Monday, April 20, 2015

Not Enough Clients? What's In Your Way? (Guest Post)

C.J. Hayden
By C.J. Hayden

What's stopping you from getting all the clients you want? Do you know? The answer to this one question may be the key to making your marketing more successful.

It would seem from the questions people ask me about marketing that everyone is trying to fix just one type of problem -- how to fill their marketing pipeline with more new prospects.

"What else should I be doing to attract potential clients?" they ask. "Where else can I go to find people who might hire me?" or "How can I be more visible online so people will contact me?" or "Should I be finding prospects by cold calling, using Twitter, running ads, giving talks, writing articles...?"

All their questions -- and it seems all their efforts -- are aimed at finding ways to make contact with new people who might become clients. And every time they identify another activity that might help their pipeline get fuller, they want to add it to their ever-growing to-do list.

But is this really what's stopping them from getting more clients? Is this what's stopping you? If you are already marketing yourself in four or five different ways, will increasing that to seven or eight different ways produce better results? Or alternatively, if you drop everything you're doing now, and start using four or five brand new marketing approaches, will that do the trick?

In my experience, it probably won't. Continuing to try new and different approaches to fill your marketing pipeline will more often result in overwhelm, wasted effort, and failure than it will in new clients.

Instead of trying to fix your marketing by just seeking out more ways to meet people or collect names, email addresses and phone numbers, stop for a moment. What is the problem you're trying to solve? In other words, what's really getting in the way of your marketing success?

Listed below are the five most common marketing problems, and questions to ask yourself to see which ones might be yours. They're presented in order of priority -- problem #1 needs to be fixed before tackling problem #2, and so on. Consider whether making changes in one of these areas might be exactly the fix your marketing needs.

1. HANDS-ON TIME: Are you spending enough time proactively marketing? Not just getting ready to market, or thinking about how to market, or feeling resistant to marketing, but actually taking steps that will lead directly to landing clients?

If you're not spending enough time marketing your business, fixing other problem areas won't help much. Start keeping track of how much time you spend actively marketing each week. Most independent professionals find they need to spend from 4-16 hours weekly -- less when you're busy with paying work; more when you're not.

2. TARGET MARKET: Do you have a clearly defined target market which you can describe in five words or less? Does this market already know they need your services? And are you spending most of your time marketing to exactly that group?

Once you feel confident you are dedicating enough time to marketing, the next hurdle is making sure you're marketing to the right people. Focusing your efforts on a specific target group with a defined need for your services will make everything you do more effective.

3. MARKETING MESSAGE: Do your descriptions of your services name the benefits you offer and results you produce for your target market? And are these benefits and results that this market is looking for? Do you deliver your message every time you make contact?

Letting prospective clients know exactly how you can help them will make the most of the time you spend marketing to a defined audience. Your message needs to be clear, focused on the client's needs, and typically delivered multiple times to the same prospects.

4. FOLLOW-THROUGH: Do you have a system for following up with every prospect until they say either yes or no? Are you able to complete all the steps for each marketing approach you are using to make it pay off?

Without follow-through, much of your marketing effort is wasted. The typical prospect will need to hear from you (or about you) 5-7 times before deciding to work with you. And most marketing approaches need a follow-through element to succeed. For example, attending networking events requires post-event follow-up with the people you meet. Online networking requires regular participation, not just posting when you have something to promote.

5. MARKETING APPROACH: Are the strategies and tactics you are using to reach your market the most effective approaches available to you? Are they appropriate for your target market, and a good match for your skills and personality?

Only after addressing the first four problem areas above should you think about changing how you market. Because in truth, your tactics may not need to change. Whether you've been marketing yourself with cold calling, public speaking, or social networking, once you are spending enough time, marketing to the right people, delivering a targeted message, and following through on all your efforts, your results will improve dramatically.

So finding new or different marketing approaches -- the place where most peoplestart to fix their marketing -- is actually the last area to consider. The most effective approaches are those that include personal contact with your prospects, increase your credibility, and lend themselves to building relationships over time. And, approaches that match your skills and personality are more likely to succeed because you will actually use them instead of resisting them.

Once you know what might be stopping your marketing from being successful, make a commitment to fix what's really wrong. Resist the temptation (and hype) to keep trying new "silver bullet" marketing tactics or overloading yourself with endless possibilities. Finding the best marketing solutions will be much easier when you're trying to solve the right problem.

Copyright © 2013, C.J. Hayden

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Bridget is a licensed facilitator for Get Clients Now!n Learn more about the Get Clients Now! program here.

Get Clients Now! is a trademark of Wings Business Coaching LLC and is used under license.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What to Put in Your Contract With a Recruiter (Strategic Alliances/Partnerships)

Developing the wrong kind of relationships with recruiters can put your resume writing business at significant risk. They can make promises to you about providing a volume of clients that can be enticing — but can they deliver? And at what cost (both in terms of finances and the commitment it will require from you)?

Going into these relationships armed with the right knowledge and information can help assure you pick the right recruiters to work with — and negotiate an agreement that works for you — and for them. 


• Will you (the firm) be the “client” or will I be working with (and billing) the job seeker directly?

• What kinds of clients do you work with? Any specialties? What salary ranges do you usually work with? Remember that “generalist” firms in particular might send you some clients you don’t usually work with. If this is the case, you might want to make arrangements ahead of time with a subcontract writer to handle those clients.

• Do you anticipate these project to be resumes only, resumes and cover letters, or other types of materials (bios, portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, etc.). Would you be interested in offering any other services to your clients — i.e., career workshops, interview coaching, salary negotiation advising?

• How many projects do you think you will be sending me (per week, or per month)?

• How do you anticipate the client management process being handled (how I normally conduct business, or do you have something else in mind — i.e., meeting the client at your offices, or representing myself as your agent?)

• How will referrals be made? Online? Will you email me the client information and I make contact? Will you set up a formal affiliate page and/or link? Or will you give the client my contact information, and the client will contact me?

• How will sales be tracked? Are you responsible for tracking leads and clients, or am I?

• How will payment be handled? Will the client pay you, or me?

Issues to address when structuring an agreement (these are addressed in detail in the special report, but here is an overview):

• Tracking referrals

• Compensation

• Scope of commissionable work

• Reporting requirements

• Pricing

• Contact details

• Clients you don’t/won’t work with

• Client ownership and ownership of work (copyright)

• Nondisclosure/confidentiality

• Payment details

• Expense reimbursement

• Defining the nature of the relationship (“status”) – i.e., independent contractor, employee, or agent

• Responsibilities of each party

• How default/breeches are resolved

• Limits of liability

• Term of the contract

• Contract termination

Excerpted from: “Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships With Recruiters” by Bridget (Weide) Brooks.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Are You Quoting Me More For My Resume Than (This Other Company)?

Every so often, I provide a quote for a resume to a prospective clients, and the client comes back and asks why my quote is so much higher than another firm they've contacted. Or, when I follow up with them, they tell me that they've chosen a lower-priced provider.

Here's what I write back:

I'm glad you found someone to assist you with your resume update!

As you might imagine, with more than 4,000 resume writers worldwide, fees very considerably. In fact, I've done quite a bit of research on this topic as the editor of a trade magazine for resume writers. While it's true you might find someone competent who will charge very little for their services, the majority of professional resume writers -- that is, individuals who do this for a living -- invest quite a bit of time and money in keeping abreast of the latest trends in resume writing (especially about things like keyword summaries for companies who use applicant tracking systems). The national average for a resume is $478, according to my latest research.

You'll also find a wide variety of credentials among professionals. As a member of three national professional resume writing associations, and as a Certified Professional Resume Writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations, I have more than 17 years of experience writing interview-winning resumes. My clients rely on my expertise to get them an interview in a highly competitive job market. 

For example, I had a client recently who paid around $400 for his new resume and cover letter -- but he landed six interview from 10 resumes he sent out, and ended up accepting a new position that will pay him $25,000 more than his current position, with the potential for $15,000 more in bonus. In essence, his $400 investment landed him a 30% raise. His situation isn't typical, but many of my clients have landed more modest increases -- along the lines of $8,000-$10,000 -- through development of an accomplishment-focused resume that helps them not only get the interview, but helps the interviewer establish the areas of value that he/she can bring to the company -- by saving money, saving time, attracting new clients, etc.

I share this information with you not to impress upon you the results I've achieved with my clients, but to let you know that your investment in your career can make a big difference over time. Finding a job faster (being out of work for a shorter period of time), being able to quantify why you're worth a $3,000 higher salary than you were initially offered … these are things that an effective resume can do for you.

I hope that you are able to achieve the results that you are seeing from the service provider that you selected. Good luck in your job search!

Bridget (Weide) Brooks, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Image Building Communications