Do clients care if you are local or not?

30 replies
Hi,

For you guys who deal with offline clients for SEO or other web work, are they more open to working with you if they know that you have a local presence (even just a local mail box)?

Thanks
#care #clients #local
  • Profile picture of the author Jim Schaub
    I would say that giving them security in any way you can would be what you want to do. Provide great customer service and show them the right benefits for their business and you should be good. If they like you, they'll work with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdmiralGloom
    bringinrevenue got it on the money.

    A lot of people are still very "old school" and in most cases people like seeing someone looking back at them
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    • Profile picture of the author donhx
      Yes, the "feeling of security" issue could be important, but it goes beyond just having a PO Box or something like that. The best way to build confidence in some clients is by personal meetings, but that raises several issues.

      First, if you plan to meet with clients, and they come to you, you need some kind of office, even if it is a home office where you can meet in an quiet, somewhat professional setting. But Starbucks will work too.

      Second, if you meet at their place of business, travel time is involved, and the larger your service area, the bigger the problem. It takes time, energy and expense to meet with people, and very often they just want to "pick your brain" for free.

      I have solved these issues by agreeing to talk for free on the phone, email, or by Skype. If a personal meeting is required outside a 10 mile radius, before they pay my retainer, I get a consulting fee upfront that covers my basic time and expense. I get that in full before I leave for the meeting.

      BTW, video Skype is soooo good. People get the face-to-face meeting they want, but there is no travel. Skype, which is free, has become a very important tool to me.

      My views on personal meetings may seem harsh, but it comes from years of experience. People too often want your time and experience for free, and that doesn't pay the bills. It is very difficult to make up the difference by adding it to your fees (IF you get them as a client) because of the present market where so many are willing to work for so little.

      The real answer is to build a solid client base of good paying people who value your services. I always go the extra mile (or 100 miles) for such clients.

      EDIT: Didn't see your latest post about face-time until after I posted this. Maybe my comments about that will be helpful to others, so I'll leave it. More to the point, yes, I think a virtual address is good. It helps keep personal and business separate. I use one for all my business matters.
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      • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
        Originally Posted by donhx View Post

        Yes, the "feeling of security" issue could be important, but it goes beyond just having a PO Box or something like that. The best way to build confidence in some clients is by personal meetings, but that raises several issues.

        First, if you plan to meet with clients, and they come to you, you need some kind of office, even if it is a home office where you can meet in an quiet, somewhat professional setting. But Starbucks will work too.

        Second, if you meet at their place of business, travel time is involved, and the larger your service area, the bigger the problem. It takes time, energy and expense to meet with people, and very often they just want to "pick your brain" for free.

        I have solved these issues by agreeing to talk for free on the phone, email, or by Skype. If a personal meeting is required outside a 10 mile radius, before they pay my retainer, I get a consulting fee upfront that covers my basic time and expense. I get that in full before I leave for the meeting.

        BTW, video Skype is soooo good. People get the face-to-face meeting they want, but there is no travel. Skype, which is free, has become a very important tool to me.

        My views on personal meetings may seem harsh, but it comes from years of experience. People too often want your time and experience for free, and that doesn't pay the bills. It is very difficult to make up the difference by adding it to your fees (IF you get them as a client) because of the present market where so many are willing to work for so little.

        The real answer is to build a solid client base of good paying people who value your services. I always go the extra mile (or 100 miles) for such clients.

        EDIT: Didn't see your latest post about face-time until after I posted this. Maybe my comments about that will be helpful to others, so I'll leave it. More to the point, yes, I think a virtual address is good. It helps keep personal and business separate. I use one for all my business matters.
        Spoken like a true professional Donhx! You can only get this through experience and pounding the pavement in the "real world" talking to enough business owners.

        To Your Offline Success,

        Chris Negro
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          However, if you can generate clients for a business and have the results to prove it, it really doesn't matter whether you are in Pittsburgh or Pakistan.
          This is not for you to decide, whether or not it matters. It's for the client to decide.

          Some local business owners prefer to do business face to face. It's the way they are used to establishing/feeling trust. It's not necessarily that they are backward or old-fashioned. It's a strong preference, and it has a lot to with why they chose a bricks-and-mortar business to begin with, because they like dealing with people they can see.

          In addition, when hiring certain types of services, some people feel they have more recourse with other local businesses in case something goes wrong. For myself, when I hired a virtual assistant I wanted someone in my state to give me more legal leverage in case of a dispute even though nearly all the work could be done by someone far away.

          You discount such feelings at your peril. Understanding the customer is part of business.

          Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author Delta223
    I guess I should state the purpose of the question. I'm considering getting a virtual mailbox to emulate a physical presence in an area where I do some work for local clients. Obviously there is no face time involved for the type of work I do.

    Do you guys think the physical address would make clients feel more at ease with doing business?
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    • Profile picture of the author IM Outsider
      Personally, I think results are the name of the game. Sure it helps if you are local and have a feel for the area and the clientelle. However, if you can generate clients for a business and have the results to prove it, it really doesn't matter whether you are in Pittsburgh or Pakistan.
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      • Profile picture of the author Venturetothetop
        Many companies do not see themselves in the major league and thus want a friendly local face who will do a job that well for them and will help them when they have issues. For some reason they believe the larger companies will ignore them as they are not big enough.

        My website is in English but since im based in Munich a number of local Germans contact me in German asking if I can help them and if they can come and visit me. Personal contact is still important for many people.

        Even some of the much larger companies I consult for will not part with large amounts of cash without a personal visit. For me, personally I prefer face to face as I enjoy building relationship alongside my business.
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  • Profile picture of the author myeanne
    For me, clients do not care whether you're a local or not as long as you're giving them the right service that they're looking for.
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    • Profile picture of the author jeanpeyton
      Some of the clients do care about it, but most of them don't care whether you're a local or not, especially if they are hiring people for virtual online work. They won't care as long as you're providing them the service they need.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    I think they would feel more comfortable and better "security" when they know where you are and where to come if they ever need to touch up with you in person. There are too many spams and fraud out there so I think if they provide the same service and not much diff in prices... a company would probably more likely to choose the local one.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Not really, and that is a good thing. My nearest client lives 100 miles away, and my furthest client is on the other side of the planet.
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  • Profile picture of the author CyberSorcerer
    Being that I freelance in a number of different areas I have clients all over the World. And actually, I don't even have a client in my own state let alone locally.

    Thank god for the internet and Skype.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Some want you to be local, others dont care. The important thing is to be clear about what you offer and find the people who relate to THAT. If the only way you can do business is nationally, then you cant base an entire marketing strategy on what a few people prefer, you have to base it around what you do, then focus on the market that your offer appeals to. You have to sort through the prospects to find those people.

    The same guy that tells me yes, might say no to another person... you arent gonna find a market where everyone you talk to is an exact match for what you are offering... even on google you will get a thousand impressions of people who searched your keyword, for just a handful of actual sales.

    No matter what you offer, 80% of the people you contact are still gonna say "not interested". So its just best to be clear about what you offer, and get to the twenty percent that harmonize with your offering.

    In the same town, in the same local community, you will find both those who only deal with local people, and also those who will respond to a national organization just as well...

    Be clear about what you offer and go out and find people that will work with your particular offer... even though some people arent going to work with you, your twenty percent is still there if you put your offer out there. You just have to weed thm out like everyone else has to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mikewon
    i'm happy bbecause my clients are children..
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  • Profile picture of the author rohnsmith
    I think , some of the big business owners trusts face to ace conversation and office located in their geographical location than other service provider...
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Originally Posted by Delta223 View Post

    For you guys who deal with offline clients for SEO or other web work, are they more open to working with you if they know that you have a local presence (even just a local mail box)?
    Not really.

    I've had clients from all over the world and I can tell you that trust is something you build in your interaction with prospects and clients.

    It is the foundation for getting hired.

    It certainly is easier to build that trust face to face but you can do it by phone or skype...you can even do it by email.

    It's just more difficult the more remote you are.

    In other words if you can talk to a business owner face to face your chances are going to be better building trust and rapport than if you talk on the phone.

    If you talk on the phone your chances are better than if you just exchange email.

    But it can be done any way.


    The real key is understanding that business owners will hire you if they trust you and they think you'll make them back more profits than they pay you.

    The easiest way to build that trust is to ask questions about their business and them and spend a lot of time listening.


    Also remember that business owners aren't stupid.

    If you have a post office box in their city but it's obvious you're from out of town that is likely to set off some red flags and make you look like a con man.

    Being honest and open and focusing all your conversations and marketing approaches on them and what they want and need works better.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author sfossy
    Yes i would agree with that, if i see that a company i am hiring has a local presence and with a proper mailbox then a feeling of security comes in me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      While I agree you could get clients without meeting them, I personally like to meet them face to face.

      It makes them more real, and it makes me more real.

      I do have plans to have a personal greeting video on a new site I'm putting together - but likely will not take on anyone who I can not connect with in person.

      Even if it's just once or twice up front, I think this is a quick way to build trust.
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  • Profile picture of the author florincms
    Yes for sure. It is dificult to me to get clients that aren't local because they trust me more if they see me face to face
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    I think a few hit it on the head: At the end of the day, clients need to feel they can trust you with their money. If you can get that trust over the phone/email, then you've won. If it's easier for you to go face to face and build that trust, then you've won.

    Having said that, SEO services is the new "loans". A lot of the loan guys I know that had 100-300 seats switched gears and started pitching "SEO" services. That being said, it's much more difficult to build that TRUST over the phone now because SEO services is the "new" product everyone wants to sell - so business owners are hammered on the phones all day/week with pitches.

    Keep that in mind when pitching your potential clients over the phone... and build that TRUST!
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    With Skype and GoToMeeting, you can have clients Globally.
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  • Profile picture of the author MsMotivation1
    Some of them don't care... but I chose to start in my local area to get the experience and then branch out to other areas.

    When I speak to potential clients that I have emailed or called, a lot of them do ask this question right off the bat: "Are you local?"

    I was surprised because going into this, I didn't think it mattered.

    But as some people have stated, some business owners are "old school" and like to work with other local businesses.

    It can be done either way though!
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    • Profile picture of the author ccd
      Originally Posted by MsMotivation1 View Post

      When I speak to potential clients that I have emailed or called, a lot of them do ask this question right off the bat: "Are you local?"

      I was surprised because going into this, I didn't think it mattered.

      But as some people have stated, some business owners are "old school" and like to work with other local businesses.

      It can be done either way though!
      My experience has been different. I've made thousands of cold calls and emails, and so far I've only encountered 2 potential clients for whom being unable to meet face to face was a deal breaker.

      In fact, the majority of interested prospects don't even ask where I'm located.

      Of course, I'll never know how many non-responders were uninterested in my services because I wasn't local to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I think its more about your approach. Some approach with a high volume low cost residual income strategy, others want only a handful of clients that pay a large fee.

    I know a guy who has built a multi million dollar residual income by giving people a web page in a directory for only $24.95 per month with the first 30 days free, and he has 8.00 per hour telemarketers selling it nationally on a one call close all day long. He has been doing it for 10 years and still retains half the customers my crew wrote up for him ten years ago, and he has never spoken to even one of them...

    Others want only a handful of clients and they want to maintain a personal relationhip with them, and maybe they make 10k per month off of only having 5 clients total, which is very cool.

    There are different approches. Alot depends on your strategy honestly.

    I dont think one approach is more professional than another, just different kinds of professionals.

    John Bowers (my friend) is quite professional and also quite prosperous.
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  • Profile picture of the author fvandy
    I agree that a local presence helps, but is not necessary. Clients just want to be comfortable that you can help them and do what you say. That can be done on the phone.
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  • Originally Posted by Delta223 View Post

    Hi,

    For you guys who deal with offline clients for SEO or other web work, are they more open to working with you if they know that you have a local presence (even just a local mail box)?

    Thanks
    All they want is more customers. That should be your mindset going into it. Give them a free week of your service. Use a tracking # to track your leads. After a week, set up billing.
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  • Most of my clients are not local. What many have said here is true..build trust, ask questions, listen.

    I've had great success with putting a 10-15 minute screen shot video analysis together for prospects that I know I can help. With a personal approach you can show you are an expert and you care about their business, educate them (enough to know that they need you), and build trust without meeting them in person.

    I also put together screen sharing sessions with clients that help to solidify the relationship. You'd be surprised how many people are blown away when I'm moving the mouse on their computer screen from 3000 miles away.

    Clients all have their own feeling about using a local SEO instead of a Big Box brand...the bottom line is people do business with people they know, like and trust.

    Videos work well for me. I also put monthly video reviews together for my clients. They absolutely love it and I'm sure it helps with retention. In 13 months, I've signed 26 clients with 24 of them are still on a monthly marketing program ranging between $247 and $697 per month.

    I don't know of many other businesses where you can get close to 6 figures this fast.

    Thank goodness Al Gore invented the internet! hehe
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