Tip For New Offliners

24 replies
One thing I learned along the way (since '04) is this: there is no point in wasting time with people that doesn't understand the internet like WE do - or at least people with a similar way to look at things, ie: the internet is NOW and the approach plan HAS to be objective.

I'll explain:

Some offline business owners don't care about rankings, a clever sales funnel, etc. And they tend to be like donkeys - don't want to learn simple stuff, new facts. The time you waste with them is VITAL time (and resources) you should be applying somewhere else, with someone else. In the end you'll waste time, money and your brain with people that doesn't get it.

This year had 2 perfect examples:

One, a guy that ignores the internet, mid 30's. Lives really far away from us, like 300km south. Owns a company with his dad. Now he's taking control. Asked us to help him make sales online. He read some reports about Adwords and SEO success.

Two, a guy that ignores the internet, also mid 30's. Owns a company with his brother. Asked us to help them make sales online. Someone told him "it's was easy". This guy lives in the same city as we do.

Keep in mind I met these 2 guys at the beginning of the year.

Client One got a high end quote for a proper website, 50-75 articles with 1500-2000 words each, everything REALLY optimized inside that site (ain't talking about seo plugins), a unique design, and specific sales funnel to bring him more customers or at least the contact of these potential customers, among other stuff. We created a plan for him to be a WINNER in his niche:

Site. Content. Sales Funnels (Yes, 3 of them). Pitch approach. Customer retention. One year of strategy included with all the obligatory items. And everything else you can think of.

Client Two got also the exact same thing - although in a different market, and with slightly differences.

Keep in mind these were HIGH end quotes. Not the usual "poison" of 500$ websites and "it's so cool!!"

Now, here we are, December 2011. Guess what?

Client One, got informed about MY company, about SEO, about MARKETING, and finally decided to move on. He drove 600km to meet us personally in my hometown, to sign the contract and spend the whole day with us. Now he's the proud owner of a Top 3 website for his keywords - and although the financial crisis is hitting everyone, he still makes thousands per month, thanks to that powerful site, and objective sales funnels. In fact, he's one of our best customers now.

Client Two, well, had more then 5 PAID meetings with them, and they simply don't get it. It's not even about the money - I am paid to speak with them. It's their attitude. "Oh why orange?" - Cause you sell a low cost product and it's THE perfect color for low cost products. "Oh and what about the menus? Can't we make them bigger?" - Yes we can BUT that way you'll lose your sales funnel, people will ONLY see a menu - not the products or benefits.

And so on.

Get my point? Even if client Two gets a contract with us, it will be a pain. They'll never understand what we do and WHY we do it THAT way. It will be like a bad marriage.

If you're starting your Offline ventures this is one advice I want to give you:

ONLY deal with people that, at the very least, is open to listen to you, and to understand you know what you're doing. Otherwise you'll be wasting time, money and your focus.

Have a great 2012 - Online and Offline!
#offliners #tip
  • Profile picture of the author Aesop87
    Very true! While I think it is vital to educate clients on the value of your services, it is vital to be reading them simultaneously. Do they respect your experience as a marketer and ask questions that contribute to your meeting, or do they make assumptions about their customers and by proxy the marketing itself?

    Client one may not be internet savvy, but he seems to possess an open mind, which is critical for success in business. Client two made a thousand assumptions and wasted his time and money trying to prove himself right. Regrettable, but it's a teachable moment for anyone looking to get into a business: you don't know everything. If some aspect of business is not in your skill set, there is nothing wrong with seeking out honest help from someone who knows how to get things done.

    For marketers, there is another clear takeaway: you hire and fire your clients. This mindset will make your business far more efficient, enjoyable, and profitable in the long run.

    Great post Fernando -- will definitely be following you in the future.
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Fernando ,

      How is that sales crew you were putting together coming along?

      Are you guys ready to start the new year off with a bang?
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      • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        Fernando ,

        How is that sales crew you were putting together coming along?

        Are you guys ready to start the new year off with a bang?
        How you doin' Ken?

        I will start the year with a bang, thats for sure But the sales team is on hold for now. After some (not so good) tests we decided to change the plan just a little bit.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rollmodl
          You explained this issue perfectly. To keep it short, I tried to sell a full marketing campaign to a customer but all they kept inquiring about was Facebook as it was the god of all marketing. In the end, they didn't not go with my services which I was glad in a way. Too many headaches with people that dont grasp the concept.
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        • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
          Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

          How you doin' Ken?

          I will start the year with a bang, thats for sure But the sales team is on hold for now. After some (not so good) tests we decided to change the plan just a little bit.

          that's too bad. Chin up bro, you will get there

          Does your plan B have anything to do with one changing up to phone sales?
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          • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
            Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

            that's too bad. Chin up bro, you will get there

            Does your plan B have anything to do with one changing up to phone sales?
            Not for now, just Adwords > Landing Page system. The money we were investing in sales crew will be used to sell "some" services without the need for training, information disclosure, etc etc.

            But in the end we'll always need a different approach to high end customers...
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    • Profile picture of the author Sukant9791
      Very true...Completely agree with you!!
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  • Profile picture of the author godinu
    The one thing we can't know when meeting with a client the first time is how savvy they are. But what we can do is speak their language -- as many others have said, the business owner ultimately wants to know: "what is all this going to do for me/my business? How can it make me money?"

    If you can explain things in those terms, you are golden, otherwise, you are just speaking gibberish if the person doesn't "get" your service.
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by godinu View Post

      The one thing we can't know when meeting with a client the first time is how savvy they are. But what we can do is speak their language -- as many others have said, the business owner ultimately wants to know: "what is all this going to do for me/my business? How can it make me money?"

      If you can explain things in those terms, you are golden, otherwise, you are just speaking gibberish if the person doesn't "get" your service.
      Not my point with this, but that's fine.

      Guess you haven't been walking the walk, just talking the talk. Am I right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Somali
    Yes, it is very hard to deal some business to those people who really don't understand internet.. Even how many times you explained to them if their mind still not open, it's useless to spend your time with them..
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  • Profile picture of the author Awesomo
    thanks for this post. It's sums up how some of my clients are. I just have to try my best to educate them about SEM... It's not easy though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sue Bruce
    On the phone it's easier to identify and eliminate these people. In person, we have a vested interest in time and expenses so I would give them the benefit of the doubt.

    This is where pre-qualifying is very important. If you are cold calling in person this should still be a starting point for your sales strategy.

    It always boils down to 'time is money"
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  • Profile picture of the author MoMcbean
    Cool tip, thanks for the share.
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  • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
    Good post. I like to think I can smell these guys a mile away and unless I ever get desperate, I will steer clear.

    One thing I found interesting this year was how creating a product out of my video marketing service really changed the conversation. Having a well defined product eliminated all the questions about custom service options from the prospect. It is clear that the product is set, both in scope and price. We can then talk about whether the product is right for their business and we don't get mired in the details.

    This may not work for all services, but something to consider.
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    grrr...

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  • Profile picture of the author imsirigiri
    Orange color - Low cost product. Didn't know that. Thanks for the tip Veloso.

    I normally have 1 or 2 telephone calls to get an understanding of what whether they can at least brought into my sync or not. If they sound too ignorant, I pay them a visit.

    If they talk like trying to understand me, I go to them and talk.

    If they do not care and keep muttering on expenses and not-so-important aspects like how many fliers, how many keywords to focus on(even before starting), they get a good 'bye' from me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    Fernando,

    That's why I like the "Rent-A-Site" model. The guys that
    "Don't get it" either fire me or I fire them.
    Only keep the good ones.

    Hugh
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    "Never make someone a priority in your life who makes you an option in theirs." Anon.
    "Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon." -- Winston Churchill

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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Thanks so much for your feedback guys, keep them coming.

    One thing I found interesting this year was how creating a product out of my video marketing service really changed the conversation. Having a well defined product eliminated all the questions about custom service options from the prospect. It is clear that the product is set, both in scope and price. We can then talk about whether the product is right for their business and we don't get mired in the details.
    Thats a clever move, the more I create "products", the more I reckon this is a great move business wise. To be honest just today launched a new site to target a specific offline niche INSIDE a broader niche we work for years. But just felt the need to create a "product" just for them.

    Hugh,

    That's why I like the "Rent-A-Site" model. The guys that
    "Don't get it" either fire me or I fire them.
    Only keep the good ones.
    Thats radical but so true.
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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    Fernado, also have those same two types of clients many times over. Some people just 'get your value' and do everything to let you perform while others think you are an overpaid webmaster and constantly slow down even their own progress.

    I have two specific clients now where one is following his plan I gave him and training his staff while another dis-similar business right next door the guy NEVER returns my emails/text msgs, sends weird text messages for weird and vague changes to a non-producing website and wonders why it is not working correctly. When I quizzed the guy it was actually working perfectly generating one to two new customers a day. The guy still will not spend $100 to buy a good street sign but will spend $500 on a virtually useless path.

    Some clients take a bit to convince. It is like you place something subconscious in their mind and then one day out of the blue they call you and just GET IT! I love it when that happens.
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    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by RentItNow View Post

      Some clients take a bit to convince. It is like you place something subconscious in their mind and then one day out of the blue they call you and just GET IT! I love it when that happens.
      Hi John

      Guess I don't have that many miracles to show off :p A bit really important is this:

      Some people just 'get your value' and do everything to let you perform while others think you are an overpaid webmaster and constantly slow down even their own progress.
      I honestly hate it when THAT happens. I know this is all part of the game, but I feel sad when we're trying to help someone (often in very bad financial situations) and we can't GET there to perform what we know best.

      It's like a poison for me, thats why I try to avoid it.

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      • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
        Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

        I honestly hate it when THAT happens. I know this is all part of the game, but I feel sad when we're trying to help someone (often in very bad financial situations) and we can't GET there to perform what we know best.

        It's like a poison for me, thats why I try to avoid it.

        It is probably one of the most important lessons of my life (and one my mother says I need to learn because my dad did the same thing wrong) is thinking you can help everyone, even if they did not ask for the help. The important thing to remember is pay careful attention to what a business owner SAYS they need help with and help them with that however possible. Then start to add in the things you know they really need. It takes a bit and you may lose MANY clients before getting to that step but it does happen every so often. I've still not learned the lesson as I do it all the time with my kids and it usually backfires but my wife says the little "lectures" do help over time...just not as fast as you want it to happen!
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        I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
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        • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
          Originally Posted by RentItNow View Post

          I've still not learned the lesson as I do it all the time with my kids and it usually backfires but my wife says the little "lectures" do help over time...just not as fast as you want it to happen!
          +10000000.

          Funny how kids can teach us so much about business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elma
    Hi Fernando,
    I'm kinda new here and I'm glad I found your post. It actually helps to know that experienced people like yourself have some of the issues I've been facing. Your advice is great so thanks for sharing so openly about what you faced. I totally agree that it's necessary to identify the people who "get it" and be leery of those that don't or you can waste a lot of time. I've tried working with offline people on IM and many think there's nothing but Social Networking sites out there for marketing. Others want to "pick your brain" until it bleeds to see if they can get information without paying a fee. I'm going to keep looking around in here to get some more advice and support from experts like yourself. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author lauriean
    Do you think it helps to speak of the results they might expect, rather than the technicalities? Just wondering--does the "sell the sizzle, not the steak" approach work in the Local (offline) b2b arena? I'm just getting launched, and have some great partners who I can rely on to deliver the products, just trying to feel my way in terms of what to say to businesses. Thanks for the post!
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by Elma View Post

      I've tried working with offline people on IM and many think there's nothing but Social Networking sites out there for marketing. Others want to "pick your brain" until it bleeds to see if they can get information without paying a fee. I'm going to keep looking around in here to get some more advice and support from experts like yourself. Thanks!
      Hi Elma,

      Lot's of great information in here. To be honest I am NOT one of the most active contributors, but many people share how they "walk the walk", so I am sure you'll find some gems.



      Originally Posted by lauriean View Post

      Do you think it helps to speak of the results they might expect, rather than the technicalities? Just wondering--does the "sell the sizzle, not the steak" approach work in the Local (offline) b2b arena?
      Hi Lauriean,

      Sure does, in fact it's the most common approach - otherwise people get lost. Problem is when you face people trying to make you do something opposite of what YOU know it's best for them. That's when I get kind of worried.
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