Archive for Q & A

I got an email from Dale H this week and he asked a couple simple but important questions pertaining to getting started as an office consultant. I thought rather than just answering him directly, you may be able to benefit from the answer as well.

Dale has been considering getting started in the offline consulting world but has hesitations based on the time it may take working with clients and keeping them happy.

This is a great question especially considering if you’ve been delving in internet marketing for some time. What makes it most interesting is that we’ve been told with all the new launches and info products that selling online information products will allow you to make tons of cash with little to no time or effort on your part.

I’m sorry to say but the only place you’ll really find that to be true is to make us think we’ve found the missing formula. I gotta admit, I’ve personally fallen for that time and time again and come to find out that there was actually work involved.

To give you an example, my first information product was an ebook on credit scoring secrets. I physically typed it out word for word in the course of over 45 days and believe me, it wasn’t easy. Once I had the product, I then had to start writing the free report for the opt in, then learn how to use Microsoft Expression Web to built the site and write the sales letter and…

You get the point.

So, does working with local businesses take time. Yes. Is there a way to shortcut it though? Absolutely.

The first thing you have to do is narrow down what your business model will be and what are the 2-3 things you’ll be offering initially.

So, if all I offer are Animoto videos for businesses or Google Places optimization, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. However, if I’m taking on a client and building a website for them or creating a lead generation system with videos and autoresponders, then it will in fact take more time.

Do you get what I’m saying?

If you focus on a select few services that you’ll master, it will take you less and less time to implement which shortens the amount of time you spend working for each client.

Now, the secret to this focus strategy is that you’ll then get to know a little about your clients and for those you don’t mind working with, you can offer them more services outside of the primary offerings.

Put it this way, you get money from them all for little engagement and you only continue working with those who you personally like working with.

It works perfectly.

What do you think?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

Do you have any questions you want answered regarding your offline consulting business? If you do, make sure to let me know and I’ll be answering your questions on the blog. If you miss it on the blog, don’t worry, I’ll email you too!

Offline Consulting Client Conversion Question Answered

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I received an email from a valued reader (who’ll remain anonymous) and it made a lot of sense to answer it here on the blog. The reason is simple; offline consultants often face the same challenges and don’t know where to turn to find the answers. I know it was the same for me getting started.

In an effort to answer some of your most pressing questions, here’s the first of many Q & A posts that I’ll do whenever I get questions from readers like you.

Here’s the email I received:

“Hi Alex,

Having been in direct sales for many years, my preferred method for prospecting new offline clients is simply cold calling on the telephone. Unlike most people, that’s what I’m most comfortable with and I use your strategy of calling local businesses who advertise on local newspapers quite a bit as well as those with large Yellow Page adverts.

However, having had lots of experience selling physical products like office machines and air conditioning products to industry, I now find the whole area of selling services to local business prospects a completely different story… ie a lot more challenging!

Trying to get interested prospects to take the next step and agree to go ahead and spend some money is my big problem and I would be delighted if you would be kind enough to pass on any suggestions on how you move them on to the closing stage – eg how do you follow up from the phone call?, do you always try for the appointment or do you send out some more information on email? etc, etc,”

Here’s my response:

This is definitely a great question. In fact, its not just offline consultants that have this same challenge of converting leads, its even the clients that we serve. Once you manage to overcome this challenge, you’ll be able to better assist them in implementing conversion strategies.

What I do is offer something of complete value no matter where they come from. For example, I have a website that’s an entry point to me that offers a Free Marketing Repair analysis for their marketing piece. This strategy directly answers the question from the email above.

You see, if you’re calling or emailing a client off of the yellow pages or another marketing piece, you’d share with them a couple reasons why they aren’t getting the results they want. Present them with the pain first.

An example of this can be “Your ad doesn’t have a compelling headline which is what’s keeping people from paying attention” or “You don’t have a clear call to action.” Present them with the problems they are currently experiencing.

On another occasion, I had a prospect email me looking for more information on what we could do for them. He admitted that he was looking at several other marketing companies so he wanted to know what we could do.

But here’s what turned him into a paid client; one that’s already given me $3,500 for a site redesign and marketing advice. I sent him a quick SEO analysis using a Firefox plugin called SEO Quake which gives you all the information you need as far as keyword usage and density. It was free for me but I’m stacking the value with these free nuggets.

A few days later I sent him an email telling him a traffic strategy he can use to generate more traffic to his existing site even before he was a client. The method was blog commenting on popular and related blogs.

Once he starting receiving the initial value, then more value, then more value again, all my competition was completely wiped out and I was the only option to go with even though I was higher priced than others.

So, to answer the question of converting prospects to paying clients, I would say add more value that anyone else has and will and you’ll be left as the obvious choice. Best of all, those valuable tips didn’t cost me anything more than 5 minutes of time.

Be sure to share your thoughts on other strategies and challenges you’re facing in your consulting practice. I would be more than happy to address them here.