Lately I've been getting a lot of warriors writing in asking for help with
their offline business. I've noticed a ton of people are in the same boat as I was at one point, and just want some advice on how to get the ball rolling.
So I decided I'd share with you guys the method I used to jump start my client base, and then what I did from there to progress even further.
A little background...
I started offline marketing in the beginning of 2011 after a significant time not reaching my goals online (about a year and a half). I fell victim to the same things that so many other internet marketers do such as info overload, shiny object syndrome and general self doubt.
When I found out about offline marketing I knew that was the best route for me to take because I had always excelled at in person sales.
I started from scratcho, literally.
I had very little money, no clients, no portfolio...nada.
Here is What Happened...
After a couple months of trying various lead generation strategies and hearing everybody say how important referrals were, I decided it was time that I sat down and put some more thought into how exactly I could get my foot in the door with some potential referrals. Not the easiest thing to do when you have no clients or portfolio.
To tell you the truth, once I put my mind to it, a solution literally fell in my lap. A solution that went on to be responsible for my first four clients.
What happened was I got a virus on my computer so I called a computer repair guy to come out and fix it. I got his number from my neighbor (referral).
Long story short, we made friends. I told him I needed clients, and he referred me to one of his best clients, who then referred me to three others.
In one week I went from a clientless stress machine, to a mover and shaker with 4 good clients. It only took one good referral source to make that happen.
Look for people who can send you business, instead of you chasing business down. Make everybody you know aware of what you do, something will pop loose.
Figure out people you know or people in your local area that work with lots of businesses. Find a way to get in good with them, usually by adding value and helping them somehow, then leverage their contacts.
Computer repair guys are a great source of leads. Specifically 1-3 man operations who would gladly enjoy a referral fee.
The best part is most of them are fairly keen on IM, just don't have the time or desire to do it. On top of that our services are very complimentary to theirs.
Who is better to refer a "web guy" then the "computer guy"?
The way you can jump start this for yourself is to approach these people that are in your area, offer a nice referral fee for sending business your way. It works, trust me.
It's hard to say exactly what you can offer, but offer them more than what you would offer other people, so they feel like they are getting hooked up.
Another way to get in good with them, is to offer to help with their online marketing for free or discounted if they send you business.
On that note...
Referrals have accounted for nearly 90% of my business to date. Every client is a stepping stone to the next one. Once you have built a solid relationship with a client, ASK for referrals. If they like you, and you do great work, they will gladly refer you.
If you don't have a portfolio or any testimonials, get them. They are vital to the growth of your business. Approach it with a "by any means necessary" mentality.
If you have to do work for Free or at a loss to prove yourself and build a portfolio, do it.
Most importantly, take action!
I hope that this has been of some help to you all, I welcome any questions or comments!