It’s important to have a predefined client questionnaire in order to most effectively sell SEO packages.
The following bullets list out some of the reasons you’ll want to kickoff sales conversations with discovery questions.
- You can quickly qualify whether or not the prospect needs your services
- They help determine if the company is a good fit for SEO
- Asking questions frames you as the buyer in the relationship
- Questions build trust, expertise, and the perception of a custom solution that ultimate help make the sale easier
The more information you get, the more effectively you can handle the entire conversation.
That’s why we put together this checklist of sample SEO questions to ask clients while on initial discovery calls/meetings.
These questions are generic to most sales conversations so some of the terminology, phrasing, the order asked, and which ones are used, can and should be adapted to your own situation.
Lastly, you’ll want some resemblance of progression from one question into the next. Try to begin with broad questions and then start asking specific ones as the conversation continues.
That being said, I’ve placed this list in a chronological order that makes sense in the context of a normal sales conversation.
1. Where is your company currently at in terms of size and what direction do you want to head in for the next few years?
This is a great open-ended question to begin with as it will highlight some of the prospects goals.
You can leverage this information later on during your pitch to relate your services to the accomplishment of their goal.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges preventing you from getting to that point?
This question reveals needs and frustrations that exist within your prospects business.
Don’t always expect a marketing related answer for this!
No part of a business works in isolation. Always be looking for ways to frame your SEO services as the solution to their business needs.
3. What is the lifetime value of a customer to your business?
The answer to this question will reveal two valuable pieces of information
First, pay attention to whether or not they have this number clearly measured and defined. Not having at least an estimate for this means they are likely a smaller business with less systems in place.
The second, is how much a customer is worth to them. With this information you can more accurate estimate the ROI they’ll get from SEO.
4. How many new customers are you currently taking on in any given month?
This is going to give you an idea of their current capacity and helps you frame the rest of your pitch around numbers that are accurate and believable to the prospect.
5. How many new customers could you handle per month without having to hire additional work? Would you plan on hiring when you reach capacity?
This inquiry reveals what results your prospect would be happy to get with SEO.
It’s also injects expectancy into the conversation.
Continue to paint a picture of the prospect’s ideal scenario and phrase it in a way that assumes your service can already do this.
You are subtly demonstrating that you expect them to reach capacity by asking if they plan on hiring in that scenario.
6. What have you done in the past to market your services and what were the results?
This is going to shed light on their underlying beliefs about marketing.
In general, people who proudly state they did little marketing and instead built most of their businesses on word of mouth, not only are confused on the definition of marketing but likely aren’t your customers.
7. What are you currently doing to market your business online and offline?
Similar to the previous question, this is more of a logistical question to get a sense of where the company is at with marketing.
8. Have you previously hired or are currently working with any digital marketing agencies? How is that working out?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions you can ask!
Dive as deep as you can into this question as it will reveal deep beliefs and frustrations the prospect holds about digital marketing.
Most of the time, you’ll know right away whether or not this company will be a good client.
Run away and don’t look back when the person says, “we hired 3+ companies and they all sucked.”
Obviously, ask what those companies did wrong to decipher for yourself but in general the problem doesn’t just lie with the marketers.
9. What do you already know about SEO?
We so easily become accustomed to our trades that we often forget that SEO is a foreign language to the general public.
The prospect’s answer will reveal how much hand-holding you’ll have to do as well as how to go about explaining concepts.
10. What have you heard about SEO?
Most people are hesitant to directly tell you how they feel about something but will do so by quoting others.
This relieves responsibility because, “it wasn’t me who said it!”
Ask the prospect if they have any friends who have experiences with SEO. This is going to continue to dig out deep beliefs.
11. What have you budgeted for SEO?
Right away, this is going to tell you their expectations around pricing.
You may get hit with some buying resistance if their answer is much lower than your asking price.
12. Do you keep track of potential customers and invoicing using a customer relationship (CRM) software?
Systems questions are good for judging the organization and workflow of the company.
Companies using CRMs likely a) take sales more serious b) have smoother sales processes in place and c) will get better results from SEO services.
13. Could you describe your sales process from initial contact? Who is involved, how do they interact, and when?
We’re now getting into the specific questions of the discovery call.
Have the prospect detail out their sales process from initial contact to close. This is going to help you integrate SEO with their existing systems.
It also shows how much of this process they actually have defined.
14. Who are your customers and what are common reasons they end up hiring you?
This question reveals the psychographics of the company’s customer-base.
Psychographics help you write better sales copy and come up with innovative ways for your future client to differentiate from competition.
15. Is there anything specific you do or offer that is different than your competition?
Most companies will have no idea how to answer this… no worries, try to tease out parts of their process, values, offers, services that make them different.
All of this is information you’ll want to include in the sales copy.
Further, you’re bringing something to the conversation in which the company is most likely not used to hearing. This will give the prospect the sense of a custom solution and frame you as not just an expert in marketing but in business as well.
16. Does your company do any offers throughout the year?
Once again, try to determine avenues to differentiate from the crowd.
Having an offer and flaunting this on the client’s website will likely increase conversion rates; producing better results, happier clients, longer relations, and more referrals.
17. Are there any services you would like to prioritize?
This last question is to frame your solution as custom-tailored to their needs as well as get a sense of what their highest value service is.
At this point, you should know whether or not the prospect is a good fit for your SEO services.
Assuming the company is qualified, the next step is to jump into the SEO presentation and pitch!
We recommend printing out a client questionnaire similar to this and placing it in front of you during every conversation. This way, you’ll know exactly how to direct the conversation.
Hopefully this serves you well!