It is not as easy as the "gurus" say it is, I can tell you that.
And trying to really make a difference for these business owners, that is a full time job.
Just running down usernames and passwords, you'd think you were after the dead sea scrolls.
They refuse to follow the simplest directions, they are the biggest cry babies, constantly complaining about the economy this and the economy that, but never taking action to improve their own situation.
And when you give a solid recommendation that will bring them more customers, and even back it up with real life case studies, they suddenly become a marketing expert and tell you 100 reasons why that won't work for their business.
They pay late and even then, you have to hound them for payment like you are a collection agency for the IRS.
And I get the fact that they are so bombarded with BS, scam nonsense from the likes of eLocal, YellowBook, adzzoo, WSI, etc., etc. everyday, and that it is no wonder they don't trust anyone, but my point is they are getting so good at lying too it makes our job more difficult than ever.
But it doesn't have to be that way, IF, you begin targeting the right business owners.
I have a handful of local consultants here in California that I have been mentoring, and while there are a number of factors that contribute to their struggles, I have identified the top 5.
1. Lack of focus. See #2.
2. Trying to shot gun every conceivable solution. Pick a single foot in the door solution and sell that to every prospect.
3. Hopeium. Stop believing you have a deal until the check is cashed. How many of these guys were celebrating all half-cocked when ultimately no deal was consummated. Even if a prospect says YES! wait until the check is cashed to celebrate.
4. Only meet with 9 and 10s. You need to be preaching to the choir when it comes to selecting business owners to do business with. If you have to teach them why marketing (let alone internet marketing) is important and they should be doing it, you are dead in the water.
Most new consultants are spending 100% of their time chasing the 1s and 2s. Even if they get them to sign, they will be a nightmare.
The 80/20 (more like the 90/10) rule applies here too.
10% of your clients will account for 90% of your income, why not build your consultancy with more clients that are just like that 10%?
5. Only meet with prospects that are already spending at least $1,000+ per month on advertising. Personally, I go after the $10K+ per month advertisers now. Sure, it is a longer process to seal the deal, but then again, you are earning 4-5 figures per month from one client.
In my experience, if you can stay focused, stick with one service to get your foot in the door, set aside your hopeium and concentrate on those prospects that get marketing and are spending money every month on advertising.
You'll have a chance at success at being a local business consultant.