You’ve got a business online, but you don’t have any traffic?
When Ronnie (not his real name) called me, I figured he had something up his sleeve. He wanted something I could provide, and he knew it, but the first words out of his mouth were, “I can’t afford to pay you.” I stepped back from my desk and asked why he’d called me again.
I refilled my coffee cup and sat down in a comfortable chair in the corner, ready to listen to a want-to-be online marketer who didn’t get the concept of marketing. He’d spent years in the standard market, knowing that it worked, but wasn’t interested in paying for services in the Internet market. Services he knew worked. He’d already shared that he couldn’t afford to pay me, and the next hour became a brain picking session, him quizzing me for information he needed to market his business online.
A while before I’d worked for him on a project he claimed would make millions, if only he had traffic. After much consideration, I’d agreed to working for a percentage of the sales of the item he claimed was pending patent. He said there was a working product we could show to clients and claimed we could use the working product as a presentation tool. When we got to the point where he needed to have his product available for the traffic, he flubbed. His product wasn’t available. His product didn’t exist beyond the template on paper. To those persons interested in buying a real product, there was nothing. The working product he claimed to have was nothing more than a model.
At first, I was frustrated with Ronnie and the project he’d proposed, promises he’d made and the concept that he’d used my skills as a marketer and a consultant to put himself in contact with investors, then I realized that I wasn’t the “middle man” I’d presumed. I was the marketer. I was the front runner. It was my responsibility to my customers to make certain the products I was marketing were viable products. Through my own naivety, I learned that if I’m marketing a product, I have to have proof of the product’s existence, that it works, and that it is in truth the product I’m marketing. I learned the importance of proving not only my clients, but their products.
This time, I was skeptical. I explained up front that my services weren’t free and never agreed to work for commissions. He and his associate remained on the phone asking questions. They asked me to review a website, give them a comprehensive review and edit the site. Two phone calls and three billable hours later, they called back. Scheduled appointments for calls, and we talked several more times. Each time, the two of them quizzed me for information, and their information was given, complete with a proposal, analyzing the marketing services they would need for their business online.
My credibility was at stake, and once I learned that I couldn’t “trust” the client to be honest, I realized there was a different sort of factor in proof of product. A contract with your client is not enough. Your client must prove credibility and product availability, because you’re putting your word, your name as a marketer on their product.
Chasing shadows becomes a frightful prospect if you find you’re living a marketer’s nightmare. Don’t risk your business. Prove your clients. Prove their products. Before you start driving traffic and building a business module online for a client, be certain your client is for real.
When I got off the phone with Ronnie this past week, I realized that his inability to prove his business was not that he didn’t have a business, or that it wasn’t a viable business, but rather that he was in process of developing a business, and that process of developing a business in his mind, included picking my brain for marketing advice. Consultants charge fees. As a consultant, I sent him a bill for the hours I worked on his project.
Gaining income from your knowledge and presenting a client with a bill is part of doing your job. I no longer have a marketer’s nightmare. I no longer chase shadows. I’m a consultant, and I charge fees.
If you’re working online, it’s important that you have billing processes in place. Create the process guarantee your success. A Business Consultant can assist in this process. Learn how to prepare an invoice.