Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Help! I'm Having Trouble Converting Prospects Into Clients

In today's blog post, I'll answer a resume writing colleague's question.

Question:

Lately, I've been noticing that prospective clients have been replying with "Thanks for the information. I will take your recommendations into consideration but I cannot afford to pay to have my resume done."
What is your take on this? It has been 3 clients in a row.


My Answer:

What is the normal conversion rate you're getting from clients after receiving the critique? (How many clients -- out of 10 -- normally engage your services after receiving the critique?) For example, my normal conversion rate is 1-out-of-3. For every three clients I talk to (in general), one becomes a client. Instead of looking just at the last 3 clients, then, how many prospects out of the last 10 have become clients? If the overall ratio is slipping, then further analysis is needed whether this is an economic trend or simply a blip.

Second, look at where the clients come from -- each client should be asked how they heard about the service as part of the "intake" -- before providing the critique results. This can also help with the analysis. If they were referred by a current client or another source vs. finding you online, I would expect the conversion ratio for those clients to be different. (Referred clients should have a higher close rate, obviously.)

Is there any education about "value" in the communication process with the client? Perhaps sending some sort of information in between when you receive the critique from the client and when you deliver the critique can be part of the education process. For example, I have a document called "The Jobseeker's Guide to Working With Your Resume Writer: 10 Simple Things To Help Me Help You." (It was the April 2014 Pass-Along Materials content for Bronze members). It helps "warm up" prospects to become clients -- giving them information on how we can work together most effectively.

Do you have a follow-up system for when prospects don't immediately become clients? As we talked about in the Get Clients Now! program, follow up is a critical consideration. Even something as simple as a follow-up email after they get the "I can't afford you" message that thanks them for their time, reiterates the issue that they came to you with ("not getting interviews" for example), and a desire to work with them in the future if something changes. And then maybe a recommendation for a do-it-yourself product, a lower cost service (for example, a resume revamp instead of a full resume re-write, an offer of a referral to a lower-priced service -- for which you would get a 15% referral fee from that writer, or a book recommendation (with affiliate links). 

I find that when clients say they "can't afford to pay," it's really that I haven't established enough value for the service I'm offering. Sometimes it's that I haven't communicated up front my "range" of service fees (i.e., "resumes starting at $250") so that clients know that it's not going to be a $99 service. Do you ask them their budget as part of the critique process? That might be useful... and certainly appropriate -- after all, you are providing a valuable service and have an expectation of receiving valuable information in return. Are you "qualifying" prospects appropriately before the critique is being offered? (That is, are they a good fit for you -- in services needed, pricing, turnaround time, their industry/job title, etc. -- before you take the time to offer the critique? Or are all prospective clients offered a critique?)

From an overall standpoint, the best way to increase closing rates is to generate leads from the "top" of the "Marketing Strategies for Professional Services" diagram on page 15 of the Get Clients Now! book. These prospects, as I mentioned in paragraph 2, are more likely to become clients because you've established more of the "know/like/trust" factor with them than if they found the service through a Google search or an ad.




Want access to the "Jobseeker's Guide to Working With Your Resume Writer" AND a ready-to-go resume critique form you can use with prospective clients? Join BeAResumeWriter.com as a Bronze member and get access to both tools as part of your membership.

Interested in learning more about the Get Clients Now!™ program? Learn more here:
Get Clients Now!


Get Clients Now!™ is a trademark of Wings BusinessCoaching LLC and is used under license. www.getclientsnow.com

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