Showing posts with label Get Clients Now. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Get Clients Now. Show all posts

Monday, December 28, 2020

The “Persistence Effect” and How It Can Help You Fill Your Appointment Book in 2021

 Have you heard of the “Persistence Effect”?

There is a direct connection between the level of effort you put into marketing and the results you get, even when it seems the results are completely unrelated to your efforts.

But it can be hard to figure out what marketing you SHOULD be doing. Should you advertise? Post on social media? Write articles or a blog? Work on networking? Cultivate new referral sources? Start a podcast? Do videos on YouTube?

I have the answer for you:

The secret to marketing

Yep, sounds simple. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do as THAT you do.

But it works. 

It’s like that saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
How do you fill your appointment book? One action at a time.

Do one or two simple things each day … consistently.
(The consistency part is important.)

You may look at your resume writing colleagues and wonder: Why does that person seem to have all the business they can handle, and I’m struggling with “feast and famine”? The Persistence Effect is one answer. Even if the things you’re doing aren’t DIRECTLY bringing you new business, the fact that you’re doing SOMETHING can bring you results.

I asked my Bronze members what they’d like to learn more about and the answer was how to get more clients. So I put together a mini course to help: 5 Simple Strategies for Securing More Sales.

In the course, you’ll discover three things you may be doing now that might actually be preventing you from getting clients, you’ll learn how the Persistence Effect can dramatically transform your marketing, and one simple habit that you can begin TODAY that may bring you all the clients you ever need.

Because it’s a mini-course, you can get through it quickly. It’s also designed to help you get results right away. There’s one 25-minute video and two homework assignments. It’s something you can start before the new year. (Although you can save the homework until Jan. 4 if you want.) 

The mini-course is regularly $27 but because I just launched it, you can enroll for just $18 through Dec. 31.

It’s a gift to give yourself to get 2021 started on the right foot. It’s partly about mindset, but there are also practical, actionable strategies you can implement to start filling your appointment book for next year.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Get Clients Bootcamp: Where Are You Now?

Next week, I’m offering a Get Clients Bootcamp for Bronze members of One of the exercises I’m giving as homework is to figure out “Where Are You Now?”

One of the best ways to get more clients is to figure out what’s working and do more of that. You have to figure out where you are on the map before you can plot a route to where you want to go.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? The problem is that you first have to know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. The best way to do that is track! From there you look at your data and make a plan for what you should and shouldn’t be doing going forward.

Your first step will be to decide what you want to track. A good place to start is to look at how you currently are attracting clients, your income and expenses, what services (and products, if you have them) that are contributing revenue, and of course where you spend most of your time. 

Exercise One:
How do you get your clients currently? Go back and review your records from the last month. (You should be asking clients how they found you. If you’re not doing that, start now!) Make a list or chart of how those clients found you. If you have the time, go back and look at the last 6-12 months of clients and collect that data.

Exercise Two:
How much money are you making currently? Look at your current year financial data. Here’s the metrics we want to know:
• How much do you make per client (on average)
• How much revenue are you bringing in each month (on average, and a total for each month)
• How much income have you brought in so far this year?

Exercise Three:
Which of your services or products are selling? Are you primarily selling resumes and cover letters? Resumes and LinkedIn profiles? Interview coaching? Salary negotiation coaching? How about products — do you sell ebooks? Online training? Do you receive affiliate commission payments?

Exercise Four:
Next you want to look at expenses. What “fixed” expenses do you have per month or per year (for example, website hosting or email list software)? Do you pay for your own health insurance? 

What “variable” expenses do you have? For example, your estimated quarterly taxes vary with the income you earn. You may work with a resume proofreader/editor who charges you based on the number of projects you send her way. 

Exercise Five:
Last but not least, look at the amount of time you’re spending to generate your income. If you’re not already tracking your time, you should be. In particular, you want to track the amount of time you‘re spending on each client project, in order to make sure you’re pricing your services appropriately.

With this information, it will be easier to decide what you should be doing more off, what you should be doing less off, and what you should stop doing. Focus most of your time and energy on the most profitable products and income sources. 

We want to do more of what’s working, and less of what isn’t!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

7 Ways to Get More Clients for Your Resume Writing Business

Clients are the lifeblood of a successful resume writing business. Without clients, there is no business! Here are seven tips for attracting clients. You probably know most of them, but it's a good reminder that if your appointment book isn't full, you can change that!

1. Tell Everyone You Know 
This may seem obvious, but you would be shocked to learn that some people you know probably don't know what you do. You want to get the word out to everyone you know, because they may know someone that needs you and tell them about you. Hand out business cards, share resources with them (the Pass-Along Materials make excellent special reports that you can use as lead generation magnets), and post updates on your social media platforms about the work you're doing (and the people you've helped -- without identifying your clients directly). 

2. Get Involved
Being involved in your local community and online communities, both business and personal, will help you become a known entity. Use the strategy of "Give To Get" -- be helpful to others. Remember, jobseekers are hungry for information that will help them in their job search -- FEED THEM! Remember the Zig Ziglar quote: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

3. Partner Up
A joint venture is a temporary partnership in which you join forces with someone who markets to your audience but who is not direct competition -- for example, a career coach. Partner up to host a free webinar teaching their clients something to solve one of their most burning problems (anything related to the job search is fair game -- LinkedIn is almost always an in-demand topic). They will promote the webinar to their clients and you'll teach it. You can give them a referral fee on any projects that result -- and, you can solidify a stronger referral relationship!

4. Be Social
Make all your profiles on social media compelling and informative. Post a good profile image that shows your face and eyes. It doesn't have to be a professional headshot, but it should be clear and show a good depiction of your personality. Join various groups online, consisting of both your audience and other resume writers (if you focus on a specific niche, colleagues can be a great source of new clients). Get to know people, help people, and let your profile speak for itself. Share information regularly -- become a resource people will depend on for careers content!

5. Build Your Reputation 
If your current client flow is slow, take time now to work on reputation building. The way you do this is participate in webinars, discussions, and even livestreams ( or Facebook Live), showing your professional knowledge about your careers industry niche and how you can help jobseekers. Write a book, blog, or guest blog and/or develop a freebie (lead magnet) to give away so you can build an email list. Content can help you capture new clients!

6. Optimize Your Website
Your website is the hub of all other activity. Ensure that it works on any device, that it loads fast, and that it is pleasing to the eye. Use keyword-rich titles, appropriate anchor text, and publish informative blog posts. Ensure that you have at least a Home page, About us page, Service page and a Contact page, and that there is no mistaking what it is you do when someone visits your website. (Refer to the "What To Write On Your Website" special report for more details.)

7. Be Your Own Client
I talk a lot about resume writers and the shoemaker's kids. (Referring to the old story about the shoemaker's kids being barefoot.) One of the best demonstrations of what you can do involves being a bright, shining light that shows the world what it is that you do. Your LinkedIn profile should be top-notch. Your "About Us" page on your website should tell a compelling story of you. If your personal communications are outstanding, prospective clients will see exactly how you can do the same for them.

If you're looking for a specific program to help fill your appointment book, the Earlybird registration and the 3-pay option for the next session of Get Clients Now end this Friday. (There are only 3 spots left too.)
Details here: Get Clients Now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Make Marketing Your Resume Services Into a Game

As I mentioned in several emails in January, I participated in Jon Acuff's "30 Days of Hustle" challenge with the goal of increasing the number of Bronze members for

The theme for Day 25 was "Game On" and Jon talked about how to take your hustle and turn it into a game. He said "Games help you get momentum and distract you from the boring or difficult." Sounds like marketing your resume services -- right? It can be difficult to get started (getting momentum) and we sometimes think of marketing our services as boring or difficult (it doesn't have to be either!).

Jon said there are five elements to "gamify a task." These include:

  • A limited time
  • A small challenge
  • A score
  • An opponent
  • A reward

I immediately saw a connection between gamifying tasks and the principles of the Get Clients Now® program, which I have been teaching for over a year now.

The full program is six weeks, but the "action period" is just 28 days (limited time). It involves setting a Program Goal for yourself -- a small challenge that you can accomplish within 28 days. You keep score using a Tracking Worksheet where you assess your progress towards your Program Goal AND how many of up to 10 tasks you completed each day. You have built-in opponents because you're participating in the program with between 3-11 other resume writing colleagues. Each week on the coaching calls, you get to report your progress and see how your results are measuring up against the other participants. And finally, there is the Reward! You set a Reward for yourself before you start the 28-day program.

Knowing that the program meets all the elements of a game makes it more fun! 

If you're interested in learning more about the program -- or enrolling in an upcoming session -- check out my upcoming sessions:

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.


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 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.

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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here It Is At Last: The Secret to Marketing

C.J. Hayden
Guest Post by C.J. Hayden, MCC
Well, that got your attention! Isn't that what every independent professional is really looking for -- that one magic formula that will take the effort out of marketing and bring you all the clients you need, forever?

Searching for this marketing silver bullet, they read articles and books, take seminars and home-study courses, and hire consultants and coaches. And in the process they learn about many, many so-called marketing secrets.

These "secrets" to marketing consist of supposedly surefire approaches like search engine optimization for your website, publishing articles online, social networking, joining a leads group, sending postcards, and running pay-per-click ads. There are of course many more, and each of them is being touted by someone as the ultimate solution for marketing your business.

Trying to sort out the truth in these conflicting claims leaves you with three basic possibilities:
  • All of this is nonsense; there is no secret to marketing.
  • One of these approaches probably really is the secret, but since you have no way of knowing which one, you'd have to try them all.
  • All of these probably are secrets for some people at some times, but none of them may be right for you.

No matter which of these points of view you take, the result is that none of these secrets are ultimately very helpful.

For many years, I've said that the real secret to marketing for independent professionals is choosing a set of simple, effective things to do, and doing them consistently.

That word "effective" can make this a bit tricky. You have to know what is effective in order for this secret to work for you. If you were to choose a set of completely ineffective things to do, this approach would fail.

But by "completely ineffective," I mean ideas like running a Yellow Pages ad to market a management consulting business, or networking on Facebook in order to make more contacts with doctors, or sending out direct mail letters to attract psychotherapy patients. When the marketing tactics you pick are that far off base, no amount of consistency will make them work.

If you choose a set of activities that have any level of effectiveness, they will work if you do them consistently. Cold calling will work if you make enough calls. In-person networking will work if you attend events regularly and follow up with the people you meet. Public speaking will work if you speak to audiences of a decent size on a regular basis.

With consistency and persistence, you can make even the most mildly effective marketing approaches pay off in the long run. But that qualifier "in the long run" is the catch. You don't want to wait that long. No one does.

Is there another layer to this secret that will make it all happen faster? Yes. Choose a target market that needs your services and can afford to pay for them, craft a message that market will respond to, choose a set of simple, effective approaches to reach that market, follow through on each approach, and spend enough time on your marketing to produce results.

Notice your emotional reaction to reading those words. They're not very exciting, are they? It sounds like work.

It would be much easier if the secret was something like search engine optimization, where you could pay someone else to do all the work and the clients would simply appear. Or joining a leads group, where you could show up at a weekly meeting and the other members would hand you business. Or running pay-per-click ads, where you would never have to talk to people before they became your clients. But of course none of these approaches really work that way.

Don't blame yourself for wanting to avoid hard work. It's human nature to look for the easy way out. But if you spend all your time searching for the effort-free way to market, you will end up making your job much harder. Every time you try another new way to market but then don't follow through on it, or give up too soon to see results, you waste time and money, and lose momentum. By trying to avoid work, you actually create even more.

So instead of looking for a magic formula to avoid the work of marketing altogether, find ways to make it easier on yourself. Here are four suggestions that will help.
  • Choose a target market you enjoy spending time with, and whose issues and goals you care about.
  • Get help with crafting marketing messages if messaging isn't your strong point.
  • Use role models, recommended advisors, or a trusted system to identify only the best marketing approaches, then do what they advise.
  • Use the support of a buddy, coach, or success team to help you follow through on your plans, market consistently, and break through fear and procrastination.

Note that if the above are ways to make marketing easier, doing the opposite of any of these will make it harder. Refusing to choose a target market, for example. Or spending time and money marketing with an off-target message. Or trying flavor-of-the-week marketing tactics no successful person in your field uses. Or not doing enough marketing because it's scary. Or trying to do everything on your own. Or continuing to chase after silver bullet solutions.

The secret to successful marketing for independent professionals is choosing a set of simple, effective things to do, and doing them consistently. The secret behind this secret is finding ways to make the process easier. And the secret behind that secret is to stop looking for another secret and get to work on implementing the first one.

Copyright © 2010, 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. You can take the Get Clients Now! program from Bridget (Weide) Brooks. Learn more here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tired of the "Feast or Famine" Cycle in Your Resume Writing Business?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from resume writing colleagues is has to do with the "feast or famine" cycle that is common in many businesses -- but especially for career services professionals.

In my annual survey of resume writers, there is definitely a cyclical nature to when jobseekers seem to naturally seek us out (January and September are usually the two busiest months -- which is no surprise, given New Year's Resolutions and kids returning to school after the summer break). But what do you do in June … or October … or December … to keep the phone ringing?

The answer is to do a simple series of marketing activities every day -- incorporating up to 10 simple tasks into your day each day (or at least several days each week) will keep an endless stream of prospective clients coming your way. Some of these tasks may only take 5 minutes, and many of them won't cost you anything. But it's being mindful about your marketing -- instead of waiting until you have a lull -- that will keep your appointment book full.

I wrote a blog post back in December 2013 about the "feast or famine" cycle, and I talked about the GET CLIENTS NOW! book in that post. I've been using C.J. Hayden's GET CLIENTS NOW! system in my own business since I first heard her speak at a resume writing conference back in 2003. But last month, I decided to become a licensed facilitator for the course because I've seen the positive impact that it can have if you learn and implement the system. Although I've been in business for 19 years now, there are still times when I need to reactivate my referral sources or fill a couple of empty spots in my appointment book. (Although I use the program most often now to fill group programs and attract new members to my membership sites, since I'm a strong believer in the power of passive income!)

Earlier this week, I taught a teleseminar that shares some of the principles behind the program. You can listen to the recording of the "5 Secrets to Attracting All The Clients You Will Ever Need" teleseminar here:

I'm offering three upcoming sessions of the GET CLIENTS NOW! program for resume writers. The first, which starts Feb. 23, has already sold out. There are two more sessions with a limited number of spaces available. One session is on Tuesday evenings, starting March 10. The other is on Wednesday mornings, starting March 25. If you take the time to listen to the call recording (it's only 38 minutes), you'll get a special promo code to register for 50% off the regular program price. But that offer expires Feb. 19, so take the time to listen soon!

If you want to learn more about the program, check out this page:
Get Clients Now

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

No More Feast or Famine in Your Resume Writing Business

On yesterday's call for "Make 2014 Your Best Year Yet," I got a question from Laura in New Jersey about how to handle the "feast or famine" aspects of running your own resume writing business.

Laura: I’m a new résumé writer. I’m going into my third year. And many of my clients are getting jobs and getting hired and I’m so excited. But my biggest goal is just getting more business. That’s the key for me. I can do the work. It’s just getting the business and that’s, I guess, my biggest dilemma, my biggest goal.

Me: I talked earlier in the presentation today about CJ Hayden’s program, “Get Clients Now.” 

She has a book that you can work your way through, or I’ve actually been through her coaching program for it that’s a four-week class. And you put together a 28-day action plan that’s oriented around marketing activities like speaking and writing and referrals and those sorts of things. And like I said, her emphasis is on taking specific actions and doing them repeatedly because they’ll lead you to results. And that’s probably one of the biggest challenges we have as resume writers is that it’s kind of “feast and famine.”

So you’re like “Okay, right now it’s December and I need clients. I’m going to start working on these marketing things.” And then all of a sudden, we’ll get calls on Thursday, January 2nd, and your phone is going to ring off the hook for about 35 days with people who have New Year's Resolutions to get a new job, and you’re just going to be writing and consulting with clients and doing drafts and all this stuff. And then you’re going to get to the middle of February and there is a drought. And then you’re like “Okay, I’m going to get back on track with my marketing here” and then all of a sudden all the new grads come in April, wanting their resume. So C.J. talks about really creating the systems in place so that you’re just doing even 10 minutes of marketing a day to help even out that feast and famine cycle.

Laura: In other words, instead of waiting for the drought, market as you go.

Me: Exactly. She talks about creating a pipeline of prospects. And one of the big programs that I want to put together for 2014 from my side of things is list building because I’ve talked about this on a couple of previous calls and it’s one of my staples that I really emphasize to resume writers — building an email list of your clients and prospects so that you can turn on that pipeline when you need more business and then you can kind of turn down the volume of the flow. You always want to keep your pipeline flowing so that you constantly have existing clients coming back for updates and making referrals of new clients, but you want to have a steady flow of leads and prospects that are coming your way, and one of the easiest ways to manage that is to get them into your email system and provide them with information.

Obviously one of the biggest benefits of the Bronze membership is the content that I give you that you can use with these clients. And I have a lot of the Bronze subscribers who don’t put this stuff out publicly to the world. They’re not putting the content on their blog or their website. What they’re doing is packaging it and sending it to their existing email list. It might be excerpting it or it might just be putting a cover on it and sending it out as an e-book, but using that content to keep in contact with your prospects and your existing clients and the people that they have referred.

And again, C.J. talks about this a lot. You’re more likely to get business from people who know, like and trust you. And one of the biggest ways to do that is through content marketing because it establishes your expertise and it gives you a reason to be contacting you via email. I know that it’s hard to think, when you’re looking at your email box, “Oh my gosh. There is so much stuff in here.” But aren’t there some people that you really look forward to seeing what they have to say? And so, being that kind of person is going to help solidify that pipeline so that you’re keeping in contact with the existing clients and the past clients, you’re encouraging them to make referrals, and if somebody contacts you but they’re not ready to start working with you right away or maybe price is a barrier initially, putting them on that email contact list helps you develop that reputation as a credible expert and a trusted authority so that when it’s time for them to pull the trigger and actually have somebody work with them on their resume and LinkedIn profile and all that…

Laura: They’ll remember you.

Me: They remember you — "top of mind marketing." So I think you really might benefit from CJ’s book. And like I said, if you need a little bit more hands-on instruction, then you go through the course with a trained facilitator and a group of accountability buddies. I didn’t really talk a lot about accountability buddies today, but that’s a big part of it too is just having somebody on your team who is going to keep you accountable. That might be a colleague or it might be a friend or a family member — somebody who you can put this stuff out there to and have them make sure that you’re on track for your goals.

Laura: Thank you very much. And I do use the Pass-Along Materials. I put them in a binder when I send [the finished] resume out to them, but I’m thinking now maybe that should be an email marketing project.

Bridget: I would say digital use of it is probably more cost-effective. I love the value that you get when you send it out hard copy because it really has a high perceived value, but just from the standpoint of making them accessible to more people since you’re only sending them out to folks who are getting the finished documents, you might consider putting them in digital format too so that you can just either give them access to a special page on your website where they can look at [them] or excerpting them in the emails or just having a special folder on your computer where you’re like “Okay, I’m going to send people a link to this Pass-Along Material this month.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guest Author: Turning Your Services Into a Product

By C.J. Hayden
Author, Get Clients Now

One of the biggest challenges in selling professional services is that what you are offering is intangible. Your product can't be seen, touched, or tasted. Until your prospective clients experience what you do, they have no way of knowing if it will turn out, whether they will like it, and how well it will work in their situation. To make a buying decision, the client must first trust that your work will produce the result that they need.

The most common way to package professional services is by the hour or day. The client pays for your time, and they keep paying until the project is declared complete. But clients are often resistant to this. You will hear them say, "I don't want to leave it open-ended," "That seems high for an hourly rate," "I'm not sure my budget will allow for this," or even "I'm not quite clear what it is I'd be getting."

You can overcome these barriers to making a sale by "productizing" your services. This awkward term simply means that you make your service look more like a product, so that it becomes easier for your clients to buy. You give it a defined scope, fit it into a limited time period, assign it a definite price tag, and attach a distinctive name.

Let's say you are an image consultant, and you've been selling your time for $75 per hour. Instead, you offer a "One-Day Makeover" at a price of $495, and include a wardrobe assessment, color consultation, and shopping trip. You're giving your clients a defined result with a clear timeframe and set price, making it easy for them to buy. Plus, you are able to let clients experience a range of the services you offer and suggest additional ways they can work with you.

A market research consultant working with corporate clients at $150 per hour could instead provide a "Market Position Blueprint" for a flat fee of $2500. The package would include a comparison matrix of three key competitors, qualitative data from interviews with six loyal customers, and recommendations for improving the client's market position, all to be delivered with 30 days. Clients know in advance exactly what they are paying and what they will get for it.

When buying your services in a package, the client runs less risk. They don't have to worry about cost overruns or getting an unexpected result. They know how soon the result they are paying for will be delivered. There's also an emotional comfort factor in buying a package. Purchasing something with a name attached makes it feel much more tangible than simply buying hours.

For you, offering a package helps you get your foot in the door. Once you show a client what you are capable of, more business will often result. Even if you price your package at slightly less than what you would earn for working the same amount of time at an hourly rate, you will probably profit more because more of your time will ultimately be sold.

Many consultants find that fixed-price contracts are much more profitable than working by the hour. In a survey quoted by the late Howard Shenson in "The Contract & Fee-Setting Guide for Consultants & Professionals," consultants working exclusively on a fixed-price basis had 87% higher profits than those working on a daily or hourly basis.

To determine which of your services would be best to turn into a product, consider what your target market most often wants from you. Is there a specific set of steps you usually follow when first working with a new client? Activities that you perform repetitively with many people give you an opportunity to create templates, worksheets, and other tools that you develop only once and use over and over. This effectively allows you to charge for the same work more than once.

Be sure to spend some time on coining a unique name for your product. You want a memorable results-oriented name that will help you to stand out from the competition, and perhaps even allow you to trademark it.

To launch your first product, you may not need to do much more than develop a standard format for what you are already doing, set a price, and name your new invention. Taking this critical step toward making your services more tangible can result in easier sales, more repeat business, and more profitable engagements.

Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Guest Author: Five Myths of Internet Marketing

By C.J. Hayden
Author, Get Clients Now

There's more marketing hype published on the Internet in one day than P.T. Barnum generated in his lifetime. Like a worm swallowing its tail, the Internet marketing beast feeds mostly on itself. The vast majority of what appears on the Internet about marketing is designed to help you market products and services sold and delivered exclusively on the Internet.

So what does that mean for the independent professional whose web presence is primarily aimed at selling his or her own personal services? You know, services delivered the old-fashioned way, by humans interacting face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice. At best, the average professional is likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Internet marketing advice available. At worst, he or she is being seriously misled by it.

The problem is that marketing your own professional services is simply not the same as marketing a retail product or an anonymous business service. You can't sell corporate consulting like you do web hosting; nor can you sell life coaching the same way you do an e-book. If you try to market yourself by following advice designed for marketing Internet products and services, you're likely to make some serious mistakes.

Here are five Internet marketing myths that may be hazardous to the health of your business.

Myth #1 – It all starts with a great web site.

Actually, the place where it starts is with a well-defined service. If you don't have a crystal clear picture of who you are marketing to and exactly what you're selling them, the best web site in the world won't get you clients. Before you even think about building a web site, you should know who your target market is, how to describe your professional specialty, and what specific benefits your work provides for your clients.

The content of your site is much more important than the design. Yes, you should have a professional-looking site, but a brilliant design and dazzling graphics won't pay off anywhere near as well as a clear explanation of why a client should work with you. Useful material such as articles, assessments, and other samples of your expertise will go much further to persuade prospective clients than flash intros and interactive menus.

Myth #2 – More traffic translates to increased profits.

The only result that more traffic to your web site guarantees you is increased bandwidth use by your web host. Before spending money on banner ads, web directories, or pay-per-click listings to drive more visitors to your site, you need to be sure that they'll want to do business with you once they get there.

Ask your colleagues and current clients to critique your site. Do they understand what you are offering? Can they see concrete benefits to your target audience? Revise your site based on their feedback. Then personally invite some prospective clients to visit and touch base afterward. Do your prospects seem more inclined to do business with you after seeing your site? If so, you're on the right track. If not, you still have more work to do.

Myth #3 – Do whatever it takes to build your list.

There's no question that a substantial opt-in mailing list is a valuable marketing asset, but the quality of names on your list is much more important than the quantity. Acquiring names through giveaways of other people's material, trading lists with joint venture partners, or purchasing them from a vendor rarely provides qualified buyers truly interested in your services.

Absolutely, ask your site visitors and people you meet to join your mailing list and offer them something of value in return. A well-written ezine, helpful report, or informative audio are all effective premiums. But, your premium should be directly related to the services you provide and also serve to increase your professional credibility. Names acquired from promotional gimmicks or unknown sources seldom turn into paying clients.

Myth #4 – Killer copy is the secret to sales.

Hype-laden web copy may be effective in selling certain info-products or courses, but it hardly inspires trust. You're not going to convince anyone to hire you individually as a consultant, coach, trainer, designer, or financial advisor by offering "not one, not two, but three valuable bonuses" as if you were selling steak knives on late-night TV.

Your Internet marketing persona should reflect the same professionalism as the work you do with your clients. If writing marketing materials isn't your forte, by all means hire a professional copywriter. But be sure you hire one with experience writing for professionals like yourself. The copy on your web site should inspire feelings of confidence about your abilities, and communicate your reliability and solid qualifications.

Myth #5 – Just follow the winning formula and you will get rich.

There's only one surefire recipe for Internet wealth I know of, and that's the business of selling surefire recipes. There seems to be an infinite number of buyers for every new get-rich-on-the-net scheme that is invented, but paradoxically, a precious few people actually making money on the web.

The Internet may be a different medium for marketing professional services than making calls, writing letters, or speaking to people in person, but the same time-honored principles still apply. There is no new winning formula. The secret to landing clients is what it always has been -- build relationships and get people to know, like, and trust you.

If your web site, ezine, and other Internet-based activities contribute to building long-term, trusting relationships with prospective clients and referral sources, you'll get business on the web. But if you blast your message out to anyone who will listen, aiming for a quick profit, the Internet won't bring you any more business than standing on a street corner with a megaphone.
Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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Monday, January 28, 2008

Guest Author: If You Want to Get Clients…

...You'll Have to Talk to Them

By C.J. Hayden, MCC

Author, Get Clients Now

"I've done everything I can think of to get clients," a desperate self-employed professional writes. "I printed a brochure, I have a web site, and I've placed ads. But no one is hiring me. What am I doing wrong?"

This unhappy business owner has made a common mistake. He seems to believe that investing money in placing ads and creating marketing materials will somehow produce clients without the direct involvement of the business owner.

Perhaps professionals who make this mistake are trying to follow a big business model. They hide behind a company name, expensive marketing literature, and a web site. They spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on ads, directory listings, and trade show booths. Far too many self-employed professionals don't even disclose their own name in their marketing.

But people don't buy professional and personal services from an anonymous company; they buy them from individual people they have learned to know, like, and trust. The more personal -- or the more expensive -- the service you offer is, the more likely this is to be true.

If you are a career counselor, life coach, or massage therapist, you are asking people to trust you with the most personal areas of their lives. If you are a web designer, IT consultant, or corporate trainer, you are asking your clients to trust you enough to spend thousands of dollars with you. You don't earn people's trust by sending them a brochure.

Here are the five things that work best for most professionals to get clients:
1. Meeting people in person -- at events or by appointment
2. Talking to people on the phone
3. Sending personal letters and emails
4. Following up personally over time
5. Speaking to groups at meetings and conferences

And here are the five things self-employed professionals most often try that don't work:
1. Placing ads in the Yellow Pages or local newspaper (Editor's Note: Yellow Pages ads still work for resume writers, depending on the clientele and geographic market you are targeting.)
2. Distributing flyers around their community
3. Mailing mass-produced letters or brochures to strangers
4. Sending their newsletter to people who haven't asked for it
5. Posting their brochure on the Internet and calling that a web site

The main difference between these two lists is that the first list requires you to talk to people. On the second list are anonymous activities that allow you to hide out and never meet the people you are in business to serve.

If you want people to become your clients, they need to get to know you, learn to like you, and believe they can trust you. And for that, they really do need to meet you.

It is understandable why so many business owners gravitate to the least effective marketing tactics -- they are so much easier! To buy an ad, all you have to do is put up the money. To send a letter, all you need is an address and a stamp. It's much more challenging to go out and meet strangers, or to call people on the phone and ask for their business.

But the reality is that this is what it takes. Even if you have the world's best web site, it's a rare client who finds their way to it, reads it, and decides then and there to work with you. The same is true for a brochure. Both of these marketing tools are simply that -- tools. Just like a pair of pliers, they need a person holding them in order for them to work.

What clients want is to get a sense of who you are as a person. They want to see your face or hear your voice, to get to know you over time. If you don't have enough confidence in your business to speak to people in person about it, how will they ever have enough confidence in you to hire you?

What you'll discover if you begin to meet clients in person, talk to them on the phone, and ask directly for their business, is that it gets easier the more you do it. It will build your confidence in yourself -- and the confidence your prospective clients have in you -- at the same time.

If you're in the business of serving people, your best marketing tool is your own voice. So put it to work and start talking to them.

Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guest Author: From Prospect to Client in 30 Seconds

Editor's Note: When you're selling a $300-$1000 service over the phone, you can't expect people to make a decision right away (at least not always!) Be sure to collect contact information from prospects and develop a follow-up strategy to convert some of these prospects into clients in the longer term.

By C.J. Hayden, MCC
Author, Get Clients Now

The process of converting a prospect to a client can seem like it takes forever. You meet a prospective client, follow up with him or her over time, and hopefully have a chance to make a sales presentation or schedule an initial consultation at no charge. Then you follow up some more, trying to close the sale. Months can pass, or even years, between your first encounter and getting the prospect to sign on the bottom line.

How do you keep following up for all that time without being a pest? Is asking prospects over and over, "Are you ready to buy yet?" the best way to go about it? How can you build the trust of your prospects enough that they become willing to take the risk of hiring you?

The answer to these bothersome questions just might be found in this simple idea. Treat those prospects as if they were already your clients -- they just haven't paid you yet.

Imagine what it would be like to treat every prospective client you encounter as if you were already working together. Every time you contact your prospects, you offer an article they might be interested in, an introduction to someone who might help them with a goal, or an invitation to an upcoming event in their field.

When you meet with them, you listen to their problems and recommend solutions. When you contact them after a meeting, you suggest resources for helping them address the issues you discussed. The solutions and resources you recommend may include your products and services, of course, but you don't stop there. You also offer answers that don't involve hiring you.

The impact of this kind of generosity on your prospective clients can be dramatic. Instead of considering your calls or e-mails an interruption, they will welcome hearing from you. They will no longer count you as a salesperson or vendor, but rather as a valuable resource and important person to know.

I'm not talking about giving away the store. I don't recommend providing the client with free training, spending hours addressing their issues at no charge, or otherwise practicing your profession without pay. It is completely appropriate to ask for and expect payment for doing your professional work.

But what I am suggesting is a shift in your attitude, to being of service instead of selling a service. Give your prospects a taste of just how valuable you could be to them if they were to hire you. Be generous with the information and contacts you already have at your disposal. It only takes a few minutes to pass along a phone number, clipping, or helpful web site, but the impact can be unforgettable.

The effect of this shift on you can be just as significant as the effect on prospective clients. You will eliminate those dreaded sales calls from your agenda and focus instead on what you do best -- helping people. You will no longer fear or resist making contact with prospects, but will begin looking forward to it. Instead of selling, you will be serving.

The fastest way to turn a prospect into a client may be simply to change how you think about them.
Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Guest Author: 10 Ways to Get Your Marketing Unstuck

By C.J. Hayden, MCC
Author, Get Clients Now

Have you ever found yourself knowing exactly what you need to do about marketing your business... and then not doing it? You are not alone. Many self-employed professionals find that the hardest part of marketing isn't figuring out what to do. What's hard is actually doing it.

Marketing yourself can be a confronting process. Making phone calls to strangers, writing marketing letters, and talking about yourself and your accomplishments can bring up fear of rejection, harsh commentary from your inner critic, feelings of incompetence, and the discomfort of performing unfamiliar activities. If you let them, these inner saboteurs can stop you dead in your tracks.

The good news is that you don't have to completely eliminate these internal roadblocks in order to move forward in marketing. It is possible to feel afraid or uncomfortable and still take useful action despite the presence of these feelings. Here are ten ways to quickly break through internal barriers and get your marketing unstuck.

1. Recreate your vision. When you're feeling blocked from moving forward, remember why you wanted to go there in the first place. What was your original vision of the business you are trying to build? Who will your work benefit? What fulfillment or satisfaction will it provide you? Write down your vision of a successful business, or if you've written it down before, pull it out and re-read it. Allow your own words to re-inspire you to do the necessary hard work.

2. Design a reward. Sometimes your vision may seem a bit too far off, and you need some more immediate gratification. Choosing to reward yourself for a job well done can provide you with a positive near-term benefit for effort that might not pay off for a while. Promise yourself simple rewards for completing difficult marketing chores like making follow-up calls or writing web site copy.

The prospect of a special dinner, a movie with your significant other, or a new gadget for your favorite hobby can help you to push past the blocks and get things done. Rewards don't even have to cost money. Sometimes the promise of a bubble bath, walk in the park, or an hour reading a good book is all the incentive you need to take on a tough marketing challenge.

3. Tame the inner critic. Often when you're feeling stuck, what's going on in your head is a conversation with your inner critic, who seems to have a lot to say about sales and marketing. It's difficult to work on promoting yourself when you are hearing a constant stream of comments like: "You're not good enough," "They won't like you," or "Who do you think you are?"

It can help to remember that the inner critic often says things that simply aren't true. One way to counter this negative dialogue is to respond with the objective truth. For example: "Clients tell me I'm good at what I do," "Many people say they like me quite a bit," or "I'm a competent professional, thank you very much." When you answer confidently with statements of fact, messages from the inner critic often begin to lose their power.

4. Face your fear. One of the most common obstacles to being successful at marketing is fear. Marketing activities may evoke fears of rejection, disapproval, embarrassment, and a host of other catastrophes. Instead of pretending the fear isn't there, or attempting to ignore it, you may find it more effective to confront the fear directly.

Try to identify exactly what you are afraid of. What do you fear will happen if you make that call or go to that meeting? If you can identify the specific fear that is blocking you, it may be possible to soothe it by providing reassuring information or positive experience. For example, fear of rejection can often be lessened by setting up practice selling sessions where a role-playing partner responds with "yes" to every suggestion you make.

5. Get a pep talk. When you become discouraged, don't be afraid to ask for outside help to cheer up and start feeling positive again. Ask a friend, colleague, networking group member, or your coach to give you some words of encouragement. Sometimes all you need to hear is: "It was tough for me in the beginning too... Eventually my efforts paid off... You're doing all the right things... I know you can do it!"

6. Complain and clear. Feeling frustrated and negative can sometimes immobilize you. One method of clearing negative thoughts is to voice what you are experiencing to a caring person. Spend a full five minutes complaining about everything that's going wrong with your marketing, making sure to say exactly how it makes you feel. Then ask your listener to reflect your feelings back to you. Knowing that someone else hears and understands you may be all you need to let go of a negative attitude and get back to work.

7. Read your fan mail. In the regular course of serving your clients, you've probably received thank-you notes, grateful voice mail messages, and other evidence that you're doing a good job. Make a habit of saving these in a "fan mail" folder, and when you are feeling low, revisit all the nice things people have said about you. Remembering what a good job you do when you are working can encourage you to do the necessary marketing to get more work.

8. Quit; then start fresh. There may be days when you feel discouraged enough to just throw in the towel. Maybe you should do it. The act of quitting can be very cathartic. Proclaim: "I quit!" Perhaps even write yourself a resignation letter. Then take off the rest of the day, and don't even think about work. It's a good bet that after you have a chance to blow off some steam, you'll be ready to come back the following day re-energized.

9. Change the scene. Marketing can feel difficult and lonely when you're always slaving away by yourself in your home office. Try carrying out some of your challenging marketing tasks from a different location or with some company. Make cold calls from the patio, write a marketing letter in a busy coffee shop, or take turns with a colleague helping each other set up a good contact management system. Seeing a different view or enjoying companionship while you work may help you to complete tasks you have been avoiding.

10. Act as if. Whenever you feel incompetent about some area of marketing, you may be able to tackle those activities anyway if you simply try to act as if you were competent. Try playing the role of someone you admire. For example, what if you were Lauren Bacall? How would she make a follow-up call? Or how about if you were Martin Luther King? How would he introduce himself in front of a group? A short time pretending to be someone you think of as confident and capable can make those qualities rub off on you.

The next time your marketing feels stuck, try one of these methods to help you get back into action quickly. Marketing tasks are really only as hard as you think they are, so if you can find an easy way out, why not take it?

Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Guest Author: Marketing the Real You

By C.J. Hayden, MCC
Author, Get Clients Now

I often wonder how the practice began of pretending to be someone else in order to market your business. You know what I'm talking about -- it's the marketing face, the selling voice, that you often put on in order to attend a networking event or make a sales call. Who taught you to do that?

I have a suspicion where we learn this behavior. Most of us spend a lifetime observing showroom salespeople, product spokespersons in the media, and hucksters on street corners. What we see demonstrated there is artificial enthusiasm, manipulative use of language, feigned interest, and in some cases outright deception.

Sounds awful, doesn't it? So why copy any part of this distasteful way of selling?

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Perhaps we believe this is the only way we can sell because it's the only way we know. I'm not accusing anyone of consciously deceiving prospective clients. What I'm suggesting is that what we do unconsciously and automatically is to behave inauthentically around them.

Intuitively, many of us feel as if something is wrong with this way of operating. When we have to sell ourselves, we find it unpleasant, disagreeable, even repulsive. But what if all those negative feelings were simply because we hate the artificiality and manipulation we think must be a part of selling?

Imagine what it would be like to go to a business networking event as yourself. No facade, no pretension, just plain you. When someone asks your reason for coming, you tell them the truth. You don't have to claim you wanted to hear the speaker (if you didn't). You can come right out and say, "I'm hoping to make some contacts that will lead to business for me."

You wouldn't have to invent reasons to start a conversation. You can walk up to someone who looks interesting and say, "Hi, I haven't met you yet." If you're shy around strangers, you can tell the first person you meet, "I'm sort of a wallflower and feel awkward at events like this. Could you introduce me to some folks?"

Now imagine placing a follow-up call to a prospect where you are completely honest. You could say, "I have some days open on my calendar soon and I'm wondering if this would be a good time for that project we've been discussing." Or, "We haven't talked in a while and I'd like to find out if you're still planning to look for a new job."

I see so many professionals and consultants struggle with trying to find an "excuse" to call a prospect. You don't need some manufactured excuse. You know the reason you're calling. Most of the time THEY know the reason you're calling. Just say what it is.

Let's extend this same principle to making a cold call. Instead of stumbling around awkwardly trying to make a polished -- but unnatural -- sales approach, imagine yourself saying, "I'm not much of a salesperson, but I'm really good at what I do. Can we have a conversation about what you need and see if I'm the right person for the job?"

If you've been working from a cold-calling script that makes you flush and get a tight throat every time you read it, throw it out. Come up with one really good opening line that feels authentic and gets directly to the point. Then decide how you will answer -- honestly -- some of the typical questions prospects ask you. My bet is that your calls will immediately get easier.

In fact, the more you become honest, direct, and authentic in all of your marketing, the more appealing selling will be to you, the more effortless it will become, and the more success you will ultimately achieve. Because most business results from building relationships, and how can you develop a relationship with someone when you never reveal who you really are?

Copyright C.J. Hayden.
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