New OM business - My successes (and challenges) so far

12 replies
Quick background on me: I have been a full-time Internet marketer for the last 5 years. Panda hit my niche sites pretty hard last fall and cut my income in half. I realized I was neither passionate nor an authority on the topics I was writing about, so last month I decided to go "offline" and offer my expertise on web design and SEO to local businesses.

My successes:

After reading this sub-forum, I decided "cold-calling" was going to have to be a big part of my new client acquisition plan. I am not happy about this, but the results of those who have experience telemarketing, speak for themselves.

I bought one of Jason Kanigan's WSO's (I highly recommend him) and spent an evening reading through John Durham's forum. Then I dove in and started making calls.

I will tell you right now I am doing it wrong and I know it. I should be calling and offering "solutions" not pushing a product, but that is what I am doing.

It seems like the majority of businesses in my small town (less than 20,000 people), do not have websites. So I am calling them and saying "I am helping local businesses that would like to have their own website; is this something you have thought about?" My thinking was that there must be a number of businesses that have at least thought about it and my call gives those prospects a chance to go ahead and take that next step.

John Durham said you can tie a message around a dog's neck and if you send it into enough businesses you will eventually get a sale. That resonated with me. Jason really helped me with the mindset of calling and qualifying prospects.

One more kink in my calling is that I have a slight stammer/stutter. Have all my life. I work hard to control it, but when I am anxious it gets worse.

My results:

Over the past week, I have delivered my "message" 68 times. I have one denturist who is very interested and I created a demo site for, but he has been too busy for me to present it (I don't want to just send him a link to the demo, where I can't be there to participate in his reaction). I have three other prospects that I am putting together demo's for. I may change my outlook on this "demo" tactic in the future, but for the time being it is an opportunity to take someone who is interested and get them a little more invested. I'll keep you posted.

My challenges:

I have a problem I am hoping you can help me with. I am very good at getting turned down now, but I find I am fumbling when someone shows some interest. I know I should shut-up, listen and ask questions, but the reality is that I can't seem to stop talking. This afternoon, one lady asked if this was my business or a side business and I answered by telling her what I had been doing for the last 5 years. *facepalm* Combined with my struggles with speech fluency and I'm afraid I come off really unprofessional.

Does anyone have any tips for overcoming this verbal diarrhea?

Thank you so much for all your help,

#business #challenges #successes
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Allard
    4 demos out of 68 calls is great! Don't undermine your success.

    I'm not a phone pro & have the same difficulties you do so I can't give you much advice there. And I've never had a stammer, so I could say "just relax and pause before responding" but you would probably to tell me to shut up & it's not that easy In all seriousness tho I'm sure there's some great info online about how to control it. I watched a documentary on it a week ago & the treatment is all about working on your mind. So I'd do some research & make a self-treatment plan you could work on every night.

    Also I'd try calling some areas that aren't local for you. These would be mostly practice but maybe you could close some over the phone. The main thing here is to get practice so you'll be better at it when you talk to local business owners.

    Anyways congrats on your success so far, keep working at it!

    Facebook page for inspiration & JV opportunities-

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  • Profile picture of the author sbishop
    My brother supervises the on the job training of in-bound sales telemarketers in a call center that is contracted with a satellite TV company.

    He told me about one of the guys in his group who does the same thing. He kept talking after the customer showed interest in buying. MY brother was listnening to the call and stood up and yelled the guy's name to get his attention and said "SHUT UP! and ask for the credit card number!" The guy asked for the card number and the customer said that she had been trying to give it to him for 5 min.

    On another call, the customer interrupted this guy and said :Is this when I give you my card number?"

    I think it is a confidence issue. You don't understand why they are ready so quickly and you feel the need to explain more to them. You can loose sales by over informing the customer.

    When you ask this question...
    "I am helping local businesses that would like to have their own website; is this something you have thought about?"
    If they say yes, then you should say " That's great what i can do is build you a demo site and set up a time to review it with you and if you like it, I'll show you how we can proceed. Is Tues at 3 or Thurs and 1 better for you?"

    You get the idea, use the KISS method and close for an appointment to show the demo.

    Something that might help is to write down your script and follow it on the calls. that way you know when to shut up! Your goal is to talk as little as possible to get the appointment.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
      "I am helping local businesses that would like to have their own website; is this something you have thought about?" lead in from op

      Originally Posted by sbishop View Post

      If they say yes, then you should say " That's great what i can do is build you a demo site and set up a time to review it with you and if you like it, I'll show you how we can proceed. Is Tues at 3 or Thurs and 1 better for you?"

      You get the idea, use the KISS method and close for an appointment to show the demo.
      I like this direct approach especially as you are learning. Me I would ask
      "what has held you back?" Maybe they say things like time or didnt know the benefits or some other reason like that then thats okay.

      If they say something like its too expensive either they were quoted a price before OR have some fictional # in their head or a friend got one and paid x amount. So they go on and say something like Yeah it was $500 (or whatever amount more than you are willing to accept) dollars and there AINT no way Im paying that for a website. Now you can say good day!

      OR they could say something like "They quoted me $1500 and it was just too much"
      "Well if they had told you that it was xxx amount (a price higher than you would accept) would you have gotten it then" (go fishing for info)
      Then you can go from there and should have a pretty qualified lead to do a demo for.
      Promise Big.
      Deliver Bigger.
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      • Profile picture of the author David Miller
        I read your post a few times and was thinking of what kind of advice I could offer. I was trying to identify where you needed to zig instead of zag, than I was struck with the fact that you really aren't doing anything wrong!

        You've been in the world of online anonymous marketing, building websites and posting information that may or may not be correct. The key being that Google only cares about a few long tail keywords. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, I wish I was better at it.

        But I'm going to take a chance and bet that when you first started doing internet marketing, you had some kind of learning curve before it became a full time income. I'm sure that as time went by, your results got better and better.

        Now you've stepped into a new kind of marketing method, for you that is. The simple fact that you picked up the phone and made 68 pitches speaks highly of your willingness to take action. I can tell you first hand that you have gotten past the biggest roadblock already.

        Now you just have to give yourself a break. You're still learning. You can't read a thread or go through a WSO and expect to hit the ball out of the park your first day or week or month.

        Sales is a skill, and it takes time to learn and understand. But the reason most people fail is because they don't even try.

        You can't do better than getting advice and direction from the two gentlemen you've mentioned. I've had the opportunity to interact with both of them and you can take their guidance to the bank.

        Just relax and realize that it takes a little time to get good at anything, and that includes sales and certainly cold calling. Instead of focusing on what you do wrong, focus on the fact that after a very short period of time, and not many calls, you've gotten a number of prospects interested enough to ask questions.

        That's a great beginning, just keep going!
        The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.
        -- FRANK SINATRA, quoted in The Way You Wear Your Hat
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Regarding the over talking thing I do it alot as well, at first it was mostly nervousness and it stems from lack of confidence and wanting to oversell or tell them everything. Its like we hear so many nos to get a yes that when we finally get to the yes we try extra hard not to lose it and overcompensate. Also when you hear alot of nos and are expecting it your mind is not in the moment and it takes an moment to switch your stream of conscious when a person is interested.

    Now I just pretty much EXPECT a yes when I talk to someone, even from a cold call.So Im always ready to tell them the next thing thats going to happen.
    PS. Even still tons of nos in a row can get me out of my mindset ,thats when its time to take a little break to refocus, the key is to recognize this shift in mentality happening before it overtakes you.

    These days when I talk too much it its mostly because I get really excited when Im talking to a small biz owner who just became a client and can see all the ways to make his business better. Im already 3 or 4 steps ahead of them and I want to get them to see the bigger picture. When I catch myself I say "Okay they are going with you for this product already ,let them use it and benefit from it first THEN talk about all this other stuff"

    One other thing you can do is start keeping a list of questions people ask and then have an answer ready, sort of like a script to keep you on track. If you look at it on a bigger scale, you should be developing the process that you use from start to finish. For example. Cold call-they like-take this specific info and do demo-use this theme-call back in 48 hours and go over demo w client-make one time offer price-etc

    Right now you are still in winging it mode.
    Promise Big.
    Deliver Bigger.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobbieT
    Hi Greg,

    Good result so just keep on doing what your doing.

    Just to reinforce 2 things.

    1/ Concentrate on getting the appointment when your on the phone. Don't try to sell your product.

    2/ As I was taught many years ago - we all were given 2 ears and 1 mouth so try to use them in the same ratio. Ask questions to find out where the business persons pain is and take notes as you listen. Then offer them a solution to that problem but don't try and sell the product, sell the appointment so that you can "show them how to get around that problem and make more money" If you aren't going to be able to show them how to improve their bottom line then then won't want to listen to you.

    I hope the above is of some help to you.

    Good luck.

    Robbie T
    learn how to Make Money From The Web

    Follow my Journey to make an extra $40 or $400 per week each week and TOP UP YOUR WEEKLY INCOME

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  • Profile picture of the author Amirandes
    I have read your post a few times Greg and I wonder if instead of trying to get customers you try to offer something to them for free that will then get them to sign up with you. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Free website evaluation. Giving any business 60 minutes of your time evaluating where their online business is at and what can be done to improve it.

    2. Free short courses. See if there is a local library you can contact and offer to speak for free. I know you wrote that you had speech difficulties, but if you are well scripted and stick to your points it will come across.

    3. Research business and hobby associations where you live in a variety of different industries. Target the associations that has lots of small businesses. That will allow you to deal with owners directly. Approach each of them and offer either to speak, or free content to their newsletter. You can take your own problems, and mistakes and turn that into an article that you can share. Like 10 common mistakes small business owners make online that cost them money. Just make sure that each article uses examples that relate to the associations core members.

    4. Do you have any contacts that work in universities? If you manage to speak to a university you can then record it and claim without lying that you "presented at xxx university" That adds to your credibility.

    5. See if you can make fliers offering free website evaluations and send them only to either small start-ups, or businesses you know don't have sites. Speaking at a few conferences will give you an idea of that.

    6. If your speech problem is really hampering. Can you record yourself talking about "10 mistakes small businesses do online, and how to fix them", print a transcript, and put it in a folder with your contacts details? Could you possibly offer the folder as a free gift to anyone taking you up on the 60 minute offer?

    I don't know about your budget, but I'll bet with decent printing it would be $2-$5 pr client. And that would only be paid to the ones that you talk to.

    In regard to how to take care of positive leads, I want to ask if you have any system for dealing with them? Either mentally or practically? Here are a few ideas:

    1. I would suggest that you work out a list of FAQ's that you return to when you struggle. If you get leads through the phone you can have your notes in front of you.

    2. Work out scripts for everything. For instance when someone calls you, before they continue, ask where they heard about you and WRITE THAT DOWN. That will tell you which marketing is working out for you or not.

    3. See if you can write out on paper all the reasons why someone would do business with you and why they would not. Highlight the reasons why they would do business with you and make them your main point of business. From what you have shared, you have personal experience being in small business. You have experienced failure, and you can use that in explaining a story of yourself and your business. To protect yourself against being seen as a looser you can rely on the credentials you have collected from contributing to various forums, newsletters, conferences, not to mention testimonials from happy customers.

    Never forget that we, the buyers, really don't check very well what we buy. Often we believe in logo's, in people who say they have had a great experience with something, and at times we just buy something because we need it then. We are not even considering what is the best alternative, but the ones that are available.

    I remember being at a presentation in uni many years ago, and I spoke to the guy next to me about his hair dressing business. He told me he needed a designer, and when the talk was over I simply introduced him to a designer from a class bellow me.

    In my opinion you need to change you strategy to instead being called instead of calling, to trying to give away free content, WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED, and being an authority rather than a problem.

    Also, don't forget that many businesses that are not online are not that familiar with dealing with the online world. That will enable you to up-sell them service packages that cost you close to nothing to deliver without competing with Elance or Odesk.

    Anyways, I really hear your story. I don't know your credentials in webdesign or SEO, but if you work out a good offer, as a buyer I don't really care. I might just buy it.
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    • Profile picture of the author apurvmat
      Great post Amirandes! Liked what Eddie Spangler wrote as well

      Greg, you'll do perfectly fine - don't worry about your speech fluency etc... people won't care about anything if they're able to recognize you as the man who'll deliver the results for them....

      Your verbal diarrhea will go away if you start having more faith in your product.... have faith in it man... have faith enough that your work is gonna speak for itself and you don't have to sell them or impress them with anything other than what you produce for them...

      Other than that, most of it is just adjusting to the new in person sale's thing and you're gonna get a hang of it real soon!!!

      Wish you luck mate
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh

    I think you are very close. As David said you're definitely headed in the
    right direction.I firmly believe more sales are made when you are listening
    than when you are talking. Any time I am starting out with a new product,
    I type a few questions related to the product. When the customer pauses,
    I just throw in one of my canned questions - "Do you really think blue will
    work for you?" As long as THEY'RE talking - YOU'RE winning.

    HTH, Hugh

    "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 Hadders6543
    You have one tongue and two ears so use them in that proportion. If you get the potential lead the to open up and talk to you, you are half way there. Rather than interupt simply interject with a yes or a no when they are talking.... to match the conversation of course. This shows you are listening. Also if you let them talk it gives you more time to think about what you want to say. People love talking about themselves and their business. I often tell a third party story such as " I spoke to a business owner who was having exactly the same issues as you are. He could see that a website/video/google places listing would get his name out there and generate more interest in is product and services. I will start work on his site for him tomorrow. He was really happy with what we were offering and the price as well"
    That seems to work really well.........
    Good luck and keep at it. It is painful when you start cold calling but it does become easier when you make a few sales and adapt your style.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    I recommend that you practice, practice, practice and never give up. Seek out the services of a qualified speech pathologist/therapist to help you, perhaps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hard Boiled Greg
    I still don't have access to the "thank" button, so just a quick post to thank you all for taking the time to comment. I sincerely appreciate the advice and support.

    Take care,

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