15 Ways To Get Offline Consulting Clients

26 replies
I've used some of the following methods with great success, others I'll never use again, others I'm yet to use, just sharing some experience and ideas. Hope some of this helps someone get started and/or grow...

1. Start with friends and family members who need a job done or know someone who does.

While you might hate the notion of working too close to home, this is usually the fastest way to get started. Your friends and family members (or someone they know) are the same people other consultants are advertising to so why ignore them as a prospect?

Just be sure to avoid mixing business with pleasure here and don't work with people or their referrals if they are already well known to be a pain in the back side. My first client was a referral from a friend.

One of my favorite clients is the father of my son's best friend--we think alike and he has never been a pain, and is good with prior agreements--in other words a gentleman. I asked for his business card, saw his URL, visited it, saw he didn't even have a site, just had his URL on his card and closed him the same day. It's been a good relationship to date. I also treat him like royalty by the way--have to keep that friendship going despite the business dealings.

2. Advertise online... Facebook is a good place to start. You can also do Google and Yahoo PPC. And you can focus on ads on any location or country you want. Facebook got me prospects the same day. Not closed them yet but they are in my sales funnel for less than 9 cents for 1,000 impresssions. Not a bad investment even if I don't close them for 10 years--some prospects will be on your list for a LOOOOONG time before they buy a single thing.

3. Cold calling is not necessarily a bad thing. It has got me prospects and clients in the past. But I would rather just go with referrals these days. To get prospects, go through your local paper and magazines for advertisers, pick up flyers etc, get their numbers and/or addresses, call, visit or drop off letters/proposals.

4. Take part in neighborhood networking events, also a great place to find clients.

5. You can also try blogging about your skills and knowledge, this will attract some prospects for sure.

6. Cold emailing and cold texting--not too keen on these, though again, they work for some. Just don't do blasts, pick and choose and make your emails/texts targeted to specific prospects.

7. Make friends with your next door neighbors (depending on your neighborhood) many of my prospects and some of my clients are neighbors I struck up conversations with. This can be tricky too especially if the relationship goes bad so be very careful with who you make offers to and be very professional about any dealings.

8. Talk about what you do to people in your networks (I talk about my skills at church when I get a chance and this has gotten me a few clients). Some people will actually ask other members of your network and get you as a referral, this happens all the time. So make what you do known without being pushy or salesly and be ready to help others in the same communities, this always comes back to help you.

9. Do offline advertising, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers etc.

10. Hold your own seminars--free or pay-to-access (you'll need to advertise offline and/or online to get the word out).

11. Get in the news for something awesome you can do for your local community, try to get interviewed on radio and/or TV. Set up interviews yourself and post them online in video, audio and PDF.

12. Put some great resources e.g. links to sites people would really benefit from, share mind blowing free advice. Add your "resource box", burn the info on CDs, print your contact info on the back of the CD and give these away in any way you can on and offline. Drop them off via courier to local businesses, share them in your neighborhood, other communities.

13. Offer to speak for free at local meetings, seminars etc. It's a great way to help local businesses and to let people know you're an expert they can easily reach for further assistance.

14. Create products/services that have nothing to do directly with offline consulting and market those. Then market your offline services to the buyers you attract. I once did this with a piece of software I had created that helps individuals and business owners manage their finances and make income projections etc. Got my biggest client to date after marketing this product. You can do this by writing and selling books and ebooks too.

15. Once you HAVE a client list, USE your clients to get more clients. This is where I currently spend much of my efforts.

Cheers,

Kunle
#clients #consulting #offline #ways
  • Profile picture of the author lint631
    Hey some good tips in there. I'm going to hold a webinar in about a month with some useful information. To keep them hooked I will give away my services to 2 attendees (once in the middle of the presentation and then at the end). Then for about 5-10 minutes at the end I'll be showing what I do and how I can help. Of course giving them a link to sign up!

    I'll let you know how it works out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
      Originally Posted by lint631 View Post

      Hey some good tips in there. I'm going to hold a webinar in about a month with some useful information. To keep them hooked I will give away my services to 2 attendees (once in the middle of the presentation and then at the end). Then for about 5-10 minutes at the end I'll be showing what I do and how I can help. Of course giving them a link to sign up!

      I'll let you know how it works out.
      Yep, not a bad idea. I did the same give away at a networking event, gave away services to 3 people. 1 became a client later, the exposure also got me more prospects for later. Good luck with this and keep us informed of your progress I'm sure that will help someone.

      Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author Pamellalovely
    Nice post this is very useful information but can you explain me this point "Do offline advertising, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers etc."
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    • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
      Originally Posted by Pamellalovely View Post

      Nice post this is very useful information but can you explain me this point "Do offline advertising, newspaper and magazine ads, flyers etc."
      Thanks.

      Sure, what that means is buy advertising space in your local newspaper, whether that's black and white or color classified ads or larger space ads, you'll need to test to see what will work best for your own local market. You can also have flyers printed and distributed in large communities like outside churches, clubs, in banks, cinemas, etc. You can hire flyer distributors to help with that.

      Hope that's clearer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Everything is great except #1. I learned a long time ago, never do business with family or friends. If things go wrong it ruins your relationships.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      Everything is great except #1. I learned a long time ago, never do business with family or friends. If things go wrong it ruins your relationships.
      Thanks.

      The latter part is true but that's no reason to avoid the profits from friends and family like the plague and leave that to others to reap.

      Truth be told my best client to date is a friend.

      My best friend since we were teenagers referred me to his brother who has now referred me to his friends.

      Another friend introduced me to 2 more clients who I had to sack but that didn't ruin our relationship.

      There have been issues true, but if you're professional and level headed you can work them all out.

      Also like I said before avoid friends and family you know will be difficult to manage. For those who are themselves professional, why leave that money on the table?

      For me using existing connections to grow my businesses is a viable profit source and has been since about 2006.

      Everyone's experience is different. I'd say go with what works for you though.

      Cheers,

      Kunle
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    Great tips and for number one you can also offer the service to family and friends for free to build up your portfolio and testimonials :-)

    Or then ask for referrals from them.

    Thanks for sharing brother :-)

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      See no mention of direct mail to get your phone ringing.

      A company I've been dealing with recently gets 600 leads calling in every week.

      They use direct mail.

      Have a list of highly likely buyers and send an offer that's hard to refuse.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        See no mention of direct mail to get your phone ringing.

        A company I've been dealing with recently gets 600 leads calling in every week.

        They use direct mail.

        Have a list of highly likely buyers and send an offer that's hard to refuse.

        Best,
        Ewen
        Hi Ewen,

        Yep forgot that one. Have it in the oven to maybe try later down the line. The main issue with this though is it can get very expensive and you can't always guarantee response. But it IS viable for some local areas so sure don't discount this if it can work for you.

        Cheers,

        Kunle
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Originally Posted by Kunle Olomofe View Post

          Hi Ewen,

          Yep forgot that one. Have it in the oven to maybe try later down the line. The main issue with this though is it can get very expensive and you can't always guarantee response. But it IS viable for some local areas so sure don't discount this if it can work for you.

          Cheers,

          Kunle
          Kunle,

          Yes it is expensive when you stray away from winning formulas.

          right person + right offer + right time = money in the bank

          Best,
          Ewen
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          • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
            Originally Posted by April2012 View Post

            These are great tips Kunle. Thank you for sharing them.

            I haven't tried it yet, but I thought about contacting your local newspaper and see if they will do a 10 part series of articles about online advertising these can include Facebook, Mobile Marketing, E-Mail Marketing. Tell them you will do it for free if you can have a resource box with all of your contact information. That way you become an expert to anyone that reads your article in the paper.
            Funny how I never thought to do this before. I've been in print before locally as an expert contributor but never got any direct results. It was a new mag so maybe that was why. Will try this with larger circulation mags.

            Also many experts (I know I'm one) usually want to get paid to be in print. But looking at it now, that may not always be necessary. I have a client I will suggest this to as well who wanted to get paid to be in the local papers as a weekly contributor, but that was unlikely to happen easily--most papers won't pay you unless they and their audience know you well.

            This might be worth trying. Will definitely look into it.

            You also can use the fact you're printed to close deals with clients who don't actually find you in that way. Always nice to take a few clippings along to meetings where your expertise needs to be proven to close the sale.

            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            Kunle,

            Yes it is expensive when you stray away from winning formulas.

            right person + right offer + right time = money in the bank

            Best,
            Ewen
            Yep. The 3 R's. I guess if you're mailing your own list or a well researched list of prospects this could definitely work. Challenge for me locally here is we don't have ready mailing lists you can tap into like in the US for example. You have to build your own list as direct mail is not so common over here.
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          • Profile picture of the author terip
            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            Kunle,

            Yes it is expensive when you stray away from winning formulas.

            right person + right offer + right time = money in the bank

            Best,
            Ewen
            Couldn't agree more with this quote
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    • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
      Originally Posted by Dr Dan View Post

      Great tips and for number one you can also offer the service to family and friends for free to build up your portfolio and testimonials :-)

      Or then ask for referrals from them.

      Thanks for sharing brother :-)
      True, that could be a source of building a background without exchanging cash though I avoid such deals because often times when I've offered free services I've hated doing so. Offline, free services have not always brought the best returns but that's no reason to NOT offer them sometimes.

      Cheers Dan always happy to share
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  • Profile picture of the author AprilLemarr
    These are great tips Kunle. Thank you for sharing them.

    I haven't tried it yet, but I thought about contacting your local newspaper and see if they will do a 10 part series of articles about online advertising these can include Facebook, Mobile Marketing, E-Mail Marketing. Tell them you will do it for free if you can have a resource box with all of your contact information. That way you become an expert to anyone that reads your article in the paper.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Most local school districts have all kinds of continuing education classes. Why not teach one? How about "How to drive more customers to your business via the internet/facebook etcc"

    You become an authority. Show the businesses how to do the basics. They'll automatically come to you w/ questions after class and have you do a lot more work. $$.

    They even PAY YOU to come to your class so you can soft sell them !
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    In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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  • Profile picture of the author natethegreat7037
    Thanks for these tips! As someone who has recently started to dip his toes in the offline area, I am definitely open to adding more things to my arsenal in addition to cold calling.

    The facebook ads are a great idea as well, as I really want to get my name out in my area as much as I can..and if you're getting 9 cents per 1000 impressions, that's awesome! I'm definitely going to add that to my list, as people are on facebook constantly.

    In fact, I might just talk to some family members this weekend to see what I can stir up. Thanks again!
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    Success leaves clues.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ramzy
    What are you marketing to them though? Making them a website?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    OK, so I don't usually toot my horn but....

    I'm 47 years old and have been self employed for well over 20 years.

    Trust me when I say, don't do business with friends and family. Please!
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Bucker
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      OK, so I don't usually toot my horn but....

      I'm 47 years old and have been self employed for well over 20 years.

      Trust me when I say, don't do business with friends and family. Please!
      It is a rare occasion when you can work with friends and family, right when you think you can and you have just the right family member or friend, you will find you were wrong.

      Russ is right on this one. If you have the skill to run your own business you will not need friends and family outside of possible refferals from them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
        Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

        Most local school districts have all kinds of continuing education classes. Why not teach one? How about "How to drive more customers to your business via the internet/facebook etcc"

        You become an authority. Show the businesses how to do the basics. They'll automatically come to you w/ questions after class and have you do a lot more work. $$.

        They even PAY YOU to come to your class so you can soft sell them !
        Brilliant idea

        Originally Posted by natethegreat7037 View Post

        Thanks for these tips! As someone who has recently started to dip his toes in the offline area, I am definitely open to adding more things to my arsenal in addition to cold calling.

        The facebook ads are a great idea as well, as I really want to get my name out in my area as much as I can..and if you're getting 9 cents per 1000 impressions, that's awesome! I'm definitely going to add that to my list, as people are on facebook constantly.

        In fact, I might just talk to some family members this weekend to see what I can stir up. Thanks again!
        That's the spirit. Keep us informed of your progress. And I'm happy to help with any tips as well to keep things always flowing smoothly. Just PM.

        Originally Posted by Ramzy View Post

        What are you marketing to them though? Making them a website?
        Among other web marketing related services, yes building them web sites is no. 1 for those who haven't yet added that to their marketing mix--surprisingly even in 2012 there's still lots of those kinds of offline companies

        Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

        OK, so I don't usually toot my horn but....

        I'm 47 years old and have been self employed for well over 20 years.

        Trust me when I say, don't do business with friends and family. Please!
        I surely respect age and experience. And I get your point.

        For me personally I don't deal with every available family member or friend, in fact I've outright turned down working with some who have all but begged to have me do work for them.

        Bottom line, it's still all about getting the right prospect among that pool of people.

        Still to each his own.

        Originally Posted by Michael Bucker View Post

        It is a rare occasion when you can work with friends and family, right when you think you can and you have just the right family member or friend, you will find you were wrong.

        Russ is right on this one. If you have the skill to run your own business you will not need friends and family outside of possible refferals from them.
        Agreed. It is rare. It is not impossible. There are certain things I would never go into business with my best friend for example. But building, managing his web site, helping to promote it is not one of them. We go way back and I can tell where the lines are. That's really important.

        I wouldn't go as far as saying you will not need friends and family if you have the skill to run your business. From my experience every prospect is a prospect worth closing if they meet my strict criteria.

        It's like I said though, to each his own.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jgregory
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      OK, so I don't usually toot my horn but....

      I'm 47 years old and have been self employed for well over 20 years.

      Trust me when I say, don't do business with friends and family. Please!
      Sometimes it pays to listen to old farts like us... and my last 'real job' was 32 years ago. Russ is right. So I will chime in with the same advice.

      It doesn't sometimes go wrong, it always goes wrong.

      Stay away from doing anything related to "money changing hands" with family and friends.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rick W
        Excellent post, just wondering if anyone has tried groupon for marketing offline services, such as selling a facebook training series through webinar or traffic generating webinars etc?
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        • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
          Originally Posted by Rick W View Post

          Excellent post, just wondering if anyone has tried groupon for marketing offline services, such as selling a facebook training series through webinar or traffic generating webinars etc?
          If I understand you Rick, you mean using Groupon to advertise offline consulting services locally right? If so, I haven't tried that, but it sounds like an idea worth looking into. Without having fully looked into it, I'd do some research before trying it just in case there are downsides that may make it not worth even trying it. When I have some time, I'll get into checking this out and give feedback or maybe someone can share their own experience. Cheers.

          Originally Posted by nelram View Post

          These are great tips, Thanks!
          Thanks, glad you found them informative.
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  • Profile picture of the author nelram
    These are great tips, Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author RashmiP
    Find out the sectors where you potential customers located. Active participation in related community sites will give you exposure to reach out to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author xSEO247x
    i also like to offer free samples of my SEO for one Keyword within reason of course this way they can see results and if they dont bite i just go back into links and change keywords to another clients or my own
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