Q1: Who to target?
A: I started off with the usual suspects…the industries you hear over and over again. What I learned was the: plumbers, dentists, chiropractors, realtors, catering companies, HVAC, electricians, roofers, lawyers and the carpet cleaners of the world are too competitive. I have clients in most of these industries now, but starting out there are better choices out there. IMO, ad/PR agencies, web design firms, movie theaters, storage units, optometrists, tax accountants/CPAs, veterinarian services (vaccines), insurance agents, and mortgage brokers are better to go after. I worked in advertising and PR for 10 yrs before I went out on my own, so that is why I have agencies on the list. Most are so far behind with stuff like SEO and social it is absurd…so they are inclined to meet with you and tend to meet with anyone that contacts them (they all LOVE meetings…it prevents REAL work). Web designers, if you give them a commission, can hand deliver you clients left and right. Movie theaters are great targets for social media, and nobody is going after them. Vet services that offer vaccination clinics “offsite” are EASY sells, as nobody is going after them (hint: autoresponder).
Q2: How much do I charge?
A: What a nightmare! I struggled between figuring out what their lifetime value of a customer was, to finding out what they paid the last clown, to worrying if I left money on the table…or was I too much??? Good times. Welcome to offline marketing. To further complicate matters, I did new business pitches, for over 10 years, for an ad agency pitching Fortune 500 companies, so the pricing structure I was used to seeing was grossly offensive compared to these smaller local markets. AND my first client was a big, national chain, so my point of reference couldn’t be more complicated. I struggled, BAD, after the first one (which was luck). What I learned was to use a $500, $1000, $2000 “package” system. I vary it a bit, but this has worked the best for me. The $500 system is a small SEO package OR a small social media package. The $1000 is both. The $2000 package is the social, SEO, mobile, kitchen sink AND my VA will make you coffee on every other Thursday. I load up the $2000 package and sell that package 5-1 to any other package, which surprised me (at first).
Q3: What contract/agreement to us and terms (how long)?
A: Boy did I screw this part up, REALLY bad. Again, I came from a background where 1-5 year term/14-page contracts were the norm. Thinking I was smart, I tried 12, 6, 3 month terms = FAIL! Now, I use a month-to-month contract, which forces me to perform, manage expectations better, and seem less of a threat to “try me.” I also started with a 3-page contract that I got on a “free law” site or somewhere (I don’t recall…maybe a forum). In return, I lost my second prospect with this contract. This prospect had been burned by another SEO & PPC company, and now had zero faith in these types of services (very common). I got him all the way to the last leg, coaxing him every step of the way, only to have him see three pages of terms and conditions and bail. Unless you pay an attorney for an ironclad contract, and you go to court and have an ironclad attorney, the reality is you still have a 50-50 chance and protecting yourself. I now leverage a one page “agreement” rather than a contract. Sounds like semantics, but one is a little CYA/a marketing tool, and one is a legal document. Being month-to-month lowers the risk to the prospect. I just make sure it has three key points (other than the usual stuff):
1) They will give me ALL logins for EVERYTHING I need to work on within 24 hrs.
3) If their “web guy” or slightly tipsy owner makes changes to files and tanks SEO rankings, I get to have small children throw stones at them.
Q4: Overcoming “do you have any references.”
A: No. I then tell them references aren’t in their best interest, and I firmly believe that, as no two clients are the same (needs, goals, current rankings, timeframe, competition, etc). More importantly, in the early stages, I made the mistake of actually using a successful client as a reference to get the prospect. It turns out, my referenced client was a direct competitor of his brother-in-laws company. Not. Good. If you read between the lines, asking for references means you failed to adequately convince them of what you can do for them. Solution? Give them a sample of your services. If it is SEO, rank a video on page one for a long-tail keyword or something similar to “demonstrate” your abilities. It’s worth it. I then “market” my month-to-month “performance based” agreement to reduce their apprehension. Show, don’t tell.
Q5: Why should we use you? Do you have a guarantee?
A: At first, I had some cheesy “elevator pitch” for why to use me. Lame. I thought it was decent too. I used to say, “I help businesses invest $1 and get $2 in return.” I had a slick little formula, that I used to respond to the predictable “how” question, but the reality is it just got me further and further away from closing. Now I simply use the sample work (page one of Google video, the mobile website I whipped up, or getting some low quality followers on Facebook or Twitter (via Fiverr). Combine my sample work, the month-to-month agreement, and responding to their reference question by asking them if they were ever burned by someone they checked references on (they will say yes, and most likely the last company) = low-risk. As for the guarantee, I simply tell them “no good company will guarantee a page one result” and then reference the Google video about it, and tell them their goal isn’t page one of Google anyway…it is making the phone ring. Let me make the phone ring, my way, or fire me. Your only risk is one month and I already demonstrated I could perform for YOUR business (e.g. the video), etc. Important to note that I position the video page one as “let me show you what I can do” instead of “I will rank a video on page one of Google.”
Q6: What to do after they say no?
A: I used to quit and move on. Numbers game, right? Now I am like that crazy ex-girlfriend and stalk you until you say yes to something. My funnel looks like this once they express interest with the typical (how much is this going to cost me). We are now dating, rather you know it or not.
1) Submit the $500, $1000, $2000 packages. If no:
2) Find the one service they showed the most interest in and sell it for $250. Then I over deliver and give them a “teaser” of their second favorite service…for free, and then get them into the $500 pkg, and try upgrading every month to bigger package after that. If no to $250 package:
3) I quickly rank a “lead capture” site in their business (now that I already did the keyword research) and try and lease it to them for $200 a month before I offer it to the competition. If no:
4) I put them in my autoresponder and e-mail them once a week an important stat (people love numbers…use infographics) about one of the proposed services (to educate them the importance of it) and/or something their competition is doing until they sign. If no:
5) I ask, “Do you like me now”…”what about now”…”now?”….until they think I am handsome. J
It is hard enough to get someone to express interest, so you MUST close them. Coffee is for closers.