How To Break Into Offline Consulting Without Cold Calling Or Any Face-To-Face Contact

45 replies
Dear Warrior,

Have you been looking for an easy way to break into the offline world of
marketing?

By now you've probably read success story after success story of
Warriors who've made four-figure checks just from talking to local
business owners.

My bet is that you want to do the same.

I was in your position not too long ago.

I was broke and needed some money coming in right away. The thing was,
all the "Gurus" were telling me that I needed to go make cold calls or
walk into businesses with the intent to sell.

This wasn't something I was comfortable doing - and many of the people
who read this probably won't be either.

So I made myself a crutch.

Let me preface this by saying that this isn't the most elegant way of
getting clients, nor is it the "millionaire-maker" everybody claims they
have.

This is just a simple way I found to get off the ground and get your
first few clients before moving onto other methods of lead generation.

Ready... Here we go.

Direct your browser to Craigslist.

Take a moment to go through the services ads - any category will do,
especially the "Small Biz" section.

Many, if not most, of these companies don't have websites in their ad.
This is what you want to take advantage of.

Send them a simple email explaining who you are and how you can help
their company with a professionally written and designed website.

Let them know the benefits of the low-cost nature of bringing new
customers in with a website.

And when you start getting emails back... quote them a price less than
$1,000. Since they're posting on Craigslist to find business, they
usually don't have much of a budget.

You can always upsell them on SEO services and the like later on anyway.
Building a small website is simply a foot in the door.

Take the time to send out 15 emails a day for the next week, and you
will get responses.

Just keep track of which businesses you send them to... you don't want
to send them to the same people twice
#break #calling #cold #consulting #contact #facetoface #offline
  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    Wow, that sounds like a salesletter or something!
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
      Originally Posted by Lisa Gergets View Post

      Wow, that sounds like a salesletter or something!
      That's a byproduct of being a copywriter I guess
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      • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
        Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

        That's a byproduct of being a copywriter I guess
        Not really a sales letter, but I can understand why it might sound
        like one.

        But what it does have in common with real sales letters, that are good,
        is that you provided good information. Of course I'm assuming it's solid
        and current info.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    If they're local small businesses, won't they want to meet in person? Or have you had success doing everything by phone & email?

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
      Originally Posted by Mr. Enthusiastic View Post

      If they're local small businesses, won't they want to meet in person? Or have you had success doing everything by phone & email?

      Chris
      Hey Chris (Great name by the way)

      It really depends on the business. I've had a few go both ways - but I always talk to them on the phone before we meet in person, and if I'm not sure they're piping-hot and ready to go... I won't take it anywhere.

      I only want clients that want me already. That's why contacting handfuls at a time works well - just like Deezy said.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
        Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

        Hey Chris (Great name by the way)
        Well you can thank my parents for that, but I'm trying to make the most of it.

        I always talk to them on the phone before we meet in person, and if I'm not sure they're piping-hot and ready to go... I won't take it anywhere.
        That makes sense. Do you talk prices & details in the call? Or is this only a quick call to get you an appointment?
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        • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
          Originally Posted by Mr. Enthusiastic View Post

          That makes sense. Do you talk prices & details in the call? Or is this only a quick call to get you an appointment?
          I absolutely talk prices in the calls. If they have the money to afford a service... they won't be afraid to talk about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek Allen
    Great tip! This actually does work. This can work even if you live in a small city like me. I did this a few times. I contacted about 75 small businesses via craigslist in a weeks time and got 3 clients. They wanted a website and a small social network presence. I outsourced the website and did the social network side myself. I ended up making a nice chunk that week!
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    why do businesses offline have to meet you face to face? Ar ethey immune to doing bizz through the Net or phone? Honest question. Why does it have to be local and face to face?
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
      Originally Posted by sloanjim View Post

      why do businesses offline have to meet you face to face? Ar ethey immune to doing bizz through the Net or phone? Honest question. Why does it have to be local and face to face?
      It doesn't HAVE to be either one... it's just easier that way.

      If you want to put in the extra sales work, finding clients online can absolutely be done. I've made most of my living finding clients online for the past few months while I've been travelling outside of the country.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
        Originally Posted by Mr. Goof Off View Post

        Chris so you said no cold calling and no face to face, but, then you said you meeting them face to face, and then you said you been traveling outside the country so that means you are not doing face to face.

        I am getting conflicting information not to be a jerk I am just saying. Are you talking with them long distance?
        Face-to-face is not required.

        Once you make contact via the internet, you'll want to set up some sort of a meeting - this can be by phone or in person. In person makes the sale easier, but if you're not yet comfortable with that, phone is fine.

        You WILL need to talk to the business owner at least by phone though. Doing this sort of high-paying deal by email doesn't work too well unless you've got a reputation in your area.
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    • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
      Originally Posted by sloanjim View Post

      why do businesses offline have to meet you face to face? Ar ethey immune to doing bizz through the Net or phone? Honest question. Why does it have to be local and face to face?
      They don't have to meet you face to face. But if you're an offline
      business owner with little to no online experience, you'll probably
      want to meet someone face to face. Especially if this person wants
      up to $1000 for performing a service.

      Yes, they do business through the phone. But it's what they're used
      to doing. They may see another offline business in the yellow pages,
      or in a printed catalog, but it's what they're used to seeing. And they
      already have some degree of built-in trust in that kind of situation.

      That built-in trust isn't there with online service providers.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
        Originally Posted by KenThompson View Post

        They don't have to meet you face to face. But if you're an offline
        business owner with little to no online experience, you'll probably
        want to meet someone face to face. Especially if this person wants
        up to $1000 for performing a service.

        Yes, they do business through the phone. But it's what they're used
        to doing. They may see another offline business in the yellow pages,
        or in a printed catalog, but it's what they're used to seeing. And they
        already have some degree of built-in trust in that kind of situation.

        That built-in trust isn't there with online service providers.
        Excellent explanation, Ken.
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        • Profile picture of the author garyfromdurham
          I hate cold calling and am not a natural salesman.

          The method I use is to send out a direct sales letter to the offline clients I want to contact which points them to a free report relating to their business.

          For example:

          How To Double Your Chiropractor Profits Within 90 Days (or something to that effect).

          The book then explains exactly how to do the things that I want to do for them. Eg: set up an auto-responder campaign, Provide social networking campaigns, SEO etc etc. (I generally choose one topic).

          I don't hold back.....I literally provide them with screenshots, resources....everything.

          At the end of the report once I have shown them the massive benefits of doing the things that I suggest and how it can boost their profits I then say that I realise that they may be too busy or not have the tech staff to this work and then I offer my services.

          It works like a charm and there is no cold calling at all.

          Gary
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          • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
            Originally Posted by garyfromdurham View Post

            I hate cold calling and am not a natural salesman.

            The method I use is to send out a direct sales letter to the offline clients I want to contact which points them to a free report relating to their business.
            So, you randomly email this or do you actually snail mail them?
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            • Profile picture of the author garyfromdurham
              Originally Posted by Marhelper View Post

              So, you randomly email this or do you actually snail mail them?
              Snail mail every time.

              Once they download the free report they are on my mailing list and then I can keep in contact with them thereafter for free.

              I can send them up to 6 direct mail letters before they respond....it all depends on the business. Pizza businesses usually receive up to 6 letters while Beauty Salon/hairdressers respond about the 2nd or 3rd.

              Gary
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          • Profile picture of the author J.Lewis
            Originally Posted by garyfromdurham View Post

            I hate cold calling and am not a natural salesman.

            The method I use is to send out a direct sales letter to the offline clients I want to contact which points them to a free report relating to their business.

            For example:

            How To Double Your Chiropractor Profits Within 90 Days (or something to that effect).

            The book then explains exactly how to do the things that I want to do for them. Eg: set up an auto-responder campaign, Provide social networking campaigns, SEO etc etc. (I generally choose one topic).

            I don't hold back.....I literally provide them with screenshots, resources....everything.

            At the end of the report once I have shown them the massive benefits of doing the things that I suggest and how it can boost their profits I then say that I realise that they may be too busy or not have the tech staff to this work and then I offer my services.

            It works like a charm and there is no cold calling at all.

            Gary
            This is gold. I know it's from a few months ago, but it just had a major impact on where I am in my IM career.

            Offline list building is just as important as online? Duh Jeff! Build a list, give them great value, develop powerful back-end sales and then sell the list for years to come.

            Why do we go to the trouble of finding and selling to a customer just once? That is too expensive and costs us sooo much in the long term.



            Thanks to the OP for another perspective on finding customers that are ready and willing to spend money. Why not you? Or Me?

            Cheers,
            Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author lulu25
    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your tips.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Enthusiastic
    If your experience shows that these types of clients are often comfortable with just a phone call, that would really inspire me.

    I'm looking for a way to split my time between two different cities. They're in the same time zone but an uncomfortably long day's journey apart. I've been losing sleep over the question of how to be a consultant in both towns at once.

    With consultations by phone, I could be either place and keep the clients happy. (I think I can get an assistant in each town to handle routine, low-level inquiries while I'm traveling.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Sacha Sargoni
    How many clients have you signed up this way? I think its good theory, but not in practise.

    I have found that people / company advertising on CL are desperate for work, its the last chance saloon for business.

    They don't react well to being pitched too, in fact most got no money! Thats why they are advertising on there in the first place.

    Of course your MMV , thats my experiance anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author RandyRandola
    I've done what Chris suggested as well as Tim Castleman and have landed clients 1 hour away and others up to 13 hours away. And I have never met them face to face. So it does work.
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  • Profile picture of the author good2go4
    You have given me something to think about, thank you. I have always avoided the offline systems because I live in a rural area - and the major industries within 50 kms of me would be forestry and dairy farming. But the idea of using Craigslist and other similar advertising venues, to target companies that don't appear to have a website is a really good idea - even using the phone and snail mail I would not be limited to my geographical area

    Thank you so much for this little gem
    Lisa
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    Guys, let me tell you how easy this is...

    This thread was a reminder for me. Currently, I'm structuring deals in the $10k up-front and $2k monthly arena for online/offline marketing, but I'm an "action taker" type of guy and just thought I'd run by Craigslist to see.

    Second listing for today was someone looking for a web design. I picked up the phone and called him. He said he had $500 for the project. I already have a designer on staff so no biggie and the content I can get for $25 for all of it. Conversation literally took 10 minutes. He's calling me back with domain name and 50% of the money for me to get started.

    It's that simple.

    MONEY favors the action-takers
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Why not just call them in the first place if you have to call anyway, close them on the phone, and get 10 times the volume of sales?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I know sales letters sell here and there, even a blind squirrel gets a nut ONCE in awhile, no doubt, but you cant build a predictable system with them from my experience.

    Legit question here, Im seriosuly interested this is not condescending sarcasm. Is there a way to do this so that its not just a hit and miss thing, getting a sale every once in awhile?

    Could you make projections off of this and control the numbers?

    Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author KBRMS
    Chris,

    I am wondering how many responses you got in the first week with this method. I am curious as how many you closed out of all of your leads. Thanks

    Rick
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    John, as a fellow copywriter (like Chris) let me assure you that sales letters are not hit or miss. They are incredibly predictable with proper testing and will produce a response rate that rivals anything else.

    The key to making this predictable is automation. A simple program that can find specific posts based on keyphrases and then email those ads would be perfect.

    Once you have a list of people to contact a well copywritten email can produce very reliable results... not to mention it wouldn't require the time of making all the phone calls.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    So I guess its just determining what numbers you need and consistently putting that out...once you determine the predictable response rate then.

    Thanks James. You have solid advice, so I will take your word. I may try some of this later.

    Great thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author tgglenn
    Seems to me if poster is looking for web design (which he could easily find on the net-about a million of them) you should be able to respond to them. I think the spam act is about e-mailing unsolicited info, hence the opt-in and double opt-in method used to build ones list.

    ************************************************** *************
    This advice is a violation of Craigslist's TOS. Almost every single CL ad, whether it's a service or a for sale ad, says this at the bottom:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Craigslist
    it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests.
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    If all else fails.....stop using all else!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Nicole Adams
      When I wanted to get into offline consulting I was very scared and skeptical. I did not want to talk to strangers. So i started applying all the strategies which would keep me away from them. Because of my foolishness my business started moving slow. I was just making $2000 a week and that wasn't enough to take care of my business expenses.

      So I sat down and wrote a guide on a rough piece of paper on why this was happening and how I can cure this.

      What started out as a 5 minute session continued for hours.I just took off early from my office and read the whole thing back again.

      I have been able to comfortably call people and meet them in person since that day. You just have to come out of your shell some day.It's better you do it sooner than later.
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      • Profile picture of the author James Foster
        Originally Posted by Nicole Adams View Post

        I was just making $2000 a week and that wasn't enough to take care of my business expenses.
        Did you have some kind of Park Avenue like office space you were leasing... you were burning through 8 grand a month in expenses?

        I can easily run my entire offline business (from home) on about a 1 grand a MONTH.

        That'll include buying mailing lists and postage.... you might want to look at cutting the fat on your expenses.
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  • Profile picture of the author vok
    I don't understand why people are scared of talking to people there just human beings not some kind of super breed that you should fear. You're doing them a favor if they don't want it sod them and focus on trying to help someone else.
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  • Profile picture of the author runr01
    I'm your typical newbie:
    * purchased several offline consulting WSOs
    * I've been procrastinating for months about getting into online consulting,
    * no experience in selling,
    * no previous clients = no track record,
    * who would want to hire me???

    Then the "Rubber hit the Road!"

    At a visit to my optometrist (last week) when asked what I was doing, I replied, "I help small businesses to get new clients and grow their bottom line using the internet." (sic)
    She asked how much I charged, I spluttered "$250 a month..."
    The optometrist immediately asked if I could come in the next day to talk to her staff about helping them....!! (Yikes, gulp!)

    Stunned, I bought time, by booking a "free consultation" for next Thursday.

    My question now, is what do I offer to do..????

    They have a very clean, informative website, is registered on 411.ca
    But, no local listing, no call to action, no email capture, no seo, etc.

    I have much theory (WSOs) but no practical experience...
    Help!
    Please share any suggestions on how to "confirm" this first client.

    Much appreciated.
    Donna
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  • Profile picture of the author kmg
    First - Congratulations Donna - You are now a marketing consultant

    Second - take a deep breath and remember that, like your optometrist, you can not possibly recommend what they need without diagnosing their situation by getting to know them, their business, style interests and a whole lot more about what it was they wanted. And that's why you are doing a free consultation: to understand their individual situation and what they want before you make any recommendations.

    Just about all you should do during this consultation is ask questions and listen to what they say.

    Typically everything they want will be worth way more than you could deliver for $250/month, so you have to be willing to say "I can certainly do all that, but it would be worth more than the basic fee I mentioned earlier. Would that be a problem or would you rather we work out a package that suits you and costs less?" You might need to practise saying this before the meeting.

    (You will be surprised at how many will say "Oh I was expecting it would cost more than that...)

    Then stop talking and listen to what they say. Most consultants fail because they are so busy talking (about themselves and what they could do) they don't hear the real outcome their prospective client wants to achieve.

    Try to avoid getting into any discussions about exactly how you will deliver the outcomes. (You don't ask your optometrist which specific tools or tests they are going to use when they check your eyesight do you?)

    Once you have clarified exactly what outcome they want to achieve - and you either know how to do it or how to get it done by someone else - and you have a general feel for their budget, remember it is quite all right to say something like:

    "I just need to clarify the cost of a couple of tools or licences or resources I will need to be able to do that properly for you before I can give you a final figure. How soon did you want to start on this project? When would you want me to get back to you with the details?"

    Then go straight home and work out all the detailed costings so you can get back to them with a firm quote as soon as possible (24 hours). (Or even better give them a choice of three different options at different price points.)

    This not only delivers their desired outcomes at a fee you can be confident was well thought out and fair to both you and them, but reassures them you are customising what you offer specially for them, not selling them a one size fits all package whether that's what they need or not.

    Good luck and I hope that helps.
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    Kind regards, Kerrie

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    • Profile picture of the author jcwinter
      Great info Kerrie and great contribution.

      Learning a lot of good stuff here as a newbie as well!
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    • Profile picture of the author doublee
      I started reading the first post here, and couldn't stop. I read all of them! Ha! There's a lot of great ideas and suggestions here, and I just say thanks to all of you. I especially wa impressed with Kerrie's reply.
      I will be back with my own questions. Thanks all.
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  • Profile picture of the author rbates
    Great idea. I have used Craig's list to make money, but this seems like a really good idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    Yup, craigslist works.... I added a twist....I contact web site designers and ask if they need help with SEO. (Web designers HATE doing SEO -- most don't do it at all!)

    They're glad to hand it to someone.

    Try this: Go to CL and search for a local web designer and LOOk at their wesite portfolio. I betcha they got next to zero SEO, title tags, ect.

    Most of the websites I've seen place the title tag as "HOME" on the main page.

    Unreal.
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    OFFLINE Marketing Strategies For The OFFLINE Warrior
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  • Profile picture of the author MWGrubb58
    Great thread... many good ideas...
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Another way to locate businesses without a website is to purchase a commercial call list that includes email addresses and targets only businesses with no website. This way you can access a couple thousand businesses without websites all from the same concentrated list.
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  • Profile picture of the author runr01
    A huge thank you to Kerrie for her encouraging words and for so graciously sharing her expertise.

    Kerrie's explicit words of direction have helped frame the direction of my upcoming consultation, and now, I no longer have as many butterlies in my stomach!

    I'll report back on the outcome...

    The WF members truly rock!
    Cheers.
    Donna
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  • Profile picture of the author camilopez
    Cool thread thanks for sharing! I always love learning new ideas to get clients.
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