Business Development for Career Professionals
By Giselle Mazurat.
Before marketing your career services, you must understand what motivates people to buy. According to , people buy not because they need or want something, but because of passions and fears.
In terms of passions, think about what turns your customers on. As career professionals, our customers get turned on by services that help them land their dream job, and in turn, pay their bills, have the niceties of life, and pay off outstanding debt.
Think about what your customers may fear. When I was a technical writing contractor in Toronto during the dot com bust, I was out of work for four months and my biggest fear was not being able to find work again. In today’s economy, many of our customers are in a similar position – or worse. Think of ways you can allay your customers’ fears and help them sleep at night.
Your products and services should sell themselves because they have a direct, immediate appeal to your customers’ fears and passions. You shouldn’t have to push your customers to buy. Buying from you should be a “no brainer.”
Two Types of Customers
According to Ennico, you’ll have ideal and second customers.
- Ideal Customer – Your ideal customer is the person you love selling to. I write resumes and LinkedIn profiles mainly for technical professionals and skilled tradespersons because I admire their brilliant minds and find their work very interesting. Most of them are too busy to write and just want to focus on their work. They value me because I help them create polished, professional content – on time – and they tell me that I write better than they ever could.
- Second Customer – This person can bring you customers by sharing your content or telling others about you. Or, this person may know your client – a situation that I’ve experienced several times. Sometimes, clients ask a friend, colleague, or relative to read their resume after I write it. So, not only do I have to please my client, but I also have to please the person reviewing the resume because their opinion could potentially influence my client. If they like what I have written, they may become an ideal customer later on.
Find out where your customers hang out and learn what they struggle with when looking for work, or when writing resumes. In-person places can be job search centers, outplacement centers, and job fairs. Online places can be job search forums such as Indeed.com and Monster.com.
I do a lot of “social listening” to learn “the job hunter’s language” and find out their fears, passions, and struggles.
You can also find customers on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. When marketing on social media, don’t have a “build it and they will come” mentality. Research your market before you develop your product or service to see if it is what your customers really want. Other points to keep in mind are:
- Be interesting. Share content that is entertaining and informative. Ensure your advertisements, claims, posts, blogs, and recommendations are truthful and accurate.
- Share content on a platform when traffic is at its peak. These are the best times to share (in Eastern Standard Time):
- Facebook: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Twitter: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- LinkedIn: 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Google+: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
- Pinterest: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
- To start discussions, ask open questions about your industry or niche, rather than “yes” or “no” questions. And don’t always discuss your products or services; otherwise, people may see your posts as being nothing more than spam.
- Use social media to gather feedback and provide your customers with support. You may find these facts from Vivial interesting:
- 50% of online customers expect businesses to provide support on Facebook but only 23% actually do.
- 42% of businesses use social media to get customer feedback.
- 56% of customer tweets to businesses are ignored.
- 12% of businesses don’t respond to negative posts.
- Affordable Marketing Solutions recommends that you choose the right social media platform for your business. Stay focused and don’t spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to be on every platform – be selective:
- B2C businesses – Facebook
- B2B businesses and professional services – LinkedIn
- Impulse buys – Pinterest and Instagram
- Entertainment – Myspace
- Celebrities and personal brands – Twitter
The first step to establishing good customer relationships is to build trust by being authentic and relevant. Don’t merely repeat what other career experts are saying. Be unique and show your customers you can relate to them. Maybe you, too, lost your job and took a long time to find work again. Or, maybe you got fired and had to grapple with the fear of getting a bad reference and never finding a job again. There’s no shame in sharing how you overcame job search or work struggles; in fact, it makes you more human and people like that. But don’t say or post negative things about previous employers, competitors, or companies.
Be positive and share knowledge to help your customers succeed. By positioning yourself as an expert and being authentic, you’ll resonate with your customers and they’ll begin to trust you. Only then will you form meaningful relationships with your customers, allowing you to sell comfortably to them.