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Stop Avoiding Prospects Who Could Be Ideal Clients

Have you ever realized that your preconceived notions of certain income levels or types of professions could be:

#1 – Totally unfounded and based on incorrect beliefs?

#2 – Keeping you from having all the prospects and clients you deserve?

Let’s be clear – I’m not talking about race discrimination or any such related issue here. I’m talking about what I see in CDI discussions quite regularly such as:

  • People who work in this level of job don’t need a professional resume to find new work.
  • People who work at that level of job or in this industry don’t have the money (or wouldn’t invest the money) to pay for this kind of service.
  • People just starting out after college won’t see the value or invest the money; plus they get help from their career center.
  • People at that level intimidate me and so I refer them away.
  • I had a bad experience with a <fill in the job title> once so I refer them away.
  • I’d feel like I was taking advantage of <this kind of client> because I have already assumed he/she can’t pay for it for any variety of reasons that have no basis in reality.

Now, don’t get me wrong — if the thought of working on a certain type of resume or for a certain type of profession makes you break out in a sweat, want to run for the hills, or have night terrors — then clearly this client isn’t for you and a referral is the best idea for both parties. Also, if you have built a successful niche based on your expertise and the type of projects you love to write — you can stop reading this post as you are all set. But, if you are just making sweeping connections based on your assumptions, on an article you read, or on a prospect who turned you down — then you are likely closing yourself off to a number of great learning opportunities, exciting new clients, and revenue.

The reality is that:

  • Some people at all levels and in all types of jobs will see the value in what you have to offer to help them get ahead. Of course the onus is on you to know how to market, show value, identify the prospect’s pains and needs, and help them to see their return on investment.
  • You won’t know what you enjoy doing (and are capable of doing) until you have tried it; don’t get caught up in one bad experience to convince you that everyone in <this profession> is difficult to work with.
  • You won’t ever be able to help people at different (and higher) levels until you give it a try. You will likely be very surprised that the tenants I teach in resume writing about researching a project and reverse engineering job descriptions will help prepare you for new levels of clients.
  • There will always be articles and people stating that resumes are dead, professional resume writing services are a waste of time, and that <X> professions don’t need them. Don’t buy into the hype, because that is all it is. Inflammatory journalism makes people take a stand, which means they comment, write about, and build Google juice for the writer. Don’t let it decide for you who your clients will be (or if you will have clients).
  • You have no idea what someone’s financial situation truly is, even if they try to prey upon your caring nature with a sob story or you fill in the blank with assumptions. Do you really know what income their spouse brings in? What retirement they have? Will you be kicking yourself when you learn about their trust fund or high-end weekend away after giving them the deal of a lifetime?

It’s truly time to start reverse engineering your thinking. You’ve had to be open-minded to get this far in self-employment, so don’t stop now. Start imaging the possibility in the many types of prospects out there:

  • A blue collar worker likely doesn’t know how to sell himself in a resume and desperately needs help. He would love to avoid wasting time in his job search and hopefully get offered a better salary based on what he brings to the table (that only you can help him sell).
  • A new graduate just invested 4-8 years of her life and anywhere from $40-150K to be ready to pursue a career. Should she really leave it to chance because her professor said that she should write her own resume? So much is riding on all these years and dollars spent already.
  • An executive is impressed by your credentials and comes to you for a consultation. If you have written for other managers, understand USPs and CAR statements, and have a knack for wording, layout, and design, why couldn’t you approach his project in the same manner?
  • A grandmotherly type has been out of the workforce for five years and seeks help to reenter her old career field. You have no idea she has a cushy retirement and isn’t doing this for the money but because she is bored.
  • That young kid possibly has a trust fund, parents paying for it, or could easily afford it if his weekends partying with friends weren’t taking all his current expendable income.

Each of these examples come from my 20+ career in private practice as a resume writer, career coach, and resume expert for 54 national and international professional associations. I can honestly tell you that it is the thoughts in your head that will keep you from being open-minded to potential clients. You may fear you are taking advantage of them. You may believe that they can’t afford you. You may worry that you aren’t up to the task.

That’s all okay except for the fact that it is keeping you from helping them. If they reached out, they know they need help. If you don’t help them, someone else will. If you are awesome at what you do and your clients experience success, then imagine you can and will be awesome for them as well. Resume writing is a process — if you can interview, ask the right questions, go down the rabbit hole for key details, perform research, tease out and emphasize USP, tell CAR stories, and bring it all together in a dynamic package — then you can help that prospect.

It’s your goal to sell your service in the optimal light for that prospect instead of buying into your beliefs. You owe it to them and to yourself.

So, give yourself and all those prospects a chance before you decide they are not in your sweet spot!