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January 2020 Spotlight

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 24, 2020

“…do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces…”

Matthew 7:6

You worked long and hard on that last resume.

Others wish they had a LinkedIn profile like the one you did for your client. When one of them called to thank you for helping her ace the interviews, you should be proud.

All the value you deliver comes from more than hours of hard work. Think of the days you devote to mastering the latest and best practices. How long did it take you to earn your CPCC? Consider the investment you made to attend the PARW/CC Conference in May

You should be paid for all knowledge and wisdom you can impart. That’s why you never give away your stock in trade…or do you?

Read this article.
It’s worth at least $900!

Because we’re in a helping profession, it’s easy to offer insights for which you should be compensated. However, if you give advice without being paid for it, everybody loses. You lose. You may even set the stage for that to happen. Do you offer resume critiques? How easy it is to pass along vital information without realizing it. [See “Are We Abdicating Our Marketing to the Uninformed?” The Spotlight, December 2016, pp 4 – 6]

Here’s an example: “I can help you optimize your résumé to score well in the applicant tracking software so many companies use. A high score increases your chances of an interview.”

Tell potential clients the
“what,” never the “how.”

Now the client sees the value you provide and know they must rely on you to leverage that worth fully.

In this article, I’ll outline suggestions to help you, your clients, and our industry remain winners.

Replace your price lists with offers to write proposals. Price lists are great for commodity sellers. A commodity

For example, it was so natural to describe ATS and how it works during the first conversation with a prospective client. If you do, you may have lost that sale and set the caller up to fail as well. That’s because it’s natural for uninformed clients (that’s all of them) to think you’ve told them everything they to know to move their careers forward.

Because the potential client thinks she got all the information she needed from you, she’s disappointed and frustrated when things don’t work out.

And so, you lose again. It’s more than lost revenue; you may have damaged your brand. You can see that potential client post this on Twitter: “I spent 30 minutes with that ‘resume’ expert and did everything she said to do. I sent out 500 resumes and nothing happened! Boy am I glad I didn’t cough up all the money she wanted!”

Our industry loses as well. That tweet may drive more misleading posts that often show up under a subject line like this: “Why you should never hire a resume writer!"

How do you avoid wasting time and missing opportunities? In the initial call, explain what you can do.

We can never offer “one-size-fits-nobody.” That’s why I recommend you offer proposals: plans to move your clients’ careers forward.

What’s in your proposal? Begin with a brief paragraph about what you think the client’s requirements are. You must understand completely his or her needs, constraints, and goals. If you missed something, the client will tell you…before you discuss the details.

Then, describe the goods and services you plan to provide to meet the client’s needs.

You’ll need a small section that addresses any limitations. For example, you can’t guarantee jobs or interviews or how hiring officials may react to the documents you write or the guidance you suggest.

is a standard product. When you decided on just the right make and model of that refrigerator you want to buy, you know it will be the same appliance no matter where you buy it.

That’s why commodity sellers so often must compete on price. And that’s why you see online ads for resumes for $50.00.

There are two reasons why we cannot offer commodities. [“Career Professionals Must Never Be Commodity Sellers,” The Spotlight, April 2017, pp 4 – 6] No two clients are alike. All have different backgrounds, experiences, needs, and goals.

Never forget: what we offer affects the lives of our clients and their families for years.

Consider this example. You quote an investment of $1,500 for the goods and services you outlined in the proposal. The client is targeting positions that start around $100K. Every week your client isn’t employed at that level costs him or her the nearly $2K they didn’t earn. Therefore, if you can cut their job search by just four days, they will have made up their investment with you before their first day on the job. That’s an easy promise to make since the average job search can take weeks.

To keep the momentum, ask clients to review your proposal, making any notes they need to. Then suggest some days and times for you to answer them.

Finally, offer what I called deferred value. These are the elements you think clients don’t need now, but you want them to know are available later. For example, a client who purchases a resume might need help with interviews later. Because writing proposals takes time, you should be paid for your effort. The time you took to write it, email it, and review it with the client is time taken away from serving other clients.

That idea allows you to offer a proposal as a way to qualify potential clients quickly and well. Describe the proposal briefly and its value to the potential client. Say you’ll be happy to set aside the uninterrupted time to do the work. That’s why there is a modest investment required. Make it clear the investment is for the proposal alone—not the goods and services it describes.

Please don’t be discouraged if potential clients won’t pay for a proposal. If they can’t afford the modest investment it represents, they certainly won’t be able to afford your services. Or, perhaps you were unsuccessful in educating them about the risks of trying to move forward by themselves. It doesn’t matter. You can’t afford to spend any more time (billable hours) in the attempt. You didn’t lose a sale; you gained valuable, billable, hours!

How much should you charge for a proposal? Start small to sense the level of resistance in your market. Consider charging $25 for each proposal at first. If you get little resistance, increase the investment marginally, say to $35.

Continue until you get too much resistance, then stop. No matter how much you charge for the proposal, the process

Set all the expectations. Clients must know what to expect from themselves. Too many think we will do all the work. But you know clients must be part of the process. Clients should know what to expect from you, as well. Here’s where you brand comes alive. For example, part of that section might read like this:

“You will be able to ask me any question and expect a prompt, complete, accurate answer.” Add your guarantee if you have any.

Now show the level of investment. I don’t use that word, “investment,” lightly. Clients will only buy from you if they know you will make them a lot more money than it costs to engage you.

Read the previous sentence again; it’s that important.

itself will probably be a money loser. But qualifying clients faster and well will make up for any loss.

Here are very conservative numbers to help you judge the impact. You write just three resumes a month. You want to charge $25 for each proposal. $25 X 3 per month X 12 months per year = $900.00. That’s $900 worth of value you were giving away before.

Your practice will be different from mine. I started charging $35 a proposal; I now charge $150. That generates at least $6K a year.

Every client you will ever have wants to be paid what he or she is worth. Every client brings skills, knowledge, and abilities that help organizations reach they goals. They expect to be paid reasonably. You are no different.

You love what you do. But you’ll have more to do when you are paid what you are worth.

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