I can't pinpoint the exact reason for the explosion of this whole "offline" thing. It could be the allure of the big checks ($10,000 uprfront and $997/month just waiting for you to snatch it up). It could also be the conception that online is too hard or too competitive, and offline is easier because it's supposedly untapped. Who knows? At this point, who cares? This whole offline craze is completely out of control, and many people, you included, are at risk.
Let's get a few things straight right now:
- Offering marketing services to local business owners isn't an untapped, hidden goldmine.
- Local business owners are constantly bombarded with pleas for their money under the guise of websites, marketing services, advertising, coaching and consulting. And this means...
- There is LOTS of competition, and unlike you, they're coming into this with valid working experience and existing relationships.
- Local business owners aren't as helpless as you've been made to believe. At least, not the ones you should be doing business with, because these are the business owners who will pay you according to the value you provide. The other ones? Forget about it.
- "Offline" is a real business, and what you do affects other real businesses. Think about it!
Now, there certainly are some valuable products that were created with the best of intentions. There certainly is a reason to be educating business owners on the validity and value of expanding their marketing beliefs and activities. But...
If You Can't Get a Client For Yourself, How Can You Ever Help a Well-Established Business Owner?
Sure, mindset is important in any endeavor, whether it's business or life. But, delusional self-belief is individually damaging at best, and at worst, you're contributing to sinking a business even further.
The fact of the matter is, you're still dealing with clients. Your clients need you to be accountable and effective, especially right now. Things aren't getting better for small businesses. Right now, small business owners are ravenous...they need money too!
Look at your own situation. If you're on the proverbial sinking ship, how can you ever claim to hold the keys to success for a small business that's already made money for much longer than you've been "involved in this niche?" This isn't a niche! This is life in the real world. This is real people with families, mortgages, goals and aspirations.
If you're one of the lucky ones with a client or two, I'm sure they'd be terrified to find out you're lurking Internet forums looking for advice on how to best serve their needs, after you've already collected deposits and signed contracts with them. It all sounds so easy...Do a little prospecting, send them to your free junk, wow them with a free consultation, and you're well on your way to six figures. Because, hey...these business owners are clueless, and you're not! Wow...just wow.
I've worked with business owners for years. I've had extremely happy clients and extremely disappointed clients. I've tested and I've tracked and I've monitored. But, the most important thing is, I've never been clueless.
I'm seeing so many products that claim to provide you an endless torrent of qualified leads. So many, in fact, you won't be able to handle them all! Fact is...you probably can't even handle a single one!
Let's call this exactly what it is...duping business owners out of their hard earned money.
Any business owner worth their salt (i.e. Business owners who can and will pay large retainers and monthly fees) is going to engage you for results. They don't want an exploration of possibilities and miscellaneous services stacked to impress. They want to keep more of the money they currently have, and make more of it by spending less.
Ready For a True Story?
Part of my business is speaking and training. I teach workshops and seminars. I just wrapped up a multi-part series, in fact, that revolves around Internet Marketing for small businesses. There's such a unique dynamic there that most people ignore, but that's better left for another conversation.
After the workshop wrapped up, one of the participants stuck around. He wanted answers. He opened up to me and revealed that my course was one of three in total that he has paid for, attended faithfully, and expected results from.
"This is the most value I've received in a long time, and I think you for that. But...I need some help," he said with a genuine dash of immediacy in his voice.
This individual is a Real Estate Broker (not an agent) who has been in operation for 25+ years now. His business is a consistent high six-figure earner. He's never done any of the "fancy pants marketing" that is being pushed these days. His websites are simple...really simple. But they get him results. He uses Adwords, and it's also created results.
Here's where the trouble comes. The leads he acquired through Adwords accounted for, by his estimations, 95% of his business over the last 24 months. I was shocked, and he was worried...really worried. He said he was looking into Social Media as a way to diversify his lead stream.
"I waited too long to take action on this, and I practically woke up in a cold sweat one night realizing my errors," he explained to me. "That's why I signed up for your workshop, and these other ones. And frankly, the other two were complete bull#*!%. I hate bull#*!%."
Guess what? After a little probing, I realized that these other two courses were being taught by individuals who had no credibility to teach them. By the way, my course was $1,299 for 10 hours of total training. Theirs were completely free.
Here's the kicker...they're people who jumped onto this "offline" bandwagon! How do I know? One of them uses a PLR product that I've seen being given away on this forum. The other? The copy on his website completely echoes the benefit statements and service offerings I see being pushed in certain threads. At prices I've seen being recommended all over the place.
He had another confession to make.
"I was so worried about my websites because they don't look like these newer ones. I was told that my technology would prevent me from showing up in the search engines. This other guy told me that he could get me more leads than I could handle with his Internet Marketing campaign, so I talked to him. After a couple meetings with him, I gotta admit...I was impressed. He showed me this map of all this stuff that could send me targeted traffic. So, I asked him some more specific questions. And suddenly, I started to realize he was full of sh&!. I could tell he knew nothing about how a real business works because he couldn't answer my questions, but only spout off what seemed like sound bites. Then, I really knew he was full of #^@! when I asked him how much, and his proposal was for $15,000 upfront and $1,997 a month. Obviously I didn't accept it. The price wasn't the issue, but his credibility was. So...what can you do for me?"
You see, my student has been in business for a quarter of a century. He operates a six-figure business. This is, in the real world, the only type of business that can and would afford to pay you big money for results...the type of money that these "offline" product creators tell you is completely achievable. The fact is, a six-figure business owner has seen it all. They're not clueless about marketing like you're being led to believe. They didn't stumble upon a successful and profitable business by chance.
So, How Do I Build a Profitable "Offline" Business?
If you'll notice, many of the products being offered tell you that you don't need to cold call, you don't have to speak publicly, and you don't even need to meet with the business owner if you don't want to. All I have to say to that is...baloney!
Communication is a basic and necessary business skill. There's a reason you discovered the "offline niche" in an Internet Marketing message board. You were likely averse to the idea of being out and about, making money the "traditional way."
Here's a cold, hard fact... Credibility is only established through relationships. Relationships are only established through communication. Good communication will make you money. Period, end of story, goodbye and good night.
If you haven't figured it out by now, you should be well on your way. Please, for the sake of all that is good with small business, don't sell them your marketing services if you're not capable of producing your own leads and clients. You're not in a position to help any business owner, let alone yourself. You're not credible, and at some point in time, your current or prospective clients will realize this. And, your business is gone.
My business pays me, and it pays me well. I have systems and processes in place that have only been developed through years of toil and discomfort. I have credibility because I took the time, effort, attention, and energy to develop it...over time...with care. Now, am I saying there's no way to shorten the cycle? No. You can, in fact, and you should. But don't jump into "offline" because you just picked up the latest product that promises to reveal all the secrets to you. You're just setting yourself up for a disappointing fall.
END OF RANT