Thursday, May 10, 2012

Motivating Resume Prospects

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post "Before You Can Motivate, Seek to Understand Your Resume Prospects." I'd like to talk more about motivation today.

I'm reading a book, "Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive" (I'm only on page 44, but it's very interesting reading so far...) and wanted to share some ideas on using copywriting principles to motivate prospective resume clients into buying from you. Of course, many of these same ideas can be used in your actual resumes too.

One way to look at copywriting is as the art of creating motivation using the written word. The written word carries profound power to persuade. How do you use this powerful tool to create motivation? By mastering and implementing these five principles.

Principle #1: Using Benefit-Driven Language
Most resume writers focus a lot of attention on telling consumers why their resume writing service is the best. Yet at the end of the day, that's not what consumers care about.

Consumers care about what you can do for them. They don't really care that you have three certifications or that you offer a 30-day guarantee. They don't care that you've been in business longer than anyone else, but they do care about reliable service. Most important, however, is that they care that your resume can get them interviews ... and ultimately, the job.

Translate statements from "about me" to "about what we can do for you."

Principle #2: Use Power Words
Power words or action words are words that pack an emotional punch. Instead of saying that the new resume will help them get interviews, say that the resume will help secure more interviews and job offers. Instead of saying their resume will help them get more job interviews, say their phone will be ringing off the hook from prospective employers wanting to hear them.

Power words create mental imagery and have an emotional tone that helps sell your product.

Principle #3: Proof, Proof, Proof
Prove every claim you make. People today are extremely skeptical -- and rightly so. There are so many people making bold claims that promising a benefit simply isn't enough anymore.

Prove what you're promising, then prove it again and throw some proof on top. It's much better to solidly prove that you can help someone get more interviews than it is to loudly proclaim that you can help them get interviews without proof.

People won't feel motivated unless you can prove that you're the real deal. And unfortunately, many resume writers don't follow up with clients to be able to gather supporting data needed to provide proof that their resume services work.

Principle #4: Removal of Risk
Doing business with a company for the first time is very risky for consumers. They don't know if you'll fulfill your claims, they don't know if your resume writing is any good, they don't know how good your service is — they really don't know much at all about you.

That's why risk removal is such a powerful way to get people to act on their motivation.

Risk removal doesn't actually create motivation. Instead, what it does is remove barriers to getting people to act on their desire for your product.

Add a powerful money-back guarantee to your resume service to reduce and remove risk.

Principle #5: Urgency
When people think they're going to miss out if they don't act, that's a powerful motivator. It's called the "Fear of Missing Out" or FOMO for short.

Learn to leverage FOMO in your copywriting and you'll be able to motivate and generate real action. Use it to take people from wanting your product to actually buying it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Before You Can Motivate, Seek to Understand Your Resume Prospects

Before you try to motivate someone to become a resume client, the first thing to do is spend as much time as possible really understanding who they are and where they're coming from. Your customer doesn't care that you want to motivate them to become a customer. They just want their problem solved. (They simply want a job. Or, if they have a job, they want a new job.)

Speakers and business owners who focus on trying to motivate people often fail. Why? Because wanting to motivate someone is inherently a self-centered desire. "I want to help people find a job," or "I want to build my resume business," or "I want people to buy," are all "I-focused" statements.

Instead, successful resume writers don't start with what they want. They don't start with wanting to motivate jobseekers; they start with what the customer wants.

The Magic Question: What Do You Want?
When it comes to business, what the customer wants is king. If the customer wants something that's different than what you want to provide, you'll have to ask yourself which is more important — the success of your business, or going the path you chose.

The most successful businesses in the world almost all undergo a drastic change and revamping at some point:

  • Pixar started out as a company designed to manufacture 3D rendering technology. They lost money until they realized the market was in actually creating the movies themselves.
  • IBM was one of the world's largest computer manufacturers for years, until the personal computer revolution. They then realized their customers just didn't want what they had to offer anymore, and had to reform their company into one that did consulting instead.

The same applies to resume writers. People often get into business with one set idea of what they want to provide, without asking questions or understanding where their customers are coming from first.

Deeply Understand ... and Motivation Will Come
If you want to motivate jobseekers, first start by understanding them better than anyone else does. If you can understand your audience better than your competitors, you'll be able to motivate them better than your competitors.

What is the real pain point with your target audience? Why are they willing to spend money on your resume service (instead of doing it themselves)? What is it like to not have a solution to their pain yet?

How do people decide on how much they want to pay? Is it based on price, as is a commodity? Or is it based on how likely they believe you'll be able to solve their problem, as it is in consulting?

Try to understand how your customers decide on a solution and why they haven't picked any of your competitors. Try to understand what they want more than anything else.

When you speak, if customers get the sense that you've really taken the time to understand them, they will respond.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why Resume Writers Should Consider Guest Blogging

On last month's teleseminar, "Using Content to Capture New Career Clients," I talked about the idea of "Write where the people are."

In looking at my blog statistics today, I've had more than 74,000 pageviews on my blog since I started it … but many of the resume writers I talk to who have blogs have much less traffic. If your blog doesn't get much traffic (visitors to your blog), it can feel like you're shouting in the woods. No one is listening. The concept of guest blogging is taking that message to the streets -- specifically, the corner of a really big city. Go to where the people are, and share your message.

One way to do that is through guest blogging. There are several advantages to guest blogging -- as I mentioned, it's a great way to drive traffic to your blog or website. It's also a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactic. Finally, it can also help strengthen your brand as a resume writer.

Guest Blogging Helps Position You as an Expert
Not all guest blogging opportunities are created equal. While my general feeling is that you should consider any and all guest blogging offers, some opportunities will prove more fruitful than others (in terms of visibility and traffic). Others might not have a large volume of blog visitors, but can help boost your credibility.

You also need to consider the quality of the target blog. Here’s why: presumably you’re going to put a bit of work into writing a top-quality blog post. You’re going to focus on providing value and benefit to the blog's readers. If that post is then placed on a blog that doesn’t have a good reputation -- or a blog that really doesn’t fit your target market -- then you may be doing yourself a disservice.

Instead, work hard to earn guest blogging opportunities for top rated blogs that fit your niche. You’ll be able to reach people who are actually interested in your information and build your brand. Aim for quality over quantity.

Consistency Is Key
While your guest post content will differ based on the purpose and mission of the blog, it’s also important for your voice and style to remain consistent. Part of building a strong brand as a resume writer is helping your readers recognize you immediately. Your voice and writing style can help make your brand memorable. It boosts awareness.

For example, if you have a no-holds-barred style that likes to stir the pot and create controversy, that same style should remain consistent -- regardless of where you’re blogging. The look and feel of your blog post will ideally remain consistent, too. If you regularly include text boxes with side notes on your own blog, then include them in your guest posts too. Be consistent.

Don’t Just Stop at Posting
Once you have published a guest post on a notable site, start marketing the heck out of it. Link to it on your social networking sites (Facebook business page, Twitter, LinkedIn -- even Pinterest!). Send a snippet and a link to it in your email newsletter. Share a link to it on your own blog too.

Guest blogging can be fun and it can certainly be an effective tool to drive traffic to your resume writing business website. However, the strongest reason to pursue guest blogging opportunities may be to build your brand.

If you want to learn more about content marketing (including using blogging to build your resume writing business), check out the "Using Content to Capture New Career Clients" teleseminar recording.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Securing Referrals From Other Resume Writers

Purchase This Report 
I've written lots of blog posts -- and even a special report -- on developing referral business. But in talking with a resume writer colleague yesterday, I thought of a couple of issues that make matching up a referral among resume writers a little bit easier.

Many resume writers ask for colleagues who are interested in a referral on the professional association E-Lists. The usual response is a series of email responses along the lines of "I'll take the client." 

Having been on the "asking" end of soliciting a referral writer, I can tell you that doesn't make it easy to choose a writer to send to prospective clients. That's why you'll sometimes see resume writers ask for prospective writers to contact them off-list, or they'll say something like, "The first three writers to respond will be forwarded to the prospect."

But there's a better way to handle referrals. Here are a couple of ground rules:
  • Only respond to referral requests that you are qualified to serve. In some cases, resume writers are overbooked and can't accept a client due to time constraints. But in most cases, referrals are made when a client needs a specialist. If you're not a specialist, don't use this opportunity to pick up a new client. This is not your chance to get some practice with an unfamiliar field. You're not serving your new client -- and you're not helping your colleague. You might be a great resume writer, but the referring resume writer wants to look good too. 
  • Distinguish yourself. The resume writer I spoke to was surprised when his request for referrals was answered with resume writers who either didn't establish their credentials for being qualified to write the client's resume -- or, worse, they sent samples, but they weren't for the type of project being referred. (If you want a referral for a Bioscience project, send a science-related sample!)
  • Establish your expertise and secure referrals without competition. If you're a specialist in a particular field -- information technology, federal resumes, military transition, engineering ... whatever -- you can cultivate referrals by establishing your expertise. Instead of responding to general requests, you can elicit direct referrals by participating on E-Lists as a subject matter expert, and the next time someone is looking to refer a client within your specialty, they will likely contact you directly.
  • Prepare yourself for referrals. If one of your client acquisition strategies is to solicit referrals from colleagues, prepare for for the referral request. Create a one-page sheet demonstrating your credentials. This should include your specialty area, credentials (especially any industry-specific certifications or training), scope of work you perform (resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc.), related books you've been published in, and any testimonials received from clients in this field/industry.
  • Outline your referral rate. Many resume writers are happy to make a referral to a qualified colleague simply to serve a client -- but offering a referral fee can help make it worth the referring resume writer's effort to find a writer for the prospect. The "standard" fee for referrals is 15%, although it can range from nothing to 30% or more. By outlining the referral fee in your response to the requesting resume writer, you might get the nod over another writer who doesn't offer a referral fee.
If you're on the asking -- or receiving -- end of referrals (or want to be!), check out the "Maximizing Your Cash Flow: Subcontracting and Referral Relationships" special report.