The BIG problem you will face with offline clients

25 replies
I've been getting 'offline' clients for over six years now.

I never imagined that this would suddenly become the new trend here on Warrior Forum but it makes sense I guess.

It's a great way to create income, but here is my TOP thing to look out for..

MANAGE THE CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS

People who aren't exposed to Internet Marketing a lot will think it's some kind of magic bullet to getting clients.

If you are offering SEO Services for example, many business owners may expect to on the front page of Google, even if you've pre-warned them that this process can take time.

Here's a full article we wrote (it's a bit much to paste all in here)...

Unrealistic expectations of SEO | Web Marketing
#big #clients #face #offline #problem
  • Profile picture of the author timmykins
    Hehe, well that's just one of the problems you face with offline clients LOL.

    It's a good article though, and does highlight a problem that a lot of offliners face.

    Another problem is making them understand ROI. I was with a prospective client the other day and was explaining about SEO, she asked how much and I gave her a monthly figure. She said oh that's a lot, but when I explained about spending a pound to get 2 or 3 or more in return, then it is an investment rather than a cost, she agreed and signed up!

    I'm sure others will have different big problems too.

    Cheers

    Tim
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Managing expectations is one thing that will keep your clients happy and you happy. Much less trouble if you don't leave them with unrealistic expectations.
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    • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      Managing expectations is one thing that will keep your clients happy and you happy. Much less trouble if you don't leave them with unrealistic expectations.
      Absolutely. We document what we do for the clients and send them monthly reports so they can see that they are paying for something semi-tangible.
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  • Profile picture of the author k60mall
    I always try to under promise and over deliver with regards to ranking. These off line clients haven't got a clue so tell them it will take 6 months to rank their site and do it in 3.

    Keith
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  • Profile picture of the author tonydbaker
    Client expectations are always a difficult tasks in any marketing media. Here's the problem. Each and every client is different.

    So if a salesperson says that we have a pizza guy who's getting at least 40 calls a month because of our ads and they tell that to a roofer... the roofer is (for some unknown reason) going to expect 40 calls a month. So the salesperson isn't lying, and quite frankly might even believe that anybody could get 40 calls a month.

    The difference? People have to eat (usually at least once a day)... but in most cases we only need a new roof on our house after a major storm or after a long time of normal exposure. So chances are.. still being a competitive market, the roofer's not going to get 40 calls a month.

    The roofer calls back ticked because he only got 1 new client this month. He doesn't realize the fact that he's paying less than $299 a month to earn a $10k client. Even after expenses, they should profit at least $2k if he's doing his business right.

    I actually had a roofer cancel a $299/mo service because they only had 21 calls in a month. Even though we did a great job, the salesperson didn't set expectations properly.

    Doh!
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    • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
      Originally Posted by tonydbaker View Post

      I actually had a roofer cancel a $299/mo service because they only had 21 calls in a month. Even though we did a great job, the salesperson didn't set expectations properly.

      Doh!
      Another great example of why we need to get all the people involved on board. It's really easy for the sales guy to say "these leads are no good" to deflect the blame from him to us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Actually, and after some serious lousy experiences with small business owners, we are dropping them one by one.

    Sometimes (and more often with small business owners - uneducated web wise) the time we spend working for them for a small profit is much more optimized if we're a) grabbing bigger clients (educated web wise) and b) working for ourselves (top ranking sites in very profitable niche markets).

    Manage expectations to uneducated crowds it's difficult and you need an angels patience to work with some of them...

    Thanks for the article OP.
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    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Great point.

      Also with ongoing clients it's important to talk with them on a regular basis about the results you've been getting for them (ideally in terms of real profits...assuming you've been getting them real profits).

      After a while business people have a tendency to look at fees as a cost instead of an investment that's producing a positive return.

      If they're constantly being reminded of the positive return they're getting from your service it's easy for them to see that it would be stupid to stop paying you.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
        Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

        Great point.

        Also with ongoing clients it's important to talk with them on a regular basis about the results you've been getting for them (ideally in terms of real profits...assuming you've been getting them real profits).

        After a while business people have a tendency to look at fees as a cost instead of an investment that's producing a positive return.

        If they're constantly being reminded of the positive return they're getting from your service it's easy for them to see that it would be stupid to stop paying you.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh

        Any good tips for doing this?

        For me, it's:

        • Meeting every so often face to face.
        • Sending marketing tips n tricks.
        • Christmas cards (forgot this year tho).
        • Seminars they can come to if they like.

        Any other thoughts on retaining clients. Apart from providing an awesome service of course.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          We're dumping all the small business owners. Their expectations have been set too way high by wannbees overrunning everywhere like insects and don't know what they're doing.
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          • Profile picture of the author David_Nilsson
            Originally Posted by myob View Post

            We're dumping all the small business owners. Their expectations have been set too way high by wannbees overrunning everywhere like insects and don't know what they're doing.
            lol, that's the funniest thing I read all morning.
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          • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
            Originally Posted by myob View Post

            We're dumping all the small business owners. Their expectations have been set too way high by wannbees overrunning everywhere like insects and don't know what they're doing.
            How about re-educating them?

            I meet a TON of people that have been burned by crappy SEO companies. When I meet them they have usually given up on SEO.... so that's exactly how I start the conversation and if they are still serious about marketing online I can usually demonstrate how we are different from the idiots out there.

            We also do seminars in our local area. This helps a LOT to build our credibility. When we meet people they assume we are trustworthy. Which we are of course :p
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            • Profile picture of the author myob
              Originally Posted by freelance4money View Post

              How about re-educating them? ...
              Our prices are not really competitive for the small fries, who are getting promised everything for next to nothing. And "re-educating" is not what we do. I'm refocusing on larger companies and offering a suite of other services such as mobile marketing, telecommunications, consulting, etc as well as SEO and web design.
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              • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
                Originally Posted by myob View Post

                Our prices are not really competitive for the small fries, who are getting promised everything for next to nothing. And "re-educating" is not what we do. I'm refocusing on larger companies and offering a suite of other services such as mobile marketing, telecommunications, consulting, etc as well as SEO and web design.
                Ah ok, that's cool. Just don't spread yourself too thin (i'm sure you won't).
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  • Originally Posted by freelance4money View Post


    MANAGE THE CLIENTS EXPECTATIONS

    People who aren't exposed to Internet Marketing a lot will think it's some kind of magic bullet to getting clients.

    If you are offering SEO Services for example, many business owners may expect to on the front page of Google, even if you've pre-warned them that this process can take time.
    So true - I have commented on this in a few posts and some have taken it as a comment just to deter the competition. Nothing could be further from the truth; I hate to see any business get taken and I really hate to see Internet Marketers getting a bad rap from those scammers and wannabes.

    Take the time to build your own business and not just grab some cash. Once you work on your business, you will understand what it takes to be successful for the long-term. Long-term success takes commitment, persistance and attention to customer service. If you tell your client something, make sure you then manage their expectations by providing:
    • Realistic expectations
    • Feedback on what you promised
    • Printed status reports
    How does this work? If you tell them what to expect, make sure it is happening. If not, call them and provide feedback on the situation and what you are doing about it.

    Why printed status reports? Anyone can send an email with statistics. Imagine the impact when you provide automated reports along with your analysis and your next steps.

    Once you begin working with a client to provide the information they need to understand what you are doing, you can expand the services you provide to the client because you now have their trust and respect. Much easier to increase services than get new clients!
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Jenkins
      Banned
      I've noticed the same thing. I make sure to tell clients that while the internet can drastically increase their business it takes time like anything else. I've started putting this into my agreements with people because they have a way of forgetting and turning a blaming finger on me later.

      With the document in hand I can look, it even say's right here it'll take time. This has a way of cooling them down right away. Something about having things in writing makes it much better in my opinion. Then they have no legs to stand on.

      Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Always under promise and over deliver. The will LOVE you for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author MWGrubb58
    It's also important to look at the business from a number of angles.... not just the internet.
    While you are getting things set up for the client on the 'Net, you can reactivate old customers, set up referral systems, cut costs, improve conversions in the business outside of the internet, and create systems for the company.

    Of course, with you doing all of this, you can get a lot more money from your clients.

    Managing expectations may be as simple as getting X number of new customers a month for a client.

    Be very specific in what you will do and you should have no problems.
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    • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
      Originally Posted by MWGrubb58 View Post

      It's also important to look at the business from a number of angles.... not just the internet.
      While you are getting things set up for the client on the 'Net, you can reactivate old customers, set up referral systems, cut costs, improve conversions in the business outside of the internet, and create systems for the company.

      Of course, with you doing all of this, you can get a lot more money from your clients.

      Managing expectations may be as simple as getting X number of new customers a month for a client.

      Be very specific in what you will do and you should have no problems.

      The interesting thing that we've found is that many clients have never measured 'any' kind of marketing activity in an accurate way. So as soon as you start getting them to track leads, conversions, online traffic etc ... they'll get more useful info than they've had for ages.
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      • Profile picture of the author jacquic
        Originally Posted by freelance4money View Post

        The interesting thing that we've found is that many clients have never measured 'any' kind of marketing activity in an accurate way. So as soon as you start getting them to track leads, conversions, online traffic etc ... they'll get more useful info than they've had for ages.
        Yes, and rather than suggesting it, INSIST that they start tracking calls NOW, so they know exactly where the leads have come from. Amazing how many say they will, and don't. Make sure you or they train their staff propely to do this too.
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      • Profile picture of the author teaball
        Originally Posted by freelance4money View Post

        The interesting thing that we've found is that many clients have never measured 'any' kind of marketing activity in an accurate way. So as soon as you start getting them to track leads, conversions, online traffic etc ... they'll get more useful info than they've had for ages.

        That's why YP advertisers are such a good ocean of prospects. They don't know what they got, if anything.

        I really don't want to educate anyone... even about this. If they aren't advertising, I won't talk with them about anything.

        TB
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        The short cut to success is always the long cut for lasting success.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
    Remember that clients have selective hearing as well. I built a website for a client. Which I normally don't do but it was a simple site so I figured why not. I told him it would take time to start ranking (multiple times). Sent him the mock up and content which he approved and then sent him an email letting him know it was live.

    A day later I get a call from him stating that he is not showing up on the first page of google for any of the local keywords. I told him many times that it takes time to start ranking. He just didn't get it and still doesn't.

    But he now has multiple 1st page 1st position keywords.

    Just sent him an email with that info all broken out for him. Not a peep. Oh well.
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    • Profile picture of the author grin
      Yeah I think one of the benefits and curses of many business owners that I have noticed is that they expect simple solutions NOW. That works when you are dealing in hard goods and easy to understand services (like roofing etc.) but when it comes to information based value and industry, most of them stand in AWE of facebook and throw fits why they are not as big. They overlook the movie hype and look past the reality that many IT based projects have to follow a term of development. Too much microwave push button mentality.
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    • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
      Originally Posted by mrmatt View Post

      Remember that clients have selective hearing as well. I built a website for a client. Which I normally don't do but it was a simple site so I figured why not. I told him it would take time to start ranking (multiple times). Sent him the mock up and content which he approved and then sent him an email letting him know it was live.

      A day later I get a call from him stating that he is not showing up on the first page of google for any of the local keywords. I told him many times that it takes time to start ranking. He just didn't get it and still doesn't.

      But he now has multiple 1st page 1st position keywords.

      Just sent him an email with that info all broken out for him. Not a peep. Oh well.

      Typical. Maybe sometimes people need a slap
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