What I can tell you about selling offline (and a thank you...)

18 replies
Hello,

I've been on here for a while now, and have mostly been the one asking questions and advice, for the many different ideas/schemes I've been involved in.

I've tried many things, online and offline, searching for what turns me on and is worthy of my time. It's been a long journey.

It leads me to today, where I am now selling leads and customers to small businesses, starting to go down the JV broker route to fulfil. There's a lot of hustling involved, and I'm not where I want to be, but I've come a long way, and I'm now well on my way.

My goal is to travel the world with my girlfriend, and work remotely, and I'm starting to get there. We'll be packing our bags in October and setting off, so the touch paper is well and truly lit. Exciting times.

The purpose of this post is to say thank you for the forum's existence, to all those who have helped me through the years, and to pass on some of things I've learned to those less experienced than me. I've asked a lot of questions on this forum, but not really given anything back, so I thought it was time to give back.

I don't profess to know the answers to anything, this is just some advice from someone who was ok at sales, and who is now pretty good. I'm not in the same league as others on this forum, but I'm shooting to be.

This isn't a pre-WSO announcement post either. Maybe one day it'll be financially viable for me to do that, but to be honest, with the money I'm starting to make doing what I'm doing, I doubt that would ever make sense for me.

I don't proclaim to be a guru or a pro at all, and I'd rate myself a solid 6.5/10 sales ability. So this post is also open to any feedback from those that know better, with any advice you think can push me further - the kind of advice I'm grateful for getting me this far.

So first of all, thanks a million to all those that answered my posts and offered your advice. I've taken it all on board in getting to where I am today. There are some talented folks on this forum, who genuinely seem to get a kick out of helping others, by passing on their wisdom. I stand on your shoulders.

Here's what I've learned...

Selling - The ONE Skill That If You Don't Have, You May As Well Leave This Game

If I had to pass on one thing to those who have been on this forum a while, and are still asking questions, it's this.

If you want to make money in this life - online or offline - you need to know how to be able to sell. This isn't even optional. You need to be able to talk to people and persuade them to put their hand in their pocket and pay you money. If you can't do this, you have no place on this forum. Sorry.

If you're into offline marketing, you need to know how to sell, and you need to know how to do it in person, over the phone, and in print. And if you can't sell, and you want to make money, you need to learn how to sell.

The most important factor in this whole thing is not your product, it's not your business model, it's not your pricing, or your tactics. It's your sales skill. THAT is the thing that will determine your altitude.

Do you think you can build a profitable business where everything is automated and Philippinos do all your selling and customer service, and you never have to speak to anyone? Think again.

If you think you can build an offline business without speaking to anyone, by just placing ads and sending emails, that's just glorified online marketing. And I'll tell you this. You need to be able to sell to do THAT too.

I realised my sales ability was preventing me from taking the next step, so I sought advice a few years ago. Someone on this forum - Aaron Doud (thanks man, bit of a car freak like me) - suggested I get a job as a car salesman. I did just that, and in that 10 months, I learnt more about selling than I ever did from ebooks and videos. It was like all the ebooks, seminars, videos, etc, came to life and finally make sense to me.

So my advice, if you're still asking the same small-time questions, like "what email copy to use", "what are your cold calling stats", "what do I sell", and not really getting anywhere? Get a proper sales job for a while, with a proper company, with proper training.

The car sales firm I worked for had a proper residential intensive training programme they put you in. They used a tried and tested sales process that they had you memorise and tested on.

I read car sales books, signed up for car sales email newsletters, spoke to experts, used cheat sheets, tried stuff. My sales ability improved dramatically, and when I went back to my business, I was a vastly improved salesman.

Get good at sales.

The More Tangible The Thing Is You Have To Sell, The Easier It Will Be To Sell

I'm in the lead generation/customer generation game, but I don't sell leads or customers. Nope. Instead, I have customers that need a home, and they're either going to go to you or your competitors. Interested? That's essentially my pitch.

Yes I've tried selling websites, SEO, mobile websites, etc. I've cold called, I've walked the streets trying to flog my wares, and I've busted a gut.

But it was always a tough one trying to sell a 'service'. Businesses don't need or want a service. There is a caveat to this. There is a scale of how near the thing you have to sell is to your prospect's heart.

Check this out. At the bottom of this table is the actual service you offer, and toward the top, the tangible, ultimate benefit your client will experience off the back of what you have to offer:

New car/holiday/more time with kids
-
More income
-
More turnover
-
More customers
-
More leads
-
Website/SEO/mobile website/CRO

Most people on here, or certainly the newbies - as I was - are at the bottom of this table, selling SEO/websites, etc. What you want to do is to go as high up this table as you can with your pitch, because that is the thing that will get the prospect to listen.

If you phone up trying to sell SEO etc, you will just be another marketer. It's a tough sell. But if you can craft your pitch around as high a point up the table as you can get to, then you'll distance yourself from all the others, because you'll actually have something valuable to them.

There's nothing wrong with selling SEO, websites, mobile websites, etc. You just need to sell the ultimate juicy benefit instead.

Get The 'Fear Of Loss' Into Your Pitch

You need to give people a reason to sit up and take notice, and crafting a fear of loss into your pitch will do that. I'm not sure, but I think I once heard that fear of loss is a more powerful motivator than desire to gain.

You need to look at your pitch, and come up with a way to make your prospect think, 'Jeez, I'd better listen to this'. If you give it some thought, I'm sure you can think of a good angle.

I like to use use fear off loss to competition. It depends on which sector or industry you're working in, but if you're working local - window cleaners, plumbers, dentists, etc - then you can use the competitors angle. Let them know you're speaking with their competitors, too. If they've any sense, they won't want to lose some of their patch to a competitor.

Create Some Urgency

Again, trying to get someone interested in something you have to sell, if there is no urgency in your pitch, is a tough sell. If you are merely phoning up to try and drum up business, then there is no urgency there. As far as they're concerned, your product will always be there, so they can simply just turn it down and say they'll get back to you when the time is right.

On the other hand, if you frame it as something that is only available for a few days - especially if you mix it up with fear of loss to their competition - then you have a much more valuable thing to sell. They will take notice.

Make sure its limited availability is believable, and not some cheesy stock scammy sales line.

Frame The Process As You Having The Power And Them Needing You

If you go begging cap in hand with something to sell, the prospect has all the power. They can dick you around, knock you down in price, ignore your phone calls/emails, and generally not respect you.

But if YOU have the power, the gold that they want, then they have to play THEIR cards right.

You want to sit down and create a service/product and a pitch that will make them sit up and take notice. You want to frame it as them having to audition for you for a chance to have a crack. There's a lot of psychology here, and balls of steel to back it up, but if you can make it believable, then THEY will be trying to win YOU over.

You Need To Make Them Feel Like You're Not A One-Man Band

It's hard to get any credibility from people when you're a one man band doing everything, especially if you're trying to woo the big guns.

You want to create the air of prestige, of size, of a team. Create email addresses from sales managers, and customer service managers, and use those in your email conversations with prospects. It creates the image of you being a bigger company. Be hard to reach, in meetings, etc. Use secretary services to take your calls.

You want to seem like you are the man at the top, helping out your sales team, short on time, with a hot piece of gold burning a hole in your hand, with a bunch of numbers to call, to try and shift it. Play people off each other. Mention names if applicable and ethical.

You need to piece this all together.

Getting people interested in "Just wondering if you were interested in me getting your website to the top of Google" is a much lame pitch than "Very quickly, got an emergency here, we have a flow of patients for dentists in your area, but the dentist we were going to send them to pulled out, so our sales team is frantically shortlisting dentists in the area, to see who wants more patients, and then we'll be doing a test run with each of the shortlisted ones to see who we can work with best. These patients need a home, and need to go somewhere. Are you in the market for some new patients? If not, could you recommend some other local dentists locally that want more patients? They need to go somewhere"

Do you see how much more powerful this? It's not some wishy washy service being touted to every Tom, Dick and Harry, that will always be there. It's an actual thing that exists right now, today, that the prospect wants, that if they don't take, then a competitor is likely to take instead.

Of course, you need to be sure you can deliver. But I have safety mechanisms that protect me from start to finish as far as fulfilment is concerned, but that's another story.

Shoot For Big Money Industries

I've seen this a lot on this forum, but it is starting to pay dividends for me. Shoot for big money industries, like dentists, financial companies, etc. The sales/conversion ratios are the same generally. The only thing that differs is the size of the big boss you have to shoot down, and the amount of gatekeepers.

If it takes the same effort to prospect and close a dentist as it does a plumber, why settle for 100s when you can have 1000s? This will test your testicular fortitude of course, but if you can sell crap tor 3 figures to tradesmen, you can sell awesomeness for 4 figures to big firms. The same skills are involved.

It just takes practise to take the shakiness out of your voice, and to sound confident, like you have your shit together.

Don't Hide Behind A Fake Address

Final tip. Be a registered corporation. I don't know what the equivalent is in each country, but don't be a DBA (Doing Business As).

Have a physical address, with a landline phone number, and a company email address (not a hotmail one). People will look you up in the company registry, so be there.

It's worth the money and effort, trust me.

------

So that's me.

Learn to sell, craft an unbeatable pitch, create an impenetrable business model, shoot for the big guns, and persist. Or get a job.

I'm not setting the world on fire, but making enough to live in a decent place with my girlfriend, and making plans to travel off the back of the work I'm doing. And things are always improving.

I hope this post helps any newbies out there, and like I say if anyone has any feedback for me, feel free to chip in.

Peace.
#offline #sales #selling
  • Profile picture of the author sandalwood
    A very well articulated post. Good luck to you on your new adventure.
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  • Profile picture of the author mydream247
    Hi Scott, great post, I am going to use this information to grow my business, just started my LLC last week, guess It was a great move after all.

    Thanks,
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Stevens
      Originally Posted by mydream247 View Post

      Hi Scott, great post, I am going to use this information to grow my business, just started my LLC last week, guess It was a great move after all.

      Thanks,
      Nice, good move. Hope it works out for you. Exciting times huh.

      Good luck.
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      Skochy - The Musical Salesman

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  • Profile picture of the author selina91
    Hi,

    Thanks for the information, I just bookmarked this thread and will forward it to my buddies.

    Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Originally Posted by Scott Stevens View Post

    You need to piece this all together.

    Getting people interested in "Just wondering if you were interested in me getting your website to the top of Google" is a much lame pitch than "Very quickly, got an emergency here, we have a flow of patients for dentists in your area, but the dentist we were going to send them to pulled out, so our sales team is frantically shortlisting dentists in the area, to see who wants more patients, and then we'll be doing a test run with each of the shortlisted ones to see who we can work with best. These patients need a home, and need to go somewhere. Are you in the market for some new patients? If not, could you recommend some other local dentists locally that want more patients? They need to go somewhere"
    That is some gold there, how you have worded that would sit well with any one working with lead gen, and can be worded to suit each player, but the concept of I have xyz and they need to go to abc and are you in the market is very good, and I can see if the lead gen / site rental can pick this little nugget you shared and understand how powerful those words are they will with out doubt do better.

    Enjoy your world travels.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Stevens
      Originally Posted by tryinhere View Post

      That is some gold there, how you have worded that would sit well with any one working with lead gen, and can be worded to suit each player, but the concept of I have xyz and they need to go to abc and are you in the market is very good, and I can see if the lead gen / site rental can pick this little nugget you shared and understand how powerful those words are they will with out doubt do better.

      Enjoy your world travels.
      Thanks man.

      In actual fact, although I sell leads, I think a pitch like that could work with SEO, websites, mobile websites, etc.

      Because essentially, that is what SEO and websites ultimately delivers - a flow of customers.

      Back in the day, when I was trying to sell mobile, I used to think my pitch was brilliant, and couldn't understand why noone would bite: "You're losing customers because your website looks bad on a mobile phone".

      But in reality, even that pitch was too far away from their ultimate benefit of more turnover. It's too great a leap in their thought processes to equate an ugly mobile site = lost business = more business if they fix their mobile site.

      On the other hand, telling them you "set up a lead/customer flow for another salon, but he's pulled out because he couldn't handle the extra business, now you need to redirect the customer flow to another salon" - THAT is all a prospect needs and wants to know. They couldn't give a crap if it's a mobile site - that's incidental.

      If I was selling mobile sites now, that's how I'd pitch it.

      There's an angle there for SEO, CRO, and anything I'd reckon. It just needs some creative thinking, and sprinkling in all the stuff I spoke about in the post.

      On that note, if there's anyone here that can genuinely setup working, profitable SEO, websites, mobile sites, but is struggling to sell them, get in touch, we may be able to do something.
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      Yours in prosperity,
      Skochy - The Musical Salesman

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  • Profile picture of the author zoro
    "Just wondering if you were interested in me getting your website to the top of Google" is a much lame pitch than "Very quickly, got an emergency here, we have a flow of patients for dentists in your area, but the dentist we were going to send them to pulled out, so our sales team is frantically shortlisting dentists in the area, to see who wants more patients, and then we'll be doing a test run with each of the shortlisted ones to see who we can work with best. These patients need a home, and need to go somewhere. Are you in the market for some new patients? If not, could you recommend some other local dentists locally that want more patients? They need to go somewhere"

    This is a very straight to point and valuable pitch. Thanks for sharing.

    I'd be interested to know, are you also renting out your lead gen websites, or just selling the leads?
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Stevens
      Originally Posted by zoro View Post

      "Just wondering if you were interested in me getting your website to the top of Google" is a much lame pitch than "Very quickly, got an emergency here, we have a flow of patients for dentists in your area, but the dentist we were going to send them to pulled out, so our sales team is frantically shortlisting dentists in the area, to see who wants more patients, and then we'll be doing a test run with each of the shortlisted ones to see who we can work with best. These patients need a home, and need to go somewhere. Are you in the market for some new patients? If not, could you recommend some other local dentists locally that want more patients? They need to go somewhere"

      This is a very straight to point and valuable pitch. Thanks for sharing.

      I'd be interested to know, are you also renting out your lead gen websites, or just selling the leads?
      Pleasure.

      In actual fact, I don't use websites to generate the leads. I find businesses first that want more leads/customers. Then I find businesses local to them that have their customers, and I broker a JV deal, using a similar pitch on the potential JV partners.

      I then either use telesales or email to contact the list-owner's customers/dead leads to promote the product-owner's wares, paying the list-owner a cut, and keeping the rest for myself - charging per appointment.

      I tried using Facebook advertising to generate leads for myself, and for potential clients, but lost patience/money with it. So I went down the JV route, being that it is free and direct access to buying people.

      As per my previous post in this thread, anyone here struggling to rent out their sites/sell their leads, get in touch; maybe we can do something.

      In everything I do now, I'm always trying to get a shortcut to the thing that I want. All it takes is a little imagination, balls, and persistence.
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      Yours in prosperity,
      Skochy - The Musical Salesman

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  • Profile picture of the author Fred Jones
    Excellent Article, I completely agree with you if you cant sell your dead in the water, but the strategy on how to sell is also vital.

    Thanks so much for the impute

    Fred
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  • Profile picture of the author mario23
    I love the article, and yes you will always need a plan or strategy whether its offline or online to sell anything. Going in blind will lead you down the wrong path like going down a dark alley with NO flashlight.

    A lot people try something 1 time and give up and swear it doesn't work, marketing doesn't work like that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Good for you

    I have said the same thing here over and over (run/duck/hide)

    Offline in particular is about sales....you need to pick up a phone, meet in person and craft some good emails and have a website of course plus social media

    You may have find one of the ways is best for you but at some point you need to be willing to use all of these. I would even add - networking events to the list

    You also have to have something worth buying

    I also have suggested many times that people get a sales job - telemarket or biz to biz (or hey car sales) I know that some time spent this way, even months, will provide a solid sales basis if they are open to it.

    I find it silly when people who fail at "online" or don't want to keep paying for ppc etc come to the idea they can "do offline" when they hate to sell, don't want to cold call, don't want to walk in a door,
    don't want to learn any salable skills

    the mentality too often is "I am gonna get people to sell for me and I will hire out the work to sumguy in India to do on fiverr" LOL. Yeah right .
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Stevens
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      Good for you

      I have said the same thing here over and over (run/duck/hide)

      Offline in particular is about sales....you need to pick up a phone, meet in person and craft some good emails and have a website of course plus social media

      You may have find one of the ways is best for you but at some point you need to be willing to use all of these. I would even add - networking events to the list

      You also have to have something worth buying

      I also have suggested many times that people get a sales job - telemarket or biz to biz (or hey car sales) I know that some time spent this way, even months, will provide a solid sales basis if they are open to it.

      I find it silly when people who fail at "online" or don't want to keep paying for ppc etc come to the idea they can "do offline" when they hate to sell, don't want to cold call, don't want to walk in a door,
      don't want to learn any salable skills

      the mentality too often is "I am gonna get people to sell for me and I will hire out the work to sumguy in India to do on fiverr" LOL. Yeah right .
      Well said.

      I think people perhaps get started online because they see it as an easy business. All they need is a computer and an internet connection - that's it. But they probably then realise that being such a low-barrier-to-entry business, anyone can do it, and there's so much competition.

      Then they look at offline and think, "Hey, why try and get 1000 people to my website to make $47, when I can just get someone on fiverr to send 100 emails to stupid business owners, and someone from odesk to close the sale, and make $1000?"

      The problem is, there have been too many wsos and too much advice telling these people "No selling involved! Outsource everything! Use this email copy and signup Microsoft as a client!" And people believe it.

      Maybe it's time someone did a wso on what's actually involved in offline, so newbies don't waste their time, and annoy the business owners we ourselves are trying to target.

      I wish we could put a stake through the heart of that whole mentality, it helps noone.

      Oh well.
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      Skochy - The Musical Salesman

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      • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
        Originally Posted by Scott Stevens View Post

        Maybe it's time someone did a wso on what's actually involved in offline, so newbies.
        Going back a few years now there were some offliner's who launched a few WSO's who were the real deal / (Gary King comes to mind here as one of them), they walked the walk and my guess is there are many real deal people here but mostly they choose to chip in now and then but most of them probably lay low and just sit back in the shadows of the great pretenders, the wish to be superstars and more so, the spammers who now frequent the forum.
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      • Profile picture of the author luke4
        Originally Posted by Scott Stevens View Post

        Well said.

        I think people perhaps get started online because they see it as an easy business. All they need is a computer and an internet connection - that's it. But they probably then realise that being such a low-barrier-to-entry business, anyone can do it, and there's so much competition.

        Then they look at offline and think, "Hey, why try and get 1000 people to my website to make $47, when I can just get someone on fiverr to send 100 emails to stupid business owners, and someone from odesk to close the sale, and make $1000?"

        The problem is, there have been too many wsos and too much advice telling these people "No selling involved! Outsource everything! Use this email copy and signup Microsoft as a client!" And people believe it.

        Maybe it's time someone did a wso on what's actually involved in offline, so newbies don't waste their time, and annoy the business owners we ourselves are trying to target.

        I wish we could put a stake through the heart of that whole mentality, it helps noone.

        Oh well.
        Nathan (IamNameless) offers a good WSO on how to realistically start and run a web agency. I bought it and it's been a huge help. He goes into depth in how to attract clients via offline methods, but I haven't really found any other WSOs like it yet.

        Luke.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkHernandez
    This is a great article, and yes, I can attest to what you said, if you don't have skill of closing, you might as well just leave this field! So true, nothing else matters if you can't do the damn closing!
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  • Profile picture of the author MarcParkinson
    That was a lot to take in but I am really impressed with your findings, I have started focusing on getting offline clients so this was a great help man.
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