Fastest Way To Get Local Clients

27 replies
Hey guys,

I have been doing seo fulltime since 1997 and local for about 3 years. I do local in the "traditional sense" and a few other ways I have devised that does not require direct contact.

However, if you are trying to start a local offline business and want to do it in a traditional sense ( find a client, make a proposal, negotiate a fee and implement the work) I would consider the following.

I have only done 2 things in my adult life, real estate and seo/internet marketing. I see a parallel in these two fields on how to start getting clients.

When I was in real estate the people that were ALWAYS the most successful where the ones that had the guts to knock on doors and make cold calls. The guys who spent their time stuffing envelopes, sending postcards and doing everthing else they could to avoid direct contact never lasted.

I acknowledge there are some ways to do crafty mailings, send emails or employ lead generating software. This is all good, but I would not discount direct contact.

Assumming you have acquired basic seo skills and have some sort of web presence, why not do something that most of your competion is not doing and bite the bullet and make those calls or knock on doors.

Once you gain some momentum you will not have to do this for very long. Big SEO firms have salespeople, thier staff is usually 5-1 sales people. This is because face to face selling in this industry is where the money is at.

This may not be what some people want to hear but I believe its sound advice. If I was going to do local seo in the traditional sense and had to start all over again thats what I would do.
#clients #fastest #local
  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    I totally agree. I think what gave me the most momentum was walking in that first door. My husband even gave me an out...he said "You don't have to do this if you don't feel ready." And my answer was, if I never get this FIRST TIME over with, it'll just be that much more drama when it comes time to do it. So, I did it. And it was hard, and I couldn't get a wi-fi signal so my entire presentation was shot, BUT...I did it. And afterwards, I suffered HORRIBLE stomach pain because I was just that terrified to do it. BUT...I did it.

    You just have to do it. Plain and simple. It's going to push all your buttons and the first time or the first ten times is going to be terrifying. But just do it and get it overwith! Because once you do and that discomfort and terror fades...you're unstoppable!
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    • Profile picture of the author wbinst2
      I don't think you can make an analogy between real estate agents and internet marketers. RE agents generally don't know how to market, which is probably why they do the door to door thing.

      My opinion is banging on doors is the bottom rung of the ladder and most marketers on here should be well above that level.

      I like to use the phrase 'be your own customer' meaning if you're charging other businesses to pay you to get them leads and clients via the internet, why not do it for yourself.

      Would you consult to another business with the words 'go knock on doors for the day?'
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      • Profile picture of the author seoslayer
        Originally Posted by wbinst2 View Post

        I don't think you can make an analogy between real estate agents and internet marketers. RE agents generally don't know how to market, which is probably why they do the door to door thing.

        My opinion is banging on doors is the bottom rung of the ladder and most marketers on here should be well above that level.

        I like to use the phrase 'be your own customer' meaning if you're charging other businesses to pay you to get them leads and clients via the internet, why not do it for yourself.

        Would you consult to another business with the words 'go knock on doors for the day?'
        If most marketers already knew how to get clients then there would not be so many threads about the biggest problem they face, "how do I get clients?"

        The basis of my parallel was to not be afraid to pick up the phone or avoid face to face contact.
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        • Profile picture of the author wbinst2
          Thats true and i've always found it a bit confusing.

          So many offline consultants (not just on here but all the JA/DK etc devotees out there) have trouble finding their own customers but are charging businesses to show to show them how to do it.

          Its a bit of a funny conundrum that one.

          Originally Posted by seoslayer View Post

          If most marketers already knew how to get clients then there would not be so many threads about the biggest problem they face, "how do I get clients?"

          The basis of my parallel was to not be afraid to pick up the phone or avoid face to face contact.
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        • Profile picture of the author Randy Miller
          Hey SEO Slayer,

          Thanks for the post. You reminded me of a telemarketing job that I had years ago. Each time that I made a sale I earned a $100 commission.

          Initially I had to speak with 20 people before I would make a sale. Realizing that each time I talked to a prospect was like earning $5, I quickly wrote down $5 on a white board next to my desk after each call.

          Seeing all those $5 symbols on my white board not only increased the number of calls that I was making each hour, it also improved my closing ratio.

          I recall reading a Joe Vitale quote which I have found to be so true. "Money loves speed".
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Hey Lisa,

      I am glad you over came your fears and just did it!

      The more you do it the better you'll become.

      The OP is 100% right, the real money is in the Face 2 Face sales.

      All the other methods are just attempts at avoiding the fear and pain associated with learning to talk to some one and effectively communicate your skills and services.

      If going from business to business is the bottom of the rung in sales then why is it that these sales people get paid the highest commissions percentage wise over any other form of sales?

      Business don't pay high commissions just because it's "hard" they pay it because it takes talent and it get customers.

      Lisa, I am sure you have seen my sig link, right?

      I am doing some free coaching to select individuals. I approach them at this point because my coaching is not formally set up.

      So I am extending you an invitation to help coach you in face 2 face sales so if your interested just PM me.



      Originally Posted by Lisa Gergets View Post

      I totally agree. I think what gave me the most momentum was walking in that first door. My husband even gave me an out...he said "You don't have to do this if you don't feel ready." And my answer was, if I never get this FIRST TIME over with, it'll just be that much more drama when it comes time to do it. So, I did it. And it was hard, and I couldn't get a wi-fi signal so my entire presentation was shot, BUT...I did it. And afterwards, I suffered HORRIBLE stomach pain because I was just that terrified to do it. BUT...I did it.

      You just have to do it. Plain and simple. It's going to push all your buttons and the first time or the first ten times is going to be terrifying. But just do it and get it overwith! Because once you do and that discomfort and terror fades...you're unstoppable!
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  • Profile picture of the author V12
    I've been able to avoid the cold-calling route entirely by getting relatives/friends/acquaintances to introduce me to bosses/business owners etc whom they know at a personal level.

    And happy clients are always happy to refer you to non-competing business owners who they know.

    Abdul.
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  • You can't completely make the argument that you have to get leads only through online means to look credible. You can show the business that their customers are online looking for them, but a lot of times the business owners aren't online looking for your services.

    A whole lot of business owners don't even know the options they have and aren't looking for people to do the services for them. Why do you think there are so many b2b salespeople out there in the world? For the most part, in order to get a business owners attention you need to get in front of them.

    If you can get all the leads you need form the internet alone, then great, but you can find a whole lot more getting out there in person or hiring a salesteam to do it for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author AJG
    From personal experience, i find that trying to get involved in events that are happening within the local area help to not only increase the perception of the company in the local community but also leaves you directly in the line for getting those extra sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author wbinst2
      I'm not talking about solely online means. Anything but banging on doors. Advertising, direct mail, pay someone to tele market, chamber of commerce, networking, online, JV's.....there are plenty of methods other than walking the streets.

      Where the qualifying your prospects?

      It has been proven thats salespeople that 'work the numbers' are less effective than those that qualify their prospects before approaching them.

      Its a lot less work and lot more effective.

      Also, i don't think its about avoiding fact to face contact. You cant do business in this world without it.

      Once you have made (or received) the initial contact you can then organise a meeting, free consult etc.

      Heres a fantastic book on the subject:

      Cold Calling | Cold Calling Is A Waste Of Time

      I mean the full book, not the excerpt.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    One way to get the highest rate of return is to meet with the client a little as possible. That's why closers are coveted in the b2b sales arena.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    Here's one way: sign up on meetup.com. Look in your area for "small business" meetup groups. Sign-up go to meetings and don't sell, but bring a handout for the group with some killers quick marketing tactics (video syndication, facebook coupons, sms, whatever most are clueless). At the end have a coupon for a free or reduced consultation, a big promise and a call to action.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Very true.

      Getting face to face with business owners is the fastest way to get hired.

      For someone starting out you can ease your anxiety a little by starting with the business owners you already know, the owners of businesses where you're spending money and the owners of businesses your friends and family know.

      Also asking everyone you talk to who they know (referrals from other business owners are usually the best quality prospects).

      After that business networking meetings or any kind of function, charity or trade fair where business owners congregate.

      And simply walking into businesses and talking to the owners.

      The funny thing is once you do it a few times you realize that in most cases business owners want to talk to someone who is genuinely interested in hearing about them and their business and has a genuine interest in finding a way to help them.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author patadeperro
      Originally Posted by Vincenzo Oliva View Post

      Here's one way: sign up on meetup.com. Look in your area for "small business" meetup groups. Sign-up go to meetings and don't sell, but bring a handout for the group with some killers quick marketing tactics (video syndication, facebook coupons, sms, whatever most are clueless). At the end have a coupon for a free or reduced consultation, a big promise and a call to action.
      Great Idea Vicenzo, I have been implementing this idea for a while, and here is a little twist to this that will work as well as, behind your business card you are going to put the next phrase: "Download your free report about the 7 deadly mistakes that prevent your website from attracting leads" web page, free report auto responder and KABOOM!!! you get them.

      No cold calling involved, no pushing methods, they qualify themselves is not better than cold calling 120 business people that are not interested whatsoever? I think so.
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  • Profile picture of the author enterpryzman
    I am involved in this arena in an attempt to get some time freedom from my very successful offline business ( brick and mortar ).

    Every week I get at least 6 calls from somebody trying to sell me SEO or web related services, most from call centers that can barely speak English.

    Should a person come into one of my locations and offer some form of Internet services face-to-face, I would certainly at least listen. It would be a refreshing change from hanging up on callers.

    Harmony is various efforts is what you need to find and that is the only way to succeed and relying on one form over another in a blind way is certainly a mistake.

    My biggest problem is not fear of rejection, it is not wanting locals to know that I have this business as it will make it seem that my primary business and clients are not as important as they should be.

    I am marketing in smaller cities that are an hour or so away and it is quite easy to talk someone into understanding what they have to gain by getting online. I treat it like a hobby-small business and feel certain I could easily replace my income but, I have 21 FT employee's that need paychecks and insurance that I would not want to let go from my main business......should I hire the right person who can run it for me, that would be something else.

    Exchanges like these are priceless to us all, thanks everyone.

    Enterpryzman
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  • Profile picture of the author Joshyybaxx
    I got a simple strategy that works decently well if you want to target services companies I'll share it since pretty much if you read a few WSO's or free things in here you'd pick it up anyway (it's really common sense).

    look up different service providers in your local area by searching "<area> <service>" e.g "sydney plumbers" then look to the right at companies that are currently using PPC (since they are already paying for marketing services they are likely to be more interested in hearing your offer).

    Try to register a .com domain containing the two things you searched for such as sydneyplumbers.com and then use the method shared by Gene in his great report/guide on flipping domains in 10 steps. (you pretty much copy the details of the companies paying PPC for the keywords you used for your domain into a simple wordpress blog - this will be used for some SEO to get picked up by google quickly)

    After this you can shoot emails to the owners of the companies that were paying for PPC letting them know you have a great domain they could be interested in that ranks well for their keywords they are currently paying $x per click for, and you are willing to sell it for <name your price>.

    They may take it straight up then and there, either way the next step is the same, you offer SEO/marketing services to go with the domain since you know your stuff with SEO/Local this should be easy to point out your skill and that you're not some BS company offering crap. *Always remember not to use big buzz words or technical words as it may come across salesmen like and they may not like that, use simple words and explain it in simple terms to put a more friendly advice spin on it*

    They'll either take up your offer or leave it, just rinse and repeat, you'll hit some miss some but it's a solid simple strategy that works and isn't some hyped up BS.

    Another route could be calling up companies and offering free listings on Google Places, many local business owners who aernt on the internet use yellow pages or word of mouth... I'd say places is a great first step (apart from a website) in getting online and it's pretty easy for you to do, and it shows the company that you are reliable.

    Hope I helped

    -JB

    Just remember to put yourself out there, you'll pick up attention and people will ask you questions, offer free seminars for business owners if you're comfortable and they will recognize you as the go to person for marketing things.
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    =)

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  • Profile picture of the author John Pawlett
    Here is my top tip for getting local clients, just doing this once can give you a stream of new business that can provide a fantastic income.

    This is not for everyone as it involves public speaking (although you could outsource)
    First of all you need to find one potential partner (does not even have to be a client) that is in the professional service industry like an accountant (CPA), lawyer, financial services etc.

    Your partner/client needs to be established with a list of their own clients.

    You approach your client to do a JV (they may not understand JV, so you might have to word it differently). The JV is to put on a presentation by you, sponsored by them.

    Most professionals are always looking for ways to interact more with their clients (or should be!), and are more than happy to put on a presentation if its going to do two things:

    1. Get them back in front of their clients
    2. Add value

    So if for example you went with an accountant and they hosted a presentation you would have them book the venue and mail their clients an email you have written for them, the name of the presentation needs to be something that peaks the interest of the client base.

    So for small businesses, something like “10 Ways to Get More New Business Than You Can Handle In 2011”.

    I tend to focus on social media because most businesses don’t get it!

    It beats networking hands down because when you are speaking you are perceived as the expert, you also have the expert status thrust upon you because they all trust their accountant and their recommendations.

    Once you have done one of these its easy to get other people in the audience to book you to speak in front of their clients, kind of self perpetuating lead generation.

    Hope this helps.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Amber Jalink
    I'm not sure about your areas, but I know in Canada (at least a LOT in Ontario), most stores/companies have No Soliciting signs on their doors.

    You CAN'T just walk in and cold call or you're violating the law. (Same with in Florida is my understanding, if the sign is there - it's considered trespassing).

    Face to face may be the best way to do it - but for here anyway, you need to have an appointment or something so that they are expecting you. (Fastest way to tick off a company here is to just walk in with the purpose of selling them something....)

    And of course, to get an appointment usually requires a phone call... which around here people are sick to death of telemarketers, so you have to be creative.

    Amber
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    • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
      I used to sell coupon advertising to businesses door to door. Many of them had those signs. None of them ever called the police. If you are respectful of their time and don't interupt them while they are talking to customers, many of them will let you drop off literature or tell yo who to contact for an appointment, some of them will talk to you right then and there. Those signs are mainly there to discourage panhandlers. Of course if they ask you to leave I would get out quick but it rarely happens. If you think enough negative thoughts hard enough you might get arrested though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    You CAN'T just walk in and cold call or you're violating the law. (Same with in Florida is my understanding, if the sign is there - it's considered trespassing).
    That is a REALLY good point, Amber...and one I didn't even consider. This is one reason why I think that formal communication like a letter in the mail followed up by a phonecall that they are expecting will generate more success.

    Face to face may be the best way to do it - but for here anyway, you need to have an appointment or something so that they are expecting you. (Fastest way to tick off a company here is to just walk in with the purpose of selling them something....)
    Another great point. Where I'm at (VERY rural area), if I walked in anywhere attempting to simply "sell", I'd be laughed at...or worse...

    For me, the down to earth approach is the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    FACT: A poor sales message will STILL be a poor sales message in ANY medium.

    Someone who can't clearly show the value or benefits they can provide a business by direct response marketing messages, most likely won't do any better in person when the business regrets wasting their busy time to listen to a salespitch.

    Some people are much more charismatic in person than they are by written communication, others have a talent for writing that doesn't necessarily come across as strong in person...

    There is no "one method" for getting better results, there is only what works for the individual marketer, but most likely the problem is not the "communication tool" used, but the marketing message being given.

    Fix the message and more people will see much better results.

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author patadeperro
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      FACT: A poor sales message will STILL be a poor sales message in ANY medium.
      GReat quote Dexx, that is why I think the best way to test your marketing message is with a little PPC campaign, the campaign with the highest CTR needs to be rolled out in other media (newspaper, business cards, faxes, etc...) as well as in the face to face meetings.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Hey John - I love your JV idea.

    The funny thing is, I absolutely enjoy public speaking and being up in front of loads of people, directing their attention...all of it. I've been a part-time professional magician for years - I get a kick out of presenting.

    From big corporate guys to backyard bar-be-ques (did I spell that right?) people are more or less the same. At least when it comes to entertaining.

    But face to face? I don't think I'd have a problem with that - I'd just be scared to go in and "pitch" myself. I think that's because I know how I feel every time I"m pitched something.

    And I don't want to be that guy. On the other hand, having an appointment set up because they want to see me after I've mailed or presented for a group...that's different to my nerves.

    That's why I love you idea. I've thought about speaking locally, and this would be another great way to do so.

    Have you used it with success? It sounds like it as it's your top tip. But I'd love to hear a recent sample or two.

    Anyhow, great stuff. There is obviously more interest if the prospects see you as the expert long before you hit them up first (although that way sounds successful too). I guess it's all about positioning.

    Thanks for the idea...
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  • Profile picture of the author ChildRoad-X
    wow good tips for newbie ... thanks for post it
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie41676
    I totally agree with you. I was a Realtor that turned to offline consult as well. I had a rough start getting seo clients. It was when I joined a BNI group in my area and was in front of business owners all the time, I started to get clents. Face to face is the best way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brenden Clerget
    I'm not really sure about this. I've found that cold calling has been one of my least effective methods.

    I've developed a method with some promo materials where I walk into the business owner's office, plop down my brochure and a pricing sheet along with a free book with my name on it, and within a day I get a phone call asking to set up a meeting to sell them practically.

    To each his own though
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  • Profile picture of the author fvandy
    I started by doing a couple of jobs for free and then getting referrals. This can be a great way to build a business.
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