Confidence and expectations with Clients - Help!

8 replies
Hi guys,

I am thinking of branching out into selling SEO services - well, not selling "SEO" per say but lead and business generation with SEO being the main back-end method I use to achieve it.

However I keep having confidence issues that hamper my ability to get prospecting - as my sales and marketing materials sell the service to customers by mentioning stuff along the lines of:

"There are xxx people searching for what you offer, right now. Even if you take a conservative x% to find you and then only x% convert into paying customers - that's an extra $xxx per year in revenue!" etc

But I am not so confident with SEO - I have had sites rank and then drop several pages, have tried ranking other WEB 2.0 properties that even for longer tail keywords often languish around page 3-5 of Google.

So I am just concerned about selling the service by implying to the prospect that I can make them an extra $xxx per year, whereas there is no guarantee with SEO and I don't want to make false promises that will pee clients off and give me a bad rep.

How do you guys handle this and approach it?

Thanks for any advice,
#clients #confidence #expectations
  • Profile picture of the author Chad Kimball
    you don't want to guarantee x$ per year unless you have control of their sales process. guaranteeing some sort of ranking is possible though but you need to get solid in your SEO
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  • Profile picture of the author StevieJK
    Ok thanks.

    I am not guaranteeing them that extra revenue though - I just mention it in my sales material. This is what I am worried about - the client assuming that is what I am going to do for them guaranteed, whereas it is just explaining the potential of the untapped extra business out there.

    How would you guys word it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sherry Han
    Never guarantee specific rankings! Nobody has control of Google or any other search engine. I always explain to prospective clients that Google themselves always say this: no one has knowledge or control of their ranking algorithm, which may change without notice at any time. I then tell them that any SEO firm that "guarantees" a position or even just page one should not be trusted. Even if they do reach this goal, it's only a matter of time before Google slaps or fluctuations drive the site in question off of its position.

    All you can really promise is that you will do everything in your power to increase their website's authority and their own credibility using 100% whitehat methods (explain to them what this means and why blackhat methods can detrimental in the long run). Show them your past clients' results as case studies. Then show them Google Keyword Tool and how many searches there are for your current clients' targeted keywords. Finally you can sell them on how much the organic traffic being sent to your current clients is worth.

    If you don't have any current clients or results to show, you can always stock up on general information. For example, learn about how many % of all searchers on Google is estimated to visit organic positions #1, #2, so on. Then pull up the Google Keyword Tool and go from there. The point is to avoid any talk of a guarantee. Spend the time to educate your prospective client on the process, tell them basically what you will be doing each month and the benefit of your work, and provide reports each month of backlinks/content created, etc. Sure, this will take some time. Your meeting could be an hour or longer, but I find that most business owners will appreciate the time you are willing to spend with them and really start to understand SEO.

    Finally, always track rankings aggressively. If your client's website went from >100 to 75, that is still a worthy accomplishment the client will be happy to know about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Don't guarantee anything.

    But.... to play devil's advocate here....

    Why would you offer a service that you do not have the ability to provide quality service?

    If you can not confidently make sites rank why are you selling your services to make sites rank?

    Your confidence issue isn't a confidence issue IMO it is a conscience issue. So in order to get confidence you need to be selling a service you know you can provide value to the client.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    This is going to rub some people here the wrong way. Sorry in advance.

    If I am not 100% certain that I can help a business make more money, I don't agree to work with them. That is my personal rule.

    That is the problem with SEO. You can't be sure at all if it will help them or have a positive ROI. So many business owners have been burned by SEO sellers large and small. I personally don't believe in selling SEO because it always leaves the business owner chasing their tail hoping to get more leads.

    Now, there are times when a small shot of local SEO can do the trick to help with other campaigns so I will offer it.

    In my opinion, if you are only selling SEO in the market you are doing yourself and the business owner a disservice. Until you get that worked out, you will always struggle to offer your services confidently.

    If SEO is the main thing you know how to do, perhaps you could come up with some other things to offer in combination. Like lead followup systems, landing pages, or selling leads outright.
    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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  • Profile picture of the author StevieJK
    Thanks guys for the inputs - lots to think about for sure!

    I guess SEO is not the be all and end all anyway, lots of other services that can bring increased revenue for small businesses.

    What's some of the better ones you guys offer that have a better and more predictable success rate than SEO for local businesses?
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  • Profile picture of the author Chad Kimball
    You're welcome Stevie! Jason is right, don't dig your own grave, take precautions.
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