Offline Case Study: Landscaping Firm or, How I got $50K+ from a company that only does $400K/yr

62 replies
Actually, the subtitle to this post should be:

Why offline marketers need to stop being so myopic about internet marketing to small businesses...

Maybe you fellow offline marketers can get some insights or ideas from one of my recent client projects - a small landscaping firm in the $400,000 a year category.

The owner is actually a fairly wealthy guy, who has an operating manager that was the original founder and manager of the company. They are first cousins, and when the original guy got into bad financial trouble (classic case of Gerber's E-Myth), the cousin stepped in and navigated the company through the re-org.

They had no USP.

They had a very crappy, brochureware website that didn't even capture customer information.

They had some print mail pieces they'd done at an abysmal rate of return.

A banner at the local high school gym for varsity basketball games... waste.

But they did have a decent customer base that came with them through the reorganization, a fair number of testimonials, a nice mix of commercial and residential accounts, and a lot of ability to deliver a full range of services beyond the 3 guys and a pickup truck. Nice equipment, decent professional brand image. Decent referrals.

The first step was to consult.

CONSULT CONSULT CONSULT!!!

when you're done doing that.... CONSULT SOME MORE.

They don't give a crap what you know at this point. And now is not the time to start telling them about getting their website to the first page of google. In this particular instance, their website was crap and didn't even have a contact form.

Ask lots of questions about customers, service, competition, average contract amount, internal operations, staff, etc...

Take copious amounts of notes. Notebooks full. Learn as much about their business as you possibly can.

Of course, having been consulting with small businesses for many years, I have a very succinct process, and a systematic approach for this kind of thing.

What I DON'T do is go into the door, guns blazing with my spectacular offer to get their website to the first page of Google in 1 week.

The first thing I want you to realize is that leading the strategic level of process itself is of MORE value than the various, individual tactical levels of service like web design, SEO, etc...

I charge for this process. I get anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000 per business, just for leading them through my process.

Taking them through the process does a lot of things besides make me money as a consultant. It puts me in control of the entire rest of what happens with the business' marketing, both offline and online.

The process identifies weak areas, growth areas, what works and what doesn't.

Most of all, it eliminates 100% of the objections for any tactical level of marketing function that I want to sell to the client, from web design, to brochure design, to SEO or even hiring a call center or doing a direct mail campaign.

Whatever the strategy is going forward, the entire budget is already cost justified based on the statistical projections and goals going forward.

So, back to the landscape company.... After the initial consulting phase, we went into a step-by-step mode of implementing strategies in some key areas.

First of all, we have to identify these following three things... first, you have to define the audience, then the message, and then use the right medium to get to that audience.

This message is different from audience to audience (or it should be anyway). For example, you don't communicate the same message to an existing premium customer that you do a prospect that has never bought from you.

Landscaping falls into two broad categories, commercial and residential.

So after defining these audiences, we define the message we want to deliver to each group. Obviously the needs of a home owner are very different than a property manager or maintenance supervisor.

Then we set about recreating the mediums with the newly crafted message. This means a new website, a new set of brochures, a new phone script for people answering, even training for the work crews.

Of course, I am in control of all of these things. I pick the projects I want for myself and sub out the rest to trusted partners.

But it gets deeper. The new website is generating leads, so what do we do with it all?

Well, they didn't have much of any sort of customer database, so recommending a CRM solution and directing that project became a paid task item.

See how this keeps going?

Anyway, the website is the start of a funnel. We changed the generic, we do this or we do that crap to a specific offer for each audience. The home owners, we're offering a total care solution package... a seasonal service solution that gives a home owner a total solution from mulch, edging, mowing, fertilization, leaf removal, etc... the entire works.

We're targeting medium to high end home owners instead of taking all comers. You'll now fit into our process instead of us creating a unique process just for you. E-myth again.

The commercial folks are getting a seminar offer - effective cost control of your property maintenance, delivered by a bonafide expert. We're doing it once per quarter for a very low cost to just cover the facility. Low intensity pitch at the end of the very real content of the session.

Google Adwords with local modifiers for specific key words
Direct mail driving them to the website or to contact directly

Of course, I controlled both of these projects.

Now, the real meat and potatoes...

In the past 6 months, we're on target to double sales, but that's not all. The company has increased profitability by 40% by targeting the best customers and standardizing the packages of services (cutting out the custom project bids each time).

The bottom line for me is that the process alone yielded around $20,000 in consulting fees. But the project efforts generated after that has already generated another $25K in additional fees for services, and I suspect probably another $25K over the next 12-24 months will be forthcoming as cash flow justifies the next layer of development.

The important, relevant part is that if any other marketing or advertising professional attempts to sell into this account, I have been installed as the gatekeeper. It either fits into the plan or it doesn't. So, I have locked out the rest of the tactical level salespeople and service providers by taking ownership and controlling the strategic level.

While all of this is a nice story, I want to illustrate the real point to all the offline marketers... if you're selling internet marketing services at the tactical level, you will eventually run into someone like me who shuts you down.

Oh yeah... the other point... so what if your prospective business doesn't have the sugar daddy paying the bill on the front end?

Well, with a well defined plan, this is the fodder that makes for venture capital investments from angel investors and sometimes, banks will make SBA loans for business development projects.

"Oh, I can help you with that too. I have a few angel venture investors who are looking for investments like this. If we can get a deal together, my fee is ....."

get my drift?

I hope this gives some of you guys and gals some ideas about how to not be so myopic about your offline "internet marketing".

Good luck!
#$400k or yr #$50k #case #company #firm #landscaping #offline #study
  • Profile picture of the author Rob Thayer
    Excellent post, Michael. Good on you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Rofe
    Great points. Congratulations!

    (And P.S. - I think it's SO MUCH FUN to learn about other businesses, don't you?? I learn about the craziest things while talking to people - for example, one company we work with builds mattresses to customer's height, weight, thickness preference... and will even do 2 different levels of comfort for couples. Fascinating stuff!)
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Michael,

      This is a great example of what a skilled consultant can do, and what kind of rewards are possible.

      And I agree with you that there's more money to be made advising on the strategic level than on specific tactics.

      I'm not clear, though, on whether or not you are claiming that someone who has little or no experience in marketing can be successful at doing this sort of thing. In my opinion, that's not realistic. What you are describing requires experience and judgment.

      So I'm not sure what guidance this example has to offer for the average newbie on this forum other than something to aspire to in 5-10 years.

      Please let me know if you disagree.

      Respectfully,
      Marcia Yudkin
      Signature
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

        Michael,

        This is a great example of what a skilled consultant can do, and what kind of rewards are possible.

        And I agree with you that there's more money to be made advising on the strategic level than on specific tactics.

        I'm not clear, though, on whether or not you are claiming that someone who has little or no experience in marketing can be successful at doing this sort of thing. In my opinion, that's not realistic. What you are describing requires experience and judgment.

        So I'm not sure what guidance this example has to offer for the average newbie on this forum other than something to aspire to in 5-10 years.

        Please let me know if you disagree.

        Respectfully,
        Marcia Yudkin
        I'm not particularly claiming anything. Just pointing out a much wider, deeper world than the myopic "sell em' some SEO" stuff that pervades so much of the marketing (and advertising) world.

        Of course, it requires training/learning. How that happens is up to the individual. Some get it through experience. Some go to grad school and get MBAs in Marketing.

        But it's definantely a "learnable" thing, and it most certainly does not take 5-10 years for those who are committed to developing a career in marketing. A concentrated effort should yield a functional marketing consulting capability in say, 6-12 months of real learning and working.

        This forum does not cater strictly to marketing noobs. But in the instance that a person fresh into the marketing world haplessly stumbles onto my musings, I would hope that they learn there's a bigger strategic layer out there, and strive to want to enter that realm vs. spending the rest of their life trying to do $500 websites and selling $1000 SEO engagements.

        Your mileage may vary.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Hi Michael

    This is a very valuable post, so thank you for sharing! I would like to ask you, how did you get your foot in the door, so to speak? Did you approach them, did they approach you? How did that happen?

    Did they pay you the moment you opened your mouth, or did you offer them an initial free consulation?

    I'm curious to know the process behind how you got this client in the first place.

    Quite frankly, I'm curious about a lot more, but you'd probably have to turn this into a report
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Michael, if I could have hit the Thanks button twice, I would have.

      In a past life, I was a design engineer and the process you described is very similar to what we did when we targeted an existing product for improvement. I'm finding that applying engineering concepts to sales and marketing yield some very nice (and profitable) insights.

      Things like targeting the end user (you separating residential and commercial accounts), defining the processes and then training to them, even measuring results.

      Excellent case study, here's the second thank you...
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Michael, if I could have hit the Thanks button twice, I would have.

        In a past life, I was a design engineer and the process you described is very similar to what we did when we targeted an existing product for improvement. I'm finding that applying engineering concepts to sales and marketing yield some very nice (and profitable) insights.

        Things like targeting the end user (you separating residential and commercial accounts), defining the processes and then training to them, even measuring results.

        Excellent case study, here's the second thank you...

        Thank you sir for your kind words.

        I agree with you.

        Some time ago, there was a topic on here about marketing being an art or a science. Of course, I fell into the science camp because it's so mathematical (rooted in statistical analysis and trending) and involves complex, structured systems.

        Only when you get down to the actual tactical level of the delivery of the message does it become "art".

        But at the highest levels, it's pure engineering, kaizen, six sigma, Toyota Production System, etc...
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    The intro was a personal networking referral. The one advantage to doing this for so long is the number of success stories and contacts. So as quickly as someone can go from hustling business to working their referral base, the better.

    But there's no magic to it. I just practice my own BS.

    Once we get through the process and reach the tactical levels of activity, it all comes down to the basics of 1) identifying the target listening audience, 2) creating the target message for that audience, and 3) delivering that message via the target medium.

    This holds true for prospects, existing customers, employees, investors, loan officers, etc... Everyone's needs are different, and respond to different messages delivered in different ways.



    The consulting process itself is a documented system that identifies all of this.

    But it would require far more than a report. That wouldn't even scratch the surface.
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
    Michael:

    Great points all around. One question I have for you is : What is your "detailed" process that you went through, what angles/scripts did you use to close the deal, and what were there objections (if any) when you popped them the $20,000 fee --- on helping them on the "strategic level" rather than the tactical level?

    Much success,

    Chris Negro
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by chrisnegro View Post

      Michael:

      Great points all around. One question I have for you is : What is your "detailed" process that you went through, what angles/scripts did you use to close the deal, and what were there objections (if any) when you popped them the $20,000 fee --- on helping them on the "strategic level" rather than the tactical level?

      Much success,

      Chris Negro
      Hey Chris. First of all, I don't hit them with a $20K price tag up front. The price is structured by phases at an average of around $2500 - $5000 per segment depending on time involved. Each phase cost justifies the next. It's a progression.

      I do a detailed Q&A interview analysis with the prospect at no cost. Just a no-obligation opportunity for me to get to know your business better and kick around some ideas. Generally an hour or two. I have a specific set of questions that I ask about key areas of their business that helps me pre-qualify them before I even decide to go forward with any pitch on my part.

      There's no "script" really. Just key stages of a systematic process. Knowing what to ask and in what order. Someone can lead a prospect down one or many paths of self-discovery, letting the prospect invent things for themself instead of trying to tell them how things are going to go.

      By the end of the first conversation, I know pretty well if the client is a candidate for my strategic-level consulting, and the client pretty much sells themselves into working with me. That's because I have asked them so many questions that led the conversation in so many key directions, they have no question that I know exactly what I am doing and they can already see how the areas we discuss will increase sales once they are fixed.

      Through the entire pre-sales process, I am constantly evaluating if this person is a candidate or not. I don't go into closing mode until I have determined that the specific, key attributes that would guarantee a successful engagement are present. So I know I am assured success if I press for the deal. I don't work with people that don't have the fundamentals down.

      Key fundamentals include, can they afford my services? Can they afford the growth? Can they adapt their business to new ways of doing things? Can they train their people to handle the processes? etc...

      I rarely get objections once I start pressing for the close.

      If I actually ever do get an objection, it's usually because I've missed something in the process.

      One major red flag for me is someone who keeps pressing about cost up front. I explain that I don't really know what it costs because I don't know to what extent their business needs the full scope of work. If they keep pressing, that means they're not psychologically oriented at a level that would understand the concepts or the rationale for the things I recommend.

      I can tell you this... I say "I'll pass" more than I say "I'd like the opportunity to work with you to grow your company."
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      • Profile picture of the author Dexx
        Heh Michael I couldn't agree more, sadly I thought I was the one to think up such a process!

        Oh well, so much for being original...at least I'm the only one running a similar system in my part of the world it seems because the business owners are loving me when I leave my first meetings with them!

        But I agree, the FIRST thing any Offline Marketer does with a new prospect or paying client should be a detailed interview with them, this (at least for me) has typically been more beneficial at opening up the eyes of the business owner than my own.

        After that, it's hugs and paychecks in my business, typically I charge $2,500 for my "Target Market Analysis Interview" combined with a General Marketing Strategy Blueprint.

        Then I just start upselling as a I start performing the services developed to attract and convert their prospects into paying customers.

        I'm averaging about $10,000 - $25,000 a client with this method


        Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

        Hey Chris. First of all, I don't hit them with a $20K price tag up front. The price is structured by phases at an average of around $2500 - $5000 per segment depending on time involved. Each phase cost justifies the next. It's a progression.

        I do a detailed Q&A interview analysis with the prospect at no cost. Just a no-obligation opportunity for me to get to know your business better and kick around some ideas. Generally an hour or two. I have a specific set of questions that I ask about key areas of their business that helps me pre-qualify them before I even decide to go forward with any pitch on my part.

        There's no "script" really. Just key stages of a systematic process. Knowing what to ask and in what order. Someone can lead a prospect down one or many paths of self-discovery, letting the prospect invent things for themself instead of trying to tell them how things are going to go.

        By the end of the first conversation, I know pretty well if the client is a candidate for my strategic-level consulting, and the client pretty much sells themselves into working with me. That's because I have asked them so many questions that led the conversation in so many key directions, they have no question that I know exactly what I am doing and they can already see how the areas we discuss will increase sales once they are fixed.

        Through the entire pre-sales process, I am constantly evaluating if this person is a candidate or not. I don't go into closing mode until I have determined that the specific, key attributes that would guarantee a successful engagement are present. So I know I am assured success if I press for the deal. I don't work with people that don't have the fundamentals down.

        Key fundamentals include, can they afford my services? Can they afford the growth? Can they adapt their business to new ways of doing things? Can they train their people to handle the processes? etc...

        I rarely get objections once I start pressing for the close.

        If I actually ever do get an objection, it's usually because I've missed something in the process.

        One major red flag for me is someone who keeps pressing about cost up front. I explain that I don't really know what it costs because I don't know to what extent their business needs the full scope of work. If they keep pressing, that means they're not psychologically oriented at a level that would understand the concepts or the rationale for the things I recommend.

        I can tell you this... I say "I'll pass" more than I say "I'd like the opportunity to work with you to grow your company."
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Anderson
    wow. and then wow.
    because of the difference in money exchange rates, your $20 000 fee would pay for half my house.
    hell if someone offered to pay me that fee i would marry them.
    not sure what i would tell my wife.

    but it just goes to show.
    you are giving us those figures to make a point, not to "tell" us.

    and yet if i told someone local, they would tell me that i am lying.
    their bad!

    thanks for the explain.
    rob
    Signature
    Just good marketing advice - Business ideas
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by Rob Anderson View Post

      wow. and then wow.
      because of the difference in money exchange rates, your $20 000 fee would pay for half my house.
      hell if someone offered to pay me that fee i would marry them.
      not sure what i would tell my wife.

      but it just goes to show.
      you are giving us those figures to make a point, not to "tell" us.

      and yet if i told someone local, they would tell me that i am lying.
      their bad!

      thanks for the explain.
      rob
      It's all relative.

      "Mr. Business Owner, If I showed you a systematic way to grow your business that returned you $10 (or more) annually for every dollar invested in just the first year alone, would you be interested?"
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      • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
        Awesome post Michael.

        The first thing I want you to realize is that leading the strategic level of process itself is of MORE value than the various, individual tactical levels of service like web design, SEO, etc...


        THAT is the key! Everyone is focused on tactics but the real money -- and the real VALUE to business owners -- is at the strategic level.
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  • Profile picture of the author dsiomtw
    Nice post, but that all sounds like a lot of unnecessary hard work.

    If a person learns Internet marketing as well as you've learned your craft, they could make 50k+ in a month, every single month, with a lot less effort than you're putting forth. And without all the meetings, conference calls, commuting, and all that jazz.

    I know dozens of people who could make 50k in 30 days or less any time they want just by launching a new site or campaign. THAT'S pretty cool if you ask me.

    Different strokes for different folks I guess. Just my opinion ... but this IS an *online* marketing forum.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by Kyle Tully View Post

      Awesome post Michael.


      THAT is the key! Everyone is focused on tactics but the real money -- and the real VALUE to business owners -- is at the strategic level.
      It's easy for people to never get past tactics, because that's where they perceive that things "happen". Ask any ad agency rep who has lost a major account out of the blue because they weren't involved in the strategic level of discussion about the direction of their client's operation.



      Originally Posted by dsiomtw View Post

      Nice post, but that all sounds like a lot of unnecessary hard work.

      If a person learns Internet marketing as well as you've learned your craft, they could make 50k+ in a month, every single month, with a lot less effort than you're putting forth. And without all the meetings, conference calls, commuting, and all that jazz.

      I know dozens of people who could make 50k in 30 days or less any time they want just by launching a new site or campaign. THAT'S pretty cool if you ask me.

      Different strokes for different folks I guess. Just my opinion ... but this IS an *online* marketing forum.
      I don't recall telling how much actual time I spent on this contract in it's actual implementation phase or in the maintenance phase. It's not any more work than say, an information product development cycle and intense product launch with follow up.

      And any pure internet marketer making $50K a month isn't working an hour a day -- at least if they want that $50K a month to last. I know that's what a lot of people like to portray (and believe), but managing all of the outsourced aspects of the business takes real time. Anyone but the most novice among us knows the reality.

      Why? Recidivism. The erosion of a recurring revenue base.

      If an internet marketer goes autopilot, sure the business runs for a while. A lot of people have built businesses that run without them for a while. Months even. But trends shift, traffic patterns change, tactical techniques become ineffective over time. At a 5% per month recidivism rate, what percentage of the original revenue stream still exists in 24 months?

      $50K a month becomes $25K a month pretty quickly without ongoing effort... driving traffic... more backlinks... new JV launches... continual creation of new product...

      I get the impression that you're also assuming that the original consulting work is the only work that I do for a client, and I have no other revenue streams embedded after the fact. My labor is just a portion of the overall revenue from a client.

      Where do you think this client goes when they want direct mail campaigns? Do you think I am actually the one putting envelopes through the Pitney Bowes machine?

      I am not sure that you understand the lifetime value of a single customer in my business vs. an affiliate marketer's customer value. I have clients whose single lifetime value to me is amortized to over $1,000,000. Contrast that with the amount of effort it actually takes to manage the customer base once they are in maintenance phase... I'd rather be generating $5 million a year in revenue from 200 clients than 8300 clients 100% of the time.

      The other factor is that as my clients grow their businesses over time, the size of subsequent projects grow. So even if I did just sit around waiting for them to call me, my revenue actually increases by virtue of the growth implications of a client based on previous work. This is in stark contrast to the diminishing revenue stream of a single project in a purely internet marketing play.

      I also don't have to worry about things like Google slaps, state tax regulations, link cloaking, intellectual property theft, competitive bidding on adwords in my niche, etc... cutting my income unexpectedly.

      I've not even really addressed the concept of competitive barriers to market entry... or why just any guy can't jump into the game and do this.

      But you're right in the sense that it is different strokes for different folks -- and this being an internet marketing forum, we get to see many different ways marketers use the internet to create an income that fits their lifestyle and personal interests. Selling internet marketing services to offline businesses is a big part of this forum. This happens to be the method I use to sell those internet marketing services... and a hell of a lot more.
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  • Profile picture of the author ramohr
    This is the stuff jay Abraham taught me. I use it to help other businesses as well.
    I use the extensive questionaire Jay provided me when I became of his protoge program.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by ramohr View Post

      This is the stuff jay Abraham taught me. I use it to help other businesses as well.
      I use the extensive questionaire Jay provided me when I became of his protoge program.
      Yeah, I've heard he has a really solid, comprehensive consultant training program. How much did you pay for the protoge program? He has it listed at $4,995 on his site.

      It tooke me 15 years of screwing up to figure it all out.
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  • Profile picture of the author greff
    I heard Jay Abraham does charge about $5,000 for his ultimate program. Another fellow I admire is Michael Senoff. I think he may be a protoge of Jay Abraham. He has a fantastic lot of audio FREE interviews about making it in the offline business market. Google his name and you will find them. DM me and I'll send you his link. I am not affiliated with either man.

    As to 50K in 30 days online, I say, well, I'm a good man so I won't cuss.

    Michael speaks truth, not BS. I can tell because I've worked the offline market for many years. It takes cajunas to go out there and put yourself on the line in real life, to eff up and keep going back.

    One thing I learned over the years is that genuine sales, I mean the ones that bring you a nice ongoing income from people who trust you, are not 3 hour or 30 day wonders. They are the result of a long line of calls and eventually a friendship. You get the big business, like Michael does, when they trust you.

    By the way, how long does it take to get Google to trust you, my friends. Do you think that happens in one year? On or offline, work your butt off, get off the floor when you've been knocked down and keep on. Eventually you will be making a very nice living.

    Thanks for the great post, Michael.
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  • Profile picture of the author kf
    Michael, You're so right. Good consulting is about positioning and listening ... and, of course, being a big-picture (aka strategic) thinker and then, being able to actually deliver the results/value.

    To put it another way, the move from tactics to strategies is the move from being paid for what you can DO, to being paid for what you KNOW.

    Great thread and discussion.
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    Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything. ~ Alexander Hamilton
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    • Profile picture of the author JeffLam
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      Hey Chris. First of all, I don't hit them with a $20K price tag up front. The price is structured by phases at an average of around $2500 - $5000 per segment depending on time involved. Each phase cost justifies the next. It's a progression.

      I do a detailed Q&A interview analysis with the prospect at no cost. Just a no-obligation opportunity for me to get to know your business better and kick around some ideas. Generally an hour or two. I have a specific set of questions that I ask about key areas of their business that helps me pre-qualify them before I even decide to go forward with any pitch on my part.

      There's no "script" really. Just key stages of a systematic process. Knowing what to ask and in what order. Someone can lead a prospect down one or many paths of self-discovery, letting the prospect invent things for themself instead of trying to tell them how things are going to go.

      By the end of the first conversation, I know pretty well if the client is a candidate for my strategic-level consulting, and the client pretty much sells themselves into working with me. That's because I have asked them so many questions that led the conversation in so many key directions, they have no question that I know exactly what I am doing and they can already see how the areas we discuss will increase sales once they are fixed.

      Through the entire pre-sales process, I am constantly evaluating if this person is a candidate or not. I don't go into closing mode until I have determined that the specific, key attributes that would guarantee a successful engagement are present. So I know I am assured success if I press for the deal. I don't work with people that don't have the fundamentals down.

      Key fundamentals include, can they afford my services? Can they afford the growth? Can they adapt their business to new ways of doing things? Can they train their people to handle the processes? etc...

      I rarely get objections once I start pressing for the close.

      If I actually ever do get an objection, it's usually because I've missed something in the process.

      One major red flag for me is someone who keeps pressing about cost up front. I explain that I don't really know what it costs because I don't know to what extent their business needs the full scope of work. If they keep pressing, that means they're not psychologically oriented at a level that would understand the concepts or the rationale for the things I recommend.

      I can tell you this... I say "I'll pass" more than I say "I'd like the opportunity to work with you to grow your company."
      Michael,

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

      You just reopened my eyes again to the world out there.

      As I am waiting to study business in a local university, I grow less enthusiastic as I start to learn more of the online marketing.

      However, you just reminded me how lucrecious it is out there again rather than concentrating on little bit of income flow online.

      And I totally know you are in control when people come to you for your services instead of vice versa.

      They know you are the real deal when the cost of your services are high...and in return brings them more cash than before.

      As such, the amount paid to you is but a mere small investment to their business.

      Excellent stuff. Something that most people who do not "see the big picture" but only think for their own profits do not understand.

      Cheers
      Jeff
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    • Profile picture of the author bobsalong
      Michael, first off let me say that some of what you've discussed is over my head. On the other hand, I know a real story when I hear or see one.

      I appreciate your candid comments and suggestions. So many people want to give you a general outline based on their ideas, but without the "down & dirty" truth ( & experience) about what it will take to succeed.

      Thanks for the story and the forthright suggestions.
      Bob
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      • Profile picture of the author JoeCool
        Michael hasn't even mentioned the potential value of a client that agrees, under contract, to give the consultant a "piece of the action".

        This is where some real serious money can be made consulting to offline clients.

        Example:
        Take a client from $500M per year to $2MM per year in gross sales, with 5% of the gross as your cut... you're now looking at a nice $100M per year in consulting fees.

        That's just with one client.

        Develop nine more clients just like that first one and you're grossing $1MM per year.

        Michael, thank you for taking the time to share your detailed case study. There are others amongst us that would have fluffed that out to a 15 page pdf file (with three pages all about them and a fourth page used for a Table of Contents) and posted it as a WSO for $15.00.

        You Sir are a true Warrior and I salute you.


        Best Regards,
        ~ JoeCool
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        • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
          Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post

          Michael hasn't even mentioned the potential value of a client that agrees, under contract, to give the consultant a "piece of the action".

          This is where some real serious money can be made consulting to offline clients.

          Example:
          Take a client from $500M per year to $2MM per year in gross sales, with 5% of the gross as your cut... you're now looking at a nice $100M per year in consulting fees.JoeCool
          I 100% agree. However, the big problem with this is getting "the truth" from the accountant/owner to reveal their books and how much they made. Don't get me wrong...in a perfect world...if I made a client $200K and we agreed on 5% fee ($10,000 for me) people do get greedy and the owner can easily say we only made $50,000 instead of the $200,000.

          Again...trust is huge...but don't be nieve to think that the owners will always be willing to tell you the truth (on how much you made them) when you have a deal like this in place). Just my humble opinion. You would like to think people always act with integrity....but when money is involved (the business owner is a human being) and very well could be tempted to lie on how much you made his company.

          P.S. I've have found RICH CLIENTS have no problem with you making money. Concentrating on these business owners have been very beneficial and much more easier to deal with.

          Success,

          Chris Negro
          Signature

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          • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
            Originally Posted by chrisnegro View Post

            I 100% agree. However, the big problem with this is getting "the truth" from the accountant/owner to reveal their books and how much they made. Don't get me wrong...in a perfect world...if I made a client $200K and we agreed on 5% fee ($10,000 for me) people do get greedy and the owner can easily say we only made $50,000 instead of the $200,000.

            Again...trust is huge...but don't be nieve to think that the owners will always be willing to tell you the truth (on how much you made them) when you have a deal like this in place). Just my humble opinion. You would like to think people always act with integrity....but when money is involved (the business owner is a human being) and very well could be tempted to lie on how much you made his company.

            P.S. I've have found RICH CLIENTS have no problem with you making money. Concentrating on these business owners have been very beneficial and much more easier to deal with.

            Success,

            Chris Negro

            He who controls the cash controls the deal. In those instances, I would look every way possible to control the deal at the transaction level.

            If someone wants me to take a deal like that on contingency, then I am processing the payment (where possible).
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            • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
              Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

              He who controls the cash controls the deal. In those instances, I would look every way possible to control the deal at the transaction level.

              If someone wants me to take a deal like that on contingency, then I am processing the payment (where possible).
              Any other "ways" to control the cash outside of the "processing payments"?

              Success,

              Chris Negro
              Signature

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              • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
                Originally Posted by chrisnegro View Post

                Any other "ways" to control the cash outside of the "processing payments"?

                Success,

                Chris Negro

                Well it would depend on the kind of deal, but I'd suggest that if it's product distribution, you become the master distributor for the line.

                Again, the guiding principle is controlling the cash on a contingency deal. How it happens is subject to the details of the specific project under consideration... strategic vs. tactical.
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          • Profile picture of the author JoeCool
            Originally Posted by chrisnegro View Post

            I 100% agree. However, the big problem with this is getting "the truth" from the accountant/owner to reveal their books and how much they made.
            Solution:
            Consultants can incorporate independent accounting audits into their contracts, either quarterly or yearly.

            Consultants can also request copies of all corporate tax returns as part of their contract with the client. If the owner and his accountant want to take the chance of cooking the books with the IRS, well it's their necks, not ours.

            It's also a good idea to work off gross sales and not net, so if the client want to take all kinds of deductions, or do high dollar equipment purchases, then that's their choice. It doesn't affect our commissions taken off the quarterly or yearly gross.

            Like Michael, we pick our higher end clients, they don't pick us. They don't like the terms we propose, we move on.


            Best Regards
            ~ JoeCool
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            • Profile picture of the author Learnanew
              And just like that I have a whole other area I want to concentrate on.

              Any particular books or training you'd reccommend other than trial an error?
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              • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
                Originally Posted by George Wright View Post

                Hi All and Michael,

                First off Michael I agree with everything you say, I would be a fool not to because you obviously know a lot and know what you are talking about. You certainly give us something to shoot for if that is what we are want.

                In my town, LA, CA, we have guys who stand on the corner and sell oranges, we have produce markets, markets that sell produce as one out of many items, we have the famous farmers market and we have the central produce market.

                If I were to compare myself to one of those I'd probably be the guy on the corner selling oranges.

                I can't find the exact quote but you said something to the effect that you were the one who would get my business if I didn't shape up. (my words)

                Actually you won't take my business, ever. LOL Not because you couldn't, you could take it with both hands tied behind your back, however, you would not want my business, that is my clients. I on the other hand like my clients and the way I serve them and my customers like what I do for them. Even if sometimes all I do for them is put up a ugly brochure site so they can tell Uncle Bob, "Wanna see my site."

                On the rare occasion where someone of your caliber would take one of my customers that would actually be a compliment to me. It would mean I took a client from where you would not touch them and brought them up to your caliber. Sort of like the Boxer's or Entertainer's manager who finds them when they were nobodies and gets dumped by them when stardom hits. They ride off into the sunset with the famous manager who can take them to higher levels and the old manager waves goodbye with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.

                I only post this to encourage others like me who don't have the time, patients or where-with-all to reach your level but still need to keep on keepin on.

                Picking up the crumbs and loving it,

                George Wright
                George, you're absolutely correct. I was generalizing for effect to illustrate the point - and the point being that if someone decided to overhaul their marketing at a very strategic level, the lower level services may radically change. But I am also talking about, and I think you were also alluding to, a different scope of business - aka the guys who aren't candidates for my kind of solution.

                And that's also not to say that even businesses that undergo a radical overhaul of their marketing stratgy wouldn't keep their web or copywriting person in place after the fact either - so long as that person can deliver work that fits into the strategic framework of the business. There are so many other areas of work at the 50,000 foot altitude view, that the old saying, "pigs get slaughtered" comes into play.

                But the world radically changes for those service providers when this sort of deal goes into implementation - namely because the business owner isn't going to jeopardize their comprehensive strategy over a stubborn vendor that won't work according to the gameplan, and just wants to keep riding on personality or history alone while doing whatever they did before.

                It just doesn't work, and I would make it clear to my client that it's a make or break scenario for me. I simply won't go into a deal where it's setup for failure because of those types of issues. And I'm not particularly interested in being paid to play politics or babysit. I would exercise my walk away clauses, and if the client demanded I stuck around, my price would quadruple on the spot based on my contract.


                Originally Posted by Learnanew View Post

                And just like that I have a whole other area I want to concentrate on.

                Any particular books or training you'd reccommend other than trial an error?
                I would be lying if I said that I didn't have something forthcoming - a full study program... a really comprehensive one actually.

                But this topic was NOT intended as a promotional ploy. #1, it's not even ready for launch... some weeks away.

                #2, for the sake of continuing my transparancy here, this topic was intended to be a trial balloon to even see if enough Warriors understood what I was doing.

                I've been working on encapsulating my experience and resources for several months, and I am at the point of trying to determine which channels to pursue. So, I had make or break the pure internet marketing niche as one worthy of consideration for this specific launch.

                There's a huge independent consulting market for my stuff, but I was on the fence about the WF. It's proving to be worth the continued involvement actually. I am pleased that enough people are tracking with me.

                At one point, I considered a different entry point to this market, but realized that it was conflicting with another one of my core philosophies - DON'T EVER GET INTO ONE BUSINESS AS A STRATEGY TO GET INTO A DIFFERENT ONE. Pick the business you want to be in. So, I narrowed my own focus and just stuck to the original plan. A few senior Warriors who are "in the know" will understand what I am talking about.

                As for books, etc... although I have over 1,000 in my personal library, there are around 80-100 printed books that represent the core classroom knowledge resources to which I can attribute my knowledge set... E-Myth by Gerber, heck even stuff like Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Marketing Imagination by Ted Levitt, etc... - even to the esoteric like The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian.

                Or, you could spend $5K to get in the game with Jay Abraham... he's genuinely a ninja master.

                You could go to graduate school and get an MBA in marketing. A lot of what gets kicked around in these parts are actually nothing more than tactical-level extensions of core, traditional marketing concepts - dating back to even the early 1900s or before (copywriting, catalog marketing). Sure, the technology has changed the medium aspect, but one has to remember that the internet is still just a tool at the tactical level.
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              • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                Originally Posted by Learnanew View Post

                And just like that I have a whole other area I want to concentrate on.

                Any particular books or training you'd reccommend other than trial an error?
                If you'd like a kind of sideways look at the process, get a copy of "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt.

                It's actually a story about the failing manager of a manufacturing plant and how he succeeds by finding and removing the bottlenecks from his manufacturing processes. Much of the theory of constraints can be applied to marketing as well.

                For example, for many people converting people from visitor to subscriber is a huge bottleneck. Piling more traffic in front of that bottleneck won't do much good and could be potentially harmful. Testing and tweaking the conversion process to remove the bottleneck would be far more valuable.

                Take it up another level. If a business has problems with customer service, flooding them with more customers just floods them with more problems.

                As quality gu-ru Philip Crosby once wrote, a highly developed service and repair network is a sure sign of quality problems at the source.
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                • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
                  Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                  If you'd like a kind of sideways look at the process, get a copy of "The Goal" by Eli Goldratt.

                  It's actually a story about the failing manager of a manufacturing plant and how he succeeds by finding and removing the bottlenecks from his manufacturing processes. Much of the theory of constraints can be applied to marketing as well.

                  For example, for many people converting people from visitor to subscriber is a huge bottleneck. Piling more traffic in front of that bottleneck won't do much good and could be potentially harmful. Testing and tweaking the conversion process to remove the bottleneck would be far more valuable.

                  Take it up another level. If a business has problems with customer service, flooding them with more customers just floods them with more problems.

                  As quality gu-ru Philip Crosby once wrote, a highly developed service and repair network is a sure sign of quality problems at the source.

                  rofl... John, maybe we could collaborate on a Six Sigma for Marketing sometime... We'll make Dr. Deming smile from his cloud...
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  • Profile picture of the author thezone
    Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

    The commercial folks are getting a seminar offer - effective cost control of your property maintenance, delivered by a bonafide expert. We're doing it once per quarter for a very low cost to just cover the facility. Low intensity pitch at the end of the very real content of the session.
    [/FONT]
    Property management companies who can't manage money, and require a seminar on how to save money on "mowing the lawn"?

    In the "real" world most contracts are RFP (unless it's "emergency" maintenance...in which case that step is bypassed) either by the Board of directors (if it is an entity like a Condo/HOA association), or the property manager secures and presents RFP's to the owner), how this company doesn't know this (since they have "commercial" clients), and expect to get property managers to come to seminars (and actually be able to tender a contract to your entity), is beyond me.

    What do I win?
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Originally Posted by thezone View Post

    Property management companies who can't manage money, and require a seminar on how to save money on "mowing the lawn"?

    In the "real" world most contracts are RFP (unless it's "emergency" maintenance...in which case that step is bypassed) either by the Board of directors (if it is an entity like a Condo/HOA association), or the property manager secures and presents RFP's to the owner), how this company doesn't know this (since they have "commercial" clients), and expect to get property managers to come to seminars (and actually be able to tender a contract to your entity), is beyond me.

    What do I win?
    Well it's actually a bit more complicated than that.

    Yes, commercial property maint. is primarily done on an annualized contract and/or RFP basis.

    But not all commercial property owners are major property managers like CBRE, CNL, etc... In fact, there are far more medium to small sized property owners. These smaller owners tend to hire the lowest-end contractors... 2 guys and a trailer. That's great, but then when it comes time to do fertilizer application, arbor work, enhancements, snow & ice removal, the owner generally has to find another guy, and another guy. The list of vendors grows, as does the amount of time it takes to juggle each of them. The property owner may be saving money on working with the lowest end contractor, but they lose the savings in the overhead it requires to manage and maintain multiple vendors for all of the various services.

    A part of the USP for my client in the commercial sector is that they are able to offer a full suite of management services, not just your simplification of "mowing the lawn" - yet they are small enough to maintain a personal relationship. Part of this is the sales rep/contract manager is actually the crew supervisor, so they are positioned to know whether the work being done is what was spec'd and bid.

    The seminar for medium-to-small commercial clients involves teaching non-business oriented property manager/owners how to reduce property management costs by consolidating vendors to reduce the internal overhead of managing multiple RFP processes, leverage group co-op purchases of materials, and what to watch out for in a property maintenance/landscape contractor (the tricks that guys use to skin you... like over bidding mulch and failing to apply the amount you bought).

    We've had 2 so far. 20-30 people in attendence with maybe 1/3 closing within 30 days afterwards, the rest still on our list. Average contract $2K/month.

    I'm not sure you won the prize.


    Originally Posted by JoeCool View Post

    Michael hasn't even mentioned the potential value of a client that agrees, under contract, to give the consultant a "piece of the action".

    This is where some real serious money can be made consulting to offline clients...
    More often than you think.

    And for certain deals, equity participation in the company.

    A former partner of mine, a massive direct mail marketing publisher (largest single owner of Valpak coupon franchises), has traded his services for equity so many times, he now owns a whole bunch of small companies that he helped launch and grow... and eventually just bought out.


    Originally Posted by threatlevelorange View Post

    Michael,

    I wrote out this entire summation of a situation I have but the site froze on me. I've only tried posting 4 times (twice on this post) and have one post already so I'm off to a great start on this site...lol I can provide details but this is gist:

    Anyways, I am a qualified business consultant and I got an offer from a local business and they wanted to know what I would charge for "cross marketing" (facebook and twitter ect.), consulting services, facilitating company expansion, ect. I have never made more than $15,000 a year in my life until last year and this year. I am 23 and don't come from many means. So when I was pulling in $520/week consulting and running an internet marketing plan for my friend (General Contractor see horrible site in my signature...I'm working on it), and I had some leveraged income from a trucking company I started, along with a little change from a part time job...a poor kid like me thought "hey! I'll take an extra $480/week and I'll be making over $1100/week total!"

    Well, the guy seems to be impressed enough to contact me and it sounds like he might hire me to help him out. I made it clear that $480/week was my base, and commissions and bonuses were in order. I also said that the base pay was contingent on my "working outside of the office" so I can take care of my other obligations/clients.

    My question is this: Did I blow it? It sounds laughable...$480/week??? Can I still be taken seriously or did I price myself under what would be considered a true authority? What could I reasonably ask for?

    Caveat: I'm not exactly in a great position to pass up any money. I'm currently behind on bills and my income gets shakier every waking moment.
    Do you have a packaged process/presentation that you deliver to clients? Did the guy ask you to do these specific things, and you responded with that price?

    I realize that there's a big gap between our respective scopes, but even in the lower-end view, an entry level consultant should be able to easily get $60-$100/hour for this kind of work.

    The landscaping crew guys that work for my client get $480 a week.

    I understand your need to create an income, but as you work for your client, I would be thinking seriously about how to do the next job for a lot more money, and how much value I am creating for the money I am being paid. It's relative. If my work creates income and profit of 10 to 20 times the money invested, I should have no problem getting my price. That's why it's important to be choosing your clients as much as it is them choosing you. If they don't understand the value of what you do, and/or they cannot afford to pay you for the effort, then you're better off not doing the work.

    I predict that you will quickly become disenchanted with this arrangement.
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
    Summary of this thread

    As my wise Mentor once said:

    "The Money is not in the 'details' Chris (i.e. tactics/strategies) . The money is in the 'thinking' (i.e. strategic level).

    Awesome Post Michael !

    Much success,

    Chris Negro
    Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author Hackbridge
    Thanks for this post. You're very advanced in this arena, and how you operate is something to aim for.

    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author MacFreddie
    Banned
    You have a lot to learn Young Grasshopper. 1st, let me slap you

    That site is your sig has no onpage SEO. It sucks to say the least. Your post is all over the place. Be direct. Are you saying this guy expects you to work for him directly, possibly from his office? Is so, you are on Crack!

    He is YOUR client, you don't work for him. You are simply offering your Consultaning services and in return you will hopefully make his phone ring.

    The price you can charge is relevant to what the clien can expect in terms of ROI. Can I charge $3,000 a month to a Hot dog stand with one employee and expect the business to stay with me? NO. I can however charge $3k to a lawyer to market his services.

    Everything you say keeps saying YOU are the victim. Your client should have no idea if you have 1M in the bank or one penny. Stop telling me how broke you are, you are already defeated.


    Originally Posted by threatlevelorange View Post

    Michael,

    I wrote out this entire summation of a situation I have but the site froze on me. I've only tried posting 4 times (twice on this post) and have one post already so I'm off to a great start on this site...lol I can provide details but this is gist:

    Anyways, I am a qualified business consultant and I got an offer from a local business and they wanted to know what I would charge for "cross marketing" (facebook and twitter ect.), consulting services, facilitating company expansion, ect. I have never made more than $15,000 a year in my life until last year and this year. I am 23 and don't come from many means. So when I was pulling in $520/week consulting and running an internet marketing plan for my friend (General Contractor see horrible site in my signature...I'm working on it), and I had some leveraged income from a trucking company I started, along with a little change from a part time job...a poor kid like me thought "hey! I'll take an extra $480/week and I'll be making over $1100/week total!"

    Well, the guy seems to be impressed enough to contact me and it sounds like he might hire me to help him out. I made it clear that $480/week was my base, and commissions and bonuses were in order. I also said that the base pay was contingent on my "working outside of the office" so I can take care of my other obligations/clients.

    My question is this: Did I blow it? It sounds laughable...$480/week??? Can I still be taken seriously or did I price myself under what would be considered a true authority? What could I reasonably ask for?

    Caveat: I'm not exactly in a great position to pass up any money. I'm currently behind on bills and my income gets shakier every waking moment.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Heh Michael I couldn't agree more, sadly I thought I was the one to think up such a process!

      Oh well, so much for being original...at least I'm the only one running a similar system in my part of the world it seems because the business owners are loving me when I leave my first meetings with them!

      But I agree, the FIRST thing any Offline Marketer does with a new prospect or paying client should be a detailed interview with them, this (at least for me) has typically been more beneficial at opening up the eyes of the business owner than my own.

      After that, it's hugs and paychecks in my business, typically I charge $2,500 for my "Target Market Analysis Interview" combined with a General Marketing Strategy Blueprint.

      Then I just start upselling as a I start performing the services developed to attract and convert their prospects into paying customers.

      I'm averaging about $10,000 - $25,000 a client with this method

      Consultative selling is certainly not new, but in the IM arena, because the focus is so heavy on transactional sale, the concept of marketing vs. sales is really skewed. There's a whole crop of "gurus" out there that are selling "sales" techniques, not "marketing" in the textbook sense.

      When an entrepreneur has BOTH (sales techniques & strategic marketing) down cold, the kind of money that can be created is obscene.

      Originally Posted by SMP View Post

      Thanks for this post Michael.

      I was in business-to-business sales for 15 years before getting into IM and this has given me the inspiration to approach a couple businesses who could do with just this kind of consultancy.

      In that time I got to know alot of business owners pretty well so the advantage for me will be that I won't have any problems with introductions and it will be easy to arrange to sit down with them for the initial discussions.

      Thanks again Michael. Good luck with your future projects.

      Steve.
      Definately having a network in place makes life a lot easier. Just working the network will create new clients.

      Glad to be of inspiration. Please let me know if I can assist.

      Originally Posted by threatlevelorange View Post

      I would never..NEVER tell him what I am making or indicate defeat in person or through any contact with him. I am displaying the reasoning behind my folly. There might not be much reasoning, in fact...but I was divulging my excuse to those of you on the forum.

      I am not a victim. I am very inspired to make this happen. I just made a mistake and I am basically asking for a bit of advice. How can I correct the issue? Should I still pursue the client?
      The problem is that you're caught between desperately needing a paycheck, and doing what you really want as a career. It sounds like you've tried to accomplish both out of this guy, and you need to consider the overall perspective.

      If you're content to work with him for a time to get your cash situation stabilized, I would be very specific about what you're doing, for how much. Otherwise, he's bought himself a general laborer on the cheap.

      If you can take some aspect of what you're doing for him, and create a success story, then that can build your portfolio towards landing your next deal.

      But get it in your head right now where you stand. Job/Paycheck vs. Project/Client
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by JakeDaly View Post

        Great post, Michael! As a native of Anderson Township, I find it interesting and inspirational that small area businesses are willing to pay so much for your great work. Just don't put Hyde Park Landscaping out of business, I have some friends that work for that company haha!
        I'm actually across the border near Metamora, IN, but I am in Blue Ash every day. The client company works the north central area, Mason, Loveland, West Chester, etc..., but if it grows, there's always the option of M&A... haha

        PM me if you're interested in getting on the Cincinnati IM Mastermind email announcement and attending a meet & greet.

        Originally Posted by bobmcalister View Post

        Nice thread ....lots of information here. Maria and her team have a very logical and professional approach to this consulting and for the price , it is a steal. I am not selling anyone on this, just mention it in passing.
        thanks guys
        I talked to Maria a while back, and it sounded like they were getting some consulting stuff together right at that time. I need to follow up with her to see how she's doing.

        Originally Posted by Preben Frenning View Post

        I haven't read this entire thread, but I will, and the OP was great!

        As for simple services you can do - Which is REALLY SIMPLE and effective, you can start by tracking their offline advertising methods.
        If you know how to build a webpage, you can easily do this yourself.

        For example and ad in a magazine can be "Get your exclusive special report today! At "Ourwebsite.com/magazine-name"

        And from there, track every single offline advertising campaign they do.
        You don't even need to make more than one report. Or you can do variations, for example if a direct sale is what you want.

        Now you are able to track the ROI of every single offline advertising campaign they do, and it's ridiculously easy too! (Plus, you can still charge a lot, even if it's easy. They will be impressed and more profitable than before pretty quickly)

        That was just an example of the many very simple and extremely effective things you can do for business owners
        I completely agree with everything you've said Preben. But I do want you to think about the difference between the tactical level things that you've described, and how they come into play AFTER a strategic level of planning activity has taken place. The decision-making layers of planning should dictate the various tactical level actions that are taken place - but in most small businesses, it gets reversed. Someone goes out and places an ad, or puts up a website, or this or that, without any real guiding strategy in place. Then, when something doesn't happen according to expectation (which is purely subjective without a plan) it's easy to say, "well this failed", or "well I tried that and it didn't work".

        The point to this thread is how the strategic planning process determines the direction that a business should take - and guiding that process creates an income opportunity for a strategic-level marketing consultant BEFORE a single penny gets spent on all the tactical things.


        Originally Posted by mikestenger View Post

        Awesome post Mike! I recently opened up a consulting program so anything related is a must read for me. That's cool you're in the Cincinnati area man, I live on the outskirts :-)
        Thanks! PM me if you're interested in getting on the Cincinnati IM Mastermind email announcement and attending a meet & greet.


        Originally Posted by threatlevelorange View Post

        So I told him via email that it did not involve being in the office, except a few days to become aquianted. I told him I have other clients and businesses and gave references.

        I told him $480/week but that I would need to go over details for him. I need to know how much money we are looking at, and how much he will be looking to expand. What is his ROI on me? That is what i will find out. What is he requiring from me? If I can make $480/week part time from home living across the country, with bonuses and commissions, I can live with that. If it involves more, like where I outsource a little work and beat down a path that leads to his success, I want $1,000/week base. If I need to put on a suit and tie and consult with him, I would demand $30/hour on top of that base.

        What do you think about these numbers?

        BTW, just to reinterate, I would never give any indication that I was desperate. I was only telling you guys because I am looking for some honest advice; based on honest facts.
        I came on this forum to learn how to start making $20/day from affiliate marketing and adsense, and then I stumbled on this. I actually foresee things working out quite well, between a couple clients and some afffiliate marketing. I still feel lost with understanding internet marketing, especially how to generate traffic. I guess the point is that I have grown up poor and have never had money, so if I can make $1500/week solid part time, and be allowed to travel anywhere I want I would say I am doing really, really well for myself. So anyways, I gure that is good for starting out as a business consultant.
        It's hard to say. I know you're starting out, and have a certain perspective because of your personal experiences. But your focus on your professional fees is really skewed. You want the straight shot, and I am giving it to you.

        Shed the labels of your past, and stop "settling" for what you perceive to be "enough".

        Start figuring out how you can provide your clients with massive value, and then realize that if you're going to show a businessowner how to create tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, you should be paid accordingly. My general rule of thumb for direct consulting work is a 10-1 ratio. If I generate you $100K, then I should be paid $10K. And since I don't get out of bed for less than $400-$500 an hour, that represents about roughly 2 business days of effort on my part.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Hi All and Michael,

    First off Michael I agree with everything you say, I would be a fool not to because you obviously know a lot and know what you are talking about. You certainly give us something to shoot for if that is what we are want.

    In my town, LA, CA, we have guys who stand on the corner and sell oranges, we have produce markets, markets that sell produce as one out of many items, we have the famous farmers market and we have the central produce market.

    If I were to compare myself to one of those I'd probably be the guy on the corner selling oranges.

    I can't find the exact quote but you said something to the effect that you were the one who would get my business if I didn't shape up. (my words)

    Actually you won't take my business, ever. LOL Not because you couldn't, you could take it with both hands tied behind your back, however, you would not want my business, that is my clients. I on the other hand like my clients and the way I serve them and my customers like what I do for them. Even if sometimes all I do for them is put up a ugly brochure site so they can tell Uncle Bob, "Wanna see my site."

    On the rare occasion where someone of your caliber would take one of my customers that would actually be a compliment to me. It would mean I took a client from where you would not touch them and brought them up to your caliber. Sort of like the Boxer's or Entertainer's manager who finds them when they were nobodies and gets dumped by them when stardom hits. They ride off into the sunset with the famous manager who can take them to higher levels and the old manager waves goodbye with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.

    I only post this to encourage others like me who don't have the time, patients or where-with-all to reach your level but still need to keep on keepin on.

    Picking up the crumbs and loving it,

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author SMP
    Thanks for this post Michael.

    I was in business-to-business sales for 15 years before getting into IM and this has given me the inspiration to approach a couple businesses who could do with just this kind of consultancy.

    In that time I got to know alot of business owners pretty well so the advantage for me will be that I won't have any problems with introductions and it will be easy to arrange to sit down with them for the initial discussions.

    Thanks again Michael. Good luck with your future projects.

    Steve.
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    Want to make REAL money online? Everything you need for your success....all in one place.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobmcalister
    Nice thread ....lots of information here. Maria and her team have a very logical and professional approach to this consulting and for the price , it is a steal. I am not selling anyone on this, just mention it in passing.
    thanks guys
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  • Profile picture of the author Joel Gray
    Michael,

    Thanks for starting such an interesting thread, it has been a pleasure to read it from start to finish. The information is excellent and you have taken some time out of your day to come back and answer the questions that everyone has had. Fantastic Post!

    Thanks again,

    Joel
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    • Profile picture of the author JakeDaly
      Great post, Michael! As a native of Anderson Township, I find it interesting and inspirational that small area businesses are willing to pay so much for your great work. Just don't put Hyde Park Landscaping out of business, I have some friends that work for that company haha!
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  • Profile picture of the author Preben Frenning
    I haven't read this entire thread, but I will, and the OP was great!

    As for simple services you can do - Which is REALLY SIMPLE and effective, you can start by tracking their offline advertising methods.
    If you know how to build a webpage, you can easily do this yourself.

    For example and ad in a magazine can be "Get your exclusive special report today! At "Ourwebsite.com/magazine-name"

    And from there, track every single offline advertising campaign they do.
    You don't even need to make more than one report. Or you can do variations, for example if a direct sale is what you want.

    Now you are able to track the ROI of every single offline advertising campaign they do, and it's ridiculously easy too! (Plus, you can still charge a lot, even if it's easy. They will be impressed and more profitable than before pretty quickly)

    That was just an example of the many very simple and extremely effective things you can do for business owners
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  • Profile picture of the author mikestenger
    Awesome post Mike! I recently opened up a consulting program so anything related is a must read for me. That's cool you're in the Cincinnati area man, I live on the outskirts :-)
    Signature

    -Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author TyBrown
    What CRM solution do you recommend?
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by TyBrown View Post

      What CRM solution do you recommend?

      What size of business? What level of IT sophistication? What tactical-level marketing uses of the data do they intend to pursue?

      (you just got "consultified"... I didn't answer the question directly. I need far more information)

      In some instances, an Excel spreadsheet will be just fine. Salesforce.com is good for other situations. ACT and Saleslogix have a place, as does Microsoft CRM.

      I'm really big on open, non-proprietary data formats, which allows the business to easily dump their data into other applications.

      It's not a single bullet for everyone solution.
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      • Profile picture of the author tranndee
        Brilliant post. Thank you SO MUCH. I've been doing IM for a few years with growing success, but lately I've acquired--quite unexpectedly--3 business clients who want to build their business online. And I got them all by word of mouth. If you keep talking about what you do and with passion, people will find out about you. Now this post added the business perspective I need to focus on--I'm working on a flat fee plus a percentage of traffic coming to their sites, but I see I need to broaden my strategy.

        Most excellent information. Interested in what you do later. I'm in Detroit and tempted to drive the 4 hours to attend any Mastermind meetings in your area!
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  • Profile picture of the author qualityin
    HI Micheal,

    Nice post. I just say it is a traditional approach to drive the businessess by offering consulting services. The only change is to grab the right tool on time. As the INTERNET is the most powerful tool in this arena for any aspect of life. It has increased the power of an ordinary man.
    The way you are consulting is a common sense, which is called process approach to improvement.

    Thanks again for such a nice post.

    Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Blase
      This is such a good thread I figured what
      the heck I'll put this up.

      This is what I used to do and what I charged.
      You can see it's also an outline of what you should do.

      The Guaranteed Success Sales and Marketing System

      Project One: Create Your Unique Selling Proposition(s)
      1. Conduct a focus group with the owner and the staff to gain their perspective of the USP.
      2. Contact customers with a short survey to determine the customer's perspective of the USP.
      3. Do a competitive analysis of your key competitors in order to isolate their strengths and weaknesses.
      4. Compile all of the information gained from you, your customers and your competition and clearly define your USP.


      Project Two: Leverage Your Current Marketing for Increased Profit
      1. Identify all current marketing and successful past marketing processes and implement a plan for capturing customer information.
      2. Identify and implement follow-up systems in order to accomplish the following:
      a. Improve and build upon customer service
      b. Develop strategies for up-selling existing customers.
      c. Devise a follow-up strategy on all bids, quotes and proposals.
      d. Develop a customer and prospect follow-up system.
      3) Customize a sales training system for you in order to maximize all sales staff capabilities for getting maximum conversion, up-sell, and repeat business.
      4) Develop packages or value added services and make sure that the sales training techniques are implemented effectively.


      Project Three: Work With Former, Current, and Prospective Customers to Increase Revenues.
      1) Identify and segment all classifications of customers. Create a system for building a computer-generated database that can provide detailed buying information on each customer.
      2) Identify all cross-selling opportunities within the company.
      3) Identify all back end selling opportunities after original purchase.
      4) Develop initial offers and strategies to communicate with customer groups for a one-year period. Craft letters create offers, and help implement the mailings or follow-up phone calls. Design tests of all marketing components to insure success.


      Project Four: Create Marketing Alliances
      1) Determine prospective alliances both within the customer base and outside of the customer base.
      2) Meet with potential alliance prospects and set up the alliance.
      a. The alliance may take the form of an endorsement or a simple cross promotion.
      3) Write and design cross promotion material.
      4) Begin testing:
      a. Mail letters
      b. Distribute and track cross promotions


      Project Five: Create Profitable Media Advertising
      1) Do a complete advertising analysis that will help you to set specific and realistic growth objectives for your media plan. Also help determine specific media budgets that will maximize your overall return on your advertising investment.
      2) Develop a creative strategy that will leverage your ads by doing the following:
      a. Get attention
      b. Create needs and wants for your products and or services.
      c. Sell the benefits of your products and or services.
      d. Create a sense of urgency to buy now.

      3) Arrange for all copy writing, production etc.
      4) Develop the media plan and arrange for the media buys. Make sure that you get the best possible pricing and the most cost-effective buys.


      Project Six: Community Marketing (If applicable)
      1) Determine and or create newsworthy material about your company, this should take the form of:
      a. Owners expertise
      b. Community education
      c. Free workshops
      d. Association with groups and organizations
      2) Formulate and write effective press releases. Help you to get as much free publicity as possible from the various members of the media in your market.
      3) Help you to seek out and identify those potential sponsorship opportunities that will increase your visibility in the market, and help to maximize your exposure.
      4) Develop a complete campaign to implement on an ongoing basis.


      Project Seven: Direct Marketing
      1)Make certain that all of the other steps in the system are being implemented. Then determine from previous projects the target market that you want to reach.
      2) Secure the proper mailing lists.
      3) Determine the proper methods for reaching the target market, mail, telemarketing, outside sales, or a combination.
      4) Test the list, test the offers, test the price, and other aspects of the campaign. Find the most successful mix and then roll out the direct marketing campaign.

      As you can see this is a very systematized process and with my manual and my help you'll be increasing your sales and profits in no time.

      Of course included with the monthly coaching fees you get the GSSAM manual all of the bonuses. Instead of a weekly telephone call you can call me anytime, or send me an email with any question you may have, and I will meet with you and your employees at your place of business on a weekly basis.

      The first month of coaching is the foundation to the GSSAM program and the first project fee is $2,277.

      All additional monthly project fees are $1,277.
      All projects and fees are month to month. No long commitments, you can decide at the end of one month if you feel you want more help or not.

      Hope you found this helpful,
      Blase
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      "Nothing Happens Until Something Is Sold"
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Murphy
    Great post, Michael! As a native of Anderson Township, I find it interesting and inspirational that small area businesses are willing to pay so much for your great work. Just don't put Hyde Park Landscaping out of business, I have some friends that work for that company haha!
    Now that's just freaky - I grew up in Anderson Township as well. Michael or Jake, can either of you send some Skyline/Gold Star chili, Larosa's Pizza or Graeters Ice Cream down to Houston? I'm going through withdrawal.

    Thanks for the great case study - I look forward to seeing what you roll out Michael!

    Dennis
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Originally Posted by tranndee View Post

    Brilliant post. Thank you SO MUCH. I've been doing IM for a few years with growing success, but lately I've acquired--quite unexpectedly--3 business clients who want to build their business online. And I got them all by word of mouth. If you keep talking about what you do and with passion, people will find out about you. Now this post added the business perspective I need to focus on--I'm working on a flat fee plus a percentage of traffic coming to their sites, but I see I need to broaden my strategy.

    Most excellent information. Interested in what you do later. I'm in Detroit and tempted to drive the 4 hours to attend any Mastermind meetings in your area!
    The local mastermind meetings were sort of tabled as everyone got busy with their respective calendars towards the end of summer. I am hoping to get another date scheduled for fall.

    Originally Posted by qualityin View Post

    HI Micheal,

    Nice post. I just say it is a traditional approach to drive the businessess by offering consulting services. The only change is to grab the right tool on time. As the INTERNET is the most powerful tool in this arena for any aspect of life. It has increased the power of an ordinary man.
    The way you are consulting is a common sense, which is called process approach to improvement.

    Thanks again for such a nice post.

    Thanks.
    Glad you were able to see the approach here. Rather than pushing the internet for the sake of the internet as a tactical measure, taking a very strategic view broadens the picture (and the opportunity).


    Originally Posted by Blase View Post

    This is such a good thread I figured what
    the heck I'll put this up.

    This is what I used to do and what I charged.
    You can see it's also an outline of what you should do.

    The Guaranteed Success Sales and Marketing System

    Project One: Create Your Unique Selling Proposition(s)
    1. Conduct a focus group with the owner and the staff to gain their perspective of the USP.
    2. Contact customers with a short survey to determine the customer's perspective of the USP.
    3. Do a competitive analysis of your key competitors in order to isolate their strengths and weaknesses.
    4. Compile all of the information gained from you, your customers and your competition and clearly define your USP.

    Project Two: Leverage Your Current Marketing for Increased Profit
    1. Identify all current marketing and successful past marketing processes and implement a plan for capturing customer information.
    2. Identify and implement follow-up systems in order to accomplish the following:
    a. Improve and build upon customer service
    b. Develop strategies for up-selling existing customers.
    c. Devise a follow-up strategy on all bids, quotes and proposals.
    d. Develop a customer and prospect follow-up system.
    3) Customize a sales training system for you in order to maximize all sales staff capabilities for getting maximum conversion, up-sell, and repeat business.
    4) Develop packages or value added services and make sure that the sales training techniques are implemented effectively.

    ...
    Hi Blase, great stuff. You can certainly validate the power of going to the strategic level with an overall marketing view for an "offline" client vs. barging through the door with your SEO services like a used car salesman (which seems to be a popular method of marketing for SEO... which is why I pick on it).

    This appears to be a similar approach as the HMA - Hidden Marketing Assets system that Mike Senoff & Sensei Richard promotes. It seems to be a pretty solid program, albeit a bit pricey. I think it's even more expensive than the Jay Abraham protege' course ($5800 +/- ??).

    The HMA approach is certainly effective, particularly for smaller businesses that aren't very sophisticated beyond the "technician" entrepreneur level... a la Gerber's "e-Myth". Without question, it gets to the core of the low-hanging marketing fruit (so to speak) within the business. However, I find that it still focuses more on the tactical level of "things we do on the battlefield" vs. the campaign we create before we send in the troops and the systems we put into place to report back to us how effective our strategy is working over the long haul.

    However, one size does NOT fit all from business sector to sector, geographic market to market, and environment to environment. It's still a sort of "one-trick pony" approach - although an effective one with a lot of market potential.

    Keep in mind here, I am absolutely not being critical of the HMA. It's a great system and very successful in helping small businesses round out their marketing approach.

    Far too often, marketing people treat marketing like it exists in this magical, utopian fairyland vacuum, somehow or another separate from the rest of the business. It's like Uncle Daddy inbreeding. The more inbred it gets, the weaker the DNA.

    But marketing goes so much deeper into the intrinsics of a successful business operation. I try to use an abstracted model that gets applied to each area based on a very simple formula. The core formula can then be applied to any tactical marketing area.

    I dig even deeper by implementing marketing strategies within a CPI (continuous process improvement) model roughly approximated on proven TQM philosophies like those taught by Deming, Six Sigma, Lean (Toyota Production Systems), Balanced Scorecard, etc...

    I am not sure why marketing was passed over in the wild scramble to implement ISO and TQM models in manufacturing and services industries during the 80's and 90's, but the statistical foundation lends itself very well to continuous improvement.

    The reason that I use a TQM approach is the firsthand experience of software product architecture and R&D -- which has to not only exist somewhere in the middle of the classic struggle between the technical engineering camp and marketing camp, but actually deliver results for future success of said company. In order to ensure the future success of a business, the entity must continue to develop and release products and services that are matched to its target market. For those of you who are Geoffrey Moore (Crossing The Chasm) fans, this might sound a little familiar.

    The Strategic-level/TQM approach bridges the gap between ALL of the stakeholders... customers, sales, operations, finance, senior management, etc... Marketing should be constantly feeding the owners/managers and/or decisionmakers with a stream of information - not only concerning sales numbers, but through each and every step of the business operation... customer service, product & inventory management, and even finance.

    Each of these areas have a push-pull relationship between their own domain and marketing. Each and every one of these areas are ultimately affected by, and in return also affect the production and/or delivery of a product or service to a customer (which is the function of a business, correct? deliver a product or service to a customer in a value exchange?)

    Taking the integration side of the HMA system as a comparison, it's one thing to make sure your employees can recite the USP verbatim on demand. It's another thing for them to understand how their job and their execution of the job affects the overall marketing process. Further, it's even more complex to be able to identify trends and adapt a product or service mix based on the feedback and analysis of marketing data, and reallocate financial resources within the operation based on the numbers produced by such a system.

    How can a business structure its marketing so it can adapt to market conditions QUICKLY from the top to the bottom of the operation?

    Okay, I'll shut up now. I know I am probably making a bunch of IM-only people's heads spin around like The Exorcist.

    Originally Posted by Dennis Murphy View Post

    Now that's just freaky - I grew up in Anderson Township as well. Michael or Jake, can either of you send some Skyline/Gold Star chili, Larosa's Pizza or Graeters Ice Cream down to Houston? I'm going through withdrawal.

    Thanks for the great case study - I look forward to seeing what you roll out Michael!

    Dennis
    You Turpin guys... I'll tell you... they're everywhere... Not as bad as St. X. or Moeller guys though.... those guys are like breeding rats...
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    • Profile picture of the author Blase
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post


      Hi Blase, great stuff. You can certainly validate the power of going to the strategic level with an overall marketing view for an "offline" client vs. barging through the door with your SEO services like a used car salesman (which seems to be a popular method of marketing for SEO... which is why I pick on it).

      This appears to be a similar approach as the HMA - Hidden Marketing Assets system that Mike Senoff & Sensei Richard promotes. It seems to be a pretty solid program, albeit a bit pricey. I think it's even more expensive than the Jay Abraham protoge' course ($5800 +/- ??).

      This is interesting, you mentioned Sensei Richard, would that be a guy
      by the name of Richard Johnson from Utah?

      If it is, he is the guy that really helped me put it together. But
      I worked with him back in the 90's.

      We were both Jay Abraham proteges, but if you know Jay's material
      he bounces around like a bebe in a basketball.

      Richard Johnson, got permission from Jay to put it all together in a course.
      I still have it, it's 16 manuals and 16 VHS tapes. great stuff.

      I know what you are saying in the rest of your post, and yes there is
      a lot more you could do. I was a sales and marketing manager for a fortune 1000 company.

      But what I found with most small businesses is that if
      I could just get them on a path of doing the basics they were good to go.

      It was also a lot less work for decent money.

      Blase
      Signature
      "Nothing Happens Until Something Is Sold"
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    • Profile picture of the author Handsome J
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      I dig even deeper by implementing marketing strategies within a CPI (continuous process improvement) model roughly approximated on proven TQM philosophies like those taught by Deming, Six Sigma, Lean (Toyota Production Systems), Balanced Scorecard, etc...
      This is some strong advice. Those who understand what he is talking about, know this is like adding rocketfuel to your IM to offline business bag of tricks. The skill sets inherent in the Kaizen philosophies is so powerful for an offline business owner. Good stuff man.
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by RobertNelsoninc View Post

        Michael,
        by far one of the top 3 thread post's i have seen in regards to the offline
        model here at WF. If folks would just walk in with a USP, and follow your
        guide lines, they would have more work than they know what to do with.

        I thought i had most of the angles covered for offline, however your post
        opened up a couple of more arenas that really got my attention.

        Thanks for taking the time to write such a lenghty post, and a very
        very informative thread.

        Regards,
        Robert Nelson
        Glad to be able to spark some thinking for you Robert.

        There are very few people applying TQM concepts to marketing, and even fewer who are doing it at the SMB level.



        Originally Posted by Blase View Post

        This is interesting, you mentioned Sensei Richard, would that be a guy
        by the name of Richard Johnson from Utah?

        If it is, he is the guy that really helped me put it together. But
        I worked with him back in the 90's.

        We were both Jay Abraham proteges, but if you know Jay's material
        he bounces around like a bebe in a basketball.

        Richard Johnson, got permission from Jay to put it all together in a course.
        I still have it, it's 16 manuals and 16 VHS tapes. great stuff.

        I know what you are saying in the rest of your post, and yes there is
        a lot more you could do. I was a sales and marketing manager for a fortune 1000 company.

        But what I found with most small businesses is that if
        I could just get them on a path of doing the basics they were good to go.

        It was also a lot less work for decent money.

        Blase
        That would be he.

        I agree that there's a ton of opportunity in just doing a couple things for small business to help them get to the next level. And that requires a certain mindset and mentality. Not every small business is my client, in fact, there are fewer who are than who aren't.

        The first issue is the willingness to adopt a different view of their business in order to break through the barriers and personal limitations of most small business owners. Again, Gerber/E-Myth here. Many small business owners just want to have their little business and not grow - despite what they tell you. Sure, they may be willing to drop $500 or even $5000 into a campaign. But when it comes down to really throttling up the engines for sustainable growth... that takes a different mindset.

        I am not interested in trying to convince small-time players how to unscrew their heads so they can get out of the ghetto. If they're happy bringing home $40K a year after all the time and trouble... even $80K a year, I'm not going to waste my preaching. I'll save it for the truly hungry sinner in the congregation. That's the business owner that is interested in how to re-engineer processes for real, marketshare gobbling growth.

        So yes, there's fewer of those guys, but the upside to the smaller pool is larger, and longer term deals.

        That's not to say that the process can't be successfully applied to even the smallest business. It most certainly can with a high degree of success - even without transforming the organization. But that's not my personal customer.

        YMMV


        Originally Posted by mediamillionaire View Post

        This is some strong advice. Those who understand what he is talking about, know this is like adding rocketfuel to your IM to offline business bag of tricks. The skill sets inherent in the Kaizen philosophies is so powerful for an offline business owner. Good stuff man.
        Thanks. Most people look at me with glazed eyes, "whut in tarnation is that feller sayin'?"

        The biggest question I get asked is, "isn't this stuff just for big companies?"

        pssst... how do you think some of them got that way??
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        • Profile picture of the author Handsome J
          Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post


          Thanks. Most people look at me with glazed eyes, "whut in tarnation is that feller sayin'?"

          The biggest question I get asked is, "isn't this stuff just for big companies?"

          pssst... how do you think some of them got that way??
          Ha Ha!

          I know exactly what you mean. I have an engineering background with a sales personality. You know as well as I its hard to straddle the two for most people as most engineers I know are quiet conformist introverts, and most salespeople I know are non conformist creative outside the box thinkers. For the few that can capture the lightning in a bottle that is the synergy of both worlds, the possibilities are endless.

          All I know is I want in if there is a preview of this course in exchange for testimonials. I know Mike, Shameless. But hey, dont ask, dont get. Great content here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Murphy
    You Turpin guys... I'll tell you... they're everywhere... Not as bad as St. X. or Moeller guys though.... those guys are like breeding rats...
    Actually, I was an Anderson HS guy...but I agree about those St X and Moeller guys.

    Dennis
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    • Profile picture of the author BrashImpact
      Michael,
      by far one of the top 3 thread post's i have seen in regards to the offline
      model here at WF. If folks would just walk in with a USP, and follow your
      guide lines, they would have more work than they know what to do with.

      I thought i had most of the angles covered for offline, however your post
      opened up a couple of more arenas that really got my attention.

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a lenghty post, and a very
      very informative thread.

      Regards,
      Robert Nelson
      Signature

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1140025].message }}

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