In the late 1990's a friend of mine was hired by a design firm from a larger city nearby. He was given only the most rudimentary training on Microsoft FrontPage and sent out to the business community to create three page sites for $1000 each. If the client wanted anything remotely original they were passed up the chain and sold packages that ranged from $3000 to $10,000. The upsell would usually involve some sort of sound or motion of course - no real functionality was expected.
In today's economy most Small Business Owners don't have massive chunks of cash at the ready for a business tool that does nothing but sit pretty on the internet. They feel a burned by their previous experiences with web service providers. That translates into a lot of outdated or non-existent websites for the small business community.
Fortunately, there are more options available than in previous years. Someone with a brick and mortar business can have an attractive and interactive website that helps them achieve real goals.
Well, they can if someone they trust offers it to them.
I'm encouraging people like me that have internet marketing experience and a love for helping others to consider offering their expertise as a local web consultant. When you focus on local clients, you have a pretty amazing home field advantage.
These business owners want to be online. They're hearing about the importance of social media know they should be plugged into it somehow. When you approach them as a local consultant, demonstrating comfort with the world of internet marketing and social media, they're full of questions and often start with issues of price.
They want to know:
What will it cost me to have a website built?
What will my ongoing costs be?
What will I be able to do for myself and what will I need to hire someone else to do?
As a consultant I'm quick to answer money questions - I don't try to change the subject or sell them on their need first. The last thing they need is a polished sales pitch. What they need most of all is hope. Hope that you can help them accomplish their goals for a price they can afford - and really, you only want to invest more time with those that can, right?
Start by sharing your basic site set up price and explain what that includes. It pays to create the most affordable basic package that you can in order to appeal to snug budgets, but if you know you're dealing with someone who can afford more, tailor your package offer to their level of need.
Small business owners are mavericks by nature. They'll ask about their options for 'doing it themselves' but in my experience, very few actually want to. They just want to know that they have a choice. Knowing that they could actually do it themselves with some training actually helps them make a smart decision about outsourcing.
Your role as a consultant will become invaluable to them when you answer questions, provide helpful information and offer services or referrals that fulfill the business owners needs. When you've won their trust you'll find that you win their business.
Kelly McCausey shows you step by step how to create, launch and grow a local business consulting business at Become a Blog Consultant: http://www.becomeablogconsultant.com