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Finding New Clients For Our Local Small Business Consultancy

This follows on from the first article about our startup small business consultancy. You might want to see that first.

To get any startup consultancy going, you need some clients. That’s pretty obvious!  So we set out to find local small businesses, who wanted help with their online marketing.

Now, some of us are naturally good salespeople on a person-to-person basis. Others find it more of a challenge and even somewhat scary. (personally, I’m in this second category)

But if you decide to go into this type of business, you are going to have to be realistic – finding local small businesses as clients IS going to need some face-to-face selling.  In contrast to a pure online business, it’s not going to be possible to do everything indoors, sitting behind your computer screen!

Initially, this rather put me off the whole idea, but I’m glad I followed through. Finding new clients who really want help with their online marketing, is actually turning out to be fairly easy (and quite enjoyable).

Here’s the main reason I see for this..

Small business owners generally seem to be nice people. Also, they know they need to be found on the internet these days.

So they respond very well to another local business person helping them in a genuine, straighforward way to market their business better online.

Here are the three main ways we are using currently to find new small business clients. (and please note, we are learning all the time, so these methods are evolving).

You may notice that none of these ways, involves any paid advertising…

#1  Be a customer first (my preference)

You must use local businesses already.. for example shops, restaurants, hairdressers, motor dealers, dentists etc?

So do a little research online…  see if you can find them easily using Google search, with relevant local keyword terms.

Then, next time you are at their premises as a customer, casually remark that you tried to find them on the internet, but could not (if that’s true). Or perhaps they are listed somewhere such as in a local business directory, but not at a website they have control over?

Make these remarks to one of the business owners of course, rather than an employee. If they seem interested, mention that you work with local businesses to improve their online marketing.

From experience, this method is good at finding small businesses you could work with. And it does not really involve much “selling” as such, certainly not in a pushy way.

#2  Use the telephone

Another way is to telephone potential local small businesses. This is more like cold calling, so you do need to be a bit more confident at sales.

You can draw up a list of potential clients, by first finding local businesses who are spending money on print advertising (this is generally expensive) – just look in local publications.

Then do some online searches for their relevant keywords. If you can’t find a website or a good directory listing that they can control, add them to your list of potential clients.

#3  Email

Again, find potential clients as per #2 and if they publish an email address, send them an email offering a chat.

We know that emails like this are often ignored, so it probably needs to be combined with a telephone call.

One way of getting more attention for your approach, is to record a short screen-capture video, showing you doing some online searches and perhaps finding their local competitors, but not them.

Then the next step…
Whatever method you use to find small businesses who want some help, you can then arrange to meet them for a free chat.

Here, you can find out more about their business and explain how it can better use online marketing to bring in more customers.  It’s best to have access to the internet at this chat, so you can “show and tell” what you are explaining.

Watch out for the next article in this series about our startup consultancy for local small business.

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3 responses to “Finding New Clients For Our Local Small Business Consultancy”

  1. Carol Smith says:

    Been very interested in this for a few months. Hate cold selling but the first method sounds doable. I am excellent at selling when they walk up to me.

    Maybe a combination of designing a website for a business that you know fairly well and taking it to them would be worth the effort. Especially if you could use that as a opener to show them what you mean.

    I also expect you will be doing maintenance or do you talk to them about search placement?


    • Kevin says:

      Hello Carol,
      I don’t like selling ‘cold’ either (hopeless is a better description!).
      The first method I wrote about, is working well for us.
      I think the key is to have a reference site or two – not doing a lot of work for the prospect in advance.
      Just try it! And yes, it does lead into ongoing monthly support/maintenance/seo/blogging etc..

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