How to Sell Consulting Services in a Digital World

How to Sell Consulting Services in a Digital World

July 13, 2017


Featured Speakers


Emily Stringer, Manager, Executive Advisory Services at MBO Partners

Featured Speaker:

Kristin Zhivago, President and Co-Founder at Zhivago Partners

04:41   Introduction of the event, MBO Partners, and the speaker

09:51   Selling the way the digital buyer wants to buy

10:38   What is happening with buyers today

13:56   The digital buyer revolution 

15:45   What do today's customers want?

18:51   The three C's of e-commerce: Consistency, clarity, and courtesy 

29:14   Gross Assumption Problem (GAP) 

36:57   “A Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy” 

 by Kristin Zhivago

39:44   Additional insights and book recommendations on the buying process

41:29   Q&A

53:06   Closing remarks

Digital buying is not a new idea to us but it continues to progress throughout the years. It is necessary to map out how a consumer's buying process has changed in order to stay updated. Mapping can be used and maximized to encourage more people to buy and help several companies to hire employees. 

Like a coin, the buying process has two sides: the customer and the company reality set-up. Both sides have to be considered in order to make a profit and build customer relationships. 

In this webinar, Kristin Zhivago, President and Co-Founder of Zhivago Partners, shared snippets from her new book, “Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy,” discussing strategies that will help you sell more. Her discussion also covered actionable tools, rules, and principles one can use to gain a fair advantage amidst the digital revolution.

In this webinar, you will learn: 

  • To identify the gaps between customer and company reality
  • To discover what your customers really want through digital utilization
  • To make use of the three C’s of e-commerce to do what is right for your clients
  • How the digital buyer revolution comes into play in the e-commerce industry
  • How to sell to your customers using different digital platforms

This Q&A-style discussion covered:

  • The effectiveness of Google Analytics, alongside other digital platforms, in tracking engagements of a website
  • The marketing budget and how it depends on what is needed for and from the business (a bigger budget doesn’t necessarily promise a successful execution)
  • The importance of reviews and why these should be taken into account when improving one’s business
  • The impacts of publishing online content to businesses’ online presence

Are you interested in attending the next webinar in the Business Building series? View our upcoming events.

[00:04:41] Kristin Zhivago Good afternoon, everybody. This is Kristian Zhivago, and I'm going to start out for us today. We're having some technical problems at the MBO side of things. The start buttons disappeared somehow. So isn't technology wonderful? So welcome to our seminar/webinar today, selling the way the digital buyer wants to buy. We're going to talk about that today. And I'll go through the slides. There was a little introduction, and if Emily comes back, then she can finish this up, but I'll go ahead and get started. 

[00:05:13] So this is Emily. She's working on coming in. Maybe she'll come in in the middle and will have questions at the end. I'm sure she'll walk through all of that. She is the consultant services adviser at MBO Partners. And I'm not going to do a very good job of talking about MBO partners. Hopefully Emily will be able to do that a little bit later. There is a little bit of housekeeping. This is your full screen icon and you can minimize it. I don't know if you can see my cursor, but there's a little arrow at the top of the panel that allows you to minimize this or not and didn't want to do that. And you can send us chats, there's a chat box and you can send a chat and they'll see it and you'll see it and we'll be able to answer your questions as we go. You can also tweet live, as usual. I don't think we have any polls, it might be a poll at the end, but I don't think we have any polls. But the hashtag is what you see up there. It's #MBOWeb. 

[00:06:24] Popping over here, this is me, I founded Zhivago Partners, we are a digital marketing management firm. Before that I was 2 years with Cloud Potential Digital Agency, and before that it was a revenue coach for a couple of decades in Silicon Valley to CEOs and entrepreneurs, mostly high tech companies. But when the Web came out and started being a commercial medium in 1994, I started moving out into other industries as well. But I've basically been on the bleeding edge of tech since tech was started. I hear somebody. Said, Emily? 

[00:06:59] Emily Stinger Listen, I think we made it in.  

[00:07:06] Kristin Zhivago Congratulations. Yes. Do you want to back up for anything? I really glossed over the MBO slide, so. 

[00:07:12] Emily Stinger Sure, absolutely. I would love to give you a brief overview of who I am and what we do so that everyone that is on the same page. And I really sincerely apologize for the technical difficulties. So a little bit about me and my history with MBO. I spent with the company for just about 7 years. I work over in the Consulting Services Department and I serve as a consultant services advisor. Our job is to respond to requests from independent contractors who are curious to know more about MBO partners, service offerings. What we do is we work with each of you individually through personalized consultation appointments. We learn a little bit about your background and about your needs and determine if MBO services are the right fit for your business of one. 

[00:07:55] So a little bit about us here at MBO partners. Christine, if you would like to go ahead to the next slide, our mission statement is to make it easy for independent consultants and their clients to work together. A high level overview of that, we offer a complete, all inclusive business operating platform for independent consultants. We take care of the administrative items that are typically outsourced to several different vendors, such as incorporation, contract review, liability, insurance coverage, invoicing, expense review and processing, tax and payroll withholdings, as well as that access to tax efficient and portable benefits. A couple of housekeeping items that I want to review quickly here. You can see all of our webinar controls. A couple of items, we will be getting everyone an emailed copy of the presentation within the next seven business days. We get that question frequently. We will be getting that out as quickly as possible. Additionally, we will be live tweeting this event using  #MBOWeb @MBOPartners. We would love to see you on Twitter. And at this time, I will let Kristin go ahead and pick up from here. 

[00:09:09] Kristin Zhivago Ok. That was pretty good. 

[00:09:11] Emily Stinger Great. 

[00:09:12] Kristin Zhivago All right. And just so you guys know, I am an independent business. I have been an independent business for a long time and learned basically how to position myself as a thought leader in the industry, even in a very crowded industry. I mean, there's a million people who specialize in marketing and sales. So hopefully what I share with you today will be helpful. I have written a couple of books. My most recent one was A Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy. And I'll be talking about the things that I put in the book that will help you follow through on some of the advice that I give you today. 

[00:09:52] Ok, so that's our topic, how to sell the way the digital buyer, today's digital buyer wants to buy. And I need to just say that the whole sales and marketing exercise has changed more radically in the last 2 years than in the 20 years previous, and it's just there were a lot of things you could do before that were fairly reliable and now it's much more complex and buyers are much more picky. And we'll talk about that. And harder to reach and harder to sell to because they've  seen every pitch known to man and they just don't, they're not affected by it. 

[00:10:38] So things have changed. And one of the things that's changed is that our buyers have supercomputers in the palm of their hands. And I'm going to try to give you some tools today that will help even that out because it's kind of you against them, even though I don't ever think of customers that way. But it's a battle against your competitors way more competitive than it used to be before Google came along and before Google and Mobile became dominant. You really could dominate an industry and become a thought leader a lot more easily than you can now. So what's happening? What's broken? What's working? Obviously, marketing and selling are broken and as buyers and this is something I'm going to keep coming back to because it's so anti intuitive as buyers, those of us who are trying to buy things and can't get our questions answered or we end up in voicemail hell, or we get too many emails that are irrelevant, or we get on the phone with somebody and they want to take us through their whole pitch when all we really wanted was to get a couple of questions answered. As buyers, we know that marketing and sales are broken. But the minute we start a company and we put on our selling hat, we become the seller and we stop thinking like buyers. And that's a gap. And I'll talk about that gap. And so what happens is this customer reality versus company reality. And that is an amazing roadblock to revenue. And in my experience, having interviewed literally thousands of customers for my clients over the years, to me that it's just no, there's no question that that is the biggest problem. The way we think of ourselves and the way we present ourselves is completely different from what customers actually want from us. 

[00:12:37] So my goal in my life, in my career has been to close that gap, because when you do, you get in sync with your buyer. They think you're relevant, they're happy, you're helping them the way you're helping them, and they want to give you business. We're always looking for people to whom we can give business and we want good vendors. We want good products. So we're actually seeking those things. And sellers, because they're in seller mode, make it actually impossible for us to buy from them. So that reality has been around a long time, but now it's even more focused. It's even more intense because mobile has changed everything. 

[00:13:22] And now we have another customer. A robot named Google. Google changes its algorithm 2 times a day. There are about 200 different criteria that Google uses to rank people. And in the midst of all that, you're trying to figure out how you can give Google what Google needs so that Google then gives you what you need, which is to be ranked properly and appropriately for your type of product or service. 

[00:13:57] So we're in the midst of a digital buyer revolution and one of the best pictures I have of that is a bunch of people waiting for the Pope in 2005. There's one cell phone down in the lower right hand corner here. And then in 2013, which was like 4 years ago, everybody has their cell phone in their hand, everybody or their iPad or whatever that is. You know, they're all that, it's just the whole audience is lit up. This is what we're dealing with now. We are dealing with consumerism at the speed of thought. So it's about Google. It's about and again, this is all obvious stuff. You're sitting here thinking, ok, I know this. I'm in the midst of it. I live it. You know, Google says that we check our phones 150 times a day. I'm sure it's at least that much. So as buyers, we know this, as sellers, we always flunk this test. It's just human nature. So what's happening is 82 % is all, according to Google, 82% of people consult their phones on the purchase they're about to make in a store. There's been a 20% increase in mobile and online sessions for when they're in the store stores, there's an 18% decrease in the time they spend on sites. But what's changed is that something like 73% of the people say that regularly getting useful information from an advertiser is more important than selecting a brand. That's contrary to all the marketing advice that you hear from branding experts. And branding has really, really changed as part of this whole revolution with this digital buyer. 

[00:15:45] So the real question is, what do today's customers want? That is the pivotal question and you need to answer it for your business, because if you get that wrong, you can't sell. It's really simple. You put all the stuff out, you'll spend all the money, you hire the vendors, you'll hire specialists. They'll do all this work and your sales won't go up. That's a problem. It's a really big problem. So what is it that your customers, today's customers really want? So here's one thing that's quite interesting. This is showing the power of mobile and the hole near me phenomenon. So the blue line is shoes near me. And if you ran that, this is Google Trends, by the way. And I'm going to mention the tools that you can use that are helpful. Google Trends is free. You can just go to and start typing in things that matter that relate to you and find out how your industry is trending. If you search for shoes near me by itself, the line looks like this yellow line, but compared to food near me, it's just sort of a blip. The shoes near me, a lot more people are searching for food near me than shoes near me or even convenience store. So you can set this up, you can set it up for the United States, you can set it up for worldwide, you can go the past 5 years, you can filter it out. All of this is very doable. 100% here just means the peak interest rate. This is a number of searches. Sorry, that was my mouse. So it's not a number like a million people or something. It's just that's the peak interest. So you can look at your markets, you can look at terms of people search for and interest in various areas. And Google Trends will actually show you which states or regions are showing up for that type of term. It's an amazingly powerful tool and it's one of the tools that buyers have now to sort of counteract the smart, the supercomputer in the palm of the hand the customer has. 

[00:18:01] Now, I've been doing a lot of work in e-commerce, and quite frankly, I also do a lot. A lot of my clients are B2B mid-sized companies and very technical just because I'm good at it. I've been doing it a long time and it's very difficult for them to find companies that do that sort of thing. But I've also done a lot of work in e commerce and I consider the B2B sale to be an e-commerce sale in the sense that your consumer is still looking for the same types of things in a B2B site and the way you interact with them and all of that, we're still selling to people and they still are used to things behaving a certain way in the digital environment. 

[00:18:49] So there's really 3 things that you need to be careful of to at least just even be in the right area and doing the right things for your clients. So this is the Three C's of E-commerce, Consistency, Clarity and Courtesy. 

[00:19:07] Consistency, the first one is, it's not what you think, it's actually about standard navigation and expectations related to navigation. So when you go and create a site and by the way, the wonderful thing now, another supercomputer in the palm of your hand tool for marketing people or business owners is that there are plenty of examples out there. is a perfect example of doing things right, making it easy for the customer to buy. 

[00:19:42] But you can also build your sites based on templates and you can use WordPress has zillions of templates, as does Shopify, which is a perfectly good, wonderful, very standard. A lot of people using it. E-commerce environment could set up your store for 29 bucks a month and, you know, start offering services very quickly. But all of those, those 2 platforms, WordPress and Shopify, have beautiful templates. So you don't have to worry about design. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get a site designed. You can work with someone who specializes in WordPress or even do it yourself. It's not that difficult once you've gotten the template. And the good news about that is that the navigation is fairly standard. There's that top set of items at the top. There's hamburger menus, which are things you see in mobile, where there's 3 lines. They're called hamburger menus, where the menu will pop out and let somebody navigate around. How menus are organized and how people handle categories and footers and things like that and download buttons and all of that. And I don't think I mentioned that in B2B, you also have an e-commerce aspect in the sense that you're always trying to get them to download something. The conversion isn't necessarily just buying something, but it's what I call a high scrutiny sale. Many, many steps, big, long process, very complex and it begins with them downloading something so that you can capture their email address. Interestingly, email, by the way, just those I'm on that subject. We've interviewed people about what they like and don't like, about how people approach them. And it turns out email is a terrible introductory device, but it's actually a very good keep in touch, keep giving you relevant things device. So, that has nothing to do with navigation, but I needed to bring that into this speech before I forgot to mention it. 

[00:21:58] So expectations, they want certain things to happen a certain way. And as you build out those interactions where they download a guide or something like that, they expect a thank you screen. They expect an email to come. And then they downloaded all of those steps. Those micro steps are really important and have to be mapped out. It's hard to get lost in Amazon, Amazon is a great example, and I'm pretty often shocked at how few people actually imitate Amazon. Amazon's kind of taking over the world on the e-commerce side and in terms of digital interactions. So, you know, look at it as a seller and even or as a buyer, rather, and kind of put on your buyer hat. I mean, I would even suggest that once a week you take a little bit of time and look around it yourself and your competitors and say, are they making it easy for them to say yes? Are they making it easier for them to get their questions answered and go through these steps? You also want to keep it clean. Navigation needs to be simple. And I'll show you an example in a minute. 

[00:23:08] There is a search. There's another tool, rather, that Google. Google is actually very helpful. There's another thing that's helpful with Google, which is called Think with Google. And it's a wonderful thing to subscribe to. They're always trying to help you make it easier to be found and for people to buy from you. One of the tools they have is a mobile friendly test, which shows you your site and ranks it and even shows you the places where there are problems. I'm not showing a screen grab of that, but I am showing a screen grab of something else. One of the things that your developers will tell you is that it needs to be responsive: "Your site needs to be mobile friendly". And of course, I'm sure most of you know that Google has decided, I don't know, a year or 2 ago that more than 50 percent of all searches were now done on mobile. So none of us can afford to think of mobile as the little stepchild of our site. It is very important. It's really super important. And you can see in Google Analytics how many people are accessing your site via mobile versus desktop. And if you're not paying any attention to mobile and even if a third of the people, which is pretty common for B2B, are accessing via mobile, you definitely want to make sure your site is not just responsive. Responsive just means that it displays on various devices, but it has to be people friendly. So the buttons have to be big enough to touch. And the it has to be more obvious. The one on the right is way more obvious. There's only a few choices. People don't mind scrolling on their phones, so you don't have to cram it all into the first top screen above the fold, as they used to say. Above the fold doesn't really matter anymore because people have gotten so used to scrolling. 

[00:25:10] So let's talk a little bit about Clarity now. I've taught copywriters all over the world and I've been teaching people how to write for SEO the last few years. And I will say that it is possible to write for people and Google. And I'll talk about that a little bit more later, but Google needs structure. People need relevance. People need articles and blog posts and pages that just answer their question and you need to know what their questions are. That's very important. It's not what you think, it's never what you think. If you've ever looked at FAQs as a buyer, you've probably said, oh, well, my question is not in here. FAQs should really be called. These are the questions we think people are going to ask, but we really don't know. And those of us who are asking those questions know that that's what those really are. Now, another thing that's sort of gone by the wayside in the last couple of years is the whole idea of persuasion. As I mentioned earlier, all of us are subjected to every kind of sales pitch and there's really only 2 or 3 kinds of sales pitches, like you save money, you save time and you're sexier. That's kind of it. And or more impressive, somehow people are just over that. They already, this is the hardest part for sellers to realize. When you put yourself right ahead on, you start your business, you think, oh, Lord, how am I going to get more business? But you're not thinking like a buyer. The buyers are looking for you. The buyer is already looking for you, there are people out there trying to find you. So the question is, how can you be found? You don't have to persuade them once they get there. You just have to make sure that you're found when they're looking for you. That's what's really changed. 

[00:27:16] I bring up Courtesy because it's so often left out of marketing and sales and I'm really tired of not just persuasion but manipulation. Buyers do not want to be manipulated. In fact, nobody wants to be manipulated. And one of the things that's interesting is, one of the most basic characteristics of even an infant, one of the first things an infant learns is, am I comfortable or not? Am I hungry? Is my diaper wet, whatever? Am I comfortable or not? And then how are the people around me reacting to my discomfort? And right away, they start to learn this is like the second lesson they learn, the first lesson is I'm comfortable, I'm not. The second lesson is how am I being treated as people come and take care of my needs? So we develop as human beings a very fine sense of who's on my side and who isn't and who really has my best interests at heart. So if you're in business because you want to show off or prove to somebody and I've worked with clients not very long, but I've worked with clients like that, only a couple, actually, I don't work with jerks. It's one of my rules. But somebody who's just out to show off his competitors or show up as competitors and make the world, you know, stand up and take notice, that person is not going to stay in business very long and nobody really wants to do business with them. So the whole idea of being a good seller is to understand what they want and then figure out how to give it to them. That's really it. As a revenue coach, that's what I did all day long, is I tried to figure out what it is that your customers want from you and it's never what you think and how to give it to them. 

[00:29:13] So getting back to the gap, this is the distance between the seller's mindset and the buyer's mindset, and this has to be addressed first, I think of the gap as the gross assumption problem. Personas fall into this category. I'm sure you've all heard of personas and how you have to develop a persona for your audience and all that and understand who they are. Well, it doesn't really work because you're talking about who they are, not what they want, specifically from somebody like you. And you need to find that out from them because you can't guess. This is why I wrote my book, Chapter 3 in the book explains exactly how to interview your customers, people who have already bought from you. Who have a vested interest in your success, and they will actually tell you what they were thinking while they were buying, what you did to blow the sale or make the sale. And even if you made the sale, they'll tell you what you were doing that almost blew the sale, what they were hoping you would say or do, what they wished you would do. One of the questions I have developed is if you were the CEO of this company tomorrow, what's the first thing you would fix? And so right away, you find out the things that you need to work on, but you find out why they bought, how they bought, who else was involved in the buying decision, what their questions were and all of that, and only takes 5 to 7 in-depth interviews on the phone. You shouldn't do them in person and you shouldn't do them via a survey or anything like that. You just have a phone conversation. I found over the years that people will tell you more on the phone than they will any other way, especially if you listen properly. And I talk about that in the book. So you ask 5 to 7 people to give and type who have already bought from you, and by the fifth to seventh conversation you will have trends, you will have bankable information about how they bought, why they bought, what they wish you had done with the questions they wished you'd answered. And it just gives you complete confidence to go forward and write a copy for them and change your website. So it's for them and your emails and everything else that you're doing. So it's on target. So there's really two ways to find out. You ask them, how many times would it be wonderful if somebody just called you up and said, what are you looking for here? And you could tell them. I mean, it's so rare. And then you watch them and Google makes it possible to watch them. 

[00:31:42] Now, as I mentioned before, Google's a robot. Google is a really smart robot, but Google actually still literally a robot. You have to hit Google over the head with a 2 x 4 to tell them exactly what you're doing and how you're doing it. One of the things we work on with our clients is something we call an identity, a Google identity profile. So it's really kind of a persona for you that tells Google with phrases that people are looking for the types of things you want to be known for and all of that. And that factors into our whole search engine optimization work. So, again, you ask them, you watch them. My book is available on Amazon. Chapter 3 tells you exactly how to ask them so that you get the answers you need. 

[00:32:31] Now, knowing them after looking at them or talking to them and watching them can be done through these amazing tools as marketers, we now have amazing tools. So what I'm showing you right now is from SpyFu ( It shows you the ads that a company is running. How many ads they ran, how they did, what the ads were, so that when you go to do pay per click, you don't need to start from scratch and throw spaghetti on the wall, which is very unprofitable and a good way to run out of money. Instead, you can look at what other people are doing in your space and literally copy them. And take that same phraseology and adapt it to your own and start there, you'll still have to test pay per click is a very involved kind of thing, but you can figure out what they're doing and how they're doing it. 

[00:33:32] There are other tools that help, Hot Jar will show you what people are doing when they come to your site. Google Analytics will also show you that, by the way, it shows you which pages they come into and which pages they bounce out of. So you have a bounce rate issue, maybe on a particular page or your home page, you're going to find that out. Anything. Good rule of thumb is if it's over 50%, then you pretty much should pay attention to it. If your bounce rate, bounce rate as they come in, once they leave, there's no there's nothing else for them. And you really have to be careful to, by the way, that you don't have 2 vendor's fighting each other. We had a client who made a flow meter for R&D firms for very sophisticated scientific research, and these 4 majors were $3,000 each. Now, there are also flow meters for garden hoses that cost $10 and they had a paperclip company that was being paid by the click. And those people were just running ads for flow meters. And of course, they got a lot of garden hose people who would come to the site and say, oh, lord, I don't want a $3,000 R&D flow meter. I want a garden hose flow meter. And so what happened is their bounce rate went up and Google pays attention to bounce rates because it's one of the things that says, is this a good site or not? And so Google would stop showing those pages and they would penalize them on their ad cost. So the more traffic they got from this company that was being paid by the click, the more they were losing overall in the marketplace and losing sales and literally just paying somebody to help them go out of business. So that's one of the things you have to pay attention to. It's very important now to look at the data and analyze it. And bounce rates are one of the ways. Hot Jar actually shows you the pathways that people go through as they click around your site so you can start seeing the things that are, you can watch people go through your site as they're visiting. So you can see the things that are important to them. 

[00:35:41] Moz and Alexa are 2 other tools that are very helpful for understanding customers. You still need to interview them. You can't avoid that. You still need to find things out that you couldn't find any other way. You know, watching someone is not the same as having a conversation and understanding who they are. But you can get a lot closer with your messages and your marketing using these tools. 

[00:36:09] So the last thing I want to talk about is just summing this up. We want to focus on their buying process. Google thinks of these micro moments where the person is going through a set of decisions, really it's like a fork in the road. Do I click on this or not? Do I stay? Do I leave? Do I pursue this? Do I go deeper here? What am I interested in? Those are their micro moments. And again, think that Google is a really good source for that type of thing. But you actually have to map out your customers' buying process and be there with the appropriate answers at the appropriate time in their buying process. That's our job now, is to support their buying process. 

[00:36:57] In my book, I talk about light, medium, heavy and intense buyer scrutiny. It turns out that all of the products and services in the world fall into one of those categories. And if you understand that and I map them out very carefully, you can see the questions people ask and a lot of things about those types of things. And if you're selling services, you're pretty much in the heavy or intense buyer scrutiny. So light scrutiny as I see it, I buy it very cheap, quick, medium as I see it. I ask questions. I might get somebody else involved. So we're talking about clothing and things like that. Heavy is, I see it, I have a lot of questions. I have other people involved. There's a contract, there's a big commitment. It's expensive. And then intense is all of those things. But you also get married. It's a long term commitment. Once you know where you are on that scale, that scrutiny scale, then you can figure out how to map out the buying process. 

[00:38:00] And again, my books are really helpful on this and be able to be where they are because honestly, if you're not supporting the buying process, you're just going to lose sales. So we need to know the questions they're really asking and where they're getting the answer. You need to do searches on your own kind of thing and find out what people are searching for. Spicy foods, very helpful for that. By the way, so is Google Analytics, and they show you the terms that people are using. And they're never what you think. I had that experience so many times, so many times when I've gone to work for clients and I've said, well, what's important to you? What do you think is important to your customers and how do you think they search for it? And they come back with a list and they tell me and we discuss it. And then I go out and I interview their customers and their customer list is completely different. That's why I'm so passionate about this, because we all delude ourselves, we think we know, we don't, we really don't. So we need to find out. You have to look at what else they're considering, options are a click away now. I mean, you lose a sale with an eighth of an inch, click on the on the right index finger. Done, gone. Never to come back. And it could be they don't want anything or they want to try it a different way or they wish you had offered it a certain way. They want to buy it, but you're not offering it the way they want it. So you need to understand the options. You also need to immerse your managers, and that's if you have managers, if you're a single company, or you have to immerse yourself in the truth, because that's the only thing that's going to make you sales. So guessing is fatal. It doesn't work. It's a terrible strategy. 

[00:39:49] There's a book out called Hope is Not a Strategy. But I think this is even worse. I think guessing about what you think people want is prideful, first of all, and it just gets in the way. You will not make sales if you're guessing. I have the little funnel over here because they always talk about the sales funnel and getting them in your funnel and walking them. Well, there's no such thing as a funnel anymore. People bounce around from site to site, an option to option like gnats on a hot roof and they're just not interested in your funnel or taking, going through your linear selling process. By the time they get to you, they've researched, they've looked at your competition. They know what your competitors say about you. They've seen what your employees say about you in Glassdoor and other sites. They've seen reviews. So really, they come to you with a couple of questions. And if you can't answer those questions right off the bat and very clearly and inconsiderately, they're gone. All right, so that's the end of my formal presentation, and I am very happy to take questions. 

[00:40:59] Emily Stinger Kristin, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon for a wonderful, informative presentation. This covered a wide array of information regarding, kind of our 301 level e-commerce marketing tips, which is a great follow on some of the other topics that we've discussed before for our consultants. So we really appreciate the insight and you being here to coach our attendees through this information. 

[00:41:26] Kristin Zhivago No, thanks. 

[00:41:27] Emily Stinger Absolutely. So with that said, we're going to launch a couple of quick polls here just to capture those who would like to gather some more information. So, first of all, would you like more information on MBO partners? Yes or no? We'll give you about 30 seconds to chime in here. All right, great. I think we've captured everyone who is on the line, so thank you very much for giving us some feedback there. For those who have requested more information, we will get that out within the next 24 hours. 

[00:42:26] So next, would you like more information from Kristin Zhivago? Yes or no? And we'll give you about 30 seconds here as well. All right, great, seeing any more movements, we can close that one out. Ok, great. So, Kristin, you did a great job. We only have a couple of questions here, so we'll go through those really quickly. And for those of you who have not submitted your questions, please feel free to do so at this time. 

[00:43:16] So, Kristin, one that I did receive was regarding various Google data analytics points. So with regard to those, what would you say are your top 5 and why for independent contractors who are marketing their services? 

[00:43:31] Kristin Zhivago Well, it's pretty much what Google shows you. You do want to watch your traffic over time and see how it's doing. And again, this is Google Analytics for the most part, which is pretty easy to sign up for and have Google tracking activity in your site. So you want to see how many people are visiting and track that over time. You want to see how many people are bouncing as they come in. And again, if you go into Google Analytics, you can go into the users section, I think it is and there's a user flow. They just renamed it but I think it's user flow and that shows you where they're coming in from. And then, they come into the home page and on that chart, the home page is just shown as a slash. It doesn't say homepage, it just shows a slash. And then all the other pages are clearly identified, like this is your blog or your about page or whatever, and you'll see the places they go. And one of the things I've noticed, by the way, for B2B is, it's very common in some of these trying to look at a company to hire them. They often go into the about section, like right after the homepage, they go into the about because they want to see who's behind the company. You really need to make sure that your section has a picture of you and anybody else on your team and just a good, solid bio and something about your passion. If you go to my site, you'll see that I talk about my mission and what you know, what gets me up in the morning, because people really want to know what drives you because they know that's where the passion will come from and that's the thing they can depend on. So there's the overall traffic, there's the pages they visit, there's the bounce rate. How many people come in and go out right away? There's the time on site and the time procession, you know, just so the pages and the time in those pages. And if you look at that, you can actually start to see some of the blog entries or whatever that have kept people longer or pages they spend longer on. And you want to duplicate that success as much as possible. There's a lot of breadcrumbs that are left out there in this data, google analytics. SpyFu, it's not as accurate as Google Analytics, but you can look and see what people are searching for globally and locally every month in terms of the types of terms and the types of terms that you are being found for, which is important, too. So those are some of the top, top graphics or top stats. 

[00:46:15] Emily Stinger Great. I think that's excellent advice, Kristin. Another question I received, do you have a percentage of revenue that you can recommend for a marketing budget for a small firm? 

[00:46:28] Kristin Zhivago Oh, lordy, as much as you can spend. No, it's not quite that simple, but it's more a question of what you need to do and then saying, ok, how can I do this most cost effectively without resorting to what they call black hat techniques versus white hat. You don't want to hire people who just bang stuff out and send a whole bunch of things to people and not only just emails and things like that, but directories, for example. It's really important to be in Google my business. When you type in your name, your knowledge graph should appear on the right hand side. That's what they call that area that has your company name in your map and all that. Now you have to show, you have to have a location. There's a lot of home based businesses that do not want their location to be known. But if you want to get on that graph, you're going to have to do that. Google also pays attention in Google my business to photographs and reviews. So, and I think that one of the delineation things is that you need at least 5 photographs and 15 reviews. I haven't set up all my reviews yet because I just started my new company but that's one of the things that Google pays attention to. So, and you can get reviews from people you're working with, just send them an email and say, we'd love to hear from you. Here's a link to that knowledge graph. And here's click on this review, there's a special link that people can use that fills when they go there. They see your knowledge graph on the right, and then a little box pops up that says rate this company so you can get reviews. We did that with the company. They had one negative review that was a service organization, an HR recruiting firm. And some guy was fired because he was negligent and smoking pot and all sorts of bad things. And he put up a negative review. And unfortunately, the owner of the company responded to him in an email and then he published, the negative guy, published the president's email in the review. And it wasn't pleasant. I mean, it was just like, put on your big boy pants. You never should have been this, you know, so it was very negative. So we did a campaign where we sent out emails to their customers, other customers and asked them to review and within a few days they had 14 reviews. And for some reason, the other guy has actually taken down his one star review. So that's really important now. And you also need to be in directories like Yelp and not Manthan and so on. And so you have to have somebody dedicated to that for you. You don't want to do this yourself, it takes too much time. But there are people out there that can do that kind of work. 

[00:49:24] Emily Stinger Great, I think that's excellent. Those are all excellent points to cover, Kristin. Again, your insight has been invaluable through this presentation. The last question I have here would be regarding social media and marketing for small businesses in terms of e-commerce. How important do you believe that is and what forms of social media do you advocate for putting on a Website? 

[00:49:46] Kristin Zhivago It completely depends. And I should go back to that budget question for a second, because I really didn't answer it. There are certain things you need to do in this day and age to be on the radar. And the things I talked about there is yes, there's social. Yes, there's blogging. Yes, there's optimizing your Website constantly to make sure your pages are displaying properly in the meta tags are good and all that stuff that Google needs for structure. So it's kind of a baseline. And if you're a small business, you know, it's hard to say how much money you should spend, but you should be able to spend hundreds of dollars each month for each of those things through vendors that specialize in it or use somebody like myself, although I tend to work with larger companies these days. But there are companies out there that can help you get through that. And, you know, it's a thousand a month, maybe 2,000 max or something, but it depends on how aggressive you want to be. 

[00:50:43] So let's go back to social. So, where are your customers expecting to find you? B2B, just stick with LinkedIn. You still can put Facebook up. You can still do some minor Twitter, tweeting, you know. They don't expect to buy from you there, but they kind of expect to see who you are and what you care about there. So if you provide useful information, which is what you should be doing, and if you interact with people and by the way, if you think of social as more of a customer service approach than a promotional approach, you're going to be in a lot better shape when somebody looks at you just to see who you are, just like they go to your about section. They try to find out who you are. They do the same thing with social. They go and see what you've been tweeting about and a lot of people don't realize that. But it's really important not to put stuff up there that you would be ashamed to see or that you wouldn't want your clients to see. So you have to figure out where are they? And to B2B, LinkedIn is the leader and the personal side, Facebook, Pinterest, if it's, you know, eye candy kind of thing. Instagram is important for small products. I'm assuming most you guys are consultants, though, and in which case you're really better off with LinkedIn. You're really better off publishing really good instructional blog articles that you then repost on LinkedIn after you've given Google time and there's something called Fetching where you make sure Google fetches the article so that it crawls it. So it crawls it first on your site and then, you put it on LinkedIn. It's ok to have the same article on LinkedIn because it's kind of a separate environment and those things tend to lead to leads in our experience. You also really should have an ongoing email program that just tweaks your customers on a regular basis with educational and helpful material. 

[00:52:48] Emily Stinger Great, Kris, and I think that's excellent advice, especially for who we tend to service by way of the solar producers and independent contractors. So in terms of our questions, that is all we've received today. If there are any other questions that come up after the presentation, please feel free to get in touch with us. But from here, we will go ahead and get things wrapped up. So thank you all for bearing with us through our technical difficulties today. We really appreciate the time and attention to this subject. So with that said, if you have not had the opportunity to check out Kristin's book, Roadmap to Revenue, definitely go on Amazon and check it out. We recommend it, it's a great read no matter who you are and what stage your business is and in terms of marketing. And please join us again for future webinars. And thank you all for attending. And thank you so much, Kristin, for joining us today. 

[00:53:41] Kristin Zhivago Fun. Thank you. Enjoyed it. 

[00:53:44] Emily Stinger Absolutely great, everyone have a great Thursday.