruining my chances. I will give your tips a true shot and see if it can truly change me into an even better writer.

    • Hi Brian. Generally, if you focus on telling them how they can benefit from you, it should garner you some results of some sort. That said, it’d be best revolve your cover letter around this idea.

  11. I have never understood why, but conversational talk with clients is far more effective, than trying to sound all professional. Although, something that I’ve found along the way is that you cannot be TOO conversational, and start putting smileys into your letter. It would appear that clients are looking for writers that they can conversate with generally, but still professional enough to not include a 🙂 in their letters.

  12. Samantha Lindsay

    I have spent several days trying to create the best cover letter to attract clients, and so far this has been the most useful post. I think that my main issue is that I try ti sound too professional with my letters to clients. Yes. I have been a perpetrator of the dreaded “Sir or madam” start to a letter. which is possibly why when I send letters I seldom receive a response. I will try removing the “Sir or Madam” from my letters, and see if this improves my success rate. Cheers!

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