Are You Making This a Complex Sale?

This post was written by John White on Thu, 15 Jan 2009 15:03:16 +0000
Posted Under: Hiring writers,rapport with writer,vetting writers

When you hire a writer, do you make it a “complex sale”?

An example of a complex sale is the purchase of equipment for building a space shuttle. Candidates for your business need to be ready for a long sales cycle, multiple decision-makers, plenty of competition and lots of review cycles.

You can drag out the process of getting your white paper or Web content written by posing a series of obstacles – you think they’re decision-points but in the long run you’ll usually see that they were obstacles – to your candidates, then waiting to see who has the stomach to stick through them all. What do you really want: an effective writer, or somebody who knows how to sell exactly the way you like to buy? You don’t always get both.

At the other extreme is a very simple sale, like a roll of postage stamps. “I’m running out of stamps,” you tell yourself, and on your next trip by the post office, you stand in line, pay your money and walk out with a product that will meet 100% of your purchase criteria. Maybe you take an extra 15 seconds thinking about the Liberty Bell versus the flower design, but it’s pretty simple.

Find the happy medium in buying your writer:

  1. If you’re really so brutally busy that you absolutely can’t bother with the buying process, then have an assistant run a casting call for writers and screen them. Otherwise, do it yourself. You’ll learn more and the whole process will go faster. (If it doesn’t go faster, that probably means you won’t have time to do the project justice anyway, which should tell you something right there.)
  2. Ask for (and read) a sample or two from the writer. You can do this via e-mail.
  3. Ask for the method the writer plans to apply to your project. Do NOT do this via e-mail; do it on the phone or in person.
  4. Have the writer send you a written proposal and negotiate a date by which the writer should have it to you. This will both crystallize your writer’s penchant for business and show you whether she can stick to a date.

The moral: That paper you need written? It’s not a nuclear reactor, but it’s not a bunch of bananas, either. You can diligently vet a writer without taking a long time and a lot of energy.

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