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Got your attention with the title, didnt I?
Well, it’s true:
When it comes to your sales consultation the length really does matter. I’ll start with length and get into breadth further in.
What do I mean specifically?
If you are advertising on your website that you offer a 10, 15, or 20 minute consult then you have a big flashing red sign on your website that screams to your prospects:
EXPECT TO BE PITCHED.
It’s ironic because part of your listing a short time frame is that you are trying to show prospects you respect their time and won’t be using too much of it. (Of course I also hear the flip side from resume writers and coaches that many don’t feel they should need to “sell” their services and thus a quick consultation is acceptable).
However, when I see a short time frame listed on a website this is what I know:
- Prospects recognize you can’t possibly get to know them in 10-20 minutes so they expect a cookie cutter pitch. It’s a big turnoff.
- The career professional offering this short consult is probably struggling with a low close rate. It just isn’t possible to clarify what makes YOU different, get the client hungering for you, and close a 3-5 figure sale in 10-20 minutes.
Let’s face it, no matter how many bells and whistles you offer or credentials you have achieved, when most prospects get on the phone they think they are comparing apples to apples, and that this is just a personality and price thing. If you don’t convince them, someone else will.
Yes, there are always exceptions to every situation.
A small number of career professionals close sales directly from their website.
Another small group have pre-sold clients from their media, authorship, or TORI award status.
But it is a very small number.
Truly if you want to close a sale of more than $99 (which I REALLY want you to do), you need a strategic consultation process.
So first, simply remove any quoted time frames for consultations from your website.
It’s that easy.
You can then guide the situation knowing that the time you spend on the consultation will pay off in a big sale. Don’t worry if you are using a scheduling tool and have to block time. Just make those sessions 45 or 60 minutes.
You need that process.
As I say to my clients, “Trust the process, the process works.”
It’s like a mantra because sometimes I have to say it session after session until they are ready to stop swimming upstream and try the process.
But the truth is that the process works. Here’s part of an email I received yesterday from a private client:
“I finally tried your 97% close rate script.
Well, it was like some kind of magic…I don’t remember how it happened but I went into the provided 3-step spiel with the prospect.
Not only was I charging $300 more than my old package prices, but when I described my different packages, which thanks to you are now delineated with a choice between “Yes” and “Yes” instead of between “Yes” and some other writer, he acted like he couldn’t get out his credit card fast enough, like he was afraid I would go away.
He actually gave me his credit card information…while he was driving!!!
In the past they used to tell me they were driving as a way to get off the phone, but as I said, using your tried-and-true method, driving was not an object, it’s like I was giving away gold.”
So What Is So Special About the Process?
In it’s most simple form, the process comes down to (1) breaking assumptions of what to expect, and (2) showing that they cannot get what you offer anywhere else.
I call that education with fear or edu-fear-acating.
If you’ve been around CDI long enough you’ve heard me use that phrase.
Let’s be clear, I don’t scare my clients or get other resume writers and coaches to do so either.
Instead, we just change the process a little to make it so blindingly simple.
We don’t just assume that prospects know the value of a professional resume to their career or the better chance of landing the dream job interview coaching could accomplish, or the added money they could earn with salary negotiation.
We don’t assume our credentials, awards, or perhaps low prices (NO!) are enough to close the deal.
Instead we spend time to show them what they will be missing if they don’t work with us.
It’s quite lovely because it shifts what otherwise feels like a selling process to one of educating the prospects on what they DO NOT KNOW about the uneven playing field of the job market and what we can do for them.
Now, I realize not everyone here is a resume writer first. However, it’s such low-hanging fruit that I love to start with it.
Today many job seekers inherently understand they need a leg up with their resume. Resume writing isn’t the unknown service it was when I started over 20 years ago. (The number of times I heard: “That’s really a profession?” Ugh). So, it’s easy to get an endless supply of resume writing prospects before job seekers even think of needing job search or interviewing assistance.
However, although they now get it, they still think it is all comparing apples to apples.
I bet you’ve been told several times by prospects, “I know I could do this myself if I only had the time. But I figure you know how to make it look good and have all those 50 cent words to add…”
Even after all these years of making a difference, here’s how most perceive our industry:
Resumes: Do It Yourself, but I’ll get an edge paying someone $150 to make it look pretty and powerful.
MYTH! We are SO MUCH MORE than glorified typists. This is a great entry point for edu-fear-acating your prospects.
Job Search: There are SO MANY jobs posted on the Internet I won’t have a problem finding one.
MYTH! The Internet has become a great black hole that most job seekers and many career professionals don’t even understand how to navigate. Edu-fear-acating works awesome here when job seekers are faced with the reality of what they will face alone without you and your expertise. (Don’t have expertise? Check out the OJSRM course).
Interviewing: I’m really good talking about myself so I should be OK. I’ll get back to you if I have any problems.
MYTH! Talking about yourself and selling yourself to a prospective employer are two totally different things. Many good talkers blow their interviews. Not losing out on the dream job because you weren’t prepared is an awesome entry point for edu-fear-acating. (Dont have inteview coach strategy? Check out the CEIC course).
Salary Negotiation: I don’t have a quote here because most career coaches never even single this out when it can be the biggest edu-fear-acating button of all!
NO MYTH! Just leverage it as a powerful edu-fear-acting point!
Are you hanging on my every word here because I’m giving you perspective you didn’t have before?
Am I edu-fear-acating you adequately to want what I’m sharing?
If so, then you are getting how it works for your prospects!
THEY NEED THE STORY!
It’s Not Uncomfortable Selling But Rather Leading Your Prospect Down a Path They Didn’t Know About
Regardless of what you are offering, at the end of the day you are telling a story that paints a picture for your prospects of what they won’t have if they don’t purchase this service from you. But, it’s unique in that with my proven process resume writers and career coaches don’t have to do tons of scary initial digging but rather just take the hand of their prospects and lead them down the edu-fear-acating path.
What it looks like:
In the 5-step framework lesson, I share this infographic:
That’s the bones of it.
Where you must focus your story-telling and edu-fear-acating is in Step 3. Once you have that down, the client will be eager to purchase your package.
The extra good news is that you have access to my sales script for when resume writing is the initial inquiry.
You can get it here – 3-Step Process to a 97% Close Rate and a 6-Figure Income (Core Lesson).
It will take you from the initial “How much does it cost” to closing a 3-5 figure package sales. (Yes, I used it to close $1200 sales in the early 90s and today my private clients are showing that the sky is the limit).
However, PLEASE go one step further and also read Closing Prospects Over the Phone for Resume Services (Core Lesson).
You see, the first lesson was created for in-person consults so there are some unique changes necessary that include using tools like Join.me to screen share in a consult to SHOW a prospect what you would have otherwise shown in the consult.
Proof is really critical and I now realize I’ll be revising my 5-step framework to include that as a step. I guess I took it for granted. (See how easy it is to do?)
Once you use edu-fear-acating to get a client excited about what they will get by working with you and conversely won’t get by not working with you, you need to show proof.
For coaches this is as easy as taking clients to a testimonial page and potentially also briefly to your about page (credentials, awards, publications).
No, don’t assume they read them already. Use your screen sharing to SHOW them and read a few select critical ones to them.
For resume writers it’s a combo of showing resume samples (what it looks like), testimonials (what results you can get), and that brief reminder of credentials on the about page.
People are visual, auditory, kinesthetic….by showing and telling when not face-to-face, you can still have the same powerfully positive results!
What If Your Entry Point Isn’t a Resume?
I still encourage you to read the lessons because the framework is the same for selling packages, showing proof, and telling stories with edu-fear-acating. It’s just what you begin your focus on that differs. (Keep in mind: coaches can still sell resumes by parterning with resume services. Conversely, resume writers can sell coaching services by partnering with coaches. You can package even if you are a small, specialized shop).
For job search, it’s about helping job seekers to understand how the job market works. Imagine they already had their resume done or don’t feel that is an issue. So, you get to point out that going out there without a strategy is like thinking you can get to your destination with a Mercedes without an engine. (Mercedes is the resume and no engine is no job search strategy). Then you can show them on the screen or in person a pie chart of success rates for different types of job search methodologies. They will see that online jobs/job boards represent the SMALLEST margin of jobs found.
You can then talk about things that sound big and scary and overwhelming without the benefit of you as their expert guide:
The Hidden Job Market!
Tell them what they need to know and how you will lift the veil and make it easy and direct for them.
By doing so you won’t assume they knew and you will have edu-fear-acated them into wanting to hire you.
For interviewing, I’ve found it also remarkably simple.
You get to walk them through going out there with their Mercedes (the resume you either did or didn’t develop) to apply for their DREAM job. Because yes, that dream job could be the very first job they apply for. But it’s an uneven playing field where they don’t get to see their competition and there IS only one winner. You get to talk to them about the different types of interviews they may encounter, the common bloopers you’ve seen candidates avoid through your help, etc.
You tend to pretty much have them at dream when you are contrasting a few hours of coaching/strategy against losing out on their dream job beause they were beat out by one person they never had a chance to even see to fight against.
But I think you get the idea on how to leverage this.
Honestly, I’ve rarely had to say much more about the interviewing beyond the dream job and playing field because I turn around and say. “Just imagine if you could learn just one question you can ask in your salary negotiationg that could get you $13-30K in additional income in your next job?”
Yes, you’ve got them! (And I’ve got the proof testimonials that this really does work!)
Do you see where we’ve arrived?
I’ve barreled through your assumptions of what your prospects know.
Next you’ll barrel through their assumptions of what you offer and the ROI working with you can provide.
You will edu-fear-acate them into closing the sale.
Because even if this is comparing apples to apples, you’ve got to show why your apples are the shiniest, tastiest, and best apples out there.
Let’s face it, you cannot get to know someone’s goal/challege, edu-fear-acate, show proof, present package options, and close the sale in 10, 15, or 20 minutes. If you want 4-5 figure sales, trust the process and make time for it.
The process works. In fact as I showed before, they tell me it’s like giving out gold.