Get yourself a bigger pair.... How I turned a $1000 web design client I met on a flight to Vegas into an $18,000 web marketing client and super-charged my confidence!
Hi warriors, I'm Urmil and I've been providing services to local businesses on and off ever since I dropped out of University back in 2000. Back then the internet was fairly new, well to me anyway and I had no ideas that one day i'd be making more money in a month than most of my fellow students would earn in a year after they graduated.
Don't get me wrong, education is important, and i've spent many a late night learning and applying internet marketing strategies over the past decade.
WHY I'M WRITING THIS CRAZY LENGTH POST!!!
I wanted to write this post to give back to you great warriors in the offline consulting market and inspire any newbies coming into this market by sharing a REAL STORY of one of my clients who paid me $1k to design a basic html website (yeah i know, who does that anymore... its all wordpress ...
AND how I built my credibility and confidence to then go back and charge him another $18,000 to develop a web marketing strategy for his business.
For the sake of this post, I'm going to call this client Paul. Paul and I, we'd never met but we were fortunate enough to be 2 of the top 40 consultants of a MLM company (yeah ok, we all do MLM at some point don't we...lol) and we were being sent to Vegas for a week of fun and training (more fun than training).
On the flight I'm sitting next to Paul and he's telling me all about his offline business and how times were tough. I asked him if he had a website and he didn't. In fact, he said it was one of the things he'd never seen the benefit of and really didn't see how it could work for his business. (how many of you warriors have heard that one before from clients?)
It was an eleven hour flight and I had a decision to make, either listen to Paul telling me how he's throwing all this money at yellowpages advertising and local newspaper ads and how its not working for him, or tell him how a website could help him. I chose the latter because well I just love talking about internet marketing
I didn't try to sell him a website though, since he didn't see the value in having one, instead I just spent some time trying to help him understand how, by having a presence online, he could attract visitors and invite them to learn more about his business and potentially generate some new customers.
LESSON NUMBER 1: Don't try to sell something to someone if they can't see the value in it. Its an upward struggle, frustrating as hell and frankly there's enough people who can see the value, go after them!
Anyway, after the trip I'm back in the UK. I decided to give Paul a follow up call and now I was keen to sell him on my (amateurish) website design service (I'd spent way too much in Vegas and needed to pay off some credit cards). Its funny how having some debts to pay can be a great motivator to take action.
I arranged to go and see him and although I had no idea what I was going to sell him, in fact I didn't even have a website of my own nor was I any good at designing them.
What i did have was a couple of results and case studies of small projects i'd done for some other clients (not the best, but sometime I could show him).
I also knew that Paul didn't have a website, so the least I could do for him is to get his business online with a website.
LESSON NUMBER 2: ALWAYS FOLLOW UP WITH PROSPECTS - this lesson alone can make you a fortune. When I started out, I felt uncomfortable to keep following up with clients, it felt like I was pestering them (and made me seem desparate). I later realised that I had a great service to offer and I guess I should let them tell me if they want me to stop contacting them. If I don't follow up myself then i'll never get their business!
It was a short meeting with Paul, nothing special and nothing technical. He agrees for me to design him a website for his business (html based cause I didn't know how to do wordpress back then) and we agree on $1000 after much negotiating from Paul ( I wanted $1500, he wanted to pay $500 ).
He writes me out a cheque there and then for the full amount. I was quite shocked at this because normally most of my clients back then wanted to either pay a small deposit and the balance when I'd finished their site or pay it all when i'd finished their site.
I didn't complain, I took his cheque and got to work. In fact, since that day I now make sure that everyone pays upfront.
LESSON NUMBER 3: Get the money upfront to help your cashflow and avoid non-payment issues - your services are worth it!
I'm not a graphic designer, nor do i enjoy html, so designing websites was probably the worst business I could have been in, but I want to set the record straight, providing services to offline businesses has NEVER failed to make me money whenever I have needed it.
I later learned you don't need to know anything about web design, html or graphic design, especially with amazing resources and talented people like in the warriors for hire section!
Back to Paul's website, I'd designed him a html based website (after reading many html tutorials online), registered a domain, got him some web hosting and within a few weeks, Paul had his business online (with probably the worst looking site on the planet).
LESSON NUMBER 4: Anyone Can Provide These Services To Local Business, You Just Need To Spend A Little Time Researching How To Do It or Get someone else to do it for you.
I searched the net for Paul's niche and found some topics about it and wrote a few articles, submitted to some article directories , I carried out a bit of on-page optimisation (no idea what that was back then, but everyone seemed to be talking about it, so I googled it, read up and then applied it to Paul's site).
About 1 month after i'd finished the site, i get a call from Paul, telling me how he's had so many compliments about the website and he'd had about 15 new customers. RESULT!!! (for him...)
LESSON NUMBER 5: WHAT MAY SEEM LIKE A BASIC UGLY WEBSITE TO YOU, IS A PIECE OF ART TO SOMEONE ELSE
I'd not discussed with Paul about a monthly recurring fee after building his website, and to be honest I was a bit nervous about how to bring that up and justify what I was charging him for, so I just left it. (what a wimp i was back then.. anyone else ever had the same problem?)
NOW FOR THE EXCITING PART- $18k - here I come...
$1000 a website project isn't that exciting, I could probably put money down that if you're reading this post, you could probably earn $1000 to design basic websites for local businesses(even if you're brand new), but what is exciting is going back to that same client and getting a further $18000 out of him...
I'm pretty sure if I had offered Paul a $18k marketing solution at the beginning, when he didn't really know me, had no reason to trust me, and I hadn't proved myself by creating a website that brought in some new business, he would have turned me down there and then and I would have lost lots of future revenue from him.
Anyway I didn't have the confidence to ask him for $18k anyway would you???
A little time goes by, several clients and some results later (my confidence was slowly growing), I decide to check up on Paul's site. I found that he was ranking on page 1 of google for 40 of his high traffic keywords through all the work I'd done (wow, i thought to myself, I actually know my sh*T!!!) I decided to give him a call and see how business was, (and to gloat naturally .
We're on the phone and Paul's telling me how 75% of his new business is coming from the website i'd designed for him and it was generating 1000s in profit each week. (a website i'd done for $1000). He'd also stopped spending $10,000 a year with yellowpages because my site was generating him so much business.
I physically felt sick, I'd worked my butt off and made a mere $1000 and this guys site was making him 1000s a week in extra profit and saving $10,000 in yellow page advertising because of me. Don't get me wrong, I was really happy for Paul but I finally realised how little I valued my own abilities.
I really had undercharged him and probably every other client I was working with at the time. I spent a fortune on my education and was delivering results for my clients for peanuts. IT WAS ALL MY OWN DOING!
LESSON NUMBER 6: YOUR TIME and SKILLS ARE ONLY WORTH WHAT YOU DECIDE they're WORTH and nothing less.
It was coming up to Christmas and I was short on money and time. Taking on too many low price time intensive web design clients will do that to you.
I really wanted to charge more and work less but I still had a self confidence problem (not sure why, but i'm sure everyone has it at some level).
Anyway, I attended Dan Kennedy's Info Summit in the US that year and spent close to $10k on educational info product (i'm a sucker for buying everything and piling it on the bookcase to gather dust).
I was on a mission to make that money back asap. I also wanted to get more clients that were willing to pay me more money. I had an idea, something I'd learnt at the Dan Kennedy event. It was that you need to position yourself as an expert and running a local seminar will do that for you!
SO THAT WAS DECIDED I WAS PUTTING ON A LOCAL SEMINAR...
I called up Paul and said I was thinking of putting on a small seminar for local business owners and would he be interested in coming (I hadn't even thought about how much to charge or what i'd cover), but i said it'd be about $800 for a 3 day event (first number that popped into my head), that'd cover the cost of the room and meals.
He was in, and within 30 minutes he'd invited a business associate as well.
Within 24 hours, i'd called several of my existing web design clients and had 14 confirmed attendees at $800 each to attend a 3 day seminar about internet marketing for local businesses.
LESSON NUMBER 7: PROVIDING SERVICES TO LOCAL BUSINESS INCLUDES PROVIDING EDUCATION AND INFORMATION (e.g. a seminar or workshop)
I had one of the attendees ask if he could email some of his contacts and within a few days I had another 8 more people attending my event. That's a total of 22 fully paid attendees ($17,600) . I couldn't believe it!!!
MY BIGGEST PROBLEM: I'd never run a seminar before, I wasn't the most confident speaker and most of the attendees were successful business people. I kept thinking to myself what if they don't find my information valuable, what if they want their money back. (i'm sure everyone has those fears...or maybe not, i know i did)
Lets jump forward, I put the seminar together with the help of a good friend (I needed the push) , I made sure I filmed the entire thing and got testimonials from everyone that attended.
LESSON NUMBER 8: VIDEO TESTIMONIALS FROM HAPPY CLIENTS WORK LIKE CRAZY WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO GET NEW CLIENTS
MY EXPERT STATUS WAS ESTABLISHED!!!
By the end of the seminar these successful business owners now saw me as the expert in my niche. And all I'd done was host the event, share my ideas and strategies together with my own opinions (stuff I knew, had learnt, tried and tested) and provide the information in a structured and easy to understand way). I did also show several real life case studies and examples of results I'd achieved, that probably helped as well.
BUT anyone can do this, I truly believe that... YES that means YOU too!
My confidence was through the roof and i think I needed to run this event and have these business owners pat me on the back to fully gain confidence in myself (i'm sure most of you guys are probably extremely confident but back when i did this event I wasn't)
LESSON NUMBER 9: YOU OFTEN NEED A PAT ON THE BACK FROM RESPECTED PEERS TO REALISE HOW GOOD YOU ARE! So surround yourself with some back patting peers!
After the event, I decided to follow up with Paul and some of the other attendees. I asked Paul about his thoughts of the event and whether anything i'd covered would help him in his business and whether he was planning on implementing any of it.
I'd shared all my secrets at the seminar, everything that I do for offline clients, even provided a 300 page manual and videos to watch, but Paul still wanted me to implement the strategies for his business. I couldn't understand it. I had taught him everything but still he wanted me to do it.
So I put together a proposal for a one off web marketing package for him (this included a re-build of his website using wordpress, video marketing, article marketing, listbuilding and a newsletter). I guess I must have been buzzing from the seminar or delusion (who knows...) but I priced the proposal at $18,000 for 3 months work.
Anyway he went for it. No questions asked, no negotiating or bartering. I couldn't believe it. He couldn't afford all $18k upfront, but we worked out $7500 upfront, and the remainder over the next 3 months. I was happy with that.
HOLY CR4P, thats the biggest value client i'd got from web marketing back then and he was one of my existing clients that paid a measely $1000 to design an entire website.
I was so intrigued about why Paul had agreed to pay me $18k to do what i'd taught him how to do at the seminar and also why he didn't try to knock down the price when a while ago he was trying to negotiate a better deal than $1000 to build his first business website.
His answer was simple and an eye-opener:
- The first site I'd designed had worked and produced some results for him. (my first transaction with him produced results)
- By inviting him to spend 3 days at my seminar, where I explained the benefits of internet marketing, I clearly demonstrated I knew what I was talking about and helped him see the benefits to his business in a focused environment. (built my credibility in a closed environment)
- Also he could see the calibre of other business owners in the room and they were all impressed with the content at the event (social proof)
- $18,000 was the price I'd asked for to do the work (i'd grown a bigger pair of b&$$s and had the confidence to ask for what I felt my time was worth)
Ever since that first seminar, i've used this following method as one of the strategies to consistently generate new clients who happily pay me in excess of $6000 for a web marketing solution.
Summary of one of the strategies I use to get my high paying clients:
- Offer a foot in the door low price service (usually web design or re-design - something that can be outsourced)
- Drive some traffic to the website for FREE (using basic strategies, article marketing, local directories, etc - again outsource it)
- Invite client to a local seminar (you run the event and become the expert)
- Follow up with a high price consulting and web marketing solution.
A lack of confidence seems to be the biggest killer of dreams for most who venture into the offline consulting world. I hope it isn't for you. I hope my story has helped you see that anyone can make money in the offline world, if only you'd try it.
The biggest factor that helped me jump from charging $1000 to $18000 was a massive increase in my confidence. Of course, learning more about internet marketing, offering a more comprehensive solution and having some case studies also helped.
The point is if I hadn't offered a proposal to Paul at $18,000 to do his web marketing, someone else would have, probably someone like you from the warrior forum! So why not make sure you are the one who does whatever you have to build your confidence, because trust me there are hundreds of Paul's out there waiting ready to write you a cheque!
This is my story of how I gained my confidence and started making great money providing services to local businesses and online.
I'd love to hear about your experiences and how you overcame your lack of confidence (if you had one..) when you first started.
And more importantly what influenced you the most to start charging clients more money and when did you realise that you had a great service to offer local business?
Good luck in your busines and make sure you take action and charge what you're worth!