A significant aspect of building a thriving SEO agency is having a smooth sales process.
Sales are the life-force of any business and should be prioritized in order to scale.
Most people treat selling as some random process. For this reason, they get random results.
It doesn’t have to be this way!
The SEO sales process can be broken down into 7 discrete steps that, when followed, consistently produce steady streams of new clients.
Deep Product Knowledge
Everyone wants to jump straight into selling their product; this is a mistake!
You cannot sell what you don’t know.
Prospects are closely aware of the confidence in which you present your services.
You must know your product like the back of your hand. Deep product knowledge will help you convey to the prospect that you are sharp, an expert, and trustworthy.
It’s not so much what you say but how you say it.
Further, knowledge of your product gives insight on where and how to prospect for the right contacts.
You can be the best sales person in the world but still end up broke if you’re selling to the wrong person.
Make sure you’re talking to highly interested and qualified decision makers.
There are three parts to the above statement…
You need to quickly and relentlessly scan out people who are resistant to change. People who have not already invested money in digital marketing of any sort will likely be tough prospects to sell SEO services to.
The most important qualification is that they have the budget to afford your services. You can also look at their sales process, customer reviews, and if they even have a need for SEO services (they aren’t ranking).
Lastly, you want to make sure you pitch the decision maker in the company. Make sure to ask prospects questions (covertly) to tease out who has the power to say yes or no.
First impressions can make or break a relationship.
Whether your first impression is a cold call, door-knock, or email, you want to make sure you’re conveying the right message.
The goal is to redirect prospects attention to your message. However, the default behavior for cold prospects is to ignore pitches.
You must approach SEO clients with a hook that forces their attention on what you have to say.
The hook is a juicy, out-of-the box proposition that demands attention and redirects it to your services.
Once you have the prospect’s attention, immediately qualify them to see if they are the right fit for your company.
This stage of the sales process will enable you to avoid talking with the wrong person and wasting much needed time.
It’s important to go into every sales conversation with a set of standard questions for SEO clients that help you determine a) if they need your services and b) if they qualify to work with you.
The Presentation (Pitch)
After you’ve determined the prospective business is a good fit and you’re talking with the decision maker, you can now present your services.
Generally, you want to keep your pitch short and to the point.
Layout what you’re proposing, paint a picture of possibilities, hit on a few key selling points, and go for an early ‘trial close.
The pitch and close process is something you’ll likely have to repeat several times.
Objections are virtually inevitable. That’s why we prefer to go for an early close to pull objections to the surface of the conversation as soon as possible.
The first close attempt is simply a ‘trial close,’ meaning you expect to get an objection.
Loop the conversation backwards to resell your services with a focus on addressing their specific concern.
Secondly, the phrasing you use to close doesn’t need to be anything special. An open ended question such as “when would you like to get started?” works fine.
Lastly, make sure to send the client a written SEO proposal while on call with them.
The idea is to eliminate barriers to action while still on the call as this is when the prospect is in a peak emotional state and more likely to take action.
Too many reps treat sales like an all or nothing activity.
Think of yourself as a farmer (growing relations over time) rather than a sniper.
You don’t need to sell clients right on the spot. Sometimes prospects just need to be warmed up over a period of time to hit a certain action threshold.
Make sure you consistently follow-up and add value after the sales call.
The longer you’re able to do this the more likely that person will be to choose you when they’re ready to act.
There you go! We’ve outlined the basic steps to selling SEO to small businesses.
Take this process and morph it in any way you see fit.
Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below and make sure to check out our complete guide to land SEO clients.