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Trouble selling my SEO and web design to local businesses

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by sparky123, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. sparky123

    sparky123 Registered Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I have recently created an internet company on a shoestring budget and managed to get everything setup except for an office and employees. The biggest problem I'm facing now is to find clients. I've tried emailing the dentist offices, real estate agent, lawyers, etc from the local newspaper since they were considered hot leads, calling numbers from flyers and advertisements I received from the mail and the respond was always, actually my direct mail response is overwhelmingly high and can barely handle the business it brings in. Yea right!

    So I've been trying extensively to find prospects in my local town in certain keyword phrases and tell them how I can help them optimized their website to get higher visibility with search engines, etc.

    My biggest problem now is

    1) To find customers
    2) Hiring sales forces - seems like many people I replied to just want a J.O.B : (
    3) Build a client portfolio. You will be surprise how many people did not respond to my email when I offer to build them a free website in exchange for a testimonial.


    Is this online SEO and web design business become so saturated now that people will not want it even if handed to them for free?

    Any help from you guys will be highly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  2. orlandolongwood

    orlandolongwood Junior Member

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    I think you need to put yourself in the small biz's shoes. They are getting FLOODED with SEO and web offers from startups like you, yellow pages, Yelp (gawd are those fks persistent), the BBB, ad nauseum. Their email boxes are full, their web site is out-of-date and on GoDaddy no less, and their kids are pushing them to twitfacesquaredin and, this morning, their competitor started handing out business cards with square bar codes. PS - that cool flash intro they overpaid for last year that would really kick up retention won't work on their top client's iPad.

    NOW, go break their heart when you tell them the web site traffic they see on their freebie web stats program is either all bots or scrapers out of India. And WTF is a "bounce rate?"

    I deal with SMB all the time. They don't want the latest secret sauce. They don't want the formula for Twitter success if they only commit three hours a day. They want simple, straightforward solutions with an obvious and quick ROI. They want experts, and they want referrals by real business folks because they've been burned by fliers and ads and phone sales already.

    Find a Dennys or an off-brand coffee shop or mega-church. Find a clean, easily-expressed niche that makes a single process simpler/cheaper/faster. A topic on security, employee cell phones, or Twitter basics. Now -- offer this brown-bag presentation for free, complete with a nice little hand-out or CD. And in the takeaways, slip in some of your sales stuff. Invite them to go to your site and join your mailing list. Get permission in any way possible to market to them.

    Now - go grind it out.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  3. blackmamba456

    blackmamba456 Junior Member

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    I guess its just a numbers game, the more people you contact the more will listen and buy your services just so long as you can really deliver quality results. Perhaps local is not enough, go national?

    I don't sell SEO services as a business, however I'm trying something new right now to see if I can get into this. I'm basically setting up websites and ranking them highly for keywords in high paying industries. The plan is then to cold call business' in that industry and offer them my website for a monthly fee. So in effect they'll be renting a number 1 ranking for a good keyword.

    I plan to offer a free trial for 2 months which should get someone interested and then once they see the value of the ranking for themselves they will be willing to pay a rental fee.

    Thats my approach anyway, I will have to see if its gonna be successful.
     
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  4. netcelal

    netcelal Senior Member

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    The most important thing you need is time and patience.
    It`s took me about three months hard work until I had my first local client.

    Don`t offer free webdesign for testimonials ! Offer free webdesign for local sports clubs and non-profit organizations and you will get more local reputation and clients as you think.

    I offer for sports clubs free webdesign, free domain with 1 year free Hosting.And then I am the favorite sponsor who gets the largest banner advertising and much more :)

    And this thread will help you :
    http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackh...d-10k-month-online-offline-hybrid-method.html

    good luck
     
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  5. Longover

    Longover Power Member

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    You're going about this all wrong...

    First off, you are advertising in the same way that those email spamming SEO a-holes do. You know the type that send out an email that looks like this:
    SUBJECT: Finally Results!
    BODY: Contact me if you'd like to talk about how we can improve your rankings in the search engines.

    I'm a marketer, but I know that anyone can spot this email spam and 99.9% of people delete it. What do we learn from this type of promotion:
    -It is non-personal and does not connect with your potential client.
    -It is a very shitty method and is thus producing shitty results.

    Take that last part and read it again. If you invest very little effort into your business, expect very little results in return.

    Okay, so what works?

    Well, you could position yourself in a different way than these online SEO companies who send out emails and brochures. You can also get more personal than the guys that just pick up the phone and try to sell a client with a cold call.

    What you can do is show up at the business and talk to the owner. You don't have to position yourself as a sales man. Instead you can just be the guy who knows SEO and will help get their business noticed on the Internet.

    So many local SEO companies talk over their potential clients heads and that just confuses them. Keep it simple.

    I don't usually take much away from Howie Schwartz when I watch his webinars because most of his stuff is just hype. However, in his last webinar he talks a lot about common sense methods to getting clients.

    If all else fails, go find a family member or friend who owns a business. Make them a website (paid or non paid). Word of mouth will spread and you will have more people asking for websites... Just don't go making non-paid websites for your brother's cat -that won't produce referrals.

    Hope this helps
     
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  6. crazyflx

    crazyflx Elite Member

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    I've been....or rather, was, a sales person for virtually my entire working career. That is, until I quit my job to become a full time internet marketer.

    Anyway, I started at door-to-door sales selling coupons (yes, selling coupons). From there I managed to get myself a job as an "account executive" at one of the largest privately owned companies in the world (it's a staffing company). At this company my job description was essentially to "sell employees" to local business owners.

    From there, I went to the largest graphic design firm in the country. They design Annual Reports. You know, the pamphlets companies send out annually to their stock holders. There, my job description was basically to sell a better looking annual report that they could send out at the end of the year. I could typically only speak to CEO's, CFO's & "Head of Public Relations". I would set up appointments with them and sit down with them (and I was 22!). Imagine sitting down with the CEO of Ernst & Young at 22 years old! (yes I did...I got an appointment to sit down with the CEO of Ernst & Young...cold calling).

    Lastly, I worked at Wells Fargo. Again, a salesperson. My job was essentially to sell mortgages.

    Well, at the first job, I didn't sell employees to business owners. You know why? Because when you speak to a business owner and say "Hey, I can get you quality employees as I have access to an entire database of quality applicants...all of which I've interviewed personally to guarantee they are JUST the employee you're looking for!" ? You're told: "The employees I have right now are great, I don't need any. Besides, if I did, I would just get more the same way I got my present employees...Monster.com/Newspaper Ad/Friends daugther/etc/etc/etc".

    However, if you call up a business and say "Hey, I can reduce your quarterly human resources expenses, increase office productivity & give you more time to bring a higher quality of service to your present customers." you're told "Really? What do you do & what's your name?"

    At the second job, I didn't sell a nicer looking annual report. You know why? Because when you call up a company and say "Hey, I can make your Annual Report look ten times better than last years." you're told "We're happy with the current look. It's fine the way it is."

    However, if you call up a company and say "I can help your company not only retain X% greater stock holders than you did last year, but I can help more people buy more stock and increase your marketshare by adding more value to your companies image." Again, your asked "What do you do & what's your name?"

    I won't go into the third example as you probably get the point. You can't sell your service. You need to sell your results...from the owners point of view.

    In fact, if you can deliver results, that's your lead in. If I called a Dentist up and said "I can increase the number of clients you get next month by making sure you get a piece of the market in your area that you currently don't have...that X competitor does", you can bet your ass they will be interested. What's really funny is, if when they ask what you do, if you were to say "I'm a farmer." it almost wouldn't even matter. THEY DON'T CARE WHAT YOU DO, THEY CARE WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM.

    Stop calling companies saying you do SEO. Every person that picks up any phone anywhere has 10 excuses ready to fire off at any person trying to sell them something. Typically, you aren't even heard if they can tell you're trying to sell them something. They just wait until they don't hear air being blown into their ear, and they say what they've been waiting to say since the second you started talking.

    Get them interested first. Get their ears open. Get them ready to WANT to hear what you can do for them. Then tell them what you do & HOW you can get them what you said you could.

    No business wants to lose business to another business. No business wants a bad reputation. Every business wants more people to know about them. Every business wants other customers to see that their other customers are happy. They also want all of that by using the most cost effective solution.

    So give it to them.

    (I'm sorry if that was terribly long winded, I got started and just couldn't stop. If you can read the whole thing, I'm sure you'll find something in there of value.)

    EDIT: I forgot to mention something that you have that you're probably not leveraging currently. You already know what you're GOING to hear as an excuse if you're given one. You said that you just keep hearing "My present direct mailing campaign is doing so well, I can't handle the response." You need to "pre-empt" this negative.

    You call, give your pitch, but include in it this:

    "Now, you may or may not alread have a form of advertising in place, like direct mail, radio & tv advertisments. What's great is, even if you do, all you're getting with that is advertising. You're not making a resource people can research on their own. You're not in a persons face when they need it the most. No potential customer says, "I need a dentist, let me go check my mail". What I can offer you that you're losing out on with your present form of lead building is simply the absolute best way to not only do what you're currently doing...getting customers. But to also build awareness about your business, give satisfied customers a place to tell others they are happy (and a place for others to see that you've had satisfied customers) & also to get in the face of a potential customer at the exact moment that they need it".

    Now, can they say "No thanks, we use direct mail."? NO, THEY CAN'T. Because you already said it, and have already pointed out that isn't even relevant and that it is in fact lacking.

    "Informing" somebody about something beats arguing about something any day of the week. In other words, don't wait for the negative and then try to combat it (especially when you're this well prepared with what the negative is going to be) but rather inform them that what they are currently doing simply doesn't add up to what you're offering...before they even say they have anything.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  7. sparky123

    sparky123 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the fast reponse guys. This is one of the reason I love this forum so much.

    I have no problem meeting a client face to face and talk about SEO and websites. The problem is getting the meeting and the face to face interaction first.

    Today, I responded to a local restaurant flyer and headed straight into the place only to be greeted by a shy, protective, I don't know and don't ask me type of cashier in the front. Behind her is the kitchen, not visible to the outside dining area. I asked for the owner and she looked surprised and put her guard up immediately. I told her that I want to speak to him/her about the advertisement I just got from my mail box. She look at me like she cannot speak english, I knew she was putting up her guards because you cannot be a cashier if you cannot speak english in my neighborhood. So she just responded, yeah yeah, owner not here..blah blah blah. I left my business card with her but no call from the owner yet. I suspect she might be the owner's relative or family member.

    This just showed me that just because I can educate the business owner does not mean I can get to them because the idiots they hired to push the good and bad sales people away.

    I owned a restaurant myself and ran it for more than 2 years before I sold it recently, so I can relate to small business in many ways. The problem is how can I strike a conversation/education without appearing as I am selling to them. I mean, its clear that they don't know me and I don't know them and striking the first conversation about advertising and what I do only makes them feel that your ultimate intent is to 'sell them something' after the conversation and the whole conversation is just the padding before the knife strikes. So yes, I don't want to go from that angle.

    I can totally relate to 'instant ROI' and show me how much money you can make me if I invest or pay that amount of whatever you are offering. But the simple fact that we are selling 'advertisements,' there are NO guarantee of ROI and famous services like SEO will take months to see results, even then we cannot promise they will make a sales from our hard work.

    @s0ap - I study Dan Kennedy's stuff and Jay Abraham's stuff but its not easy for us to appear like a 'wise man on the top of the mountain.' When there are millions of SEO and website providers on CL and the internet, how can we differeniate ourselves and charge a premium? The only thing that came up is to find strategic partners, like accountants, business advisors, etc but again most of these people don't want to partner up with you because they see themselves and their service is in higher quality and don't want to degrade their 'associations' with me.

    I mean I have a few ideas on sending direct mail and some softer touch approaches, but after all the specticles, they will want to see what I have done. How much money I have bought in for my clients, past and present. Because afterall, this will give me and anyone in this business some solid confidence and a measure of success.

    Keep up the suggestions, I will report more on my progress tomorrow..
     
  8. johnny_fever

    johnny_fever Newbie

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    Many others have hit on some really good points, so I'll stick to a few things I'm working on right now. I can't emphasize enough, as others have stated, that your initial focus must not be on what you have to offer, but rather on presenting a solution to your prospects' problems.

    In my local market I have built the following:
    1) A pretty comprehensive list of locally owned companies that already have websites, which I built and yes it took some time. (at first, I would focus more improving the performance of existing sites instead of trying to get prospects to let you build their site for them)
    2) I used the Google Keywords Tool and did research on keyword strings of the city and state I'll be pitching. Since Google will show you anything with that city and state in the keyword string, you will be able to build a list of all the types of businesses people search for. I.E. city, state insurance or dentist in city, state.

    This gives you a list of prospects with existing sites and information on how many people are already performing monthly searches for a certain keyword string. I also run a google query for all the keyword strings to see where prospects show up in the organic and local results. Those with weak results are your prime targets. While you can't be too negative, being able to show a client that they aren't accomplishing something, or better yet, that their competition is ahead of them will position you to offer a solution. What sounds better; "I have a company that performs SEO. We can build websites and perform all the on page optimization and link building....etc" or "I've taken a look at your website Mr tire store owner. Right now, about 1500 people per month search for tire stores in this city. When they do, this is what they see (show them Google SERP without them and/or with their competition ahead)." You've tactfully identified a problem and can now offer a solution.
     
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  9. crazyflx

    crazyflx Elite Member

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    This is just how I would do it if I were you. You have a huge advantage being an ex business owner here. You also know exactly what they feel like knowing they are about to be "sold" something. You need to relate to them. "I use to be a local business owner, and I got cold calls all the time and I know right now you probably want to smack me with the phone/door/whatever. The only reason I'm even capable of doing this, is because I know that as a business owner, what I can do for you is something I would have wanted somebody to do for me. That is, get me to stop wasting money on direct mail advertisements & radio commericials and just start doing something that really worked, or at the very least, add it to my ars*enal of ways to make sure customers knew and frequented my business."

    Since you know they know they are about to be sold something, that is something else you need to clear up right away. There won't ever be a time where you can sell somebody something without them knowing they are about to be sold something unless it's a chance meeting at a bar or something along those lines. That said, you should really clear it up straight away. Yes, I am here to sell you something. Yes, if you don't like what I have to say I'll leave. Yes, I won't waste your time.

    This is true. However, use the business owners pride to your advantage. What can you guarantee? I guarantee that YOU can guarantee more leads. I mean, if you can't, then you shouldn't be selling the service in the first place. But, if you can promise more leads, this part is an easy sell: "Mr. business owner, I guarantee that being on the first page of X (or whatever) will bring you more leads. So, once I get them to you, do you think that you're going to be able to deliver?"

    They of course will say yes (one yes down, a couple more to go). This gets them thinking. It gets them in the "oh, more customers" line of thought.

    Anyway, I'll stop rambling now, and I'll "leave" on this note. When you owned that restaurant, weren't you ever effectively sold something from somebody? Why did you listen? Why didn't you listen to the people you didn't listen to?
     
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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  10. sikandar

    sikandar Senior Member

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    I am in this SEO and IM consulting business for last 8 years. I have operated without a website of my own for many years. And I still managed to get plenty of clients locally. How that was possible? It was only my satisfied clients making the sales pitch for me and referring me new clients. Referral is the biggest source for getting clients and it starts with few relationships. In general people won't respond to email campaigns - better to take an appointment and meet them personally.
     
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  11. Longover

    Longover Power Member

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    If you are having trouble getting a face to face, then maybe you should make an initial call and ask for the owner on the call. This will tell you if they are working or where to find them. You might have more success getting the owner by being vague with the employees.
     
  12. iseegreen

    iseegreen Power Member

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    few things I've learnt

    1. don't lower the price charge what its real value is - because if you take on clients too low - you get pissed off - and many of them taking low price points will cancel later anyway because they can't afford it

    2. don't offer any services that you know won't work with their shitty websites. Alot of time clients websites have no chance of page 1 so don't over promise and offer alternatives - social marketing

    3. only go for companies at a certain size - because small businesses bitch/moan/send hundreds of emails asking the same questions over and over - and they moan about the price ----- meanwhile larger companies do nothing but complement you because your providing value services compared to the hosting companies they usually deal with. Plus larger companies have more content anyway.

    those are the 3 things Ive come across -- the larger the company the happier they are - the smaller the company the bigger the headache.

    (Im talking seo not web design)
     
  13. ExtraWinner

    ExtraWinner BANNED BANNED

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    The best idea ever :

    Post on You know who list that you are looking for employees.

    Let it be something like that:

    Looking for sales person. Previous experience required.
    B2B sales.
    Very attractive commisions.
    Ble Ble Ble

    Now you will have this people calling you.
    Interview them and hire them. But one small thing - they have to be self employed and you pay them per sale.
    Lets say you will pay them 1 month sale.
    Now you have army of sales man ready to do everything to make $$$ per sale....

    You can rise your price as well as its not up to you to sale the thing :) And people will work harder to get higher commision like $300 per sale...
     
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  14. johnny_fever

    johnny_fever Newbie

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    Respectfully, my experience with businesses that use generic recruitment ads and only pay commission is that they attract MANY unqualified applicants and have very high turnover.
     
  15. brittany46

    brittany46 Junior Member

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    This thread should be "stickied". I don't know the last time I saw so much plain good business sense in one place!
     
  16. ExtraWinner

    ExtraWinner BANNED BANNED

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    Well I think its not your problem, as you not paying them before they will make a sale. You are loosing your time only...
     
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  17. blackeye01

    blackeye01 Newbie

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    I do it differently. I run a video marketing service for mortgage companies in my area. All I do is go to their office and take some quick video clips then put it together then submit the video to search engines for certain keywords.

    The clients love this because they get results. I have a very attractive sales girl that goes out and solicites new business only to the mortgage industry, and I pay her $8.00 an hour + weekly Bonuses, and I give her a gas card.

    I even let her take future clients to lunch to get their business and I let her expense it to me and I pay for the lunch. I have a phone line with a live op that anyone can get for $65 a month it even has multi extensions so I look like a big company.

    I charge my clients $1.00 trial for the first month then $250 a month for ongoing video submissions.

    I started this business including the employee with $200 out of pocket and now I make great money and expanding into 2 more cities. You have to make yourself look professional and not fly by night.

    My employee simply gets her leads from phone books, weekly newspapers in our area, and also the internet. Then she goes out for the day to cold call on the businesses she thought would benefit from what we have to offer.

    While everyone else is emailing, direct mailing, and cold calling by phone, stuff that just gets ingnored. I have a well dressed employee showing up to their business that doesn't get ignored, and it's cheaper.

    Think outside the box. Treat this like a real business. There so many businesses that need your help. Everyday I have people asking us if we do web design, and I turn them away because I don't. Businesses need help.

    Keep going.
     
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  18. wookie85

    wookie85 Junior Member

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    Of course it is your problem. Those people are calling on YOUR behalf so your company name and reputation are out there. If you get some dedicated but uneducated person to call all of your local businesses and doesn't get you any sales that just kills those leads for you as you cannot call them again from the same company or they will slam the phone almost immediately.

    You have to be very careful when choosing who is representing you!
     
  19. wookie85

    wookie85 Junior Member

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    That is an awesome thing you are doing but how did u get such an attractive lady that is also good in sales for so cheap, that is THE question?
     
  20. blackeye01

    blackeye01 Newbie

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    We have a weekly alternative newspaper here that I ran the ad in looking for help. They are in a few cities you can find them at newtimes.com I received some really good candidates resume from this paper. The ad cost me $50 for the week.

    I interviewed the job applicants at Barnes and Nobles coffee area cafe, and picked the person I liked the best. She use to work in a clothing store so she was ok with the pay plus bonuses was a plus.

    Take Care
     
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