Many people are trying to make money selling offline consulting
services to local businesses. There is no doubt that a great
consultant can make a serious impact on a business that is trying
to increase their bottom line. Many businesses have been cutting
back on advertising the last few years due to the recession, but
the fact remains that we as digital marketers can make a HUGE
difference in the impact of a business. We have the ability to
turn this recession around with our marketing skills.
Sadly, most people don’t know how to correctly consult with offline
businesses. All they know is that they are going to go in there
and tell the business owner on the first page of Google!
It is actually much more complicated than that!
Here are the five most important questions to ask the business
owner about their business before you pitch anything.
How many more clients do you want each month for x product or
You need to find out what the client really wants. Do not assume
anything. Don’t assume that the most profitable product or service
in the business is what the owner wants to sell. Make them tell
you what they want to sell.
What is the average profit margin per transaction for x product or
You need to know this. This is a very important aspect of the
interview process. You won’t be able to justify spending $1,000
per month on advertising if you can’t show that they are going to
make $1500 per item sold. At the same time, if the average
transactional value is only $100 per sale, then you may need to
tone down your proposal.
Some business owners are not going to give you this information.
If you come across someone who doesn’t give you the information
that you need, then you may need to explain why you are asking for
this information. The business owner needs to know that you are
not trying to get confidential information, but you are trying to
understand their business so you can provide the appropriate
marketing plan for their needs.
Just try to be forward and upfront with the business owner.
Honesty is the best policy.
What differentiates their business from other businesses in the
This is done to get a feel for their marketing needs. Let’s say
you are working a burger restaurant. There are tons of restaurants
that sell cheeseburgers, so why would the customer visit your
client’s business as opposed to someone else?
There are many features the business owner may mention. It may be
customer service, the quality of the product, speed of service, and
a variety of other answers.
What other advertising are you doing now?
You should already know about some of their advertising before you
walk in the door. You need to gauge how much the business owner
values advertising. If the business owner freaks out about
spending $100 in the yellow pages, then how do you think they are
going to feel about spending $1,000 per month with you?
How do you handle customer phone calls, emails, and other inquiries?
This is more important than most people realize. If the business
owner lets all of his calls go to voicemail after 5 pm every day,
then this could be hurting his bottom line. The business world is
moving more and more to a 24 hour world, but some business owners
don’t want to work after 5 pm.
Find out if the owner gets most of their inquiries through phone
calls or emails, and determine how fast they respond to inquiries.
These are the five most important questions to ask your offline
clients when you are setting up an advertising program for them.