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Has anyone hired someone to sell Websites before?

If so, how did it work out?

     
3:21 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm not the greatest sales person and I would love to pay someone to find customers for my biz locally....
3:30 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Cold calling is going to be difficult. Everyone I know gets boat loads of cold calls.

My other half did some sales for a bloke. She followed up on a direct mail shot which worked quite well as the in.

Cheers

4:03 pm on Dec 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We originally started our business on cold calling.

It was hard work and low conversion rate.

There were three of us. One of us did the phone calls, making appointments for the second one to go out and "sell" for the third one (me) to produce the sites and do all the SEO.

Once we had a few decent customers to show as examples, we switched to networking.

We joined the local chamber of commerce and a few similar business clubs and networked like hell.

We now get most of our business through networking and referrals

We haven't had to do any cold calling for the last 12 months.

Networking works better for us - but then, thank God, one of my partners is an ace networker, whereas I am a surly non-communicative geek ;)

IMHO, if you hire a sales guy, make sure he is more of a 'networker' than 'cold call' type.

11:05 pm on Dec 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I agree that it is all about networking but there were a few tricks I learned when I was first starting out.

Target business' in your area that already have websites. This may sound daft but they have already been sold on the value of the Internet and what it can do for them so you will already be over that hurdle.

Most of these business' are using sites that are 3-5 years old and chances are the company or individual that originally did their site is no longer around.

You can approach them with all of the great new things available on the Internet that they can now utilize to improve their business.

Now if they have a slick, high-tech looking site that utilizes the latest Flash they probably recently had an upgrade and aren't in the market for another redesign so soon.

The next thing I did was target a niche. Another web developer in the area was going after nothing but real estate agents. So after he had done about 5 real estate sites he quickly became to go-to guy for web design in the real estate arena.

Taking this idea, I targeted attorneys and lawfirms. What these two targeted areas do is they do the networking for you. A real estate office will have several agents who each want their own site. Attorneys go to the same area law schools and attend local bar events. So if you can get just one or two of them to become your advocate then you will quickly see your business grow.

The other plus with going after attorneys is that they were less likely to balk at my fees. It's hard for them to protest a $75 an hour fee when they are charging $230 an hour.

Also, and I can't stress it enough, get into the hosting business as a reseller. I host more than 100 attorney websites. I pay about $16.00 a month for each website but I charge the attorney $35.00. So this is about $2,000 a month I make without having to do anything. And trust me, it helps during the lean months.

Remember also that if you install a calendar script or something on a site it might be better to charge a lower initial cost and then an additional $10 a month fee for hosting it. The reason for this is that you need to develope as many multiple streams of revenue as possible.

As the sole person doing web design at lets say $50 an hour, the most revenue you can look at making is probably around $8,000 a month. This may seem like a lot but all you have really done is created a job for yourself. You have to come up with multiple revenue to supplement what you bill but also so you can take some time off now and then.

Jerrod

11:26 pm on Dec 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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All I did was visit a few stores I knew I could easily get to the top of the serps and would do some decent sales. I showed them what I've done with ecommerce sites and I got 2 jobs that lasted 2 months...

Now I get more people referred to me than I can handle. It's great getting to choose your clients....

Bonus Tip
Build a great information site that looks good and gets a lot of traffic. Then show them the page views and uniques for that site. This was a great way to get clients early on. I'd just say well this site is getting 5,000 unique vistors a day from the search engines. Do you want me to do that for you?

12:13 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi bossmanty

I am from a marketing and sales background so am replying in this respective rather from a web designers one. If you are going to employ somebody to sell for you then your best bet is to advertise for an experianced independant sales person on relevant sites or in print. Offer a commisson only scheme. This way you are most likely to recieve a pretty sucessful sales person that is likely to be also currently working in another industry.

This means:
A) they can actually sell!
B) They will probably already have a large base of contacts, that they have a good working relationship with, to actually sell to.

With the commisson basis you don't loose any money if they are useless. The only effort you will have to put in is interviewing these applicants and weeding out the idiots and maybe training them to understand your services.

Alternatively you can go with a marketing company who will have a team but this can be risky as you are relying on the company to train your sales guys. I would suggest seeing a solicitor in this case to draw up a contract pertaining to codes of conduct.

Hope this is of use to you.

Livewirez

12:24 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all your replys, (jmbishop) can you go into more detail about targeting attorneys for websites?
6:17 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Best way to sell is to form partnerships with likeminded organisations (but who obviously don't do web dev as core business) and get referrals - e.g. advertising, PR, consulting, printing etc
5:40 pm on Dec 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bossmanty,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

How I've targeted attorneys and lawfirms in the past is pretty straightforward.

One of the things I do is name my products with legal terms. For example, I do web design under two company names. One is the one I've been using for years and do everyday websites through and the other one has a legal sounding name to it. This give the impression that we specialize in this area.

I also have several applications that I sell to the lawfirms such as an ASP version of online customer support similar to LivePerson. I called my product, LegalChat. I could have named it half a dozen things to make it more universal but by narrowing the market it appears to be targeted just towards lawfirms.

I also advertise in the local Bar Association monthly magazine. This is very targeted to say the least as every attorney in the state has to be a member of the Bar and as a result they automatically get the monthly Bar Association magazine.

There are also yearly legal conventions that I attend and network that way.

Good Luck!

Jerrod

5:49 pm on Dec 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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jmbishop,
There are more than 2300 attorneys in my town, what do you suggest I do first?

Also, how do you use the LegalChat service?

8:07 pm on Dec 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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bossmanty,

I would target some of the smaller firms first. The ones with 3-6 attorneys. Offer them a low development cost of around $500. Then charge them $29.95 - $34.95 a month for hosting. What you initially lose in development you should be able to make up in hosting fees.

As you aquire more clients, raise your costs until you have a good sized portfolio.

The LegalChat system is a tool I developed. But you can use any script and tailor it to your clients and rebrand it as a special legal tool. For example. Buy an online calendar script. I haven't found a law firm yet that couldn't benefit from an online calendar.

Good luck.

Jerrod

9:07 am on Dec 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have one client (web designer who also doesn't like selling) who has a segment of their business in B2B. He has a few clients, who make a bit extra money in addition to their usual business, selling websites.

I guess it's kinda like an affiliate program for his designing website.

What I've recommended to "him" is to consider what type of marketing he enjoys doing... as a way to bring in clients. I call it "Marketing with Integrity".

For example: do you like talking to people one on one? then join groups where you can do that.

For example: do you enjoy writing? then write articles and send them to newspapers and magazines

For exmple: do you like teaching, or speaking, or what is it that you enjoy doing that can bring you new clients.

Considering the number of books on marketing available at books stores... and all the information on the Internet... and taught in schools, create a marketing plan based on your strengths.

 

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