I'm Going Offline Now... Have any advice?

33 replies
Due to word of mouth through family and friends, I've taken on a few indirect clients for offline businesses that want to establish an online presence (good idea!) It's great that I didn't even have to go out to find these people who will be paying me to do, what for me, is simple work so I'm trying to embrace the opportunity .

That being said, do you have any good tips for me or words of advice? Anything I should avoid or watch out for as the offline consulting/marketing grows (assuming it does).

Thanks in advance!
#advice #offline
  • Profile picture of the author enrikole
    I used to ran an offline consultancy.

    Feel free to hit me up on AIM : enrikole and I am more then happy to give you some tips
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  • Profile picture of the author Winlin
    Originally Posted by Andrew Maule View Post

    Due to word of mouth through family and friends, I've taken on a few indirect clients for offline businesses that want to establish an online presence (good idea!) It's great that I didn't even have to go out to find these people who will be paying me to do, what for me, is simple work so I'm trying to embrace the opportunity .

    That being said, do you have any good tips for me or words of advice? Anything I should avoid or watch out for as the offline consulting/marketing grows (assuming it does).

    Thanks in advance!
    1)Remember you are the expert
    2)Get them to be real with you
    3)Communicate as much as needed as little as possible
    4)Agree up front on both sides "Expectations"
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Don't try to be all things to everybody. You'll get eaten up in nickel & diming. Create a set package tier of services and try to stick to the menu board.
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  • Bring people in their doors or get their phones ringing.

    Better yet, help them streamline some aspect of their business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    #1 - Help your clients.

    That should be your prime focus - from your prospecting through your sales meetings to the performance of the work.

    If you help your clients get what they want (sales, customers, leads, etc.), you'll have enough referrals that you won't have to do much prospecting before long.

    Finally, if you're really interested and focused on helping your client, the pay will come.

    Welcome to the offline world!
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        # 1: When you talk to a business owner ask a lot of questions and genuinely listen.

        You want to find out where they're making most of their profits from, where there business is coming from now, what marketing and advertising methods are working, if they're following up with customers etc etc.

        The more information you gather the better.

        # 2: It doesn't matter what service you provide.

        Starting out by customizing solutions based around the information you gather and the skills you already have is usually the easiest way to get started when you work with businesses.

        # 3: Focus on creating real sales and profits for the businesses you work with.

        That will get you hired over and over for project after project (or paid your recurring fees) and it will get you a pile of high quality referrals too.

        The more profits you make a business the more you can charge.

        # 4: Charge upfront before you start doing any work.

        The usual fee for a project is 50% upfront and 50% on completion.

        In many cases you may also have some kind of monthly fee for maintenance or other minor work you do on a regular basis.

        You should charge enough upfront that if you never get paid another cent you're happy doing the work (or getting it outsourced) for that upfront fee.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
    Mentally put together a system.....and steer people down that system that you can wash rinse and repeat. Its kind of like knowing a certain type of dance where you know the 10-15 moves ahead......eventually it becomes second nature and alot of fun.

    P.S. Be confident, and don't be afraid to lose a deal. You need to come to a point in your consulting career to be "aloof" where if you get the deal or not. Business owners need to be perceived that your in demand and have many clients !

    Success to you,

    Chris Negro

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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    If you're just getting in to offline consulting, print out Andrew's post and keep it on your desk.

    In a nutshell, it spells out exactly how to run a very profitable consulting business.
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  • Originally Posted by precious007 View Post

    Come up with something new...

    The offline world is way overly saturated and you'll get eaten up fast if you don't have enough ambition.

    I used to have 3 general shops (small ones), they were profitable for the first 3 years and suddenly they didn't bring any profits anymore, the main reason was "The Competition" .. I couldn't do anything about it at that time...

    First time I have heard that opinion expresed on the issue.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nic Lynn
    Know what you are really selling an offline business. If you directly pitch SEO, database marketing, etc, you may get off to a slow start. However if you are selling "more customers" and "more revenue" for the prospect, then you will likely close way more deals. Also, listen way more than you talk!
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    70% of off-line consulting should have zero to do with on-line. What is the use of creating more traffic if the current customer base is not being used properly to maximize the income all ready there for the taking?

    You can increase a businesses income 20-40% before you even increase traffic! What is the use of feeding them more clients they don't know how to maximize? All you do is make things worse.

    With that said, I have 2 clients that one recently emailed me and he says because of me he did not have to lay 2 guys off that have families. Instead they are getting overtime. Another I decided to fire (over a misunderstanding). He called, apologized and told me business was DOUBLE. All of it directly from what I had done. (his is a little different in that getting him to maximize his current customer base and fix a few other off-line problems he is being stubborn about, most of that increase was from on-line work... much to my disappointment, should have been triple. His business is somewhat unique in that more customers, though poorly utilized could still bring a profit because his margin is high and the average sale is $6k.)

    Most off-line gold people that I have run into don't seem to get it. I have seen contracts to get a business on page one for 25 keywords in google, not one of which was a 'commercial' keyword. Many just get the cash and run. One contract was nothing but adding meta keywords to a site the business already had. That was it! Almost 10k for something that may help with smaller SEs, but is next to useless in regards to the largest one. (A$$H0les)

    Don't sell commodities, anyone can undercut you. sell results. Over deliver and set it up with an upfront cost and a monthly fee. If you over deliver and develop a relationship and actually help the business, he will continue to pay that monthly fee for a long time after his 'contract' is over. Do it right and you can make huge money and help turn his busines around at the same time. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing some guy is able to take his 8 & 10 year old girls to Disneyland instead of him being in the unemployment line because of you AND get a nice check for doing so.

    Most small business owners are good at what they do, but have no idea how to market off-line even. If you confine your activities to on-line, you are just jamming the business with more clients for them to mis-handle. Either do it all, or don't do it. Do 30% of it and you might be the one responsible for closing the doors instead of increasing their net.

    Sorry for the rant, just so many seem to just be interested in themselves and a mom & pop business owner has no idea who is any good so they are at the mercy of whom ever puts on the best sales presentation, which many times is not the best fit for their situation.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
    Become the local trusted advisor. Listen a LOT to the clients and work out with them how you can help them move forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
    Hi Andrew,

    There is a lot of money in the offline world. People look to resources like us that have made income online as authority figures due to the fact that we "Cracked" the online world.

    As such your skills will be perceived as more specialized and thus worth more. With your excellent writing skills I would recommend taking the offline world and increase their online presence. Most offline businesses have no idea about SEO or even basic Internet Marketing.

    I actually started out as a business consultant for a lot of large corporations that needed a solid online presence and you will be shocked how little even their marketing departments know. A lot have the Madison Avenue Syndrome and have no clue about sales or conversions.

    If you bring your skill set to them with that in mind you can certainly command a lot of instant respect and sales.

    One very solid piece of advice I would offer is put yourself as a limited resource. In other words, let them know your time is a premium and that to secure you as a business resource they need to put you on a retainer. This way, once they know you are an asset, they will want to make sure they can call on you and a retainer is a great boost to your finances and forces them to mentally and financially commit to you and will listen with a much more open ear to your advice.

    All the best

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  • Profile picture of the author buyitbelow
    If you are going offline, and people are interested in your skills, I don't think you leverage your time money more effectively than joining a network marketing company. Do your research and find one that has a product you believe in. When you can apply your IM skills to Network Marketing, you gain a huge advantage.
    Pyxism Travel- Turn a $349 Out Of Pocket Startup Into A Realistic 6 Figure Income

    The Breakthrough Solution For Acne
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Don't talk or treat "clients" as "clients" but instead as friends.

    Talk to them like you would talk to a close friend, because that is what will truly make you a trusted advisor.

    You are building a RELATIONSHIP with them, don't treat them as just another bank account to pay your bills, they need REAL help from someone who has their BEST INTEREST at heart...

    If you know there's a solution that 5x more expensive, but would get 1/2 the results, don't suggest it just because they would pay it...if anything let them know how they CAN get better results at less expense...

    This is what will WOW them, this is what will make them follow ANY instruction you give them, because at the end of the day they know they can TRUST you.


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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    And do check out Dexx's forum (that he is not allowed to promote). You will find the good, the bad and the ugly, but as with anywhere, that is for you to discern.

    Remember, off-line marketing and plugging a businesses profit leaks can justify a huge check even if you do nothing on-line. And jamming a business with traffic they cannot handle isn't doing them any favors.
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  • One question regarding offline marketing guys: how do you track conversions? I mean how do you track how many new customers your online efforts are bringing in? at the end of the day, there's no Thank You page in offline business.
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    The clients I deal with tell me the truth. Even when they really don't want to. When half thier business says they came in because of... and it was something online I did, when a client that had a $900 LTV (over 3 visits) spends more than that in a single visit (due to me teaching the crew to up-sell/down sell and cross sell)... and that is NOT an isolated incident. When the business owner attributes his increase to what I do, THAT is the best tracking. Of course when ever possible, phone numbers used only on-line help, but you must be careful of those services. If the number they give you only works locally, someone outside the local area is up the creek.

    I was given a number to use on line. It was only good with-in 500 miles or so. I managed to get a local paper to do a story on the client. Instead of using the number I gave him, the reporter used the on-line tracking number. The paper was used to cushion a part for something sent to the UK. I used WP on his site and missed disabling comments on a page. The person that found that story left a message when he was unable to call, so I was able to get someone to call him. He ended up flying 15 hours to see my client. So you never know.

    I am sure there are other ways, I just haven't had to look into them yet as in every case so far, it has been obvious to the business owner why he was making more money. As I am results orientated, his success and refusal to not pay me mean a lot. (in fact I quoted one business a price and the check they sent me was 5 times my quote. When I asked if they were paying ahead, I was told "No", my services were worth that much -and more- to them).

    If you do it right, the money you can make ethically is almost unlimited.
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    • Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

      The clients I deal with tell me the truth. Even when they really don't want to.
      Hmmm maybe that's the case, but can you really trust their word if you've reached a commission-per-sale agreement?
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  • Profile picture of the author shabit87
    I'd say know what your client is needing. Ask the why specifically are they moving online. I think the answer will better help you serve them and their needs and create a web presence thats best for them.

    Best of luck! I'm sure it will grow if you keep all the tips in this thread in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    When you are charging 20K up front and 2-3K a month and they keep paying you AFTER the contract is up, you're doing something right.

    Don't do commission-per sales deals.
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    • Originally Posted by DogScout View Post

      Don't do commission-per sales deals.
      Would you mind explaining why you don't like commission per sales deals? I'd appreciate your input on this matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    I never do performance-based pricing.

    If you first establish the value of your services and then you deliver the results that you've discussed, there's no need for any pricing compromises.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Hey Andrew, Welcome to the club.

    1: IF it looks a 2 hour job... actually will take 4, cause offline customers ALWAYS have something to change... keep that in mind when talking to customers.

    2: Never sell yourself short. Period.

    3: Educate but don't teach.

    Do you have something rolling right now? Let us know how's it going!
    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author grafx77
    I'm not sure if you would like advice on working offline as a marketer or if you need information on where or how to get more work.

    Factors that you must firstly know about offline marketing relationships especially because in your case you may be dealing with friends is the informal nature of your relations. You must start out as a professional with clear agreements or contracts spelling out issues such as pay bases, rates, how to measure results and the like. You must learn to treat all your clients as you would in any formal relationship.

    There are many advantages in this kind of relationship chief of which is the likely introduction of more clients to you if you succeed. The reverse is much worse. Negative feedback among among friends will not only kill your business but probably your standing socially too.

    With online marketing, there are really no social bonds. You earn based on the decisions you make in terms of where you seek jobs, what to sell, how to promote- it all depends on you.

    The best thing about online marketing is that you can always have a job doing commission based sales. This is what I prefer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Manetzke
    I think that all of the advice above is awesome. I started an offline marketing business about a year ago and have done pretty well. I have 4 local clients that pay me between $250 and $500 a month. I still have a full time job as a teacher so I really don't get much time to work on it during the school year but I am happy where I'm at now but I am going to work very hard at it this summer. Since I am still pretty new at this I just have one piece of advice.

    Know when to walk away.

    At first I let my self be jerked around by a guy who didn't want to pay, but knew he needed an online presence but didn't want to pay for it. I was constantly running around meeting him and calling him, he would cancel meetings over and over, then when we did meet he would try to low ball me. This was my first month at this so I really wanted to land him as a client, because I did not have any yet. Finally I landed 2 other clients and told him take it or leave it, no more jerking me around. He said no and still doesn't have a website to this day. I spent to much time with this guy when I could have been focusing on getting other clients. Now if a potential client is not serious or tries to jerk me around, I just move on because there is plenty of fish in the sea.

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