How to Get Online Business Manager Clients

by Tiffany on October 29, 2014

in For OBMs,For VAs

Untitled“How do I get Online Business Manager Clients?”

I have to admit this is likely the #1 question I hear, both from those who are Certified Online Business Managers as well as those who are learning more about the industry.  For this reason, Tina Forsyth created the Get Clients Mentorship Program, where we have walked dozens of OBMs through the process of landing their ideal OBM clients.  From this I have learned a few key ‘must do’s’ in being successful to get online business manager clients.

The Law of Momentum basically states (paraphrased) that it takes more effort or energy to get something started than it does to keep it going.  This is sooo true in business, specifically when it comes to landing that first client, or first ideal client.  So what is person to do?

I would like to answer that question and give you 5 Must Do’s to Get Online Business Manager Clients.  What I request is that you do not get mad at me about what I am about to say. ;-)

#1 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Only DO What Results in Clients

Stop everything else you are currently doing OUTSIDE of getting clients!  Often I find the folks we have in our programs that do not get the success they desire are simply not taking the steps needed to be successful.  When I ask how many calls did you make, emails did you send, comments did you leave on blog posts, or social media attempts to connect did you make, they want to tell me how they were doing all this other stuff.  As a coach, I find this very frustrating, because it’s counterintuitive to what they really want.  So if you want to get clients you must first stop doing anything and everything that doesn’t result in a CLIENT!

A few of these distractors could be:

  • working on your website (endlessly trying to get it perfect).
  • ‘following’ folks on social media but never really making contact.
  • researching everything (you know who you are).
  • everything else in life but your business (you too know who you are).
  • working endlessly for clients you don’t really want to work with, but letting that be the excuse to not getting the clients you do!

Get these distractions out of your daily habits.  Again, if the end result isn’t NEW CLIENT, quit doing it on a daily basis.  Set time up in your calendar to be purposeful to connect with potential clients, to make calls, to send out emails… whatever it takes to get you on the phone telling someone how you can support their success.

#2 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Know Your Ideal Client

Get 100% clear on who you want to work with and how you want to serve them.  A biggie, because, if you are not clear on your languaging about how you want to work with clients, then essentially you will find yourself stumbling through the sales conversation without any real direction.  You need to know exactly what that client will get by working with you.  Exactly what problem you are meant to serve and who needs that service.  You should be an expert of YOU at the very least to ensure you can connect your greatest assets to the clients who need you most.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a season to say YES to everything that can happen at the start of any business, when any work is better than no work.  Any experience is better than no experience.   But you always want to know exactly who is going to be the best fit for your services.  You want to ensure that you can always connect with that person first, either through their writing, your qualifying process or the first few minutes of a call.

If it is an ideal client, but for whatever reason they don’t (or you don’t) feel that your current services meet their need, I encourage you to sell them something… anything!  Here is why I say that… because if they are truly ideal for you, then even if neither of you are explaining your problem/solution very well, you will find it together and you’ll eventually be able to serve them at the highest level.

This is so important as an Online Business Manager.  Say ideal client doesn’t exactly need an OBM at the moment that you speak or their business doesn’t have the revenue to support your retainer.  You can still sell them a service, sell a 90-day package of setting up systems for them, sell a launch management package for their next launch… there is always something to be sold.  But if you don’t know that’s your ideal client, because you haven’t figured out who your ideal is yet, then there is a good chance the opportunity is going to pass you right by.

#3 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Go Where Your Clients Are

On some occasions your clients will find you.  This often will happen once you have already established a bit of momentum.  (Again, the Law of Momentum states that it’s easier to keep it going than to start it.)  What happens is you will get that first client.  Then they do a referral and now you have two clients. Or you are now more familiar with the problem of that ideal market and you begin to speak to them differently resulting in more conversations.  But what do you need to do BEFORE that happens?  Go Where Your Clients Are!

If this means getting out to events, then go.  If you need to join a program where your clients are, then do it.  I am amazed at how many virtual support professionals are surprised that they may have to invest in their own business, in creating a prospective client list or in traveling to where potential clients might be.  It is necessary for you to be strategic to get in front of ideal clients.  The good news is that you generally only need to get in front of a few, as most of us are not building businesses on volume but instead on 1:1 services.  This means you won’t have to invest long.  But to get started you may need to.

When we go to events, if there is an implementation company booth set up as a sponsor, that booth will be one of the busiest booths EVERY TIME!  Why?  Because at least 70% of folks at live events need a team, or they need a better team.  They are in the decision making mindset to go forward in their business, and this is a great opportunity to get a commitment on a contract.

Ideal clients are not likely to land in your lap every time.   They will sometimes though, so enjoy that when it comes your way.

#4 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Look Professional

Clients do the first thing we do.  They go to your website, your facebook page, your twitter page, your linked in, etc.  They want to KNOW who you are, often before they even talk to you seriously about the position.  If your facebook page is riddled with ‘woe is me, he did me wrong’ or cute little kitties, you are not exactly ‘looking professional’.  If your twitter posts are all your favorite TV shows being commented on (and you might be surprised to find out how many people use twitter to connect with others over their favorite shows… strangely a lot) you are not coming across as a professional, internet-savvy, support person.  As much as we would like to think living transparently online is completely acceptable, it may be the exact reason you can’t get that ideal client to return your email or phone call.

You have to look professional.  Don’t have a blog on healthy food and then try and offer folks virtual support services.  Clients won’t understand what you expect from them or what you can really offer them.  If you have different companies or interests, great… brand each one differently and know where each has its place in your ‘professional profiles’.  If you look like you are ‘too busy’ for one more thing on your plate, then that is exactly what your potential client will think.  So read through your posts, check out your profiles, be strategic in how you represent yourself online and always ‘look professional!’

#5 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Pick Up the Phone and Make the Call

Seriously, if you don’t ask you will never receive.  The folks who rock out our Get Clients Mentorship and ALWAYS end up with clients are the ones who take every opportunity they can find to simply ask to work with the client.  Really all of your to-do’s simply come down to this one… ASK for the SELL!  But you can’t ask if you are not connecting with folks, if you are not making the opportunity happen, if you don’t make the call.

Earlier this month I challenged all of our Certified OBMs to make 30 calls this month to increase revenue.  What I am most surprised by are how many folks didn’t bother to take the challenge.  Not only did they not want to make the 30 calls, but they essentially didn’t want to WIN the challenge.  Now I don’t know about you but if you give me a challenge, I want to WIN it!  Regardless of beating anyone else, let me beat my own belief system.  But many of our Certified OBMs didn’t see the value in this challenge and simply didn’t participate.  I would love to say that I truly believed it was because they simply didn’t need clients.  But I know that is not the case.  They simply didn’t want to pick up the phone and make the calls.

You know what, though.. next month they will have that same story they had this month, of not growing their business, not getting clients and not making money.  But I assure you those who took the challenge will have an entirely different problem in November:  What do I do with these clients now that I have them?  ;-)

{ 0 comments }

5 Reasons Why OBMs Get Fired

by Tiffany on October 22, 2014

in For OBMs

Donald Trump - You're FiredWhen I think of the partnership between the OBM and the business owner I think: marriage. Now maybe this is because I have been married for almost 20 years and it’s the only parallel I know in which to describe the partnership with the OBM and a business owner. So when I hear something has happened and they are no longer working together I think: hmm wonder why they broke up. ;-)

The truth is that a business “breakup” is just as unpleasant as a relationship break up. Especially if the two have been working together for a long period of time. Emotions are raw and feelings can often get hurt. It is no easy thing to endure one of these business breakups, and I would desire to protect every Online Business Manager in our community from ever having to experience one. But I know that simply is not possible, and quite frankly, although difficult, it can be the best think to have happen.

So let’s look at why these breakups happen anyway… why do clients fire OBMs? (And let me add… sometimes the OBM fires the client, but that’s a whole different article. ;-))

Reason #1 OBMs Get Fired…

…simply put, they were not the right fit for the position to begin with. Just as every business owner is unique in their skillset, strengths and experiences, so is every OBM. When a pairing happens that is not the right fit from the beginning, then very soon the relationship will dissolve.

This will happen when a business owner hires an OBM that is the exact strengths and skills as they are. When business owners think they need to multiply themselves, they are not always wise in discerning that actually what they need to cover are the areas where they are weak, not the areas where they are strong. Often the areas we are strong are the areas we are not going to easily delegate. They are the areas where we will be the most critical of others, and they are the areas of work that we enjoy doing. So when a business owner hires an OBM with the exact same strengths, it will not take long before the two of them are having to play tug of war with decisions and expectations. Not a good space to be in.

Being unequally yoked, if I may, also happens when there is an extreme difference between the OBM and the business owner. This happens when, let’s say, the business owner is a fly by the seat of their pants, shoot from the hip, everything last minute, needs no information to make a decision kinda of business manager and they partner with an OBM who is a precise, process driven, containing, detailed person. One extreme to the other will never bid well in this type of relationship.

So to ensure you are not on a path to breakup from the get-go, become very clear in how you function as an OBM, and then partner with a business owner who is 3-5 degrees different than you… not the same as you and not the opposite of you. (LOL this works well in marriage too.)

Reason #2 OBM’s Get Fired…

…because there is not a defined role description of what is expected of the OBM. Many times when we get started with clients, the ol’ “Hero Syndrome” kicks in right from the beginning, and the OBM will jump in to save the day in all aspects of what needs to get done. Put out all fires, fix all process and team issues, etc. Also, in those first few months, the OBM is in the learning curve place and often will be overly available to the client.

At this point it looks like ALL roads lead to the OBM… but the truth is that no one should carry that load at that level. So the OBM will either start dropping balls because of overload/overwhelm, or start backing away with boundaries to regain their sanity. Either way, now the lines of who is responsible for what are very blurred.

Without clearly defined expectations from the beginning, the business owner can “assume” expectations which may or may not actually meet the definition of what the OBM feels is their role. Or the OBM may assume expectations that the business owner isn’t looking for. Either way, this is often what I hear from both sides when a breakup comes. Either the OBM wasn’t meeting expectations, or they did early on in the relationship but then shifted. And when the shift happened, the business owner no long felt fully supported.

To keep the scope creep at bay and confidently execute what is expected, define your OBM role and duties from the get-go.

Reason #3 OBMs Get Fired…

…when the OBM is transitioning from the VA to the OBM there is a mindset shift that HAS to happen or else the breakup comes. This shift is moving from being that “support – how can I help you” mindset to the “leader – this is what needs to be done” mindset. This can be a tough transition. Especially since, as OBMs, we come from a very supportive motivation. Essentially we want to “help” our client be successful.

Even with this “help” mentality, we have to show up and execute as partners, decision makers and the person who has the clear plan for how to execute the desires of the business owner. If we are in the “wait and see what they need” state of mind, we will very quickly be seen as a VA and treated as such.

Truly, breaking the habit of being the “support” to being a true advocate for the business took a bit of time and some purposeful work on my behalf. If you find this to be a not-so-easy transition, just know it wasn’t for me either, or many others. Easy or not, it is desperately needed both for your own growth and for the growth of the business.

The way you can begin to break this habit is to start asking yourself: “how do I want this to go, be done, playout, etc.”? Have a vision for what you would like to see happen, then work with your client to merge your visions together to ensure all the bases are covered. Please note that when I say “vision,” I am not talking about the vision for your client’s business. That is theirs to come up with. I am talking about a clear plan of how you want to execute the desired result.

Reason #4 OBMs Get Fired…

…due to a lack of proactivity! The number 1 reason business owners start to reach out for an OBM is because they recognize they are the bottleneck to the business moving forward proactively. Even if they have no experience or understanding of how to grow the business in a proactive state, they do expect that the OBM will be able to.

Literally 8 out of 10 times I ask a business owner why they broke up with their OBM, I will hear:

“I had to chase them down to get things done. I expected they would be chasing me down, but instead, I had to chase them down; they were not proactive about anything.”

Ouch!! I can tell you this is a hot button for me because of both sides of the coin. From the OBM’s point of view, likely the hot mess they walked into and the lack of planning for the current everyday ins and outs of the business likely left them with little time to be proactive. And since I mentioned time, don’t get me started on the fact that many OBMs are still trying to work with clients on a very broken dollar-for-hour model in which you are literally paid to hit the hot spots and move on. So I get where the breakdown is with being able to successfully be proactive.

But on the side of the business owner, if the OBM is essentially an overpaid VA, I can see where their frustration might come from as well. Either way, this is a HOT Topic for clients and they are truly drawing a line in the sand around how well their OBMs can move the business to a proactive state (regardless of the business owner’s own bent toward all that is reactive).

Keep the 3 Ps of proactivity handy and always ask yourself: have we planned, processed, THEN performed this task?

Reason #5 OBMs Get Fired…

…the disappearing act… and truly, if you are one of those OBMs who takes the money and runs, you do not want to connect with me in a dark alley! This is the worst of the worst that gets done in our industry. Sadly enough, the fact that I even have to mention it makes me a little sick to my stomach. But the reality is, it does happen.

Rightfully enough, the client will fire the OBM! With any luck at all, they will fire the OBM, then come and tell us that was their experience, and we will do everything in our power to protect the industry from folks like them.

If you’re in over your head, said yes to a situation you don’t know how to get out of, or just overbooked yourself, please, please, please, give people their money back and let them move on to to someone who can truly support them the way that they need it. Because the OBM who does this may not know, and I personally feel likely doesn’t care, but this behavior hurts the whole industry with that lack of integrity toward the work we do!

Well there you go… this is why OBMs are getting fired – some you can fix, some you can’t! I encourage you to go out there and rock your expertise with the best of your ability. My guess is you will end up in a great business marriage one day (even if it’s not today, after all, we had to kiss a few frogs before we found Mr/Mrs Right).

{ 2 comments }

Why Everyone Needs a Mentor in Their Lives

by Tina on October 15, 2014

in For OBMs

Are you interested in becoming a Certified OBM get full details here: http://www.CertifiedOBM.com

If you would like more information about our OBM Mentorship Programs (3 in total):

  • Get Clients
  • Leverage
  • Leadership

Simply post a comment below and our team will connect with you to get you all the details.

{ 0 comments }

If You Call Yourself an OBM…

by Tiffany on October 1, 2014

in For OBMs

OBM LogoIs it okay if I just get real with you today? (If not, you may not want to continue reading this article. ;))

The online business manager industry is, for the most part, still in its infancy. Tina Forsyth founded and pioneered this industry with the book Becoming an Online Business Manager – Playing a Bigger Game with Your Clients (and Yourself)  in 2008 which was followed by the Online Business Manager Certification Training  in 2009. Although the industry was birthed and pioneered through Tina’s vision, we have always understood it would be bigger than us. ;-) (I say us, because, well… I was the first person ever to read the book, I have been working with Tina now almost since its conception, and I was in the very first OBM Certification Training.)

We have AMAZING Certified Online Business Managers™ we have trained and sent into the world. With them came all variations of “types” of OBMs. Which is an added bonus to the industry – that each us have our unique spin on how we serve our clients. Of course, just as with all industries, there are those who have not attended our training yet and offer OBM services.

With that in mind… I would like to clarify a bit the expectations of our industry, both on the client side and on the peer side, as to what it means if you decide to call yourself an Online Business Manager.

So if you call yourself an OBM…

Be an Advocate for the Business

What I mean by this is, as the OBM, your role is to be the person who understands and progresses the operational development of the business. It is your role to ensure the business is moving from a reactive state of operations to a proactive state of operations.

You are NOT simply the person who is getting things done based on the demands of the client or the urgencies of current projects. That is being a doer, not an OBM.

Your role is to ensure the business is being fully developed, which may or may not always be the client’s highest priority. Many times, our clients put the priority on the sales, revenue flow, etc. As OBMs, we need to keep those things in mind, but also be purposeful in getting all the foundational elements in place – processes, project management, team development, metrics analysis.

If you are not certain what it looks like to execute these four areas consistently and with strategic progression, you are not meeting the desired standard of supporting a client at the OBM level.

At the end of the day the OBM has to be about the business.

Granted, many clients may or may not see the value or understand the priority of leading a business from this perspective. Often, they just want to get done what is right in front of them to progress the cash flow. I get this. This is why we, as OBMs, have to be educators of the role, executers of processes that support growth, and drivers of automation to ensure both teams and systems can become streamlined in meeting the client’s priorities – which is generally, again, cash flow. ;-)

Be an advocate for the business.

If you call yourself an OBM…

BE Proactive!

Proactivity is a habit; it is purposeful, it is strategic, and it does not happen by accident! Most business owners hire an OBM because they have hope that they will be able to help them move their business from the chaos it is in to a proactive well running machine.

The #1 complaint we get from business owners is: “I thought the OBM would be proactive about what needs to get done in the business. Instead, I had to tell them every step, just as I did the VA.” Ouch!! If you don’t know what needs to get done to support a business owner at the OBM level, and you are always waiting on the client to “lead” you in how to support them… then please do not call yourself an Online Business Manager.

An OBM knows how to lead the business, the client, and the team. You understand the progression of work flow and what needs to be done next. You are purposeful in looking around the corner to see the next step to ensure no one is falling down, or getting tripped up, and above everything else you are ensuring none of this falls on your client’s plate!

Everything you do is for the purpose of putting proactivity into the operations of the business. I get that this is not an overnight possibility and that if you are new with a client you may be working out the kinks for getting this level of support created, but if you have been with the client for a while and everyone is still running around in chaos… this is not just the clients fault.

If you call yourself an OBM…

STOP being the VA!

This is, in my opinion, the #1 biggest OBM industry killer we are facing. Folks who call themselves Online Business Managers but are essentially VAs. When I say VA, I mean if you are the person DOING all of the day-in and day-out tasks for the operations of a business, you are a VA. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with being a VA, and every business needs folks who will get the work done. (Not to mention that a good VA is worth their weight in gold, as they will always make the OBM and the client look GREAT!)

If you are trying to be a VA and an OBM… ie: doing all the VA tasks and therefore never really getting around to the higher level, proactive, strategic, managerial OBM tasks… then you are likely hurting your own ability to serve your client AND setting up a standard of what an OBM is that is simply not the role.

If a client hired you to be the Online Business Manager, it wasn’t because they wanted an assistant, they really wanted someone who would proactively be an advocate for their business.

When you are the VA, you can’t keep an eye on or give the attention needed to truly implement at the level of process or structure needed to truly serve at the OBM level. Therefore, you’re misrepresenting your role as an OBM.

Think about it this way: if you work at a manufacturing plant, the general manager can’t be on the line cutting, putting pieces together, operating the machines and STILL be leading, overseeing, developing the next production. One or the other will get done, but not both!

So if you want to be a VA… fantastic, the OBM community needs you, clients need you; you do a great and mighty service in this world!

But…

If you call yourself an OBM… please, please, please actually be one!

{ 5 comments }

Keywords Are … Well, Key!

by Tina on September 19, 2014

in General Biz,Marketing/Traffic

keywords-are-keyKeywords, the select words and phrases you focus on in your website name and copy, blog posts, and even social media, are a vital part of your brand’s online marketing strategy. Choosing the right keywords and developing a keyword strategy are among the first steps to building an online presence around your brand – it helps potential customers find you, know who you are and what you do.

Why Keywords Are Important

Content is king, but keywords are the crown jewels. When you choose a domain, develop website copy, and write blog posts, you’re not only telling the world who you are, but you’re also leaving breadcrumb trails for your potential customers to find you.

When search engines, such as Google or Bing, crawl through your website (as they do with every page, on every site, on all of the Internet), their bots will index your pages based on the terms and phrases in your copy. The headlines in blog posts, the alt tags on your photos, and the meta data on your site should all be written with your brand’s keywords in mind.

This isn’t to say that keywords are the only important part of your copy. Search engine rankings have developed algorithms to detect the difference between keyword repetition with poor quality content and keyword usage with well-informed copy. Your keywords should be backed up by your wealth of information and great product offerings in those areas.

Great keywords and well-written copy also give influencers in your industry a reason to link to your pages. If someone who ranks highly for particular keywords links to your blog post or website from their site, your ranking for those keywords will improve as well.

Social media messaging should also use your keywords. When your followers share or engage with your posts, your keywords show their friends and followers what your brand is all about.

How to Identify Your Keywords

Keywords are not just about SEO. They are at the heart of a company’s marketing campaign at its most granular level. ~ MICHAEL MOTHNER

One of the biggest mistakes that an entrepreneur or marketer can make is to develop keywords using the company’s internal terms. We each have a deep knowledge about our area of expertise and it’s easy to forget the types of words and phrases a layperson might use when searching online. Keywords help them to find you when they conduct a search.

You want to rank for the problem you solve, not just for the solution you offer. That’s why it’s vital to develop a marketing campaign with potential customers’ needs in mind.

So how do you find the words and phrases? A great place to start is with words from the customers’ mouths (or keyboards!). Go to Amazon or Yelp and read through the reviews for a book you wish you wrote or would give to a client as a gift. Look for the words and terms happy customers use in their reviews, the words that are emotional triggers will pop out, these are very likely your keywords. Try using them on social media, and see how customers and potential customers respond. If you have a book, product or business that is reviewed online, read through your reviews too.

Have a long list of potential keywords? The Google Keyword Tool is a great, free way to research searching patterns on Google and determine the best words to use in your content.

Once your keywords are in line, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to develop an online marketing strategy around your business.

 


 

Donna Cravotta is the CEO of Social Sage PR and the creator of the Total Social PR System™ and Publicity Prowess™. She helps entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses maximize their online presence with a very different approach to social media and public relations. Her commitment is to ensure that her clients are empowered to amplify their unique voice and share their purpose, without overwhelming their schedules.

A natural connector of people and a relationship builder long before Facebook even existed, Donna has created a simple, yet strategic method to reveal hidden opportunities online that create authentic situations for her clients to grow their networks, gain loyal followers, connect with the media, and do it all with ease.

Donna knows a thing or two about creative (and cost-effective) social media and online strategy, the best part is… she teaches her clients how to build these strategies into their own businesses in an ongoing and sustainable way. Her techniques can be easily implemented in just a few minutes each day to create valuable business connections, resulting in lasting relationships that lead to mind-blowing opportunities and endless possibilities.

You can reach Donna at SocialSagePR.com.

 

{ 0 comments }

Our Top 3 Social Media Successes

September 17, 2014

Social Media is STILL one of the hottest topics amongst business owners today, regardless of the size of the business, regardless of the target market, whether they are online business only or brick and mortar or somewhere in between. Social Media Marketing is often the topic of discussion. If I can be completely transparent with […]

Read the full article →

How to Craft the Perfect Social Media Post

September 12, 2014

You hear that an important rule of marketing is to “know your audience,” but what you don’t hear as often, is that it’s just as important to “know your platform.” Crafting the perfect social media post is about the means and the message. Each social media site has it’s own personality and language, you want […]

Read the full article →

How to Sell to a High End Client

September 10, 2014

On Thursday (tomorrow), 9/11 Tina Forsyth will be hosting a BRAND NEW free Webinar: 7 Keys to Working with High End Clients You can register for the webinar here: http://www.onlinebusinessmanager.com/highendclients You do not want to miss this webinar if you are interested in up leveling your clientele and really producing a top quality service that […]

Read the full article →

3 Habits to Adopt as an OBM

September 3, 2014

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle As Online Business Managers it can be really easily to get stuck in a trap of what I like to call: Adrenaline Addiction. This is where we run from one fire, to the next fire, to the next […]

Read the full article →

Implementers Unite!

August 27, 2014

        Recently Tina Forsyth announced a brand new membership program: The Implementer’s Club. As we here at Team Forsyth have been working on the back end to lay out all the pieces of this very targeted empowerment community, I have realized a few things. Although they seem as though they should have […]

Read the full article →