Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marketing in a Down Market: Speak and Grow Rich

From the July/August 2008 issue of Resume Writers' Digest

This is the third installment in a series on Marketing Your Resume Writing Services in a Down Market. Here is the second blog post in the series.

"Speak and Grow Rich!" -- That's the title of a popular book by Dottie and Lilly Walters. But it's also a technique advocated by small business marketing expert Robert Middleton in his "Tips for Surviving a Business Slowdown" column in the July/August 2001 issue.

Middleton writes, "There are many, many organizations looking for speakers, but they won't give you a call if they don't know you exist. Put together a package outlining your talk and contact every business organization you can find. Send your materials and follow up."

What groups are a good fit for a resume writer looking for new business? Any professional organization, for one. Other possibilities are job search networking groups, school and church organizations, and even neighborhood associations.

The Walters outline three keys for success in speaking.
  1. Target your market(s)
  2. Pick topics that will help solve problems in this market(s)
  3. Create title(s) for your topics that will grab the attention of your audience and buyers immediately

Remember, though, that the goal of your talk is to generate business for yourself. So don't give away the store! Many resume writers make the mistake of talking about resumes in free talks like these -- when they should be talking about jobs!

If the service you're selling is resume services (as opposed to career coaching or interview coaching), don't focus on how to create a resume as part of your talk. Instead, focus on the outcome of having a great resume -- generating interviews and getting the job! As part of your talk, you'll showcase some examples of great resumes for the target market you're working with, and even provide a few tips along the way.

But instead of talking about "Resumes for Accounting Careers," you could do a talk about "Networking to Your Next Job in Accounting," or "How to Make the Numbers Work: Salary Negotiation Strategies for Accounting Professions." Or even "Interview Tactics for Accountants: Get the Job and Get Paid What You're Worth!"

What materials do you need to market yourself as a speaker? It's pretty simple, actually. You can create a one-page handout that includes the following:

  • The title of your presentation
  • A brief description of the talk (2-3 sentences) and a list of the key "outcomes" attendees can expect
  • A line or two about your key qualifications on this particular subject 9you will also want to create a standard "bio" with your full affiliations, work experience, and credentials, but you don't need to send that along with your initial materials)
  • Your contact information
  • Your photo (optional)
  • Other groups you've spoken to and testimonials, if you have them
Next, you'll want to assemble your list of prospective groups. You can Google "Professional Associations and (Your City)" or find a Directory of Associations at your public library or at Marketing Source (You can purchase a 30-day subscription and get up to 200 records a day -- currently just $6.50 a day.)

Among those listed in my state are: Nebraska Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Nebraska Council of School Administrators, Nebraska Society of Independent Accountants, and the Nebraska Nurses Association.

Prepare a brief cover letter outlining your interest in speaking to their group (for free) on the topic you've developed and include your one-page flier.

Next topic: Expand Your Network

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