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 BeAResumeWriter.com as a Bronze member and get access to both tools as part of your membership.

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

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ready to Create Your First PRODUCT as a Resume Writer?

I talk with a lot of resume writers who want to create products to supplement their resume writing services. (Instead of trading time for dollars, you can create a product that will help you earn passive income even when you're not working.)

But it can feel overwhelming to get started on the process. You may think it will take months and hundreds of dollars to put together a comprehensive information product. Even then, you’re not guaranteed to make lots of sales.

Instead of trying to launch your first product the hard way, do it the easy way. Start by releasing a short report and see if your audience gobbles it up. If they do, then you know you’ve got a sure-fire winner that you can expand on later.

But it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the whole process. That’s why you need Rapid Report Club, a three month e-course where you’ll learn everything you need to launch your own reports. It’s a group coaching program designed by Kelly McCausey, a well-known and respected business coach. When you follow Kelly’s plan, you’ll have 3 reports written in just 90 days.

Details of the program:

Besides group coaching from Kelly, here’s what you’ll get when you sign up for the program:
  • A fresh, new opt-in report for your mailing list
  • Advice on how to price your reports so they sell
  • The knowledge you need to publish a report on Amazon Kindle
  • Accountability from the group
  • Easy tips that will help you write your reports quickly 

If you’re serious about establishing yourself as an expert and creating your reports, then reserve your spot in Rapid Report Club today!

Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Resume Writers' Digest Annual Industry Survey Now Open

I just sent out an email requesting responses for the 2015 Resume Writers' Digest Annual Industry Survey. This voluntary survey of career industry professionals is not scientifically valid, but it provides a useful snapshot for resume writers to compare themselves to colleagues.

Want to check out some of the results from previous years? I've provided a link to some of the blog posts describing previous survey results:

2012 Results

2011 Results

2010 Results

2008 Results

2007 Results

2004 Results

2003 Results

Who is an "average" resume writer (2012 data):
Profile of an "Average" Resume Writer

You might also be interested in this post from 2009:
Analyzing the Professional Resume Writing Industry

If you are a Free Level or Bronze member of BeAResumeWriter.com, you can access the most recent "Profile of Professional Resume Writers" special report by logging into your account.

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.