Looking for Business in All the Wrong Places

Jerry’s web marketing business swung between super for two or three weeks to strangely quiet with new business the next month… or longer. Because the clients signed on for six-to-twelve month contracts, there was work to do with optimizing site structures, competitive research, building and configuring special search engine-friendly site maps, and all the rest. However, the growth of the business was a serious concern for Jerry and his loyal project managers, as well as cash flow, as new clients brought in the most new revenue.

When I sat down to talk with Jerry about his growth plan, he started to tell me how with only a few hundred thousand dollars, he could open additional sales offices in the suburbs of major cities, where many white collar businesses operate. “Great,” I said after he had gone into more details and further away from his day to day concerns. “Just tell me what you would train your sales force to say and who you would have them say it to as a first step in building your sales pipeline.”

Jerry looked at me with a flash of sternness in his eyes. That was enough to let me know the four word challenge would be coming up soon enough. Then he launched into what I call the “inevitability sales pitch.”

“Well, it used to be that a business would buy a phone book ad or a newspaper ad and customers would find them by flipped through the pages. But now, things are different. People are online and businesses need to get their web sites found. Buyers are surfing the web these days. Too many businesses have web sites that are outdated, hard to find, and poorly designed. They’ve got to get out of the shadows and be found in Google and Yahoo and Bing. We have special ways of getting our client web sites found by people looking for local businesses to do business with.”

“All true,” I stipulated. “Now tell me, how are you finding prospects and once you do, what do you do to win them over to becoming a client? Tell me about the last few clients you signed on.”

Jerry began to explain that his cousin, who ran a hair salon, had sent him a few prospects. After all, she was a satisfied customer. With Jerry’s techs running the hair salon web site, his cousin had gotten more calls, more appointments, and more customers than she had in the last two years combined. She was thrilled with her decision to work with Jerry and his team and she enthusiastically told customers, whenever the subject came up. She was a perfect success story.