Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic April 13, 1999

RobFrankel (4/12/99 8:58 AM): Good Morning....

Terri ( (4/12/99 8:58 AM): Good morning Rob and Amanda!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 8:58 AM): I've gotta reset my computer clock. It's always a few minutes off..

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 8:59 AM): Good morning Terri and Rob!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 8:59 AM): What's on your minds, early birds?

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:00 AM): My mind is mush after spending the weekend revamping my website with some of the ideas I got here last week, Rob!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:00 AM): Either of you going to meet us this week in Los Angeles?

Andy (4/12/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:01 AM): not this time, Rob.. I wish I could!

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:01 AM): No, I'm in Florida.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

JANET (4/12/99 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:02 AM): Maybe we can get them to deliver, Amanda....

Andy (4/12/99 9:02 AM): I'm in Minnesota -- just returned from a hiking holiday in the So. Cal desert.

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:02 AM): Rob, how often do you put out a new newsletter?

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:02 AM): morning


Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:03 AM): Yes, please!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:03 AM): So....who's first today? Everyone's business doing well?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:03 AM): FIRST, JANET, TURN OFF YOUR CAPS KEY!!! Makes people think you're yelling

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:03 AM): I'm looking for new clients...

JANET (4/12/99 9:04 AM): oops, sorry

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:04 AM): lots of great things happening here :)

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:04 AM): Ahhh, much better. Go ahead.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:04 AM): Amanda...we'll get to you next.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:04 AM): Who isn't?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:05 AM): Janet? What's the deal?

JANET (4/12/99 9:05 AM): I have an invention, I need to patent first, right? Then produce?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:06 AM): No, not necessarily. Depends on what the invention is. Lots of people waste time protecting an idea that isn't worth it.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:07 AM): Also, remember that while your patent is pending, it is protected, but once patented, it's a public document that anyone can view and work around...

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:07 AM): The LAST thing you want to do is spend money going after some creep who infringes on your patent. Very expensive and almost never pays out.

JANET (4/12/99 9:07 AM): How do I find out if I'm the first to think of it, a lawyer?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:08 AM): That having been said, you're probably best off to issue Non-Disclosure Agreement with everyone you're talking to about your product. They're better at this point. -- usually.

JANET (4/12/99 9:08 AM): How do I find out if I'm the first to think of it, a lawyer?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:08 AM): No, you can search the patent office for prior state of the art. Even do it minute.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:09 AM): IBM has a great service at that searches, too

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:10 AM): You can search the US Patent Office at

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:10 AM): This is one place where the government did a fairly good job.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:11 AM): This is stuff you can do yourself. You don't need a lawyer for that. When you get really serious, then get a lawyer.

JANET (4/12/99 9:12 AM): Then I get with you for the rest right-advertising?

JANET (4/12/99 9:12 AM): thanks for the info..I appreciate it a lot

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:13 AM): Well, once you decide that you want to be in business, you figure out how your business will work. And when you get a budget established, you call me!! (Joke)

JANET (4/12/99 9:13 AM): Maybe I will see you at the bank!!!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:13 AM): BTW, I think my patent is listed there at 4,269,499 (No joke)

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:13 AM): Amanda, did you want to jump in here?

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:14 AM): Rob, what do you have patented?

JANET (4/12/99 9:14 AM): Thanks again, Ya'll have a great day!!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:15 AM): The world's smallest, most portable camera stand for 35mm cameras. invented when I was in college, it was called Foto Pheet®, The tripod for travel.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:15 AM): Osprey Design does print and internet graphic design work. I have several clients which have rec. lengthy proposals and then I never hear from them.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:16 AM): AAARRGH!!!! I HATE when that happens! First, don't feel too bad. It happens to everyone.

Andy (4/12/99 9:16 AM): Worked in academia for 15 years. Been in biz for now for 3. Considering partnering with another biz to grow an beautiful idea. Q: Biz Plan is ready, considering SBA, NIH and VC loans/grants, investment. For purposes of the biz plan, would you advise a new biz or partnership. (We have a budget for branding services !!) Should we form new biz or

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:17 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:17 AM): Andy. Hold up a sec. You're next and I want to go into that with you.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:17 AM): When should I stop calling them? My prospects?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:18 AM): Amanda, I NEVER issue lengthy proposals unless prospects are willing to pay for them. If you're not closing, it means that people are using your proposals for the information contained in them.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:19 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:19 AM): I kid you not, I once worked with a client who pried himself on accepting salesmen into his office, where he would act really interested. He'd let the salesman go on and on, milking him for all the free info he could get.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:19 AM): Yes, you're right? Shall I charge an hourly rate for research and the proposal? research and

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:19 AM): Amanda, come up with a couple of sample proposals that are really just an outline of your service

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:19 AM): The salesman would leave thinking he had a really interested prospect, but this guy would just laugh at all the free info he just got. never called the salesman again.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:20 AM): As it would pertain to that particular business....then when you have to write a proposal you simply modify it to match their business...and add a paragraph or two describing what the business obvious needs are

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:20 AM): This is really a two parter, Amanda. On the one hand, I just wrote a piece about long sales cycles. And it really is true. Sometimes these people just don't have their act together and they need a long time to get the program through their organization

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:21 AM): For instance, if get a RFP from a company that needs a redesign..I just add in elements like increasing conversion rate, load time, user friendliness,

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:22 AM): Muhammad is correct -- you should have a one page outline that you can e-mail, which ends with something like "if you would like a custom proposal specifically for you, let's talk about that". This will get you to a second meeting and also begins to....

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:22 AM): OK, I was assuming that my prospect was being wooed by in-depth research and suggestions. Thanks.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:22 AM): tell them WHAT you are going to do but now HOW..I increase your conversion rate of visitors into customers....but nothing on how you will do in nothing in the proposal they can use

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:22 AM): begins to suggest you charge for your services. You can always imply that you will apply that proposal charge to the project.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:23 AM): NO NO NO!!!! Amanda, you NEVER give away information for free, UNLESS it points out how much more they need your services.

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:23 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:24 AM): All of us want business so badly that it clouds our strategic thinking. But I'm working on a deal with right now -- it's almost been one year.....

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:24 AM): Yo! Dudes

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:24 AM): Amanda, does that help?

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:24 AM): Yes, thank you!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:24 AM): Okay, Andy, you're up, bud.....

Andy (4/12/99 9:26 AM): Forming strategic Alliance/partnership or new biz to present biz plan for investors, SBA/

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:26 AM): With the template proposals I have, I can close about 65-71% of all my deals and not have to write a full proposals until I have a retainer fee and signed contract in hand

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:27 AM): The best thing about a system like this is that if they are willing to pay for a full proposal you pretty much know they are going to become a client

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:27 AM): Andy, I can tell you that the toughest plans to fund are startups. Mainly because they're not proven and usually ask for too little bucks.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:27 AM): If they don't you still don't lose all that much, at least they paid for the info

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:28 AM): Muhammad--after you send the proposal, what do you do to close the deal? Call? Make appt. ? Send more stuff?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:28 AM): I have some articles at http;// that cover a lot of this, but mainly, you will have a tough time getting investors at the start up stage.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:28 AM): Thanks, Muhammad!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:29 AM): The clients I take on, for example, all have to fulfill Frankel's Three P's: Proven, Proprietary and Profitable. At least those guys have a chance.

Your welcome...I send follow up E-mails, make phone calls, face to face meetings in some cases (4/12/99 9:29 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:29 AM): I'd stay away from government agencies, too. Too much paperwork and overlording. The best way to go is private placement.

Andy (4/12/99 9:30 AM): We have products and services that are proven. The Q is whether to form a new company that does what the two currently does or propose that an alliance for this aspect of the biz. BTW -p- this is cool !

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:30 AM): Have you done private placements before?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:30 AM): Do you own both companies?

Andy (4/12/99 9:31 AM): Never never!

Andy (4/12/99 9:32 AM): We both own the companies

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:33 AM): Then it largely depends on the nature of the companies, especially if you have big growth plans. What industry are they?

Andy (4/12/99 9:34 AM): Internet commerce, catalogue sales and education

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:35 AM): Although I'm looking at this with REALLY sketchy information, I would probably keep the companies separate. On the web, I strongly believe that the more you niche, the better you do. Those services don't really seem to lend themselves to "one stop" shop

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:36 AM): If I were looking for e-commerce enabling, for example, I would look twice at a company that is also I catalog sales. Makes it look that my needs are a sideline.

Your welcome...I send follow up E-mails, make phone calls, face to face meetings in some cases (4/12/99 9:36 AM): test

Andy (4/12/99 9:36 AM): Good advise -- more later Thanks!!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:36 AM): I would take my business to a guy who specializes in solving my problem.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:37 AM): Any time, pal.

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:38 AM): Any other ideas from anyone on how best to follow up after the proposal is sent. You can only call SO many times

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:38 AM): Anybody have any comments on AdSmart/2-Can? I am considering signing with them.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:38 AM): Who else is jumping in today?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:38 AM): Muhammad, are you and I the only ones who have template proposals?

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:39 AM): Rob, my business is recruiting for companies who need personnel - I narrowed the niche to Sales personnel in hopes of getting more clients

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:39 AM): Why AdSmart Dave?

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:39 AM): Meg, I can give you my list of things that don't work...

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:39 AM): We have a template proposal- we call it plastic parsley (restaurant reference)

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:39 AM): I have passed 1,000,000 PI's a month

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:40 AM): AMANADA -- please - love to hear them

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:40 AM): Meg, I follow up once a week for four weeks. Then once a month for three months. Then one year later. I also use e-mail as a test. people tend t answer e-mail much more than phone calls.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:40 AM): Meg, I'll email you.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:41 AM): The important thing to realize is that 99% of RFP's and new business leads are good for one thing at least:

Your welcome...I send follow up E-mails, make phone calls, face to face meetings in some cases (4/12/99 9:41 AM): I think so,

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:41 AM): They do a lot of CPM. They have a women's channel.

Your welcome...I send follow up E-mails, make phone calls, face to face meetings in some cases (4/12/99 9:41 AM): I think so,

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:42 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:42 AM): Letting people know how professional you are. If they take that away with them, you're always ahead. They may recommend you to someone else.

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:42 AM): Thanks Amanda -also give me info on your design biz -- we use designers from time to time. (stylpr@ --no e)

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:42 AM): I think so, template proposals are great they save time and they give the client a "taste" of what you can do

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:43 AM): Rob - good point. Always maintain professionalism

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:43 AM): The worst thing to do is to bug the hell out of people by constantly following up. After one month, they know you're there. If the want you, they'll call. But don't waste your time dialing.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:43 AM): It's also a good idea to have a spreadsheet keeping track of your leads, sent proposals, last time you spoke to them

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:44 AM): What format does your template proposal take? Is it stapled? Faxed? Fed Ex'ed? In a folder? Bound?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:44 AM): The two most important words in the service business are these: DEAL FLOW. Just keep cramming the pipeline full of leads. Eventually, they start trickling through, but that doesn't mean you stop packing them in on the other end.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:44 AM): I follow up by E, a week after the initial proposal, and every 2-3 weeks after that....but don't harass them

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:45 AM): Yes, I use a Contact manager (ACT) for that. It is also great for documenting your actions with a client. Saves a tremendous amount of mental stress....don't have to remember as much.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:45 AM): It's just a MS Word & Corel Word perfect document....with my letter heard, URL and logo....I just sent it by E attachment....

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:45 AM): Your primary objective is get more leads,

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:45 AM): Of course, my proposals are different than Muhammad's. Mine are a one page e-mail.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:46 AM): It's been taking me about 3-5 months to close,

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:46 AM): That's not bad, Muhammad. Especially if you're dealing with large companies. You guy ever heard of Vito and Seymour?

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:47 AM): One page? I've done up to a twenty page proposal!

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:47 AM): Obviously, I have three sections..strategic consulting, marketing, and web development, redesign, creatives, etc, I just assemble the correct sections, add a description of the business and send it off, sometimes it gets to be 3-5 pages long...and that's great a long proposal that doesn't give anything away :)

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:47 AM): Thanks, Vito & Seymour

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:48 AM): Waaay to long Amanda. You're giving away the store. Remember, they came to you because they need you, not vice versa!

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:48 AM): really my proposals are just descriptions my firms services that are re-worded to be client specific

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:48 AM): Vito & Seymour: actually VETO and SEEMORE. The guy you don't want is SEE MORE, who always wants to see more.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:49 AM): The guy you want is VETO: the guy with the power to say NO -- or YES.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:49 AM): Rob, I'll try to remember. I'm trying too hard to please.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:49 AM): 20 PAGES! Never do that unless they are paying for it, paying a lot...a proposal of that magnitude is just a owners manual to building their own web site

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:49 AM): I made that mistake...once..never again...the company implemented all my ideas...

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:50 AM): When they call Amanda, they're calling because they need you. Not just to say hi to the kids.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:50 AM): Well, I feel stupid because that's what I have been giving prospective clients.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:50 AM): No kids!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:50 AM): Yes, Muhammad, then I decided to charge this one guy $6k for a proposal, which he paid -- and then never implemented. Killed the project.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:51 AM): You can make great money just by writing proposals, eh?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:51 AM): Amanda, don't feel stupid -- feel popular! All of us have done that.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:52 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:52 AM): There is always a fine line between giving the client what they say they want and what you know they should want. I have walked away from service providers that wouldn't give me enough info

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 9:53 AM): Anybody have any comments on AdSmart/2-Can? I am considering signing with them.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:53 AM): I have had the same thing..I charged a guy 3k for a proposal and some research and he hasn't done anything yet, and that I sent it to him about 5 months ago.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:53 AM): I have had the same thing..I charged a guy 3k for a proposal and some research and he hasn't done anything yet, and that I sent it to him about 5 months ago.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:53 AM): He is just sitting around...

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:54 AM): ...and when they pay that much, they're more inclined to pay attention. Nobody likes to part with $3K that they could have spent on a nice new big screen TV....

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:54 AM): We once pitched a company that paid 1k to five different agencies -- up front deal. And they didn't hire ANY of us.

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:54 AM): No more free industry research!

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:54 AM): Most people think that "free proposals are worth what they've paid for them"

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:55 AM): Well some clients want to get everything they can out of you, before they get the service..which is don't get a car to test drive for 60 days before you decide to buy it

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:55 AM): No Meg, but the got $5K worth of ideas and programs.....

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:55 AM): But you do get to test drive the car for a few hours. The trick is to provide enough info to make the client fee comfortable.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:55 AM): Once again, the hardest thing to do is to turn down BAD business. Learn to recognize it when it comes through the door and save yourself lots of time and grief.

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:56 AM): He likes the proposal, he was just waiting for his secure transactions to be set up..which was also done about 4 months ago...the company just moves slow..

Terri ( (4/12/99 9:56 AM): How do you ask a company for that kind of money just to have you submit a proposal? what all do you put in the proposal to make it worth that kind of money to them?

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:56 AM): Rob - I suspected up front that they wouldn't hire anyone - so we gave them 1K worth and no more

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:56 AM): I've been doing this long enough that I can SMELL them through the phone....

Muhammad( (4/12/99 9:56 AM): YUP, after a while your BS detectors will go off and you will know....

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:57 AM): Yup, may not score with your blind date, but she might always have a friend.....

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:57 AM): Sexist, but true....

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:58 AM): TWO MINUTES

Meg ( (4/12/99 9:58 AM): Thanks Rob - interesting as usual. See you next week. Amanda - see you on e-mail.

RobFrankel (4/12/99 9:59 AM): One last time, any of you who are in Los Angeles tomorrow night are welcome to our no host FrankelBiz F2F! If you'd like to attend e-mail for a map!

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 9:59 AM): Thanks guys! My eyes have been opened!

Muhammad( (4/12/99 10:00 AM): Your ideas are valuable, if I tell a company ten things that I can improve on their web site that will increase the conversion rate of visitor to customer isn't that valuable..if they don't hire me can't they just hire someone else to do it...the question really is how can't you?

RobFrankel (4/12/99 10:00 AM): Okay, you guys, I've gotta run. But you are most welcome to continue as long as you want. You can also use this site to meet any time you like during the week. See you online!

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:01 AM): Entered the room.

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:01 AM): Bye Rob! Muhammad, I didn't mean "how can you" as in "how could you!" (grin)

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:01 AM): I meant how do you ask them

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:02 AM): Case in point for deal flow...a prospect just got back to me who first contacted me back in December....they are still reorganizing but in month they want to schedule a meeting...and yes they are willing to pay for the proposal

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:02 AM): Yes, how do you ask them...

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:03 AM): You have to use tact, well I cannot go any further without charging you. Just say you have reached the limits of your free consultation and they have to pay

Andy (4/12/99 10:04 AM): Entered the room.

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:04 AM): hmm .. that sounds good - so how would you suggest I could implement that with my business?

Andy (4/12/99 10:04 AM): ooops -- before you go . . . what are your 3 p's for funding?

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 10:06 AM): Anybody have any comments on AdSmart/2-Can?

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:06 AM): I've never heard of them Dave

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:07 AM): Dave, what is your site?

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 10:07 AM): I think we're the last ones here

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:07 AM): FIRST make your template proposal, then when things get to the point when you feel you should charge you inform the prospect of the some cases the client will sign on the spot, others they will just pay up, others will mull it over and turn you down, but don't give in 98%+ of the time those people won't be good clients anyway

Dave- LovePoetry (4/12/99 10:08 AM):

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:08 AM): I've never heard of it myself...anyway I'll call you this week Dave may have a good prospect on the line

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:09 AM): Muhammad, who are your clients? What type of consulting?

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:09 AM): Thanks Muhammad - that gives me something to start with, though I don't know how I can put enough into a proposal to charge a client for since my business is to save the client from having to spend time recruiting for candidates on their own :)

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:10 AM): Terri, do you do industry specific or economic research though?

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:12 AM): It's not industry specific Amanda - I specialize in finding Sales professionals for a variety of businesses in any industry

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:12 AM): So, you're a headhunter?

Muhammad (4/12/99 10:12 AM): I have to go, but take a look at and drop me an e if you want and we can talk more later.....

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:13 AM): yes, pretty much Amanda - I just do very personalized service :)

Terri ( (4/12/99 10:14 AM): Thanks Muhammad! See you next week

Amanda Smith ( (4/12/99 10:14 AM): thanks, Terri. Bye.

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