As an SEO sales professional, you face many hurdles. Some are easier to overcome than others. Cold calling and setting the initial appointment is one of the most daunting tasks you will face. The act of making that first call is not difficult by any means. It is what leads up to that first call and what ensues immediately after someone answers the phone on the other end that can separate you from the run-of-the-mill sales person.
Business owners are very smart. They’ve heard it all before. Most of my clients will tell me they receive 15-20 calls or emails each day from various Internet marketing companies. They hear “we guarantee page one rankings” or, one of my personal favorites, “I am with Google and I can get you on page one of the maps within 72 hours”. About 5-7 years ago, many business owners fell for tricky call openings like the aforementioned because the offer sounded compelling. How can a business owner say they don’t want to be on page one of a SERP? These call opening claims have been beaten to death. They sound fishy because they are fishy. Over the phone, how can you differentiate yourself from the 15-20 knuckleheads contacting the businesses you have prospected as a good potential fit for the SEO services you provide?
Provide value. Make it worth the decision maker’s time to hear what you have to say. Sounds easy, right?
The best way to get your foot in the door with a new prospect is to show them a reason why they need help. Maybe the help they need isn’t even help you can provide. Maybe it is. There are usually technical reasons why most business’ rankings in the SERPs suffer. After the initial greeting, a call opening that always seemed to work well for me was:
Mrs. Client, I can tell that you are trying to target rankings for “dog catchers Seattle” and there are technical reasons why this is not working for you right now. Would you be interested in talking to me for a few minutes about how we might be able to help you fix this?
If they say “yes” to your invitation for helpful advice, this does not mean it’s time to teach them about the deep details of technical ranking factors. Spewing the latest nerdy SEO news from your favorite blog is a sure-fire way to create your own objections. This is not the time to show how smart you are as an SEO industry professional. This is the time to show your value and prove to the client that you can be a great asset to their business. Here are four pointers for making the most of your opportunity to impress a new prospect and illustrate your value:
- Know your audience. Speak only to their level of understanding at first.
- Ask smart questions. Think of this like a “first date”. People love to talk about what is important to them.
- Keep it simple. Pause to make sure they are following along by saying “Does that make sense?”
- Be honest. Make sure you can back up any claims with documentation.
In SEO sales, you can’t control when and if the business owner says “yes, let’s move forward”. Instead, focus on what you can control which is being diligent, informed, honest, direct and respectful. Be valuable.