Before I reveal this, it's important to understand the two reasons why it's hard to get instant sales. You might have heard that people don't buy your service – they buy you. I was reminded of this recently while watching Matilda with my girls. Harry Wormwood, a dodgy second hand car salesman played by Danny DeVito says "People don't buy a car, they buy me". You need to see the film to appreciate the irony.
But it's true. Well, partly true. People will only "buy you", once they know you, like you and trust you. How much they need to know, like and trust you will vary from one person to another. Once you understand this, you can see why cold calling has such a low rate of success. That's why everyone hates telemarketing calls. You don't know the caller or the business they represent, you don't like them (especially if they ring during dinner) and therefore it's unlikely that you trust them.
Then there's a second challenge. Even if you can overcome the "know", "like" and "trust" hurdles, people are not ready to commit to a new website. I remember reading an article discussing the sales conversion time of carpet. From the time a couple thinks "you know what – we should get new carpet" to the time the job is finished is 18 months! We are very creative at coming up with excuses why we shouldn't spend money.
So far this is pretty depressing but if your new year's resolution is to start 2012 as a part time web developer, there is a solution. Use the time between now and the end of the year to collect leads and start building trust. If someone asks you to build a website – all the better – but your goal right now is to establish credibility, give people a chance to get to know you and then introduce them to a service they didn't even know they needed. This service will be revealed in our training course.
So – how do you start to gather leads? As I keep saying, the goal isn't to sell right now, but that doesn't mean you can't start gathering some data about businesses in your local area. Here's a step-by-step process you can start this weekend.
- Type up a quick survey with questions such as
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you the owner, the manager or both?
- How is business for you right now?
- Do you have a website?
- If so, what is your web address?
- If not, why not?
- Business name:
- Owner's name:
- Email address:
- You can probably fit three or four of these per sheet of paper so do that and print enough pages so you have at least 50 surveys to complete.
- Get yourself a clipboard and pen and dress nicely. It's amazing how official you look with a clipboard!
- Head to your local business district and start knocking on some doors. Remember you are not trying to sell anything. The goal is to gather information, so introduce yourself along the following lines:
"Hi, my name is ... and I am starting a local web development business. I'm doing a bit of market research by speaking with other local business owners in the community. Would it be possible to speak with the business owner to help me complete my survey? It only takes sixty seconds. "
Wait for an answer.
If "no" then say – "okay well thanks for your time. By the way does this store have a business card? This is handy to keep on file for later.
If "yes" then ask the questions. At the end of the questions, say "I publish an email newsletter containing tips on how to improve your online presence. It's free and you can always unsubscribe later if you decide that you don't want it. Would you like to receive this?" If yes, then ask for the email address and other contact details.
Can you see where we're going with this? There are two goals; find out who might be interested in a website and collect email addresses. The introduction includes two words that I find to be quite powerful. By saying you're a local business owner immediately provides a connection to the business owner. They're a local business owner too and those of a feather stick together so they're more likely to chat with you. The word community has the same effect.
The time this takes will depend on the types of businesses in your area. If you average 10 surveys per hour, you'll have 50 contacts in 5 hours. More importantly, you're bound to have some interesting conversations and might even find someone who wants a website right now.
The next step is to write to everyone and thank them for your time. Include a brief note about the types of comments you received from other local business owners. The easiest way to do this is by creating a mailing list, either with a Joomla extension or via a third party provider and setup an auto-responder. That way, all you have to do is enter the contact details and an auto responder will be sent to them.
Finally, start sending a weekly or fortnightly email newsletter to your list that contains interesting information about online businesses. That way, by the time you're ready to start building sites, you have a list of prospects that know you and hopefully like and trust you.
This is just one approach and although it is worthwhile, there are even better techniques that will be demonstrated in our upcoming "how to become a part-time web developer and earn $4000 a month" course. This will be released into the Joomla Pro course so if you're already a member, you will get this automatically. However there will be a price increase so if you haven't subscribed yet, get in now while we still have our early bird price.