Want to sell offline services but don't know how to get your first client? Check this out!

17 replies
Warriors,

Some of you may want to do offline selling but you just have no idea how to get your first client. It can seem quite overwhelming if you're just starting out. However, if you follow the advice in this post, you should be able to get your first client within a week at most. Read on.

First of all, you may be intimidated about going out and trying to sell your services to a local business owner. Truth be told, it can be quite a scary experience.

Especially if you're used to hibernating wherever your computer is and rarely make face to face contact with anyone. (Those of you whose dog barks at you thinking you're a stranger because they see you so little, know exactly what I'm talking about )

Once you actually make contact with some business owners you'll see they're not going to bite you or hit you. The worse they can do is say "no." and absolute worse case scenario they'll say no in a nasty tone. However, our mind, thanks to evolution, likes to play tricks on us and instills a false sense of fear in such matters.

Even if you're comfortable talking to people, you still may just not know where to start for prospecting for clients.

So, how can you get past this fear if you have it and actually get your first potential client in your first week?

The answer is to start with people you already do business with. I realize that you may think this is a very simple concept. However, I haven't really seen it mentioned. Most important, it will work.

For example, my first client was my car insurance agent. I scheduled an appointment with her, and I talked about what I could do for her. We scheduled a follow up appointment and after that meeting I got a check.

Believe me, when you get your first check things get a lot easier.

Why is this so effective?

Think about it, you spend money with the people you do business with. They're most likely not going to say no to you for a meeting, remember you're a paying customer.

Even if they're not interested in what you're offering, they're most likely not going to be rude about it. They'll most likely be very polite. Again, they won't want to lose your business, so they'll at least hear what you have to say.

Even if they do say no, it's not a big deal. You got a chance to practice your pitch/presentation. You showed your mind that even though it wants to make you believe people will turn into fanged monsters who desire to suck your brains out and eat them, it really doesn't happen. You also can ask for some referrals.

Sit down and make a list of people that you or your family does business with. Here are some examples:

Insurance agents, lawyers, financial planners, car dealerships (most people are very loyal to a particular car dealership, have you or one of your family members been buying cars from the same dealer for a long time?), accountant/CPA, dentist, doctor (including specialists like foot doctor, OB/GYN, etc..), daycare center, martial arts instructor, vet (for those of you whose dog doesn't recognize you ), gym, hair dresser/barber, restaurants/diners you frequent, etc...

One way to make sure you don't forget anyone is to go to your online banking account and look at all the products/services you've spent money on for the past 12 months. As mentioned, don't forget such places like doctors/dentists that you may not have had to pay out of pocket expenses for, but you or your family still goes to on a regular basis.

Ask your family/friends about who they go to for the above services. Once you find out you can call them up and say:

"Hi, my name is ____, and my family member/friend (their name) is one of your clients/patients/customers. I was just wondering if I could come in for a few minutes to talk to you? Which is better for you, Monday or Tuesday?"

Another great way to help you get some potential clients is to do something for a non-profit you or your family are involved with or have interest in. Make sure that it is with the understanding they will help you promote your services to their members, in exchange for your services.

I'm currently doing a site for the school my sister works for and in exchange, they're going to send my promotional letter home to the parents of the students. I guarantee I'm going to be able to get some clients from this. All for a site that only took me 1 day to put together.

If you seriously give this a try and schedule some appointments with the people you and your family/friends do business with, I guarantee you'll gain more confidence and you will have a check within a week.

If you have any feedback/questions/comments feel free to contribute to this post.

Jason
#check #client #offline #sell #services
  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the share. That's a great idea about donating time and services to a charity in exchange for free publicity. Even having your information in their footer is worth it if it is a highly trafficked site. Plus when people refer you, that will hold a lot of weight. So much more than you just approaching businesses yourself

    You are right, you got to get out there. It can be scary at first, but you need to cut your teeth somehow!

    Matt
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    • Profile picture of the author glassextreme
      Hey, this is interesting. I had signed up for a free webinar one or two months back, and the guy was talking about the same thing, helping your local business rank high. If I'm not wrong, it's some Nitro marketing.

      In that webinar, not all of the above services are profitable, especially those with cheap services, because it will be daunting to them. If you charge at least $1000 for your services, hair stylists would need to cut hair at least 50 times in order to get the money back. However, if you target those with high charges, say, at least $200 or $300, they just need to have 3 to 5 customers to make the money back. Hence they would be more receptive.

      In addition, to find these people, those already with online presence would be more receptive.

      I like this model, because I can see how I can improve the SEO easily for certain sectors, but like what you mentioned, you need to get over the initial fear of talking to people.

      Maybe I should go and find my car grooming guy. I checked it out and he has classified ads on forums. He charges me highly for packages. Just need to sell 2 packages to break even!

      While I don't have a dog, I probably spend too much time on the computer for my baby to recognise me.
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      • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
        Absolutely those can be powerful. In my new book one of the ways i talk about generating clients for free and building credibility is through local organization talks or seminars. Give value and tips to help them and have some type of info like a report fot them that provides info but also explains why your the choice if they need x

        Just don't pitch-let them come to you-if you provided value they will come
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        • Profile picture of the author theultimate1
          Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

          I'm currently doing a site for the school my sister works for and in exchange, they're going to send my promotional letter home to the parents of the students. I guarantee I'm going to be able to get some clients from this. All for a site that only took me 1 day to put together.

          If you have any feedback/questions/comments feel free to contribute to this post.

          Jason
          Hi Jason,

          Thanks for your post... good stuff there!

          I've been doing a similar thing with my content writing services (I know it's no where related to offline marketing/consulting), but I offer freebies to clients to generate more business, and also to some prospects before they buy my services - something related to articles and textual content, of course.

          I'm not in a position as of now to offer them Marketing services with any guarantees. What I can probably do is setting up a web presence and do some web promotion for them, for a nominal fee. I know it's no great value addition, but I'm just getting started and experimenting alongside to be able to make some guarantees or offer true MARKETING services... Building my portfolio, if you will :p

          So... What kind of things can I offer to offline businesses, at a stage when they're just prospects for me, as a "Try Me Before You Buy (From) Me" pre-sell?

          P.S.: You mentioned that putting up the site for the school would take you a day. Are you doing it on WordPress? What platform do you use, generally, to build sites for your clients? If you use WordPress, how do you justify your pricing? I had this challenge once - A client said, "This is WordPress; it's free and took you hardly any time to put it up."

          Originally Posted by glassextreme View Post

          In that webinar, not all of the above services are profitable, especially those with cheap services, because it will be daunting to them. If you charge at least $1000 for your services, hair stylists would need to cut hair at least 50 times in order to get the money back. However, if you target those with high charges, say, at least $200 or $300, they just need to have 3 to 5 customers to make the money back. Hence they would be more receptive.

          In addition, to find these people, those already with online presence would be more receptive.
          Hi Sarah,

          Thanks for bringing that observation to the table here. It just changed the way I was considering my prospecting plan - just added another factor to my DD work. Thanks

          However, I have a question... What kind of services do you offer to offline businesses with an existing presence? SEO, PPC Management, etc. or something else? I guess it's too much to ask, but I'm just looking at a heads up. Thanks again.

          Originally Posted by fasteasysuccess View Post

          Absolutely those can be powerful. In my new book one of the ways i talk about generating clients for free and building credibility is through local organization talks or seminars. Give value and tips to help them and have some type of info like a report fot them that provides info but also explains why your the choice if they need x

          Just don't pitch-let them come to you-if you provided value they will come
          Hi Eric,

          Great point there, offer value and do it face-to-face during seminars. Talk about reaching many prospects at once and offering a massive early-bird discount if any converts are showing up. Grand stuff, I'd say.

          I stay in India, and get a few clients a year through referrals (for my web design services) locally/nationally, thanks to my friends, professional contacts (who get a cut of the deal by the way), and my previous clients.

          However, I was wondering if I can look at converting a few deals internationally. Travelling to the West or even to Europe isn't feasible (IMO), so I guess I'll have to use the phone and probably make cold calls. I'm fairly comfortable doing that. What do you suggest? Should I try cold calling? If yes, the next question that comes to mind is... Overcoming the "How did you get my number" objection - Any heads up on that? Or should I try something else? If yes, what ways would you suggest? How should I go about setting my prices?

          Ok I'm done with those questions - I know I've asked too many today. So, I'll complement them with an idea I have in mind. Caution: I haven't used it yet, but here it is anyway...

          Set up a few things before the prospect buys from you, more like a goodwill - stuff like say Google Maps, a few Directory submissions (through your accounts so that once you build them a website, you can edit/update their listings, wherever applicable), writing a quick Press Release (if the prospect has something worthwhile/relevant/recent), etc. This could potentially lead in higher conversion rates and help build the relationship, which helps cement the deal without being too persuasive (read: pushy).
          [Change of Tone Now :p] Heck, if I had the time, I'd go so far as building/drawing a very basic layout of the website that would suit their business before they even transfer a cent - This one is pretty risky though, but I think it tells the client that I really care about his business. From there, the client and I can work on improving the layout and discussing the commercials.
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          • Profile picture of the author glassextreme
            Originally Posted by theultimate1 View Post


            Hi Sarah,

            Thanks for bringing that observation to the table here. It just changed the way I was considering my prospecting plan - just added another factor to my DD work. Thanks

            However, I have a question... What kind of services do you offer to offline businesses with an existing presence? SEO, PPC Management, etc. or something else? I guess it's too much to ask, but I'm just looking at a heads up. Thanks again.

            For those with an existing presence, SEO. Build backlinks for them. Tell them you can help them to reduce their money on advertising, while getting more organice search traffic. You could put your writing skills to good use.
            Actually, just do what you are good at!
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            • Profile picture of the author Adam Nolan
              Excellent tip on lead generation! I never even thought about contacting people I do business with regularly and I do this all day professionally.

              Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author BradSimon
    Thanks for the info. great post.
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
    Nice little angle to work there Jason - kuddos for you! Many thanks for contributing to the Warrior Forum.

    Success to you,

    Chris Negro
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    All good stuff indeed. But here's the thing I don't get.

    People want to go sell marketing services to clients, but then have no clue about how to go find a client. It really shouldn't even be a topic of discussion among true marketing professionals. Meaning, that it should be a given that a marketing person should understand how to USE THEIR SKILLS THAT THEY PROFESS TO HAVE TO FIND THEMSELVES A GDMFING CLIENT.

    There's something quite ironic and very wrong about this, and it's something that has bothered me since joining the WF.

    This isn't a reflection on the OP or his post at all. Just something that really bothers me about the WF and the whole idea that these starry-eyed people are armed with just enough information to be quite dangerous to their own financial health after a former client's attorney gets done with them in court (yes, I've argued with novices on here about the need for E&O insurance... they told me how they didn't need any).

    I've crushed dozens out in the marketplace, and I will continue to do so for their own, and the client's good. There are a lot of people spreading a lot of horse crap these days, buyer beware.

    And if you're a noob, trying to sell marketing services to someone and don't even understand how to market your own services?

    Do everyone a favor and keep studying until this very fundamental, anchor concept no longer confuses you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason_V
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      All good stuff indeed. But here's the thing I don't get.

      People want to go sell marketing services to clients, but then have no clue about how to go find a client. It really shouldn't even be a topic of discussion among true marketing professionals. Meaning, that it should be a given that a marketing person should understand how to USE THEIR SKILLS THAT THEY PROFESS TO HAVE TO FIND THEMSELVES A GDMFING CLIENT.

      There's something quite ironic and very wrong about this, and it's something that has bothered me since joining the WF.

      This isn't a reflection on the OP or his post at all. Just something that really bothers me about the WF and the whole idea that these starry-eyed people are armed with just enough information to be quite dangerous to their own financial health after a former client's attorney gets done with them in court (yes, I've argued with novices on here about the need for E&O insurance... they told me how they didn't need any).

      I've crushed dozens out in the marketplace, and I will continue to do so for their own, and the client's good. There are a lot of people spreading a lot of horse crap these days, buyer beware.

      And if you're a noob, trying to sell marketing services to someone and don't even understand how to market your own services?

      Do everyone a favor and keep studying until this very fundamental, anchor concept no longer confuses you.
      Michael,

      I just now saw your post.

      I understand where you're coming from.

      Thanks for being civil and not knocking me or the post directly. I always enjoy everything you say (to those of you no familiar with him, I highly suggest you check out some of Michael's posts, I have a lot of respect for him.)

      Michael there is a big disconnect between having knowledge and skills to help an offline client and knowing how to get clients.

      It seems to me your post is presuming that because someone doesn't have good selling or social skills they don't have proficient technical skills. I don't think that's a fair assumption to make.

      On the converse, that's like saying just because a business owner knows how to run a successful business (excellent customer service, efficient inventory tracking, clean store, good word of mouth, etc...) but isn't technically proficient enough to know how to market their business online, they're an incompetent business owner.

      This post was more for people who do have the technical skills to help a local business owner, but maybe not the social skills needed to have the courage to get out and talk to some business owners. Which isn't very far fetched. Not to stereotype, but I think this particular stereotype is borne out of reality; a lot of people who study IM or have good technical skills don't have good social skills (I'm not saying all, but I'm saying this is a very real possibility for some of the people reading this post.)

      Lacking social skills and fear of rejection from someone face to face could be preventing someone from going out and making a good living by selling SEO, web design, Google Map services, etc...

      This post was intended to help those who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to either do the services themselves or knows how/where to outsource them, but they don't necessarily know how to get their first client, or more importantly, how to get over their fear of presenting to a potential client. Overcoming their social and/or face to face "selling" fears.

      So, yes, as Michael said, make sure you at least have some technical knowledge on anything you'd be offering your potential client, or at least know where to outsource the services to.
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

        Michael,

        I just now saw your post.

        I understand where you're coming from.

        Thanks for being civil and not knocking me or the post directly. I always enjoy everything you say (to those of you no familiar with him, I highly suggest you check out some of Michael's posts, I have a lot of respect for him.)

        Michael there is a big disconnect between having knowledge and skills to help an offline client and knowing how to get clients.

        It seems to me your post is presuming that because someone doesn't have good selling or social skills they don't have proficient technical skills. I don't think that's a fair assumption to make.

        On the converse, that's like saying just because a business owner knows how to run a successful business (excellent customer service, efficient inventory tracking, clean store, good word of mouth, etc...) but isn't technically proficient enough to know how to market their business online, they're an incompetent business owner.

        This post was more for people who do have the technical skills to help a local business owner, but maybe not the social skills needed to have the courage to get out and talk to some business owners. Which isn't very far fetched. Not to stereotype, but I think this particular stereotype is borne out of reality; a lot of people who study IM or have good technical skills don't have good social skills (I'm not saying all, but I'm saying this is a very real possibility for some of the people reading this post.)

        Lacking social skills and fear of rejection from someone face to face could be preventing someone from going out and making a good living by selling SEO, web design, Google Map services, etc...

        This post was intended to help those who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to either do the services themselves or knows how/where to outsource them, but they don't necessarily know how to get their first client, or more importantly, how to get over their fear of presenting to a potential client. Overcoming their social and/or face to face "selling" fears.

        So, yes, as Michael said, make sure you at least have some technical knowledge on anything you'd be offering your potential client, or at least know where to outsource the services to.
        There's no reason for anyone to trash someone personally over an opinion. We all have unique filters that shade our perspectives of the same world. The man that knows everything is a small man indeed (I stole that from Maxwell Maltz).

        I guess that I still somewhat disagree with you on some basic points. I think I realize where you're coming from -- you're referring to "technical skills" in the strict, traditional sense of the term "technical" meaning... SEO/Website/Search Marketing/Email Marketing/etc... So, the rest of my discussion here is based on this assumption until you tell me otherwise.

        That being said, if someone is proficient in the technical aspect of all these tools, but still lacks the practical application expertise to implement them within the context of their own business to "get a customer", then how can any prospective client have any confidence that the person actually understands the context within which those tools operate on a more abstract, strategic view as it relates to the growth of a business?

        (damn that was a long sentence)

        In "offline" marketing, we have to understand the person's business to know how/why to implemet each of the tools in context. An offline marketing consultant is more like a building contractor, who then brings in subs for the specialized knowledge on the technical basis. The GC understands the bigger picture, and can manage the project with a wider view of the intent of the developer. The plumber doesn't care, just show them where to hook up the crapper.

        For example, why is it probably not a great application of internet marketing tactics for a funeral home to use Twitter to do a "real time" playbook of what's happening today at the parlor?

        "Aunt Nellie just patted Uncle Jester's hand and said that she thought he looked so good. Check out the pic on http://bit.ly/rucrazy " <--- (holy crap, i clicked on this intentional bogus link to learn something new tonight about bit.ly... see if you can figure out what I figured out )

        When someone is paying you to help grow their business, they're looking for a GC, not a plumber. If you're good at being a GC, then you understand this, and why it's not advantageous to do the plumbing work. If you're a plumber, then you shouldn't pretend to be a GC under the auspices of creating plumbing work for yourself - you have a conflict of interest, and probably do not understand the rest of the issues to be able to make a good judgement on behalf of your client regarding the entire, wider view of the project.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sacha Sargoni
    Well MichaelHiles, its because this is a marketing forum and there is money being made selling how to's. There i said it.

    Not long ago there was a huge thread about offline/business consulting, everything one could possibly want to know about starting up in business was all laid out.

    That one thread spawned a myriad of forums and products, which are basically just rehashing what was in the thread.

    I guess people just like talking about and buying stuff, instead of just doing it.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
      Originally Posted by Sacha Sargoni View Post

      Well MichaelHiles, its because this is a marketing forum and there is money being made selling how to's. There i said it.

      Not long ago there was a huge thread about offline/business consulting, everything one could possibly want to know about starting up in business was all laid out.

      That one thread spawned a myriad of forums and products, which are basically just rehashing what was in the thread.

      I guess people just like talking about and buying stuff, instead of just doing it.
      Yes, and I participated in that thread until it became obvious that it was an overt effort to try and cull a new client base for those who want to arm a bunch of folks with a little bit of info in exchange for selling them more information... further exacerbating the problem in the marketplace.

      Business marketing consulting isn't something that a person can package up and sell like a WSO on putting an autoresponder together. It's not the kind of thing that lends itself to a technical "how-to" manual. In fact, much of the stuff available is designed to play on a tactical level, technical person's desire to move into that market, but ill equips them in doing so.

      You can't just waltz into a million dollar business and fake it till you make it. You also create a phenomenal liability for yourself when you go engaging in the "advice giving" business. Many months ago, I had some wannabes actually debate my statement that you need Errors and Ommissions insurance before you even think about such consulting. People were like "WTF... whuts that..."

      ummm... yeah... good luck with that buddy

      Sure, people can become successful at anything if they set their mind to it. But you don't get a medical degree at adult vocational training school over the summer, and you don't become an offline marketing consultant after reading a WSO and running down the street banging on doors. It just doesn't work that way... I don't care how convincing that guy is selling you the coaching program and a chest full of dreams.
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  • Profile picture of the author fred67
    Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

    Warriors,

    The answer is to start with people you already do business with. I realize that you may think this is a very simple concept. However, I haven't really seen it mentioned. Most important, it will work.

    For example, my first client was my car insurance agent. I scheduled an appointment with her, and I talked about what I could do for her. We scheduled a follow up appointment and after that meeting I got a check.

    Believe me, when you get your first check things get a lot easier.

    Jason
    I really like this post, just one thing though about approaching people you already do business with ..... Don't you find that all they seem to want to do is talk about everything 'BUT' the subject 'You' want to talk about?? (Like the good ol days etc)

    Perhaps I'm just too polite to to stop them in their tracks :-)

    Do you have a successful strategy here?

    Pete
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    • Profile picture of the author expertname
      Originally Posted by fred67 View Post

      Don't you find that all they seem to want to do is talk about everything 'BUT' the subject 'You' want to talk about?? (Like the good ol days etc) ...
      ... Do you have a successful strategy here?
      Yes, I do - Let Them Talk.

      Sorry if a two month old thread is too old to bring back, but, this is a good one.

      You are talking about a Consultative Sale, and the only way your advice has any value is you must learn the client's business. So let them talk; at the first meeting, the second, the third, etc. Ask questions, go away and learn more about topics they brought up that you have no understanding. Then go back and ask more questions, and Let Them Talk.

      Ignore the passing of time while you are sitting there listening, and really focus on what they are saying. Take notes. This is time well spent, usually nothing compared to the amount of time most spend watching movies, TV and IM pitches.

      I also second MichaelHiles recommendation about the E&O insurance. Go meet with a Business Insurance agent, explain your business plan, ask them about E&O insurance, and Let Them Talk...
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    Marketing offline can be difficult, I started in April 2008 building MySpace Pages for Bars and Restaurants and doing Google Adwords for them. Then the whole Social Media Boom in 2009 took off as well as blogging, video and article writing for retail businesses got popular.

    I started going to business mixers like the Chamber and breakfast meetings like Business Networking and Business Referrals by LeTip International, Inc. and BNI International - Business Networking and Referrals I quickly realized that I knew more than pretty much any other Internet Marketer at the events. I built up my own Social Media Folllowing to over 75,000 Facebook/Twitter combined and now I can just pick and chose my clients and I don't work for less than $1,500 per month, per client. It is still a very untapped market. You just need to be skilled at all aspects of Internet Marketing, from Adwords, Social Media, List Building, Email Campaigns, Blogging, Video/Article Marketing, Forums, Directories and even some SEO to be able to properly compete.
    Good luck my friends and PM me any questions if you would like to know more.
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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    The best kind is direct response marketing.

    Where they came to you theultimate1 for report, info, consultation, seminar, etc... They raised their hand and said yes I want x and then you can start your process from there.

    Make sure your offer is valuable to the target person(market) you want and this will definitely make your time, bank account, and results improved.

    why should they choose you over someone else and what can you bring to the table?
    Those questions can determine a lot about your results.
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