Offline Marketing - First Contact

20 replies
Hi folks,

I have worked for an online marketing company before and done some consultation work and sales pitches for them in the past. Most of the leads came from referrals from business partners and friends.

I am striking out full-time on my own this year, and it's a very scary thought. I had some business lined up for the start of the year, but for one reason or another, they haven't come through, so I find myself under-worked.

I have no concerns about pitching, meeting people and selling my services etc and making the deals. My issue is making the first contact.

I am thinking of sourcing my data from free sources like the yellow pages and google. I am then planning on reaching out to the businesses via letter.

Can anyone give me any advice on how long the letter should be, and what kind of things it has to hit home on? My copy sucks and I need a bit of gentle guidance.

Any ideas on how to target potential clients and make first contact are most welcome.
#contact #marketing #offline
  • Profile picture of the author Dano77
    I'd focus on a specific market...

    Like realtors, lawyers, etc.. Some market that has an easy measurable, easy to prove results and push sales.

    Your salesletter should say something like

    "Anyone can build a website, Anyone can get people to it... But will it produce leads?"

    Focus on the pain points, twist a knife in their gut on the issues that bother them most.
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Thanks Dano for the input.

    Have you found sending letters to business people and companies that don't know you useful/productive in your efforts?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dano77
    Nope!

    Truth is nothing beats a phone call...

    Cold call...

    Make friends...

    Offer a free consultation...

    Maybe even offer free other things if possible...

    Expect a sale in a 6 week window...

    First you make friends with the receptionist, then the sales team (they're hurting for leads, hopefully), then friends with the owner of the company or head lawyer/realtor or whatever niche, then you close the deal with a nice rounded package.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Interesting.

    I was planning on giving away free 30/60 minute consultations (thinly disguised sales pitches).

    I am confident enough to do the cold calling, I guess I will test it and try and develop a script I can use to secure clients.

    Thanks for the insight.
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    I thought cold calling was dead 10 years ago? (unlike SEO or article marketing, don't want Troy to have to get all dresses up again, the funeral was 10 years ago). I like the consultation idea.
    A short PPC campaign is quick and easy and produces the best results, but takes a little cake.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dano77
    Dogscout...

    Yes, ppc but the right words that convert are gonna be like $10-20 per click... Even if you have the cabbage to do it, testing and perfecting a landing page is rough until you get it right...

    Cold calling isn't easy, but it's far from dead. My sales guy out here in Vancouver, B.C. was getting me about 3-4 gigs per month (Big jobs too) just with cold calls, but there was a long courting process to get the gigs.. But really... it's easily repeated.

    It worked...

    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author DogScout
      Originally Posted by Dano77 View Post

      Dogscout...

      Yes, ppc but the right words that convert are gonna be like $10-20 per click... Even if you have the cabbage to do it, testing and perfecting a landing page is rough until you get it right...

      Cold calling isn't easy, but it's far from dead. My sales guy out here in Vancouver, B.C. was getting me about 3-4 gigs per month (Big jobs too) just with cold calls, but there was a long courting process to get the gigs.. But really... it's easily repeated.

      It worked...

      Dan
      Only $10-$20? There is not a set cost for keywords... rather the spread is bigger than that. Have bought $5 words for under a quarter after testing. I think I'd kill myself before cold calling. But that is just me. Lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    Letters definitely work, but it costs $$$. I had success with sending letters but took the time to personalize to the niche. If you group them it isn't too bad (send out a batch to lawyers, then do a batch for salons, etc.).

    You could also combine methods. Pick 100 businesses that you think are a good match, and then send them a letter but follow up with a call. This turns a cold call into a warm one.

    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author TheMagicShow
    Hi Endgame,

    this may sound a bit costly, but if you made a dvd (containing your presentation, service, pitch), this would have a higher perceived value and you'll build a relationship with them that beats a letter.

    If you send this dvd to 100 prospects it can cost you $1-2 for the mailing and hope you have the supplies. If these clients are going to spend big bucks, then the costs of the dvd, supplies, postage is a drop in the bucket compared to the profits you can make.

    HTH
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Thanks everyone for the thoughts. I need to put down some cash evidently to get eyeballs to the offer, I am just wondering where to put the cash. I may do some small tests over the next month and spread the risk.

    MagicMel,
    Is that a technique you actually use? If so, it could be an interesting one to think about and explore. If I would get replies from it, as you said, it would be worth the expense of doing it.

    I have considered the Adword's route, but wasn't sure it was an effective one. I seem to stand corrected on that one thanks to Dogscout's advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Peters Benn
    Heya,

    I try and deciede three things before we make any sort of move:

    The sort of services we want to sell
    The region
    The niche

    Once those are sorted out, I move onto the approach which is usually:

    direct mail or
    commission only salesman offering a low cost workshop.

    I really don't like emails and I never use contact us forms - as personally I ignore any solicitations that come through our forms...
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the isight. I have got all the three questions you ask answered and I am all prepped and ready to go. All I need now is the clients!

    I have made a somewhat classic mistake of taking a significant amount of time to get ready when I perhaps should have been looking at how to attract customers and refined my processes as I was taking on customers etc. There is still time to rectify this though I feel.

    Whilst I gather data and get ready to mail out, I am going to run some low-budget PPC campaigns and do some cold-calling (useful skill to have and one I'd love to refine).

    I think the advice to segment by industry/niche is a really cool one as well. From initial research, financial services companies often need a lot of help on their online marketing and have a good cash flow to pay you for the work.

    This thread has been excellent from the few replies it has had in terms of giving me some perspective on my options and potential approaches. Thanks to everyone so far.

    I'm going to "split-test" my approaches and then I'll drop by this thread again and update with some results.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    Cold calling definately still works but it is getting tougher. Because it works more people are doing it!

    The difference I find though, is if you are working for yourself you will gain trust much quicker not being a general salesperson trying to chase the next dollar.

    Be personal as soon as you can on the call! Let them know you are a real human being and that you are indeed a business owner like them trying to help.

    Not everyone will listen, its a numbers game like anything but if you stick with it, you could setup appointments every day with a little work!

    Also, try Gumtree, your in the UK, it works!

    Just test ads on there! ; )

    GoGetta
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Hi Gogetta,

    Thanks for that. Gumtree was part of the plan, I didn't like to rely on it however as a strategy. Thanks for the encouragement and the tip though, I shall definitely put that into practice.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    No Probs Mate,

    I use Gumtree in the background. When making first contact, my rule of thumb is to use every possible route to market as I can!

    GoGetta
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Peters Benn
    Hi Alex,

    Good luck. Regardless of all the advice here - I suspect, like many of us, you will take it and make it your own. Somehow, you find your own groove and way of working that suits you.

    To be honest, it might be best to throw yourself in there a little unprepared. Although it will be scary - I'm betting you won't drown, you will swim and swim well!
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  • Profile picture of the author Denise Oyston
    Hi Alex

    Direct mail can and does work though hitting the phones first would be more productive as you can waste a lot of money for very little return especially if you are not fab at copywriting.
    Focus on their needs first, and get them agreeing with you. Make them an offer. I also sell in the offline arena. I have found local newtorking groups useful. Have you looked at speednetworking. We picked up three clients from this avenue in less than a month. I am sure they will have a group in Newcastle. You can also present at them..well worth considering.

    Take Care

    Denise
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    • Profile picture of the author EndGame
      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the help. I see you are based in Lake District; a most beautiful part of the UK and a place where I have a few fond memories of holidays as a lad!

      I am going to employ the "SPIN" selling method when contacting people, and I think this would be more suited to cold calling, and like you say, it is deffo a cheaper alternative to the mail outs.

      The networking group you mentioned looks interesting. They don't run an event in my area, but equally, they are looking for franchisee's which is an interesting opportunity perhaps. I'll dig deeper.

      Originally Posted by Denise Oyston View Post

      Hi Alex

      Direct mail can and does work though hitting the phones first would be more productive as you can waste a lot of money for very little return especially if you are not fab at copywriting.
      Focus on their needs first, and get them agreeing with you. Make them an offer. I also sell in the offline arena. I have found local newtorking groups useful. Have you looked at speednetworking. We picked up three clients from this avenue in less than a month. I am sure they will have a group in Newcastle. You can also present at them..well worth considering.

      Take Care

      Denise
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  • Profile picture of the author EndGame
    Thanks again guys,

    And thank you Steve for the kind words. I think you are exactly right. The preparation was a comfort zone and an ideal excuse to prevent me from doing some of the more intimidating stuff. This thread has helped me with that, and as you said, I'll probably customize the advice given to suit and fit me.

    Thanks again.
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