Strategies for Selling Career Services


By Kristin Vandegriend.

As a Certified Resume Strategist (CRS) and Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP), I help my clients sell their Career Story. An independent practitioner, I am also required to strategically sell my services. I recently embarked on a CPC mastermind project to help solo-preneurs like myself learn how to apply strategic selling in our career services.

In our day-to-day role, we advise clients on how to sell themselves when making a career transition. Whether through a powerful new resume or in practicing influential interview answers, success hinges on the ability to communicate value. Just as we tell clients that it takes practice to learn to talk about themselves, we must extend that same mentality to ourselves when it comes to selling our career services.

One of the first steps is to understand our clients’ motivations and pain points. What keeps them up at night?  HubSpot recommended the LAER model of listen, acknowledge, explore, and respond.

Social Listening

I took some time to conduct social listening on Facebook to identify a few concerns that job seekers were referencing. Here are some of the concerns that surfaced:

  • Clients want to follow-up but don’t want to blow the chance.
  • Clients are constantly waiting. Never hearing from the employer.
  • It’s frustrating for clients to endlessly fill online applications.
  • There is a lack of feedback and lack of responsiveness during the recruitment process.
  • Job descriptions are written for three people, not one, meaning that nobody has all the qualifications.
  • Writing customized cover letters is difficult and time consuming for clients.
  • Jobs aren’t paying a living wage.
  • It’s so competitive to find work.

I also reviewed the pain points of my previous clients. I identified that clients get help because:

  • They are short on time.
  • They are worried that they are doing something incorrectly.

The Science of Selling

In the Science of Selling by David Hoffeld, I came across these ideas that are applicable to strategic selling:

  • Using reciprocity. When you offer something to someone, he or she will be more inclined to work with you. This could be a guide that you offer through your website or something you share via LinkedIn to prospects who have inquired about your services.
  • Helping clients make decisions. If a client seems unable to make up his or her mind, you can provide side-by-side package comparisons. Wording could be something like: A lot of people in your situation have a hard time deciding between the LinkedIn package or the basic package, but what always works is when they can compare them side by side. Once they see the list of the features of both products right next to each other they know which is the best option for them.
  • It’s important to understand the client’s primary concern. You can ask something like: Many of our clients come to us because they have two main concerns: a lack of time and uncertainty on how to position themselves strategically. Of the two, which has been the bigger issue for you personally?

Here are the Six Whys recommended by David Hoffeld:

Why Change?

  • Find problems by conveying challenging insights and asking leading questions.
  • Identify the cause and scope of the problems.
  • Make problems “hurt” (what detrimental outcome is their problem generating?).

Why Now?

  • Build urgency.
  • Reduce reactance. (e.g. This is a great offer that you can participate in if you choose to do so.)

Why Your Solution?

  • Demonstrate how you provide superior results in comparison to those outside your industry.
  • Convey the problems that may occur if the buyer chooses a different solution.

Why You and Your Solution?

  • Demonstrate expertise. Our company has been providing solutions like this for more than X amount of years, or, I’ve been in the industry for X amount of years and what you just described is not unusual.
  • Communicate confidence.

Why Your Product or Service?

  • Cost leadership
  • Differentiation
  • Distinct value must matter to the buyer
  • Distinct value must be unique

Why Spend the Money?

  • Desire for gain
  • Fear of loss

The book recommends dealing with objections in these ways:

Use a Softening Statement:

  • I understand. This an important investment in your future.
  • I can see how that could be a concern.
  • That is understandable. This is an important decision.

Isolate the Objection

  • Other than <objection>, is there any reason why you would not invest in this service?
  • If <objection> was not a concern, would you like to move forward?
  • In addition to <objection>, is there anything else that concerns you?
  • Is that the only thing holding you back?

Identify the Root of the Objection

  • Use clarifying questions.
  • Answer objections with evidence and third-party stories.

Gain Commitment

  • Based on what we discussed, would you agree that now is the best time for you to move forward with this investment?
  • Do you believe that our company is the best company to meet the needs that you expressed?
  • Since you agree that the ROI on this service would more than justify the investment, are you ready to move forward?
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Appreciate your tips. Engaging in meaningful conversations with potential clients is an ongoing process for effectiveness; conversations that get to the root of the challenge and the benefit of professional services. I will be incorporating some of these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Very true. So insightful. I bumped onto this interesting article while looking for ideas to put into a flyer for employers and recruiters advertising on my job portal ghana for careers in ghana