For many people who are new to Offline Marketing consulting (by 'new' I mean you either have never sold business consulting services to a local business client before or you don't have a systematic way for marketing and selling), the issue of credibility and being taken seriously is a big issue.
Logically, it makes sense for you to feel that no one will take you seriously or be willing to hire you if you've never had anyone pay you for what you're saying you can offer.
But that's logically thinking.
The reality of the situation is that local business owners are more concerned about what you can do for them and their business specifically.
In a conversation with a local business contact the other day this same topic came up. Her view was that if you've never provided the results you want to provide before, how can you (as a business consultant) legitimately say you can deliver for a local business?
My response back to this contact was as follows:
- Even if someone has worked for local businesses in the past, do you really expect them to go and get references from any past client that wasn't happy with their services?
- The fact that a local business consultant did deliver for one business is by no way a guarantee that they can do the same for your business
- What's more important to you? The fact that they claim they've done it before (whatever 'it' is in terms of a service or product) or that they can work with you to get the results YOU want in your business?
By the time we finished the discussion she was a lot wiser to the fact that, at the end of the day, her priority was in feeling confident that you can deliver for her business.
Not her 'type' of business, but her specific business situation.
That should be a comforting thought for you and should also help you understand where you should be placing your focus when it comes to planning your marketing and having selling discussions.
You should always focus on what you can deliver for that particular local business owner. What can you deliver for them based on their needs.
The fact that you read about the exploits of gurus and other people you feel are more competent than you (and who may indeed be more experienced and more competent than you), that doesn't mean that you cannot connect on a deep level with local business owners and get them to hire you even though yopu don't have past or any paying clients.
Consider what it is that you can provide for a specific local business specifically. Don't theorize and generalize.
For this to happen, it assumes you've got a particular local business you want to work with AND you understand their problems that they want to solve.
You can start out with a type of local business in order to understand the broad business problems that the type of business faces, but you can't generalize when you speak to Mr or Mrs business owner.
Through your contacts and discussions with them, you have to hone in and know what they are motivated to solve and eliminate.
Being new isn't a disease or a handicap - And remember. Even that local business owner had to start somewhere!
To your success.