How to Turn Every Situation Into a Marketing Opportunity … and Spend Fewer Ad Dollars to Land More Clients

One of the attributes the most profitable resume writers share is that they are always working to generate new business.

Mind you, that’s not the same as always paying to generate new business.

The most successful entrepreneurs in this industry are the ones who spend the least to land their clients. In other words, if you can land a steady stream of resume clients without paying anything to find them, then, naturally, each is worth more to you.

The secret? Think about every situation as a marketing opportunity.

I received a letter from a new resume writer recently … a man living in a large city in Texas. He had been working in a bank, but decided he’d had enough. He wanted to switch to being his own boss … as a resume writer.

He invested quite a bit of money in advertising – in the local paper, in his Yellow Pages … even in an Internet banner ad or two.

He was frustrated, he said, because while he got some response from the ads, he hadn’t landed enough resumes to cover his outlay during those first three months.

I asked him what else he’d done during those three months, once he’d placed the ads. “Well,” he said, “Once the ads were out there, I waited for the people to call, and then I wrote their resumes.”

I then asked what he did when the phone was not ringing and when he was not writing resumes … did he do any networking for his business?

He replied, “I really don’t have time for that. I run errands for my wife … I pick up my kids from school … I really need my time at the gym … I coach my son’s soccer team, so I have practice and meetings for that … I’m a member of my local Kiwanis Club and I never miss a meeting. Anyway, I really can’t fit networking into my schedule, so that’s why I placed all of those ads.”

What this new resume writer did not realize was that he had just listed at least five missed opportunities for networking:

  1. While running errands for his wife, he could have been distributing flyers at local businesses. He could tack his business card to the notice boards often found in grocery and drug stores. He could discuss what he did for a living while standing in line at the bank. You can see where I’m going with this.
  2. When picking his kids up from school, he could get there a little bit early to chat with other parents. Many stay-at-home mothers return to work when their children are in school all day, and they certainly need an updated resume as they begin their job searches.
  3. Most gyms and fitness centers have a “common” area where members can leave flyers or information. He could also spark up a conversation with the person on the treadmill next to him. You never know who might be looking to change jobs!
  4. Soccer practice and games – lots of parents, aunts, uncles, friends. In short, lots of sources for business.
  5. Kiwanis Club (or any service club) … is a great opportunity to gain business! These clubs are always looking for speakers on various subjects. Possible topics that he could offer as a speaker: “A look at the changing job market in our city” or “The best jobs for “over-60s.” Once he has done a presentation or two, he will be seen as an “expert” in his field … and people refer to experts!

In contrast, a woman from California contacted me recently. She had just landed 20 resumes … a contract worth a few thousand dollars. And she hadn’t spent a cent on advertising to do it.

How did she seal that deal? By sitting at the bar of a trendy Japanese restaurant … and keeping her ears open for opportunity. While waiting at the bar for her dinner companion, she sat next to a gentleman speaking on his cell phone. The bar was loud, but she did pick up the words “ … my son just graduated from college.” Her ears pricked up.

After the gentleman finished his call, she asked him about his son: Was he looking for a job? (He was.) Did he have a resume? (He assumed so, why?) She explained that she was a professional resume writer, and gave the man her card.

He asked her about her business, clientele, etc. He then handed her his card, and stated that he was the president of a legal recruiting firm … and they needed an expert to write resumes for lawyers and paralegals.

Soon after that, she received an order from his firm for 20 resumes.

She didn’t “turn off” after hours. She was always tuned in, looking for potential opportunities – and she landed a huge account with absolutely NO advertising cost!

The bottom line: The less per-client you pay for advertising, the more per-client you keep in your pocket.

You don’t have to be the most outgoing person on the planet to turn everyday exchanges into business-building opportunities. Remember, the service you’re providing is a much-needed, much-appreciated, and genuinely respected one.

Don’t be shy about telling people what you do. The more often – and regularly – you let people know you’re out there, the more likely you’ll be to land clients without paying a cent to find them.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: March 8, 2006

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