Sunday, January 22, 2006

How to Educate Your Clients into Giving You More Assignments

Clients won't purchase what they don't understand. "But," you say, "my service is self-explanatory."


Educating clients about your editorial services provides three immediate benefits: 1) it demonstrates to them that you have anticipated (hence, care about) their needs; 2) that you are knowledgeable about your sector; and 3) it gives you an opportunity to once again highlight benefits.

So, how do you determine what clients need to be educated about, and how? This can be done in three easy ways.

1. Solicit Outside Feedback: Ask a friend/associate/family member to examine your marketing materials. Preferably this person should be someone who is NOT knowledgeable about your business. This way, they can approach it as a novice.

Sometimes, you or someone who is in your field are too close to the service to look at it from a fresh perspective. This is when the most obvious questions failed to be asked and answered. It's kinda like proofreading your own writing. A fresh eye is always better to pick up on the obvious.

2. Go Through the Process: Have you ever purchased from your own website? Have you ever mailed yourself one of your marketing materials? Do you use your own service?
Going through the process of actually receiving your marketing material in the mail and/or using your own service puts you in the position of "clent."

The insight to be gleaned from doing this is immeasurable. Did you frown when you received your brochure in the mail? Did you wonder why your brochure didn't mention "x" service? Was the contact information easily accessible?

When you act as client, note the instant feeling you receive in your gut as you go through the process. DON'T dismiss your feelings because if you're feeling it, 9 times out of 10, some of your clients are too. Start addressing what you can change to address deficiencies.

3. Constantly Ask Questions: The best way to educate clients is to ask them what they want to know more about; what is not clearly evident; what would make them feel more at ease. There should be some forum where frequent customer queries are addressed (eg, an FAQ section on a website). As new questions/queries come in and you answer them, update this section of your marketing material.

What do you gain by explaining what you think should be clearly evident? In short, trust. If clients trust you, they will naturally think of you first when they need your type of service. So, take the time to clearly explain the "obvious" because if it's not obvious to the buyer, then obviously you aren't doing your job to get the assignment/next gig.

Now, what are you going to do today to get where you want to be tomorrow? Starter Tip: Get a second eye to peruse your marketing materials. Ask for input on what needs to be explained, expounded upon, improved, etc.
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