The Loop: Filling Your
Calendar With Work, Part 2

How would you like to have all the customers you want? To start each day knowing that you’ll have a certain number of motivated, interested people contacting you.

Well, it’s not a fantasy. It happens all the time to people who know the simple steps to take.

Let me say at the outset, I have no ego investment in any of this. I’m simply sharing with you an action plan that has worked for me. If you’re doing something different, and you’re satisfied with the results you’re getting – don’t change a thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But maybe you’re where I was when I was launching my first part-time business … praying through clenched teeth that this will finally be the vehicle that will let you get your life back.

Maybe you’re just getting started, and looking for a step-by-step process to get your business up and running fast. If you are, then I’ve got something for you.

Today, we’re going to look at the third of five invaluable action steps that can take your business from part-time to big-time. (If you missed the first two, you can access them here!)

Step #3: The Presentation

There are many ways people can spend their money. Customers always ask themselves questions before they buy something new, even if they don’t realize it.

The questions they are silently asking themselves are:

  • Why should I do business with you?
  • What makes you better than your nearest competitor?

If you’re unable to answer those questions successfully, you’re not going to have much of a business.

You answer these questions by listing all the features and benefits your business has to offer. Try to think of benefits that your competition doesn’t offer.

For example, in my city, mine is the only resume service that offers this 100%, iron-clad guarantee: If the resume I write fails to result in an interview for my client within 60 days, I’ll re-write everything I’ve written for him/her for free, no questions asked.

In case you’re wondering – I’ve never had to re-write one.

Write down what each of these features and benefits means to your prospects or customers.

It’s a mistake to assume that they know as much about the benefits of a feature as you do. You must tell them why a feature will help them. Teach them about the benefits.

In one paragraph, list why people should do business with you. Memorize that paragraph and make it the foundation of your presentation. Your presentation is your marketing program and sales pitch all wrapped up into one.

Now, I can feel some of you starting to flinch. That’s okay. I realize that only about 6% of the population actually likes to sell. The other 94% would rather have gum surgery.

Don’t Like to Sell? GREAT! You’re Going to Love This!

Let your marketing materials do the selling for you. That’s what they’re for. Send your qualified prospect a sales package that’s going to wow him. He’s expecting you to do exactly that.

As I mentioned last week, although my primary means of support is copywriting – my part-time business is resume writing with some job search consulting thrown in.

I get a lot of clients as referrals. Most of them are out-of-town clients. I mail them a marketing kit – complete with sales letter, samples, a bio page, and testimonials – telling them all about my resume service.

Why? Because I’m cheap. I’d rather send out marketing kits than go flitting around the country making sales presentations. The only time I do a one-on-one, face-to-face presentation is if the prospect is local. Nowadays, I do a lot of my business via fax, email, and snail mail.

When you mail your marketing kit, send it via certified mail, and have the Post Office stamp it “restricted delivery.” That means only your prospect can sign for it. And if he has to sign for it, you can bet your life he’s going to look at it.

You can also use your marketing kit to drive traffic to your website, if you have one, and let the website do the selling for you.

Either way, I follow up a week or so later with a phone call.

Again, if the prospect is local, I’ll do a one-on-one. I like one-on-ones because I have more control, and I can read my prospect better when he/she is sitting right in front of me.

My one-on-ones are basically show-and-tell presentations. This is where I use my memorized paragraph about what I can do for my prospect supported by a sample portfolio full of resumes. I give the prospect a brief overview of my service and go through the samples.

Having a good presentation and samples are fine as far as they go. The problem is that most people often forget them in minutes.

Here’s how your presentations can have a more powerful and lasting effect.

Situation … Actions … Results

In order to assure that your points are both memorable and credible, you can use the SAR technique.

SAR represents a particular way of describing your samples. It is an acronym that stands for … Situation … Actions … Results.

Here’s how you can use it, whether as part of your marketing kit, or when doing a one-on-one. For each sample resume, you should first describe the SITUATION the client was in when he came to you. Then you should integrate into your discussion the ACTIONS taken by you in developing a resume for this client, and the RESULTS that occurred because of your efforts. For example:

“This client was an upper-level sales executive in a small biotechnology company that underwent a major reorganization. The higher you go in management, the greater the chance you will be dismissed. This person had been looking for a new job for three months without a single interview. Here’s the resume I did for him. Within three weeks of sending it out, he received six invitations to interview which, in turn, resulted in four offers. He is currently the National Sales Manager for a major pharmaceutical company at twice the salary of his old job.”

Any one who has listened to a speech or read a sales letter knows how much more interesting it can be if the speaker or writer uses short stories to demonstrate a point.

By way of preparation, I suggest that for every concept and sample you want to use, you construct a SAR story to support it.

To become really good at emphasizing your business’ strong points, you must work on your SAR stories. I bought a cheap little mini-cassette recorder and dictated my SAR stories into it. Then I listened to how I came across. I wrote them out and let my wife read them.

Just remember to keep the stories short and try not to fill them with extraneous detail. With some practice, you will find that during your client consultations, they flow quite naturally as a regular part of the conversation.

Many clients have told me that it was the use of SAR stories which most impressed them and won me their business.

If you’re thinking that a resume service would be the ideal part-time business for you, I highly recommend that you check out AWAI’s Pro Resume Writer Program. Resume guru Julien A. Sharp will take you from rank beginner to practiced professional in nothing flat.

The reason I write such powerful, hard-hitting resumes, and have never had to re-write one, is because I simply do what Julien showed me. What could be easier?

Next time, we’ll look at Step #4, The Follow-Up: How to Answer Your Prospects’ Questions and Overcome Their Objections.

Stay tuned!

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: June 16, 2009

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