A few lessons I learned for offliners...

23 replies
Hey everyone,

Yesterday I've met with a client looking to build a website and some SEO. I've learned a few lessons that I would like to share with you and hopefully someone will find this helpful.

During the past year, I've been doing the rent a site model with some moderate success. You may want to read the thread I posted a few months back http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...4-clients.html

Lesson 1 - Place an Ad on your rent-a-site.

So let me tell you how I met this client in the first place.

This if for people who are using the rent a site model. I had a website that I was having difficulty renting out. The site targets a certain profession. It was on the first on Google and gets regular traffic! I was going to drop it completely with the "you can't win them all" mentality but decided to put a notice on the main page of the site. The notice read:

Attention to all *************

This website occupies the number one spot on Google for ********* and other related terms. It gets daily traffic for people looking for *********** in the ***** and surrounding area. If you are interested in this site please call ************.

A few months later I got a call from a person who was interested in a similar site but for a neighboring city We scheduled a meeting and was able to get him on board.

So if you're doing the rent a site model and have exhausted your options, you may want to try a similar approach and hopefully you can get someone to bite.

Lesson 2 - Business owners know other business owners... go figure

I came out with another benefit from the meeting that I would like to share with you. During my meeting with this potential client I asked if he knew anyone who would like to take over my original site. He happened to know a guy and during our meeting he called the guy and told him about my original site and gave me his phone number so I can call him.

So not only did I get his business and will be creating a site and SEO for him, but I also got a referral for my original site... we will see how that goes.

Lesson 3 - Be professional and have something concrete to show to a potential client

I might get told off for this and I understand that this is my own shortcoming! Let me explain. I've been an offline marketer for the past year or so and guess what... I don't have a website to market my services nor do I have any pamphlets or sheets to show to a client!!! I meet clients with just my computer and explain that I'm a freelancer. I have a few websites under my belt to show them proof that in fact I can do the job for them but that's it.

Yesterday when I met this client, he made a statement that blinded sided me and got me thinking. Here is what he said... "I know you're just starting out and looking for clients....". I was like WHAT???!!!! I have numerous clients and I know how to handle myself during meetings so why would this guy think I'm just starting out???

After the meeting I thought about it for a bit here is what I came up with. I show up to the meeting with nothing but a laptop. No business packages, business cards, pricing packages etc. I just show up and talk!!! Although I act professional during our meeting, I don't have anything to show the client or that explains what services I offer and what my prices are. I guess you can say I just wing it!

This also makes it very awkward when it came to talk prices cause it seemed like I'm throwing numbers from my a**!! If I had a pricing sheet I can show him it would've been way simpler to say "Here's a pamphlet that explains my services a bit more ...". I also think that once prices are on paper, they are harder to negotiate and will end up increasing my bottom line.

Anyways, I hope someone will learn from this post and please feel free to post your comments, suggestions and recommendations

Peter
#learned #lessons #offliners
  • Profile picture of the author MichaelAppleton
    Some really good information Peter. I agree on the whole pricing sheets, sitting infront of a client and working out pricing comes across as unprofessional, we live and learn.

    Again, great post and thanks for the information
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    I've been selling marketing consulting for 20 years and I don't take a laptop or a brochure.

    In fact, the last $100,000 consulting engagement I sold about 6 weeks ago was over some lunch where I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper with a pencil.

    See, business owners can spot rookies. Presentations are for employees. Business owners buy based on strategic thinking.

    I can spot your rookie status in your language in your first post.

    Wanna know how?

    At no time do you translate everything that you're doing, everything that you're selling into a direct business benefit from the client's perspective.

    You're a technical person who can get a site to the top of Google, but you're not a marketing person who understands business-to-business selling.

    Don't take offense to my statements. Learn from them. They're not intended to cut you down, but to teach you.
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    • Profile picture of the author hommi_16
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      I've been selling marketing consulting for 20 years and I don't take a laptop or a brochure.

      In fact, the last $100,000 consulting engagement I sold about 6 weeks ago was over some lunch where I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper with a pencil.

      See, business owners can spot rookies. Presentations are for employees. Business owners buy based on strategic thinking.

      I can spot your rookie status in your language in your first post.

      Wanna know how?

      At no time do you translate everything that you're doing, everything that you're selling into a direct business benefit from the client's perspective.

      You're a technical person who can get a site to the top of Google, but you're not a marketing person who understands business-to-business selling.

      Don't take offense to my statements. Learn from them. They're not intended to cut you down, but to teach you.
      Hey Micheal,

      Thanks for the rather "harsh" advice!

      Care to elaborate on "At no time do you translate everything that you're doing, everything that you're selling into a direct business benefit from the client's perspective." as I don't seem to understand it fully? How do you go about your meetings?

      Also, judging my many of your posts it seems like you're in a completely different league than myself (and probably most people here).

      In terms of benefits, I do explain them to the business owners during our meetings. I try my best not to talk rankings and SEO but rather results.
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      • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
        Originally Posted by hommi_16 View Post

        Hey Micheal,

        Thanks for the rather "harsh" advice!

        Care to elaborate on "At no time do you translate everything that you're doing, everything that you're selling into a direct business benefit from the client's perspective." as I don't seem to understand it fully? How do you go about your meetings?

        Also, judging my many of your posts it seems like you're in a completely different league than myself (and probably most people here).

        In terms of benefits, I do explain them to the business owners during our meetings. I try my best not to talk rankings and SEO but rather results.
        "Mr. Business owner, do you know how much you roughly spend to generate a single lead for your business??

        That's great. And how do you currently spend that money? Traditional advertising? Trade journals?

        What if I could show you a way to reduce your cost of customer acquisition? By doing so, it will instantly make your business more profitable without actually increasing your sales at all.

        Now what if I did both? What if I increased your profitability on the sales that you were doing and then increased your top line revenue as well?

        So your current marketing budget is X, right?..."



        Get my drift?

        At no time did I actually talk about websites, SEO, etc...

        How I actually deliver the result is pretty much irrelevant at that point in the discussion. I spoke in the language of the business owner in terms that means something to him on an everyday basis.
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        • Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

          "Mr. Business owner, do you know how much you roughly spend to generate a single lead for your business??

          That's great. And how do you currently spend that money? Traditional advertising? Trade journals?

          What if I could show you a way to reduce your cost of customer acquisition? By doing so, it will instantly make your business more profitable without actually increasing your sales at all.

          Now what if I did both? What if I increased your profitability on the sales that you were doing and then increased your top line revenue as well?

          So your current marketing budget is X, right?..."



          Get my drift?

          At no time did I actually talk about websites, SEO, etc...

          How I actually deliver the result is pretty much irrelevant at that point in the discussion. I spoke in the language of the business owner in terms that means something to him on an everyday basis.
          Michael,

          The last few sentances of your post is what I think a lot of Offline Consultance or Service Providers fail to understand.

          It isn't realy about the service that you provide, it's about what that service will do for the client. If you can get them to see the benefit or results of what you will do for them, they won't even care what it is you are actually going to do at all.

          A lot of people get it backwords. They approach the client with "I can provide this service for you and here is what it does" rather than "How would you like to get _____ benefit?(More Traffic, More Sales, Ad Savings, Increased Profits,etc) Get them sold on the benefit that you already know they want First, then tell them you can do it for them by doing _____.

          This way you are a Consultant who then Provides a Service, not a Service Provider "selling them" on why they need your service.
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by MichaelHiles View Post

      I've been selling marketing consulting for 20 years and I don't take a laptop or a brochure.

      In fact, the last $100,000 consulting engagement I sold about 6 weeks ago was over some lunch where I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper with a pencil.

      See, business owners can spot rookies. Presentations are for employees. Business owners buy based on strategic thinking.

      I can spot your rookie status in your language in your first post.

      Wanna know how?

      At no time do you translate everything that you're doing, everything that you're selling into a direct business benefit from the client's perspective.

      You're a technical person who can get a site to the top of Google, but you're not a marketing person who understands business-to-business selling.

      Don't take offense to my statements. Learn from them. They're not intended to cut you down, but to teach you.
      Michael: Great post... Now I am going to have to go digging through all of your posts to find those other gems that you could teach me...
      Signature
      Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
      Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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  • Profile picture of the author FleeceHEAD
    My day job is in B2B sales and when you walk into a business they want the dog and pony show. They want brochures, price sheets, business cards, a website they can check out while talking to you, etc. Especially if you are selling them a website, and you don't have one yourself?

    Say you wanted to buy a car. And the salesman said "Well I don't have the car here on the lot, but you can buy it now and we'll deliver it to you".. Would you go for it? From your story that's how I see it, and I would not take that salesman up on the deal.

    The fun of B2B is that you live and learn. Advance your game. Get some cheap deliverables made up on VistaPrint or your local Staples so at least you come in armed with the usual schwag. Get a box of pens made up too, and accidentally leave them behind after each meeting.
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    Hello <name>, welcome to my horrible marketing email.

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    • Profile picture of the author RichardHK
      Originally Posted by rottenpuppets View Post

      My day job is in B2B sales and when you walk into a business they want the dog and pony show. They want brochures, price sheets, business cards, a website they can check out while talking to you, etc. Especially if you are selling them a website, and you don't have one yourself? ... ...
      Aren't you talking to the wrong people here. Get further up the line to the decision maker and don't waste your time. These presentation gymnastics and pricelists are the stuff that HR, accounts, and similar mess around with. Don't play their games. Bypass them. They do not know any better, but you should.
      Signature

      Richard, Hong Kong
      Business Consulting

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  • Profile picture of the author JeffLam
    Peter,

    Thanks for your lessons. I found them insightful and it is always great to learn or gain an insight into other people's experiences!

    And Michael,

    I sorta get what you mean a little and am also interested to see you perhaps elaborate more on what you are trying to get at..
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    >> Interested? Click to find out more.. <<
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  • Profile picture of the author BobV
    Well done..

    There is always a blessing behind everything.. You will just have to give way to it to get in.. Opportunity comes when you least expect it and it is more satisfying in that way..

    Putting a shout out over your site bluntly sets a certain feeling of urgency and want for readers and you got yourself a catch in there...

    Keep doing great!



    Best regards,
    Bob
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    "It is one thing to study war and another thing
    to live the warrior’s life"
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Hi,

    I'd echo Michael's sentiments.

    Some of my clients don't understand some things we take for granted.

    Simple things like search positions for different keyword phrases.

    As soon as you start getting technical - you start losing the sale.

    As soon as you mention Google you go into the "it's another one of those" labels in their mind.

    The best thing you can do to get new offline businesses as clients is focus on their business and the value you can add.

    This also has the added side-effect of meaning you can price your services based on their value rather than their cost.

    Only small businesses will buy based primarily on price. If you want big customers then posting your prices up might be detrimental and at best mean you get to make less than they would've happily paid.

    Andy
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    nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author hommi_16
    You guys bring some very good points. The next time I have a meeting I will focus more on the benefits to them.

    This would actually be not too hard (I think!!) cause with the rent a site a model I already have the results via the e-mail inquires so I will focus more on the benefits of owning the site rather than the rank on Google.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gemini9
      Very useful tips, thanks. I especially like lesson 2 - the value of referrals.
      Signature
      I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
      'Invictus' - William Ernest Henley
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by hommi_16 View Post

      You guys bring some very good points. The next time I have a meeting I will focus more on the benefits to them.

      This would actually be not too hard (I think!!) cause with the rent a site a model I already have the results via the e-mail inquires so I will focus more on the benefits of owning the site rather than the rank on Google.
      The funny thing about the rent-a-site model is that as soon as someone takes rent on the site or buys the site outright, they are going to want to change things around....

      They are going to want to change things around, so that the site focuses on THEIR business...

      As soon as they start tinkering with what you have built, they risk losing all of the value they purchased from you...
      Signature
      Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
      Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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      • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
        It's not their site, it's yours. They're not paying for a site and you shouldn't be selling a site. You are selling business leads... that's where the value is. The site is just a means to that end. If they don't understand how it works, send 'em packing and go to their competitor.

        This is like real estate and YOU are building value. You wouldn't let a tenant in your apartment rental tear out walls, would you?

        Originally Posted by tpw View Post

        The funny thing about the rent-a-site model is that as soon as someone takes rent on the site or buys the site outright, they are going to want to change things around....

        They are going to want to change things around, so that the site focuses on THEIR business...

        As soon as they start tinkering with what you have built, they risk losing all of the value they purchased from you...
        Signature

        grrr...

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  • Profile picture of the author hometutor
    You know, having sat in on ad meetings for the small business for which I worked, I know 90% of these sheets get filed or pitched and hardly ever looked at again, but there's still that 10% or even 1% that keeps them.

    I also realize it's probably more professional looking to have them. Last website design I sold was to a computer lesson client's husband thus they already knew me, but your right, I even used their computer to show them some websites lol.

    Guess I'd better get me a price sheet and maybe some color copies of my websites as well

    Rick
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  • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
    How did it go Hommi? Did you change your approach? How did it work out for you?
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    grrr...

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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Voss
    The point about the guy calling the lead while you sat there with him is SO powerful.

    Absolute perfection! Congrats.

    Was this his idea or was it at your suggestion?

    -Scott Voss

    Originally Posted by hommi_16 View Post

    Lesson 2 - Business owners know other business owners... go figure

    I came out with another benefit from the meeting that I would like to share with you. During my meeting with this potential client I asked if he knew anyone who would like to take over my original site. He happened to know a guy and during our meeting he called the guy and told him about my original site and gave me his phone number so I can call him.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I like this post, because you mention that you dont carry paperwork, biz cards... no big parade, and I think it shows people that there truly is no excuse for not starting... even if you dont have a single other client or a website to show for yourself...'

    But I would add this... how much more would you do if now you added those things...?

    Great Post. Bravo. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author ebizerati
    It has been proven over and over by many different members on this and other forums, that if you show the business owner how they are going to benefit from your services. Instead of trying to get them to see the technical details of how you are going to help them. Then there is a much better chance of closing the deal.

    Business owners want to know you are going to get results for them, that is where the rubber meets the road.

    If you go into the meeting with the attitude that you can truly help your prospective client and you are confident in your abilities to deliver. Then it will give the prospect confidence in you and your services.

    Your confident mindset and how you are going to benefit the business owner is what will close deals.

    Dale
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  • Originally Posted by hommi_16 View Post

    Hey everyone,

    Yesterday I've met with a client looking to build a website and some SEO. I've learned a few lessons that I would like to share with you and hopefully someone will find this helpful.

    During the past year, I've been doing the rent a site model with some moderate success. You may want to read the thread I posted a few months back http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...4-clients.html

    Lesson 1 - Place an Ad on your rent-a-site.

    So let me tell you how I met this client in the first place.

    This if for people who are using the rent a site model. I had a website that I was having difficulty renting out. The site targets a certain profession. It was on the first on Google and gets regular traffic! I was going to drop it completely with the "you can't win them all" mentality but decided to put a notice on the main page of the site. The notice read:

    Attention to all *************

    This website occupies the number one spot on Google for ********* and other related terms. It gets daily traffic for people looking for *********** in the ***** and surrounding area. If you are interested in this site please call ************.

    A few months later I got a call from a person who was interested in a similar site but for a neighboring city We scheduled a meeting and was able to get him on board.

    So if you're doing the rent a site model and have exhausted your options, you may want to try a similar approach and hopefully you can get someone to bite.

    Lesson 2 - Business owners know other business owners... go figure

    I came out with another benefit from the meeting that I would like to share with you. During my meeting with this potential client I asked if he knew anyone who would like to take over my original site. He happened to know a guy and during our meeting he called the guy and told him about my original site and gave me his phone number so I can call him.

    So not only did I get his business and will be creating a site and SEO for him, but I also got a referral for my original site... we will see how that goes.

    Lesson 3 - Be professional and have something concrete to show to a potential client

    I might get told off for this and I understand that this is my own shortcoming! Let me explain. I've been an offline marketer for the past year or so and guess what... I don't have a website to market my services nor do I have any pamphlets or sheets to show to a client!!! I meet clients with just my computer and explain that I'm a freelancer. I have a few websites under my belt to show them proof that in fact I can do the job for them but that's it.

    Yesterday when I met this client, he made a statement that blinded sided me and got me thinking. Here is what he said... "I know you're just starting out and looking for clients....". I was like WHAT???!!!! I have numerous clients and I know how to handle myself during meetings so why would this guy think I'm just starting out???

    After the meeting I thought about it for a bit here is what I came up with. I show up to the meeting with nothing but a laptop. No business packages, business cards, pricing packages etc. I just show up and talk!!! Although I act professional during our meeting, I don't have anything to show the client or that explains what services I offer and what my prices are. I guess you can say I just wing it!

    This also makes it very awkward when it came to talk prices cause it seemed like I'm throwing numbers from my a**!! If I had a pricing sheet I can show him it would've been way simpler to say "Here's a pamphlet that explains my services a bit more ...". I also think that once prices are on paper, they are harder to negotiate and will end up increasing my bottom line.

    Anyways, I hope someone will learn from this post and please feel free to post your comments, suggestions and recommendations

    Peter

    Peter,

    I disagree on bringing a price sheet to show the prospect. That can cause more problems, simply because many of these issues are coming from a combination of low confidence and a conciously manipulative prospect.

    I have no fixed pricing. Everything is bespoke. And I force prospects to qualify themselves.

    I can also spot a difficult prospect / penny pincher a mile away, and I've seen all the tricks before...

    Whilst this might not be right in your case, many business people will try and force that on you to knock you off balance, so they can get a lower price.

    I've had a few prospects try that with me. They use at as lead in for getting a 'special deal'.

    It's quite nice to wipe the grin off their face a little later by showing them a few of our bigger case studies.

    Then follow that up with 'I'm afraid your business is too small for us to take on'

    Petty, but its made me happy on occasion.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      My attitude is "this is my price, this is my offer, if you dont want it, cya."

      Desperation can be sensed by prospects so I always go in like "Look I dont care if you want to save our business or not thats up to you... Here's how I can help you, if you want it great."


      Originally Posted by Steve Peters Benn View Post

      Peter,

      I disagree on bringing a price sheet to show the prospect. That can cause more problems, simply because many of these issues are coming from a combination of low confidence and a conciously manipulative prospect.

      I have no fixed pricing. Everything is bespoke. And I force prospects to qualify themselves.

      I can also spot a difficult prospect / penny pincher a mile away, and I've seen all the tricks before...

      Whilst this might not be right in your case, many business people will try and force that on you to knock you off balance, so they can get a lower price.

      I've had a few prospects try that with me. They use at as lead in for getting a 'special deal'.

      It's quite nice to wipe the grin off their face a little later by showing them a few of our bigger case studies.

      Then follow that up with 'I'm afraid your business is too small for us to take on'

      Petty, but its made me happy on occasion.
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      • Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

        My attitude is "this is my price, this is my offer, if you dont want it, cya."

        Desperation can be sensed by prospects so I always go in like "Look I dont care if you want to save our business or not thats up to you... Here's how I can help you, if you want it great."
        Totally agree. I charge what the package is worth to the prospect.

        And you are right about them sensing desperation. Some even pray (read prey) for it to be there...
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