Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Why should your prospective client trust you?

At the moment I'm enjoying a discussion with one of my clients, a health professional now running her own business but NHS trained.

She's asked me to write some information leaflets and part of what she wants me to get across, invisibly, is the extent of her training and why she is the best person to deal with versus asking advice of others less well trained than she is.

In some ways it's the 'you wouldn't ask your plumber to carry out brain surgery' argument. It's something that's very pertinent for any professional selling their services.

Why should the prospect trust you?

They've picked up your leaflet or visited your website, actively looking to buy what you provide.  If you catch their interest you'll get a few minutes of their precious time.

But only a few minutes... and only if that invisble bond of trust starts to form.

One word may create the first connection... then a sentence.  Maybe a whole paragraph catches their attention.

And you need to understand that their distrust has nothing to do with you as an individual - after all they don't know you.

It's a structure laid down layer by layer of bad experiences with professionals such as you.... 

... then add in some anecdotal evidence from friends and family... plus some scare headlines in the media.

There you are left trying to dismantle an obstacle constructed of scepticism, fear and downright distrust.

What questions are they asking themselves?

With health issues they might include:

How much will it cost me?
Will it hurt?
Do they actually know what they're doing?
How long will it take because I want to feel better right now.

My client thinks education is the key and I agree.  It's a maxim Jay Abraham has preached for many years. 

In practical terms for writing you have to start where they are.  Not in your professional competence and I have to say sometimes arrogance but with their prejudice.

Accept they may have had a bad experience.
Accept you have to work hard to overcome that
and accept you have to make is clear in terms they'll understand that you know what you're doing.

That's always our challenge as writers but unless we can overcome that it will stop people contacting us.  And that's our final goal isn't it?

What kinds of obstacles do you have to overcome to make a long term relationship with your clients?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Editing; is it a lost art?


While I had breakfast this morning I read the article above by Alex Clark.  Since I do a fair bit of editing my interest was certainly aroused.  From a very low key perspective I can agree with the points made by all the contributors. 

I've always thought it to be the most difficult of skills, especially if you're trying to edit your own work.  I've gone over pieces of mine half a dozen times, printed them out, left them and when I've gone back, found the most glaring of mistakes.

Alex Clark talks about the pressures of commercial publishing impacting on editing services.  That's true but also there's a reduced expectation of the need for editing.  After all if we have a spell checker programme, why would we need a human editor?

Sorry to be ironic but that's been put to me on more than one occasion as a serious question.  I always bless those of my clients who despite their writing skills value the detached observation I can bring to their writing. 

As a professional it amuses me to see the corrections in library books made by a previous enraged reader. And it does surprise me that for books frequently reprinted,  mistakes continue to appear.  Back to cost again I suppose.

The best editors as it says in the article, address not only the proof reading mistakes but the structure of whatever they're reading.  I know I've benefitted from some observations on the small piece of manuscript I had assessed recently.  Yes at first it can damage your ego and make you feel useless, but when you get over that, then there's a lot of value in what insights are offered.

Long live editors say I.