If you'd have bumped into me a year ago and told me that one day I'd be a full time offline marketer there's about a 50% chance that I would have believed you.
However, if you'd have told me that not only would I be doing offline marketing but that I'd also be getting new clients without breaking a big sweat cold calling and the like, I'd looked at you like you were crazy.
But in Feb 2013 things took a different course for me. That's because after losing my seo agency job something in me just clicked and said, "while I may not know everything, there's definitely enough in my tool kit for me to get out and earn some freelance business."
Fast Forward to June 2013
Won't even lie to you...Between March 2013 and June 2013 I caught hell trying to bring in new business. In fact, it seems like there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't ask myself if I'd made a mistake. But all of a sudden June got here and things began taking a miraculous turn around.
People that I'd begun talking to in March, April and May about my new career began calling to ask if I could help them market their businesses.
While telling people what I do for a living may not result in immediate business, neither has cold calling.
Technique in Action
Here's how my last several clients and presentations have come about:
- Business Associations - After meeting someone who looks like they're in a position to refer new business I simply say...Hi there, Mr./Ms. Business owner - I'd really love to learn more about your business so that I can be a better resource to you. When can we sit down for about 10 or 15 minutes to talk?
During the actual meeting I ask them business oriented questions about their business (do they like the association, who's their market, what are their challenges, what are their goals and etc.). Then after we've exhausted this part of the discussion I tell them what I do and let them know what types of people make good referrals.
If they themselves sound interested in my services I will do a quick run-down of their strengths and weaknesses and invite them to receive a proposal from me.
- Conversation with Random Business Owner(By random business owner, I mean someone who I have just done business with or whose company I have frequented) - Thanks for the a,b,c. They were really good. Listen, I don't know if I told you this before but I'm a business owner too.
My company helps local business owners get more customers online - here's a few cards. I shut up at this point and wait to see what the business owner has to say.
If they sound interested I posture for a 15 minute sit down.
- Friends (This one may or may not work for you. But coincidentally most of my friends happen to be business owners.) - Did I tell you about my new business? I help local businesses get more customers by using the Internet. If they sound interested I arrange a 15 minute sit down and review their business's online presence.
Reviewing Their Online Presence
Since my approach involves turning a prospect into a "warm prospect" I generally try to keep things as basic and informal as possible when we meet. I used to come to the meeting with a set of recommendations or with a thorough proposal (before I even met with the prospect).
However, after a while it became apparent that it was a waste of time to do all this preparation beforehand.
Why? Because I never closed any of the people that I did that on but on the flip side I spent an hour+ preparing detailed proposals.
So instead, this is what I do when we meet:
- I ask them what they like AND don't like about their site
- I pull up their reviews (or lack thereof) in front of them
- I tell them to pull up their site on THEIR cell phone for me
- I locate their Google+ Listing and show it to them
As I'm doing this stuff I use simple language to explain how each element is helping or hurting them.
Then at the end of the discussion I either tell them I can get fix all of these problems for you for X,Y,Z or I promise them a proposal (only if it's a complex situation - like they ask me about a service/element that we didn't talk about).
Hope this helps! As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences...