How to Impress a Potential Client before First Contact (Part III)

What does this symbol represent?


An exclamation mark?

That’s what it is
What does it stand for?


No. That’s what it does.
What does it represent? Literally?

It represents joy. Just what you want every potential client to think of when he or she thinks of you. The symbol for the exclamation mark is literally two Latin letters: I over an O. It’s one word, Io. It means, “joy”.

In parts I and II of “How to impress a Potential Client Before First Contact” I showed you how/why research before the return call or email is vital. Now for the bit where you make sure you’re remembered as more than a voice on a phone or words on a screen. You want to stand out. And be memorable. When a potential client thinks of you, you want them to feel.

Joy is a good vibe to leave with someone, wouldn’t you say?


Video email is easy?


Siddhartha wondered if it’s really as easy as I suggest. Indeed it is. The first time you do it, you’ll probably spend about an hour. The second time, you’ll do it in 30 minutes or less. The third trip onward it’s 10 minutes and a stream of excited, joyful replies from potential clients ensue. It will take you longer to read this educating, entertaining post than to make the video your fourth time out. The first three times? That depends on you. We’ll get to that in a moment.


Get this.


1. Windows computer.

2. Digital Video Camera.

3. Alldj Video Converter 4.0


What if…?


1. If you have a Mac, you can still do this, but not with the program I use. You’ll need to get a mac video converter. You can spend money if you want. Me? I’d follow my steps and look for a program for Mac like the one I use for Windows.

2. If you don’t have a digital video camera, making a video email will be particularly challenging. This might be a good time to support your fellow ghostwriters, and this site, by ordering one or more of books over there on the right through our affiliate links.

3. The link above will get you version 4.0 of the AllDj Video Converter, which is the version I refer to in this how-to.  It’s trial software and you won’t be able convert videos longer than 5 minutes, which is just fine, since our videos are roughly 30 seconds.

10 steps. 10 minutes.


1. Frame the Scene

(2 mins)

The objective here is a natural setting that looks comfortable. I’m on my back patio for this shot. The camera is on a table. I didn’t move anything around other than the camera to get this shot. If it’s too hot or cold outside, I’d have shot it in the house. Same scenario would apply. Another title I could have used for this step comes from a lesson I first learned in screenwriting (who said it I don’t recall):

If the scene’s about what the scene’s about, it’s dead.

2. Act Natural

(2 minutes)

See that shot of me above? That’s the first frame. I know, my mouth is open. That happens when you’re about to speak. Maybe I should have done it again. With my mouth closed this time. And make sure I add several more minutes to the time it takes to do these email videos. And what about my other email videos? Do they get any better? Here’s the first frame of an email video called “Dear John”:


If I’d viewed it a second time, I’d have told myself to keep my mouth shut a second or two before speaking. I’d have recorded it again. And added more time to getting it done. And now I notice my shirt folds funny and makes me look heavy around the middle. I do it again. It takes more time. And maybe I should loosen that top button. Makes me look uptight. Nerdy. Add more time. And my eyes are in shadow. Gotta see the eyes. More time.

This is the hardest part of this whole email video thing. And it’s a dual talent you’ll need to get good and decisive at. You want to do it once. You want to do it naturally. Whatever that means to you. The part where you pretend you’re sitting across from the person and don’t have a camera recording the moment. That’s what needs to be clear in your head. In other words, you want to do this in one take. If it were real life, sans camera, and you were talking to the person instead of the camera, you’d only get one take.

The setup to this moment is simple: Frame the shot. Set the camera to a 10-second delay. Hit record. Get in the frame. Wait for the signal that the video is recording. The problem is after you’ve recorded it – if you’re like me the first time I did this (and it took an hour) – you’ll watch it to see how you look. You’ll do it again, only slightly better. And again. Slightly better. Rinse and repeat. Ad infinitum.

Decide to do it once. Keep it short. Make your point.  You know the person has to go soon. She’s checking her watch. He’s got a hundred other things to do. 30 seconds and they’re gone. You talk with purpose, but not too fast. You’re relaxed. Confident. Then up you go, over to the camera, put your hand over the lens and press ‘stop’. Go here and click “Clementine Interuptus” to see what I mean. (A new window will open. When it’s done, just close the window and you’ll come back.) And yes, I always end the video with my hand over the camera. It’s my signature, if you will. It feels personal to me. You might come up with your own ending. Or use mine. It’s not copyrighted or anything.

I came into this game for the action, the excitement.
Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out.

~ Harry Tuttle (Brazil)

3. Download from camera

(1 min)

Or upload to the computer? Same difference.

4. Crunch Your Video

The video you downloaded from your camera is pretty big. Probably 30MB or so. If you can’t crunch this baby down to 2MB – 3MB, your recipient will likely delete it before its finished downloading. 2MB is quick. Okay, so this  is the opening screen when you open AllDJ Video Converter 4.0 If you haven’t yet, open it. Just ignore everything and click “Next time”, bottom right. There will always be a next time with this program. Comforting, yes?

On this next screen, click ‘Add’, top left (I circled it in red). The standard window to find a file on your computer will open. I track down my video and select it. This is what it looks like.

The program loads my video into the first screen you saw. It should like something like this (below). Your mouth is probably closed, though.


Next you need to tell it where you want to save the newly converted video when you’re done with it. Click the ‘Browse’ button here (red shape below) and tell it where to go. Click ‘Okay’ when you’re satisfied and the ‘Output Folder:’ (red shape below) will show your new location.

Take a look at the list of available video format options on the bottom tabs of the screen:

Avi, MPEG, MP4, WMV, MOV, FLV and to Music. The only one we care about is WMV. I pointed an arrow at that tab. Why that format? Most people are running windows. I have a windows desktop and a Mac laptop. Either way, I can open the format. It’s pretty much standard nowadays. If it changes in the future, I’ll convert to a different format. It won’t affect what we’re doing here. We’re only going to adjust one component, anyway. This one in blue:

That’s the “video quality”. It’s automatically set to 1500. That’s why the video is 30MB (or whatever). Change it to 800 and click the big blue button on the far right, ‘Start’. This comes up next:

Do what it says and “wait” for 5 seconds. When it’s done, the screen will change a bit. Click the >> button (below image) in the bottom right of the red square:

Your video conversion will start. It’ll take about 15 seconds. When it’s done, you’ll see this:

Click the ‘Ok’ button and this screen will pop up showing your converted video. It’ll be called something like 0128.wmv (as in my example below). If it’s 2MB – 3MB you’re in good shape. If it’s over 3MB, then delete the converted video, close the open file location window and redo the conversion, but with a lower setting, say 700 instead of 800. If it’s still too high, then your video recording is longer than 30 seconds and you need to record it again. Learning to keep your videos short and to the point, but still friendly and unhurried, is why the first two times you do this it will take six times longer. When you get down the “first take” mentality of your recordings, you’ll do this whole things in 10 minutes.

When you’re satisfied with everything, close the program by clicking the X in the top right corner. You’ll get this old friend:

You know what to do.

The program will close.

5. Personalize Video Name

Locate your converted video and change the name from 0128.wmv (or whatever) to Dear John (or whatever the first name is of your potential client). When you get used to doing this a few times, you’ll change the name after it saves it and opens the window in AllDJ Video Converter 4.0 – This first time, go ahead and do it now. When you change the name, make sure you keep the file extension (ala ‘Dear John.wmv’)

6. Your Email Subject

You want a subject title that’s going to make the person go nuts if they don’t open it right this second. This is what I do, but you might come up with something you like better:

Notice I’m telling the person that it’s special, made just for them “personalized”, how long it is, that it’s attached already (they don’t have to download anything or open a website). I also include the name of the file, so they see their name and understand that it’s one of a kind.


7. Attach Personalized Video

Your potential client is smart. He – in this case, John – is going to see the size of your attachment. If you say it’s 2MB in the subject heading of your email, it better show up as 2MB in your attachment. Sometimes a nearly 3MB file will show up as a 2MB file in this attachment heading. Not sure why. Maybe a rounding down situation. Regardless, it needs to match with your subject proclamation.

8. The Message

That’s all you write. Just the facts. I teased John with my subject heading and he’s opened the email. I tell him what he needs to know. All his curiosity will be satisfied by simply opening the video. If he runs into any kind of problem, he knows he needs Windows Media Player to play the file. Believe me, he’ll find a way to play it. Wouldn’t you?

9. The Signature

Just sign it like you would any normal business email. Nothing else. No post script. No return receipt requested. No indications that this email is anything unusual beyond the subject heading and the name of the file. Show him you know how to get someone’s attention. You’re confident enough to put all your weight on the video and leave out the explanatory commentaries. He’ll automatically associate this behavior with how you’ll handle writing his book.

10. Send and Savor

Every single video like this I’ve ever sent to anyone, ever, since I started doing this three years ago, to a potential client or otherwise, has met with the same response:

How you return first contact from a potential client is like sight-reading music:

you can only do it once.