How NOT to Get Hired as a Virtual Assistant

Today I want to talk a little bit about a Marketing tactic that doesn’t work:  Insulting Your Prospects.   Well duh!  It sounds pretty obvious – you shouldn’t make your potential clients feel dumb, right?  Well let me share a recent experience I had that felt more like a slap in the face than an awesome sales tactic.

Several months ago I received an email from a Virtual Assistant that went something like this:

 “I would like to make you aware of multiple spelling and grammatical errors throughout your book ‘Twitter Tips for Virtual Assistants’.  If you would like to hire me to proof and correct this here is my contact info….”

For me – this is a huge marketing #FAIL.  Why?  For a few reasons:

1.  You are insulting your prospect.  When I read that sentence my brain sees it as: “I found errors that you were too dumb to find yourself…and I’m not going to tell you what they are unless you pay me“.   Do you think that makes me want to  contact that person and pay them for assistance?  Heck no.

2.  You are offering a Service to me that I DO for others.  Seriously.  As a fellow VA, I have 2 clients who currently use me to proof/edit their writing.   This is like sending an email to a plumber offering to help them with their plumbing.  Do you think that plumber would be insulted?  Do you think that plumber will be picking up the phone right away to get in touch with this person?  Would you send a Social Media expert an email offering to fix their Social Media?  Heck no.

3.  It feels like a trap.  No one likes to be told “You made a mistake…but you have to pay me to find out what it is”.   By not telling me what my errors were, I feel like I’m being backed into a corner.  I’m not getting any warm and fuzzies about working with this person.  Remember that potential clients want to work with a VA they know, like and trust.  Do I feel a positive connection to this person? Heck no.

Don’t get me wrong – other people have pointed out errors in my ebook AND on my website and I appreciate that immensely!  I do make mistakes (sometimes big ones) and  I fix ’em up myself with a big fat thank-you to whoever pointed them out. But when you are ‘pointing out errors’ as a crappy sales tactic and trying to ‘trap’ a client into hiring you it ain’t gonna work.   

A better idea?  This person might have sent me an email to say “Hey Lisa, I found the following errors in your book and thought you would probably want to fix them.  If in the future you are looking for someone to proof a book, I am an expert and have great rates!  Here are the things I found…”  That might be someone I’m interested in speaking with down the road.

Be careful of your wording when contacting new clients!   Positive and helpful trumps insulting every time.

PS – To the person who wanted me to hire them as editor: The spelling and grammatical errors in my ebook are intentional.  I put them there on purpose to add some draaaammmma to my writing.  Get it ‘yo?






About the Author

Hi - I'm Lisa McDonell, a Virtual Assistant who shows other women how to launch and grow their own online business, make money from home and have a fun and supportive Virtual Assistant Lifestyle.

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