Friday, February 12, 2016

Strategies to Help You Close the Sale

Creating a sense of urgency — buy now!— is the single most important factor in turning resume prospects into resume clients. Ask any resume writer: It’s critical to get a client to commit on the first call. The longer they wait, the slimmer your chance of getting them to open their wallet.

When I ask self-employed resume writers which part of owning their own business is the most challenging, “selling” and “closing the sale” are often in the top five answers — if not THE top responses.

So if you have a hard time turning resume and coaching prospects into clients, I want to share some specific strategies that will get people off the fence and get them to take action…which means getting them to open their wallets and become clients.

In the Resume Writers’ Digest Annual Industry Survey, the results are pretty consistent year after year that the average résumé writer works on 3-4 resumes per week, at an average fee of around $500. So, imagine if you were able to serve one more client each week — that’s an extra $2,000 per month, or $24,000 a year.

Many of the strategies I’m going to share don’t cost anything — so you can get a tremendous bang for your buck. The strategies I’m sharing are ones you can use in your very first conversation with a prospect, or on your website, or in a follow-up email with a prospective client.

Speaking of the first conversation with a prospective client, it’s critical to get a client to commit on the first call. The longer they wait, the slimmer your chance of getting them to work with you.

Now before we jump in, let me offer one piece of advice:
Combine these triggers whenever possible. One trigger is powerful, but when used together, they are even more powerful and will boost your client conversion rate even higher!

(There are 25 strategies in the special report -- here are my favorite 5 -- they're numbered by the strategy as they appear in the special report):


#1. Offer Time-Sensitive Bonuses


How to use a low-cost, high-value bonus to clinch the sale.

Just offering a bonus is a great way to incentivize people to buy what you’re selling. But when you make the bonus time-sensitive, you increase the urgency. And that means increased sales!

Think about the infomercials you see on television. Many of them offer a “gift with purchase” — something extra when you make your purchase. Simply offering a special bonus — and it doesn’t have to be anything expensive — can increase your conversions. But when you combine that bonus with a deadline, you make this strategy even more powerful. That’s because a sense of urgency can help get people to commit.

This does not have to be a high-pressure sales tactic.

Examples:
  •  “I’m offering a special bonus for new clients who decide to take action today. If you order the Deluxe Resume and Cover Letter package, I’ll also enroll you in our ‘30 Days to Your Next Job’ Challenge, which is a $49 value, for free.”
  • Order your Resume Rewrite package in the next 48 hours, and you’ll get a free 8-day “Leveraging LinkedIn In Your Job Search” training — a $49 value.
  • Buy the “Six Steps to a $6,000 Raise” and you’ll get a free 15-minute salary negotiation strategy session — but hurry, this special offer ends tomorrow!
You can also use this tactic for products and services you sell on your website. For example, “If you purchase a one-hour job interview coaching session, you’ll receive a free ebook, ‘55 Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer in an Interview,’ — if you reserve your coaching session by May 31.”

Low-cost bonuses can include:
• Ebooks or digital special reports
• Workbooks or tip sheets
• Recordings and/or transcripts of teleseminars you’ve done
• 15-minute “strategy sessions” when the client makes a high dollar purchase. These can also be lead-ins to your coaching services or coaching packages, giving prospects a “try-before-you-buy” sample of what coaching can do for them.

Most of these are things that won’t take you a lot of time to create — but have a high perceived value for clients. Just offering a bonus can increase your sales — but putting a time limit on it makes it even more powerful.

#4. Give a Free Critique


Why getting clients to take a small action now can lead to a bigger sale later.

Yet another way to offer your personal time and attention as part of a bonus package is by offering a free critique. Free critiques used to be the number one way resume writers secured leads and converted those prospects into clients. For many resume writers, that’s still the case. Offering a free critique can not only help you assess the client’s existing resume, but it can also help you make the sale. If someone calls you and is asking about price, you can deflect that question by asking if they have an existing resume and offering the free critique.

Ask them some additional questions about their job search — for example, if there is a specific job that they’re targeting, or a specific job posting or opportunity they need the resume for, and what their timeline is. You can also ask when was the last time their resume was updated, and whether they wrote it themselves or not.

Tell the prospect that once they have sent you their existing resume  you’ll get them a customized resume review (critique) that will help identify how their resume meets current standards. This also works for LinkedIn Profile development services.

Examples:
  • Order the interview preparation ebook book today and you’ll receive a free resume critique.
  • Order now and I’ll review your LinkedIn Profile for free.


If you are a Bronze member of BeAResumeWriter.com, you have access to a Resume Critique Form and LinkedIn Critique Form you can use for this “buy now” incentive.

This is a strategy that works well when paired with other strategies. For example, you can use the LinkedIn critique as a free bonus for your resume clients when paired with Strategy #1 (“Offer time-sensitive bonuses”). So if they purchase a resume package today, you’ll also provide a free assessment of their LinkedIn Profile. (“Oh, you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile? Well, you definitely need one! Let me send you my free ebook on “The Savvy Jobseeker’s Guide to Getting LinkedIn to a New Job.”)

This strategy is also a good way to get clients to take a little action now that can lead to a big sale later. An example of this is if you sell information products — like ebooks or fixed-term membership courses — on your website. Getting someone to enroll in one of those is a perfect example of starting a relationship with a small step. So having an inexpensive offering on your website — under $49, for example, if your resume packages average $500 — gets them to take a small step.

The same is true when you use the free critique — getting them to start the dialogue about what it would be like to actually work with you gets them thinking about that. When you review their existing resume, you’re sharing information about it, but you’re also positioning yourself as the one to provide the actual service.

#7. Justify the Price

Understand where emotion and logic fit into the client’s buying decision.

People make their buying decision based on emotion, and then justify their decision based on logic. With this in mind, you can help them come more quickly to their buying decision by helping them justify their purchase logically.

For example, you can point out that the average length of unemployment is 35 weeks, so shortening that by a few weeks can make a significant financial difference.

Examples:
  • If you’re currently unemployed, then you can’t afford to NOT get this book. And consider this — the book is just $25, but you’ll get back to work faster using the practical, action-oriented strategies in the book.
  • Do you want to make $1,000…$5,000…or more…in your next job? How much money have you been leaving on the table when you’re negotiating your new job offer? This ebook can add thousands of dollars to your paycheck — and you’ll pay only $49 for this valuable information!
Case studies are a great way to combine logic and emotion. You start with a testimonial from a client who raves about how they got a $1,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 raise when they used the resume you wrote for them. You better believe I used the testimonial from the client I had a few years back who got a $10,000 increase in salary from his last job to his current one. For example: “Wouldn’t it be worth it to invest $600 in a resume and cover letter that can help you get 10 times the return on that in your salary at your next job?” 

(If you are putting this statement on your website, the Federal Trade Commission does require you to have a disclaimer somewhere on the page that indicates the “typical results” your clients achieve, if a significant salary increase isn’t a typical result.)

For more information on use of endorsements and testimonials, check out:

The key with this strategy is the balance between emotion and logic. You can’t have one without the other.

#10. Give Hope: “Order Now…Or Everything Will Stay the Same”

Get the person who is looking for a do-it-yourself solution to pay for a done-for-you solution.

Basically, the idea here is that you remind the prospect: “If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same result.” If the client doesn’t order now, everything will stay the same…which probably means whatever they are doing isn’t working…otherwise, you wouldn’t be talking to them in the first place.

In the book, “Launch: The Critical 90 Days from Idea Until Market,” author Scott Duffy makes the point that “the biggest mistake salespeople make is selling the wrong thing.” He says you’re not selling them a product or a service — you’re selling them hope.

The same is true for jobseekers. We’re not selling them a resume  We’re selling them job interviews. We’re selling them a better salary. We’re selling them a better life.

This strategy works particularly well for jobseekers who aren’t having success with a “do-it-yourself” approach to their resume  cover letter, and/or job search. The jobseeker desperately wants a solution – and the search for a solution has been disappointing. He’s frustrated, discouraged, and even a little depressed that he hasn’t been able to solve the problem himself. He may even be kicking himself for allowing the problem go on this long. 
This is particularly true for jobseekers who have been actively looking for months.

That’s where you come in — you offer hope. You offer hope that you can help the jobseeker get a job interview…and then an offer…at a great salary…in a job he will love. And you remind the prospect that if he doesn’t take action, then nothing will change.

Examples:
  • “Are you struggling in your job search? Not getting interviews? Interviews not turning into job offers? I can help! Call me today and get on the fast track to success in your job search with my 28-day Job Search Success System.”
  • “Are you getting paid what you’re worth in your current job? Take our free assessment and find out if you’re underpaid — and the three things you can do today to increase your salary.”


#22. Employ Power Words

You’ve heard the commercial: “People do judge you by the words you use.” These words can help you seal a sale.

This strategy is especially powerful when you combine it with other strategies. That’s because this method is simply a matter of using the most popular power (“trigger”) words that boost sales. As resume writers, we are keenly aware that words have power, and that choosing your words carefully can have substantial impact on the reader.

So, instead of “ resume cost,” it’s “investment.” The power of a word like “investment” is that it triggers a specific feeling in the person reading it. The money they’re spending is not an “expense” or “cost,” it’s something that they will yield a return on.

Let me give you a list of some of the most powerful words you can use in your sales materials, on your website, or in phone consultations with prospective clients:

Some of these words work by capturing attention (“amazing”). Some work by appealing to the prospect (such as the word “you”). Some work by stating a benefit (“easy”). Still others evoke curiosity (“secrets”).

Here are examples of these words in action:
  • You
  • Secrets
  • Discover
  • Guaranteed
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Amazing
  • Fantastic
  • Huge
  • Blowout
  • Surprising
  • Startling
  • Reveal
  • Proven
  • How to
  • New
  • Scientific


Talk about “you” — because people love to hear about themselves. “Secrets” are appealing, because wouldn’t you love to know a shortcut to a quick and successful job search? If you talk about “quick” or “fast,” people want results NOW! Words like “startling” or “surprising” use something unexpected to stop prospects in their tracks. (“Are you making this surprising mistake on your resume?”) And using a word like “proven” is reassuring, because no one wants to be the guinea pig.
  • Announcing our first-ever ebook that teaches you, step-by-step, how to make more in your current job.
  • Discover the secrets of the world’s greatest recruiters.
  • Now you too can use these proven strategies to find your next job faster!


If you like these five strategies, there are 20 more in the special report:
"Turning Browsers Into Buyers: How To Get Resume Clients To Buy Now"



Monday, January 18, 2016

Collecting Client Testimonials for Your Resume Writing Business

Testimonials on your resume business website serve an important function for prospective customers. But what should be included in them, and how do you persuade customers to provide them?

A great testimonial includes the following elements:

  • The specific services you provided to the client
  • The specific results he/she realized after working with you
  • Whether or not he/she would recommend you to others
  • The client name (first and last name is best; first name and last initial is acceptable)
  • Client location (city/state)
  • Photo of the client, if he/she has one and is agreeable to posting it


Here's a template you can use to ask clients for a testimonial:

Dear (client):

Thank you again for the opportunity to work with you on your job search. I am happy you got the job!

I would appreciate the opportunity to post your results on my testimonials page. Would you be willing to write a few lines telling prospective clients how my services helped you in your job search? I would be most grateful.

Thank you!

Your Name


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Do You Make These Money Mistakes in Your Resume Writing Business?



Most resume writers are better with words than numbers. If you're like me, you don't enjoy the finance and bookkeeping parts of your business as much as you do the writing part.

But we need to focus on the money side of things if we want to succeed in business. Here are eight money mistakes that many resume writers make in their business. See if you're making any of them.

1. Not Doing It At All. Many resume writers ignore bookkeeping entirely and try to get it all done the night before their taxes are due. This is a huge mistake for obvious reasons. Even if your resume writing business doesn't make much money yet, you could be missing out on some awesome benefits if you don't take this seriously. The fact is, you have to account for and record every penny you earn from all your business activities, all the time.

2. Not Saving Receipts. Every receipt should be saved. It's easy; just put them in a box after you note them in your bookkeeping software. (I keep mine in a file folder -- one file for each month of the year.) That way, if there is ever a question, the IRS will have the records.

3. Not Getting Expert Advice. Hire someone to help you set everything up so that you know you're doing it right. Some CPA firms will send someone to your location (even at home) to help set up the books so that you do it right, and they can easily do the monthly, quarterly, and yearly activities. (I used to pay my first accountant $25 a quarter to fill out my quarterly sales tax report. I asked my current accountant to teach me how to do it myself -- it takes 5-10 minutes and I save $100 a year by doing it myself now!)

4. Not Tracking Reimbursables. Your clients may reimburse you for some things -- for example, doing an email campaign to recruiters. Make sure you're tracking this as an expense that you paid (or marked up) so you're not paying taxes on the whole transaction as straight revenue.

5. Setting Up the Chart of Accounts Incorrectly. The chart of accounts is very important to accurate bookkeeping. Setting this up right will get you off to a good start and help you avoid money wasters and time wasters. (This is something I need to work on for 2016. My chart of accounts in Quickbooks has become kind of unwieldy over the past 6 years I've been using this version of the software.)

6. Not Reconciling Monthly. Each month you are supposed to reconcile your bank accounts and your bookkeeping accounts. This is an important habit to master because it will help you avoid mistakes. (And it will make doing your taxes easier too.)

7. Taking Money out of the Till. Even if you don't have a real cash drawer, taking out money from your business account and spending it on personal items whenever you want is a bad way to do business. Have a business account that is dedicated solely to the business. Only pay business expenses from it. That way, any checks or withdrawals for you will be profits you're taking from the business.

8. Lack of Automation. Today, you can automate so much, including expenditures that go on a particular card and are booked automatically into your accounting program. There is more, but you'll have to choose the software to find out what type of automation is available.

If you make sure you're not making these money mistakes, you'll have more of a chance to improve your business, spend more time working with clients (instead of working on your business), make more money, and keep everything organized so that you don't get overwhelmed.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kudos!

I don't normally do posts like this, but I wanted to keep this information somewhere, and I thought you might be interested in this feedback too! (I recommend surveying your customers occasionally -- and this is a good question to ask!)

On the 2015 Resume Writers' Digest Annual Industry Survey, I ask this question:
"What can Resume Writers' Digest and BeAResumeWriter.com provide you with that you're not getting anywhere else? Any other comments/feedback?"

Here were some of the responses:
  • "The wonderful client articles to share."
  • "I get so much more from BARW than any other association!"
  • "I like the pass-along materials and use them to create passive income in my business."
  • "Keep up the great work -- have LOVED everything you write and send out to us!"
  • "Developing a business model which is highly personalized and incorporates goals for establishing balance between work and real life. A holistic approach to creating a realistic work/life blend. Filtering out the noise and editing 'what to say no to.' My mind is an overachiever and has set me up for a good deal of stress; my heart (and my husband) just wants my personal time back!"
  • "I like the tools/templates you make available. I like having quality tools I can easily access and adapt to meet my needs despite a very busy schedule."
  • "You are doing an amazing job -- just keep doing what you are doing!"
  • "Focus on ideas for improved materials used in the industry."
  • "Forms for managing client workload -  i.e., a good "Tracking Form"
  • "Content if I ever set up a blog or newsletter to send out to potential clients."
  • "Takeaways are great!!"
  • "I absolutely love the LinkedIn guide you wrote and then updated. I'd love more templates and guides for additional document writing, such as reference page and guides, social media updating guides, etc. Things I can give or sell to my clients as an added benefit to my resume writing."
  • "Guidebooks and information sheets to give to clients as part of paid packages."
  • "Resume writing/career coaching book recommendations. Contract samples/templates. Scripts for talking to referral partners (especially recruiters)."
  • "You are already doing it, and doing it well!"
  • "Show us how to set up merge fields in resume documents, invoices, contracts, etc. to save time when dealing with clients. That way, we only need to type the name, email, address, phone number in once, and then it automatically populates where it needs to in accompany documents."
  • "Keep on doing what you're doing; it's great"
  • "I would like more information to help potential clients understand the differences between the various certifications out there. There is no apples-to-apples comparison right now. Potential clients seem to simply view a certification as a certification -- with no differentiation."
  • "I would love to see a business case for companies, nonprofits, state career centers, university career centers, etc. (organizations that already have a career services component) bringing in resume writer consultants to conduct training and speaking. I often get the cold shoulder with the attitude of "We already offer what you do," but they don't offer the same level of quality and don't have the same level of expertise (or credentials). I am tired of trying to convince them."
  • "Products that are pre-written so I don't have to use my downtime not writing to write more!"
  • "More potential customer referrals for resume writing."
  • "Speaking engagements: Who, what, when, where, why, how."
  • "I appreciate the resources you produce. They are of excellent quality and tremendously useful to clients. Thank you for your hard work!"
  • Already benefiting with Get Clients Now! but more information/support/resources regarding improving quality of subcontracting relationships, e.g., average income for subcontractor. I think this will benefit the industry generally, both on the subcontractor side and the contracting side."
  • "Continued access to tip sheets and instructional materials for us and for clients."
  • "Survey results like this to understand industry trends and peer perception."
  • "Unbiased information / Bridget's wisdom."
  • "I love the ready-made special reports (Pass-Along Materials) that I can give to clients to supplement the coaching/resume writing work we are doing."
  • "I love my membership in BARW! It is a goldmine of information and education."
  • "More insight into the daily operation of other resume writing businesses. How do they do it?"
  • "How to establish a membership-based site." 

I appreciate all the feedback, ideas, and positive comments!

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