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How to Sell Local SEO Like a Pro

For your convenience, we recorded our Boost Your Business: How to Sell Local SEO Like a Pro webinar.

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Webinar Transcript

[Downloadable versions of this transcript, the presentation deck, and other materials will be available in the Dashboard Resource Center]

Bernard:

Welcome back everyone, and after a long hiatus from our Boost Your Business webinars, I’m back. It’s Bernard again doing the next series of our webinars. Now, just to give you guys a heads up of what we’re covering, and you guys probably received the newsletter on this, we’re going to talk about How to Sell Local SEO Like a Pro.

[slide: About the Panelists]

And for those of you that have been, you know lucky enough I guess, because I think I’m a nice guy, that were lucky enough to meet me, I am Bernard and I’m the general manager of SEOReseller. We’ve recently updated my photo, so I’m not semi-bald anymore, and it does say 20 years’ worth of web experience, but the interesting person to talk about actually in this introduction is Rob. And I’ll let Rob do his own introduction.

Rob:

Thank you, Bernard. Hi everyone! It’s great to be here. It’s an honor. What can I say? Professional work is hard work, and with the right methodology, ranking websites is less challenging. And it’s fun, and it’s more fun and exciting to seeing our customers or partners grow. So, let’s get the ball rolling. My credentials are in front of you, and it should be great.

Bernard:

So, right before we get started on the meat of the conversation, though, I want to explain the reason why I asked Rob to join us on this webinar. Before he was a business development officer, Rob was one of our project managers and he is one of the guys with the most spectacular results in terms of success when it comes to helping local businesses. And I thought who better to bring into a webinar than a guy with proven track record of helping local small businesses, and these are precisely the types of people that we are going to talk about today, the guys that we’re going to try to help.

[slide: What Happened During the Previous Webinar]

So, in keeping with our tradition this is what happened during the previous webinar. For everybody listening or for everybody that was there on the previous one, so previously you guys spent an hour with Joshua and with William, and they talked about the Reputation Management tool that we built for you and your clients. And it’s about how you can build a recurring revenue model with the Reputation Management tool; how it can help manage the perception of the business; how it can help you grow your business. And then a couple of tips and tricks in terms of how to sell it.

[slide: Shameless Plug]

Also in keeping with the tradition of our webinars is our shameless plug. Now for this month and until August, we’re extending the July promos. And this is where if you spend an initial $3,000 on SEO with us, you get $1,000 off on your first month. The campaigns have to start in July and August.

Now in addition to that, we also have a couple of new features that are launching today right after the webinar, but I thought not to insert it in the shameless plug because I felt that they belong better in the specific sections of the webinar where we’re talking about how to connect, how to retain, and how to nurture.

[slide: Discussion Overview]

Without further ado, this is what we’re going to wind up covering today, and this is the overview of what we’re going to talk about ideally for the next 45 to 50 minutes, so that we’ve got time for your questions. And speaking of questions, feel free to use the upper right box on your screen and message us your questions, so that we can get to them at the end of the webinar.

So, what we’re covering today is why local SEO; why sell it as a service; what’s in it for a for a small business owner; the evolution of local SEO – and I promise only to take one to two minutes, it’s just a nice visual representation of how local SEO has evolved over the years – what we do to rank your clients locally. And we’re going to go through this in passing because when we teach you to pitch and even when we pitch, it’s not about drowning your client in subject-matter expertise; it is about building that connection. And that’s why we’re going to spend the most amount in how to sell local SEO, and then we’re going to cover a few typical objections that you guys are likely to encounter and how to effectively overcome them.

So, let’s get started. Why local SEO? Rob, why local SEO?

[slide: Why Local SEO]

Rob:

Let me tell you guys why. Have you noticed like how a local result have taken up more and more real estate in search? And if you are in Google’s shoes, wouldn’t that make sense if over 60% of users spend to search for things, businesses, services, or products that it can go to. This is why they try to display the results of these searches better for the users, and they now dominate above-the-fold search.

[slide: The Battle for Real Estate on the SERPs]

And that’s where we go to the first bullet point, or you know, the battle for the real estate. What better way to dominate the results page than to occupy most of the space on it. Local search results get exactly this. Google is really helping businesses that have physical locations that need people to drive to their location, and make a transaction. Users need to be able to find these results faster, and Google always wants the best result for your users. If you have not seen the local Snack Pack yet, try searching a restaurant locally, and find that first three results occupying 80% of the page, whether it’s on desktop or

on a mobile device.

Bernard:

And actually, on mobile, it takes up more real estate – almost the entire initial screen on a mobile is the Snack Pack. Now, if you think about what Rob just said, your Google, it’s your business, and you’re realizing that 60 to 64 percent of your users are always looking for a business, a service, a provider whose office they can walk into. Wouldn’t it make sense that you use the real estate of your website to present them results that match the purpose of their search, and this is why to me the Snack Pack feels like an almost inevitable evolution of how search has evolved over the years.

[slide: All the Benefits of Organic SEO]

Now, one of the other reasons why you guys should sell local SEO is that it gains all the benefits of organic SEO. When we work on organic campaigns for you guys, our objective is to make you guys rank on the first page. On local search, we largely follow the same methodology, but with a few differences here and there. We build citations, we build business listings, but on local search, the mission isn’t over until your business is in the local result or it’s in the Snack Pack. Therefore, you always wind up above the fold. And this is one of the benefits of doing local SEO, because you get all the benefits of organic. And then plus-plus. Not to mention, it’s slightly easier to do. I’ll actually let Rob dive into that because he’s got a lot of experience on this.

[slide: Higher Success Rate and Faster Results]

Rob:

Yeah. Thank you for letting me take this one, Bernard. And you know what, higher success rate brings us to the third point and faster results, because let me tell you from experience, 80% of the campaigns I’ve handled are local businesses. And it still amazes me to this day that 92% of them penetrated the Snack Pack in 90 days or less. Also, something we’ve learned throughout, you know, the course of doing these campaigns, locally, there are not a lot of businesses who are doing SEO, and when they do any digital marketing, like what Bernard told us about, they’re not putting it all together and not driving results.

Bernard:

Right. And I think that’s a very important point to drive home when you guys start walking in and doing your pitches to these local small businesses, what you’ll realize is they’re running a Facebook campaign here, they’re building a couple of business listings there, they submitted and they claim their profile on Google My Business, or they’re doing some organic SEO, they’re doing some link building. But, very few of them would have all of these activities in concert, very few of them are doing this altogether, and the results of when they’re all done together is tremendous. You occupy space on Google search above the fold, and that’s just not the results that you get.

Rob:

And the most important result that you want is foot traffic.

[slide: Evolution of Local Search]

Bernard:

Right, precisely. So, moving on, I just wanted to show you guys how local search evolved over the years, and I’m really going to start from pre-Panda here. So, this is a screenshot of Google Maps. For any of you guys that have been digitally-savvy before 2012, you’ll remember having to do a search and having to go into the Maps module of Google in order to find local results in your area.

This is how it initially happened – 2012 Google decided to blend the results, and this is what it initially looked like, not as pretty as it does today. But, this one really took SEOs for explain in 2012, and SEO in the industry called it the Venice update, which was the first time people saw local results blended with organic results.

A year later, Google refines that further with Google Places, and this is when we started seeing what SEO is called the 3-Pack and the 7-Pack mixed inside the first page of the result, but not necessarily above the fold where three to seven local results if a search was done with a geo targeted keyword.

A year later, that evolved into Google Plus local, and the knowledge graph appeared on the right. You still get a mix of about three to seven businesses posted on the first page. And today’s results are the Snack Pack, and the evolution of Google My Business, where you’re seeing a small map at the top, the three top locations – if three are available, it is possible to only see two – a link to their website, and directions to get there based on where you’re located. And right at the bottom of that begins the organic search results.

One of the other things I just wanted to point out is as we went through each image, because I just noticed how subtle the changes were from one to the other, and this is really how Google evolves, and very subtle, more useful ways for its users.

Now moving on to the next topic – what does it take to rank locally?

[slide: What Does It Take to Rank Locally?]

Rob:

So, here’s what we have to do. As Bernard mentioned earlier, it’s all the organic activities and a little bit of more. First, we definitely would have to take a look at your website or your on-page, your content since it is the strongest ranking factor, your images has to be diverse, the site structure, and the little things that makes a website tick. That’s what we will have to take a look at first.

But, a little bit of the bullet points. The first one say from Moz’s local search ranking factors, local search or the local pack is 14% on-page and 24% for organic. What you really have to take a look at is your Name, Address, and Phone on your site. These are needed to be visible complete and consistent.

Bernard:

Right. I guess the to put it in layman’s terms, or actually techie terms that I’ll turn into layman’s terms, these are what you refer to as user content, meaning they need to be content that a user can see on a website. And then, of course, your location-specific keywords, them indicated in your H1, in the URL, or on any other element that the search engine can read.

Rob:

Yeah. Moving on to the second bullet point is our schema. So make it crystal clear, so Google knows where you are at and what you do. So, schema is a piece of code that lets search engines know that you are a local business, that it this is your name, address, and phone. The information in it is crucial; it will determine if you are the best result.

Bernard:

Right. Now one thing to take note is that schema can be done in different ways, and it doesn’t always apply to local businesses. But, this is what makes local different from organic. When we apply schema to a website that’s meant to rank locally, we apply local schema, we make sure that Google understands where you’re located and that you’re relevant for that location.

Rob:

And definitely the off-page, or the backlink or the link building process. So, these are the guests blogs, the editorials that we post, but moreover, it is really just the noise about you on the web. Not only does it rank you organically, but it also helps your business appear in the local search results.

Bernard:

Right. When we developed this service, what we really did was to do a test of how does the local search result respond to X number of business listings. Does it respond well to that? Does it also respond to backlinks? And what we discovered is that it responds to both, or, actually, it responds best when both are present. And it does respond when only one or the other exists, but the best results are achieved when both are done. And that’s why this is how the service is executed.

Now, quick question is what are citations? Citations are simply articles that mention your brand name or your homepage URL, your business address, and your phone number. So, that means your business is cited inside someone’s content. Now in the last activity that we do our business listings.

Rob:

And you know, you have to put your business into relevant listings, so some of them are Facebook fan pages, Yelp, 192 Big Places, or Foursquare. These are some of the directories that are widely used by our users and greatly relevant signals for search engines. And, of course, don’t forget Google My Business, as well.

The next would be your Name, Address, and Phone have to be consistent across the review pages of your website.

Bernard:

Right. Also gives you another channel to acquire feedback from customers, right? And this is something that got discussed in the Reputation Management webinar that was done last month. It is more important now more than ever for local businesses to keep their ears to the ground and listen for how their brand is being talked about locally.

[slide: How to Sell Local SEO]

Moving us onto the meat of the conversation, and before we do a deep dive, I just wanted to remind everyone – feel free to send your questions to us via the chat box on the upper right side of your screen.

So, without further ado, Rob and I will jump into how to sell local SEO, and these are the topics we intend to cover. Step 0 is prep. This is the homework that you have to do, the things you do before you walk into a sale because the moment you manage to get an appointment, that becomes Step 1, where you try to build a connection with your customers, you try to relate the value of your service to the needs of their business. Step 2 would be when you qualify, because while you can get anywhere from three to 3000 potential leads, not all of them deserve your time, not all of them will qualify for your service, or not all of them are ready. Now Step 3 will be building desire. I guess our average conversion time for SEO ranges somewhere between anywhere from 30 days to about 90 days, so it takes a while for them to be ready and during that phase you don’t have to be passive; you can build their desire over time in order for you to get closer to Step 4, which is a close, and then, of course, we’ll try to add more value to your conversation by going through a couple of common objections.

So, let’s get started.

[slide: Step 0 Preparation]

Rob:

Step 0 is preparation, and personally guys, this is where I thrive on 100% of the time. This is what we do in preparation because most people miss the most important goal, and that’s your emotional objectives. Target an emotional goal; don’t be incidentally likable. Don’t wing your sales pitch all the time. Develop your expertise. Go to our Resource Center, download our white papers, our pitch kit. So, click on the Resource on your dashboard, scroll all the way down, there’s an SEO pitch kit over there, and it has two digital marketing statistics and our methodology. It also comes with a PowerPoint presentation, saving you the grunt work of building a presentation and getting the things that matter to your prospects, which are their needs.

Bernard:

And the reason we pre-build these things is because we appreciate the fact that your time is best spent making those connections and closing those sales. So, instead of you guys, you know, slaving the night away, building a PowerPoint presentation on a rush schedule, we’ve taken the time and the trouble to be able to pre-build these for you guys.

Rob:

And I guess in preparation, you will really have to take a look at your brand because the question really is why do you deserve to earn your prospects’ business? The first bullet point would be choosing a niche. Specializing in a niche allows you to be an expert in two fields, so that’s digital marketing and your prospects’ vertical. We understand that it’s tempting to cast a wide net, but you can gain better familiarity and gain a track record for a specific niche.

Bernard:

Right. Case in point is, imagine you guys are walking into a dentist’s office, and you’re trying to do a pitch, and this dentist has a choice of between two types of marketers: one jack-of-all-trades marketer and the other one is a marketer with a proven track record in helping other than this achieve success. Who do you think they would be likely to go to? And this is why niching is so important.

The next one, of course, is developing the identity of your brand, or what is your unique selling proposition.

Rob:

Yeah. Ask yourself why they should choose you. Are you going to be the biggest, fastest-growing, most sincerely caring vendor they’ve had? Develop your brand’s persona, then make your personal persona support that.

Bernard:

Right. And when Rob says personal persona, what he means by that is remember that if you can Google their business, if you can do your prep and research about their business, they can Google you. So, what are they going to see when they look for you on Facebook? What are they going to see when they look for you on LinkedIn? So, more on building social proof.

Rob:

Yeah, and we’ll dive into that later on. Do yourself a favor, so on social proof win the first impression. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist expert and professor at MIT, Bernard you mentioned this to me, and so I Google them, so several experiments at MIT and other Ivy League schools, just the first impression lasts. You can read about it in his book “Predictably Irrational”. But, what’s important to remember is in a digital word, if you can Google your prospect, they can Google you like what you’ve mentioned. And when they do, what can they see?

Bernard:

Right. And you guys can do a mock experiment here. Try looking for the Project Managers of SEOReseller. Take a look at who they’re connected to, who vouches for their skills, because their persona matters to us. How we develop our Project Managers and our sales staff’s persona needs to be the way you develop your persona.

Now, aside from doing your research on your brand, you also have to take a look at the environment, right?

Rob:

Exactly. As much as you research yourself, do better and double your effort to learn more about who you’re selling to. So, research your prospect. Who’s on the first page for the keywords in their industry? Where do they stand against the competition? How old is their website? So, it tells you how long they began their digital consciousness and the gap between that and their digital maturity. So, first there is really their business. Learn their business – what they do, how they do it, when they do it, and who they cater to. These are all assets to your pitch, so find out what they need to hear, then tell them in a manner that they will embrace it.

Bernard:

I like the way you put that Rob, because that is very important. You need to be able to deliver it in a way that they will choose to embrace because nobody likes to be sold. We all want to buy, but none of us like getting sold.

Rob:

Yeah. Then, when you know their business, of course, the industry, are they B2B? B2C? Are they in marketing or IT? The more you understand their industry, the more you become one of them.

Bernard:

Right, and the less you’re likely to get treated as an outsider or a stranger.

Now the next one is, of course, help them find their opportunities. You have to be able to match the value of your service to what the needs of their business are. Are you going to help them make more money? Beat the competition? Gain larger market share? Are you going to help them gain a larger client base? Are you going to help them gain better differentiation? All of these are questions you need to unearth during the qualifying phase, but even in prep, I strongly recommend that you guys ready six to ten great questions, and I’ll get to that when we get to qualifying.

Before I conclude the prep slide, though, I just want to repeat the growth hack that we’re trying to teach you. Very few salespeople walk into a pitch with an emotional goal in mind, and you always should, regardless of the fact that we all like to think we’re rational decision-makers, we are all emotional buyers. And you need to respect this and leverage it to your advantage. That’s why you need to build a connection.

[slide: Step 1 Connect – Finding Leads]

So, speaking of connection, here’s how you connect. You can’t connect with anyone if you don’t have a list of leads or prospects, and so Step 1 on connection – because this is a two-step of connection process – is where do you find your leads?

We sent out a solicitation to you guys asking you guys for what your advice would be to other starting and boutique agencies out there in terms of being able to begin a network of leads? Dominica said networking, expose, trade shows, seminars, attend them. And Dominica, we completely agree.

In fact, today, the screen on the right is showing you the SEOReseller audit plug-in. We built it specifically to launch today right in time for the webinar because what we want you to be able to do is, right after the webinar, we want you to do your research, find the trade shows, the expose, or the seminars that are happening in your area, and sign up. Meet people, exchange business cards because you’re a salesman and you’re probably astute. Imagine you walking in and networking and exchanging business cards and noticing “Hey I notice that your email address is in that domain, you know what I’ve got my website on my phone, and I’ve got a new tool that we just built inside our website and it can give you an audit of how good the SEO is on your site. Would you mind us running this on your website?” You will probably wind up collecting emails faster than you can sell pancakes.

The next one is ask for referrals. No man is an island, and, you know, I’m not just saying that as a cliché. You go to a dentist, you’ve got a physician, you probably use vendors of your own, but let’s take the dentist for example. If you’ve got a great relationship with your dentist, your dentist has an interior decorator, a medical supplier, somebody that builds splints for them, probably a plumber, and all of these guys, also businesses, why not leverage your relationship with your first-level contact in order to gain a connection with second degree contacts?

The next one is cold email with style. Now what do I mean when I say cold email with style? I’m going to pull something off of Joe Girard’s playbook, and it’s about car shows and test drives. When you cold email, what you need to do is do the same thing car salesmen do inside of a car show. Car salesmen don’t try to sell cars in a car show; what they try to do is sell a test drive. They’d be lucky to close three people for every thousand inquiries they get inside a car show, but it’s been proven that a test drive will close three out of seven people that take a test drive. So, your only objective here is to gain a commitment or to gain an appointment.

Rob:

And more importantly, I’ll tell you something that’s very simple to do but equally important. Test email templates and find out which of them converts the most, you know gets the best responses and gets opened more.

Bernard:

Right. So, optimization is really not just for search; you also have to optimize your own marketing process, right? If you realize that email template sheet compared to A and B gets opened more, gets replied to more, which is you know the ultimate, or even better yet template B gets you more appointment, stick with the email template that gets you the best results.

The other one is cold calling with a lot of conviction. And what I mean when cold calling is you know sending the email and asking for an appointment means that by the time you start your first phone call, you’re not a stranger anymore, and you begin to create a warmer relationship. Remember the call’s purpose and the email’s purpose are the same – it is to secure an appointment. Don’t try to close them on email, don’t try to close them on a call, close them face-to-face.

Next is when you do get managed to get an appointment, don’t make the mistake of selling rankings. Don’t sell a SERP position; pitch a commitment. We want to buy from people that we trust, like, and respect, and we tend to trust, like, and respect people that believe in our business the way we do, and so it creates common ground between you and your prospect.

The next one comes from Tom, and Tom says he builds vendor partnerships with webmasters. And, you know, in our opinion, that’s brilliant. This is also how some of our initial and best relationships started where we partnered up with people that only sold websites and they move the SEO business to us because it wasn’t their line of expertise. And Tom is absolutely right. If you guys partner up with people that have web development businesses, nothing stops you from being able to gain referrals coming from these vendor partnerships.

Now the other one is, of course, leveraging business with Google My Business. Go to Google My Business and check out the local businesses in your area, find out who’s got reviews, who’s got a website, who doesn’t, people that have other listings, no listings, and this trick is actually attributed to Chuck. It’s a great tactical technique. In fact, what we even tell people is one of the easiest ways to figure out where your leads are is when you do a search for a keyword that’s relevant for the business, take a look at who’s between positions 11 to 100, all of them have opportunities to benefit from local search.

Now, you’ve done your homework, and you secured an appointment, what do you do next?

[slide: Step 1 Connect – Building Rapport]

Rob:

Guys, this is crucial – building rapport – so whether or not you’d get a second date, it would really depend on the time you spent on a date. Do they want to have fun? Learn something or share a moment. So, you mentioned Joe Girard, and this is why we love him, because he has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s greatest salesman. He sold 13,001 cars at a Chevy dealership, and he did it by having a very good relationship with his customers. He was good at getting them to buy from him. He was very good at remembering his customers’ names, their wives, their birth dates, and he remembers to call them on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but he made it a point to be their friend first. And everyone is very comfortable having a friend. And one brilliant thing he did was his persona. He was a fellow car enthusiast, not their car salesman.

Bernard:

Right. Which actually brings us to our growth hack for this slide. Pulling something out of Joe Girardi’s playbook, be their SEO expert, not their SEO salesman. The same way Joe was a fellow car enthusiast and not their car salesman. By not being their salesman and by being someone that they could buy from and not someone that was selling to them, he was able to earn trust, respect, and liking.

Rob:

That’s right, guys. That’s why don’t focus on closing; focus on building the relationship. Much like Joe, it’s about connection, not a close. Refrain from jumping the gun and asking them what you want or drilling into how much they are willing to spend right away. It gives people the sense that you’re after your agenda, not theirs. So, people want to buy; they don’t want to be sold. We all want to think that we made the best logical decision when we make a purchase.

The next one is they like, trust, or respect you. We listen to people who we respect. Case in point, how many of you guys have shopped bringing a companion in tow? All things being equal, we will buy from friends or when we trust the people we buy from. So, we don’t look back or regret a purchase.

Bernard:

Do you shop with a companion in tow?

Rob:

Of course.

Bernard:

I’ve shopped with a companion in tow. Not more often than not, but I have. So, I think we’re all guilty of that and that’s because we try to avoid what’s called buyer’s remorse. And it tends to happen when people part ways with money. It’s not because they bought something that was without value, it’s just a phenomenon that tends to happen. But, by having somebody emotionally reinforce the buying decision, you are less likely to encounter buyer’s remorse.

Rob:

And here are some of the things that you can do – you already do this unconsciously, most of you guys – here we give you the science.

The first one is common ground. We’ve mentioned this earlier, as well. But, all you need is one thing, just one thing in common with your prospect, and that’s enough to accelerate the bonding process. Examine your closest friendships. How many things do you really have in common with your closest friends? Have you traveled to another country (Bernard, I know you’re guilty of this) ideally where English is not spoken and realize you’ve found yourself warming to an America that you managed to come across. That is common ground.

Bernard:

A great example is, English is my language of preference, primary language, and it’s what we speak at home. And whenever I travel, I like to go to strange places and, you know, I don’t know why I like the good places where no one speaks English, but I do, and whenever I find anyone that speaks English, I will immediately warm up to them. And that is an example of common ground at work.

Now guys, before I let Rob continue, I’m hoping that you guys have your notepads open on your laptops, or that you’ve got a pen and paper in hand, because it’s very important for you guys to remember these concepts that we’re talking about, and if you can manage to write them down or commit them to memory, please do so. Without any more delays, I’ll let Rob continue.

Rob:

Right in time, because humor is very important, as well.

Bernard:

Yes, this is a favorite of mine.

Rob:

Studies say that humor contributes to higher subjective well-being. It’s a pervasive part of human experience, so it is usually associated with positivity and the feeling of being positive creates a good connection, as well. So, taking some of this from Jeffrey Gitomer’s playbook, if you can get them to laugh, you can get them to buy.

Bernard:

And I’m a stalwart believer of that principle. Gitomer always says, “If you can get them to laugh, you can get them to buy.” Now, the reason these first two techniques are so important is because common ground and humor are amazing accelerators of a bonding process. If you guys want to emotionally connect with someone, find something in common or be funny. If you’re not funny…

Rob:

Get funny now.

Bernard:

Right. Get funny. It’s never too late.

Rob:

For me, this is my favorite. It’s Me-Talk, because it’s the easiest part – you just listen. Limit your airtime. If you’re talking more than 50% of the time, you’re failing the sales. So, people love talking about themselves and their business. The more airtime they get, the more comfortable they become, and the more needs you unearth.

Bernard:

Right. And think about it guys, and think about your friendships. Who are the people that are closest to you and you enjoy the company the most? Are they the best talkers, or are they the best listeners? And this is what Me-Talk really teaches you. It allows you to surrender your agenda. It makes you subject your agenda and prioritize the agenda of your prospect. It’s about you listening and you doing less talking.

The next one is mirroring, and I think this one I want to take, because this is really basic programming, and behavioral economics, and psychology at work. In the same way that, so in a in a book called “The Influencer” and actually several other behavioral economics books, there’s a study that shows that when people are in sync, when they’re agreeable with each other, they tend to copy each other’s body language. While, you know, there are sales people that will use this in a manipulative way, how we recommend you use mirroring is use it as an indicator of whether you’re doing a good job in your pitch. Is your sales pitch headed in the right direction? Are you managing to make that connection? Because if you do, what you’ll notice is, as you change posture, your prospects will follow your posture – either that or you may unconsciously follow theirs. But, what matters is that you guys follow each other’s body language. You can use this as a gauge for whether you did well in the pitch or on building that connection or not.

Now, before we progress out of this slide, I just want to remind you guys about the growth hack. Be their expert, not their salesman. Nobody wants to get sold, but we all love to buy.

So, let’s move on to the next step, which is qualifying.

[slide: Step 2 Qualify]

Qualifying is important because, again, while you can have anywhere from 3 to 3,000 prospects, not all of them deserve your time. You want to focus on the guys that make good use of your time, the ones that you can warm up to build a connection with, nurture a relationship with, and add value to their business.

So, in prep, I mentioned earlier that, you know, understand their business and do your homework and prep your questions. And this is what I mean: when you walk into your pitch, you need to have six to ten great questions that you’re ready to ask them.

Rob:

Yeah. Because also when you do this, the easier you get closer to a sale. Because they open up opportunities where your services are needed.

Bernard:

Right. And I think that goes directly to what Rob is talking about. The second column on this slide talks about things that you’ll need to qualify for, and we do this at SEOReseller. We try to qualify our prospects for goals, or the results that they expect, what budget they have in mind, what their operating budget is, what timeframe they had in mind, their expectations for how frequent the communication should be, is there a primary point of contact, what is the current business size, and what are their expectations for the quality of the relationship. The more of these needs you unearth, the closer you get to the sale.

And this is also why it’s important you’re in their niche. Remember how we talked earlier about the dentist example. If you belong in their niche, you’re less likely to get treated as an outsider; you’re less likely to get treated as a stranger. Your networks will probably be the same, and you guys probably attend the same event.

The next one, though, is finding the decision-maker. The beauty of, I think, working with small to medium sized businesses is you’ll never pitch to a 6-man panel. You will usually pitch to one, two, or three people at all. But, it is so important that you make a connection. Don’t try to make a connection with everyone because sometimes that’s just extremely difficult, and this is where being a people-pleaser does not work. Find the decision-maker, home in on him or her, and make sure you establish that connection.

Qualifying is a part of the sale, and when Rob talked about Me-Talk, this is what we mean. Qualifying is about asking the right questions. The more questions you ask, the more needs you unearth, and the more airtime you give your prospect. And then, of course, follow up your questions by probing for other underlying needs. By underlying needs, what I mean are the personal, emotional needs that we all have when we buy things. We expect that we buy to fulfill a certain function, but we also expect them to fulfill a certain emotional need, meaning we never buy anything to feel crappy, we buy things to feel good. What would make your prospect feel good? Is it achievement? Is it better results? Is it achievement in the eyes of their boss? But, find out what it is because that will also help you get closer to the sale.

[slide: Step 3 Build Desire]

Rob:

Now that you’ve prepped, now that you’ve connected and qualified, it’s time for you to offer value and build desire. Be prepared – bring your pitch. Drilling this down some more, be their SEO tutor, not their SEO salesman. Prep for yourself, or be ready to lose to someone that does.

Bernard:

Right. And that’s really something again we pull from Jeffrey Gitomer’s playbook. Be prepared for your sale, or be ready to lose to someone that does.

Rob:

That’s why you always have to lock in and visualize your goals, so you can help them visualize theirs. Positive energy is contagious; if you are brimming with energy and enthusiasm, so help them imagine a better performing business, and get them to embrace that vision, and you would likely close a sale.

Bernard:

I agree.

Rob:

Offer value, solve problems. So, in traffic, show them their site before and how you can manage to impact that problem, dashboard with analytics – they don’t pay for this. This is a tool that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop, so they get this real-time reporting and project management tool at no cost.

Bernard:

Now, it’s very important guys that you know the dashboard will allow you to track your traffic analytics. It will help them collaborate in terms of the management of the campaign, it can monitor competitors, and now there’s the new CRM tool that we built for you guys where you can actually track your prospects.

It is highly important that you not say this is free; it is very important that you remind them that you’re giving this to them at no cost, but when you say that these things are free, it tends to diminish the value. So, the way you deliver these things also matter.

The reason we built a traffic tracker, a keyword tracker, analytics integration, premium reporting, competitor analysis, is because we follow, you know, we practice what we preach in the same way that we teach you to offer value first. We are offering you value first, so that’s how we do it and here’s how you should do it.

Rob:

Here are some of the things we can use to convince them. First offer value, so have your laptop ready, provide an audit right away for them, so we have the audit widget, we’ll talk about it more later, download that right after this webinar. Next is selling the invisible, and this is why you need an emotional pull. Are you going to be their expert? Are you the guide they can trust? And are you transparent enough? Are you the provider that will express the most sincere desire to see their business succeed?

Bernard:

We all want people that will rally to our cause, and we are likely to go with a provider that believes in our business as much as we do.

Rob:

And one of your favorites, over power. Because Bernard, this technique that leverages two biases, which are authority and expertise.

Bernard:

Earlier, Rob threw a name, so I’m going to throw a name, and the author I’m going to mention is Daniel Kahneman, and he wrote “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. He’s a Nobel Prize winner for the research that he did, and in his research, he proved over and over again how powerfully we’re influenced by expertise and how powerfully were influenced by authority. Overpowering is easy to learn. All you have to do is do your homework, go to the dashboard, download the materials where we teach you how the methodology works, master all numbers off the top of your head – we are easily impressed by people that are able to pull facts from thin air.

Rob:

6.5 billion searches a day.

Bernard:

100 billion a month. 64% of search share is Google’s.

Rob:

90% of web sites are not optimized.

Bernard:

Right. 1.28 billion live domains currently. These are examples of using overpower as a technique.

Rob:

Learn them now. So, the next one is creating urgency. Find things that your client can be successful now. This technique is especially useful when a first mover advantage is possible. So, what’s a first mover advantage? When the first page or top three positions are occupied by unoptimized websites, you have a first mover abandon right.

Bernard:

So I’ll try to explain that in clearer terms. If you do a Google search for a potential client of yours, or for a lead, do a Google search and take a look at the websites that appear positions 1, 2, and 3. If they’re meta titles and their meta descriptions ellipses, or end in a dot dot dot,  you have a first mover advantage. And on search, sometimes it doesn’t matter that you’ve got it, doesn’t matter that you’ve got all the bells and whistles on your website, what matters is you get to position one first.

Rob:

And the next or the last one would be solution selling. So, this is finding a way to connect your business to their problem. Moral high-ground note here, don’t be afraid to walk away from a sale if the relationship between their needs and the value you add are not clear. Prospects will respect your forthrightness and will contact you when their needs make them ready to buy.

Bernard:

One of the other things that we like to tell people is you can’t close everyone all the time. Even for us, a one-call close is extremely rare, and a one-week close is also extremely rare, but what you need to do is nurture them because you need to be there when they’re ready to buy. So, growth hack here: nurture your leads – an appointment is the only goal at this stage. And what you want to do is get face-to-face but when you’re no longer face-to-face, that doesn’t mean the relationship has to end, but do not rely on them to maintain that connection. You maintain that connection because you’re the salesman.

[slide: On-Site Audit Widget]

Now, in order to help you guys do that, I just wanted to show you guys a couple of screenshots of the new features that we built for you.

This is the new on-site widget, and we’ve been getting asked by partners, “You know the tools that you have in the dashboard are great. Can I have it in my website?” Well the answer is, now you can. Now you can; go to the dashboard and go to the on-site audit widget, download it and install it on your WordPress website. It’s extremely easy, and if you get lost, you can dial our 1-800 number or our US number, and we’ll show you how to do it. But, it is extremely easy.

What it does is it allows you to run the audit right from your website. Imagine, you went to a trade show, you exchanged business cards, and you ask them, “I notice you’ve got a domain on your email address, would you mind terribly if I run an audit on your website?” And you just whip out your phone, your website is there, you run the audit, and you send it to their mailbox. What it does is it captures the email and deposit it into the CRM that’s built into your dashboard, so you never have to miss another prospect again, never lose another potential client between the cracks.

By keeping them in your CRM, you’re able to nurture your relationship until they’re ready to buy. And yes it automatically sends them an email, so you don’t have to be mindful of, “Oh! I gotta send them an email.”  So, these are just some of the things that are new, that we built for you guys.

[slide: Step 4 Get Commitment and Close]

Now, moving us forward is gaining commitment and closing. When you guys try to gain a commitment, there is a concept in psychology called priming. And in sales this is what we call setting your prospects into a “Yes” frame of mind, and what is this, how I do gaining commitment is, I will ask them questions that I know will deliberately get an affirmative answer. It doesn’t have to be a verbatim “yes”, the answer just has to be positive or affirmative in nature. And so I’ll ask them questions like “Was I able to address everything that was important to you?” or I might ask them, “Was I able to describe it in terms that were easy to grasp? I hope I wasn’t too technical.” Or I’ll ask them, “Are you feeling confident after this conversation?”

Rob, what is your favorite commitment question?

Rob:

Mine is really simple but effective. So, it’s “I’m really excited to collaborate with you after this conversation. Do you feel the same way?”

Bernard:

Wow. And for me, I think that’s a great question. I have to say that’s not my commitment question, yours is a you know, I hate being trumped by someone, but your question actually trumps mine. And I think what I really like about Rob’s commitment question is it focuses on the right thing. I’m really excited after we’ve had this conversation, and the question is, do you feel the same way. So, what he’s checking for is emotional satisfaction. Yes, at the surface, he’s checking for understanding, but what he’s really checking for is emotional satisfaction, allowing him to hit a practical and a personal need at the same time. Once you check for understanding, created a yes frame of mind ask two the three questions with an affirmative answer, this is the time you pop the question.

And if you guys get a “no”, don’t bow your head in shame and walk out with your shoulders drooped. Address the failure to commit, find out specifically which portion in your sales process was weak. Did you not build a strong enough connection? Did you not do your homework? Did you not successfully build desire? And when you find out where your sales process was weak at, go back to that process and reinforce. Only then are you ready to do a close.

And so on closing, there are several techniques, but I will only teach you three because if you guys had four hours, we could talk about closing techniques all day. But I will give you three that are very useful, and I’m going to go from most passive to the most aggressive.

The first technique I’m going to teach you guys is called an open-ended close. An open-ended close is the one that asks for the most permission. So, you might ask them “How do you feel about this conversation? Did I explain everything to your satisfaction? Do you feel it’s a match?” And if the answer is yes, the way you deliver the open-ended close is, “Alright. When would you like to see the answer? When would you like to see the SLA? When would you like to receive the contract?” It’s an open-ended question that asks for the permission for the sale.

An assertive close is different. An assertive close assumes that you did a good job on the sale, and therefore, it does not get permission for the close, it just gives them a limited choice. An example of this is “I’m glad that we’re both feeling great after this conversation. Would you like me to send the contract to your personal or work email?” Remember you’re not asking them, “Can I close you?” You’re asking them, “Would you like me to send it to your personal or work email?” So, there is a choice there, and there is a limited level of permission, but the salesman is asserting the close.

The last one is the assumptive close where you’re priming questions could wind up ending in, “Great! I’m glad that we both feel good about each other, and that I help you understand the value of this service to your business, I’ll have the contract in your mailbox first thing in the morning.” There are no questions, it assumes the sale.

I would strongly recommend you use one of these three, and personally I would strongly push you guys to use the latter two versus an open-ended close, but, you know, I’m not going to impose my style on everybody.

[slide: Overcoming Objections]

Now, moving us forward, overcoming objections. So, we promised that we would give you guys a couple of common objections that that we get and that you might receive when you do these pitches because you will be transparent with them, you will download the whitepaper, and you will give them the SLA.

And so one of the questions that you’re likely to get asked is “Doesn’t Google prohibit guest blogs?” and the right way to answer this is, the question actually addresses a 2014 video by Matt Cutts where he said pick fork in guest blogging. But, strictly speaking, there is nothing in the Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines that prohibit acquiring a link from a guest blog. In fact, you guys can work with even the most expensive SEO providers, ridiculously more expensive than us, but everybody acquires legitimate backlinks the same way today. And it is by having their content or a backlink posted to them by guest blogging somewhere, or having someone write about their website by establishing a real connection. So, academically speaking, Google does not prohibit guest blogs. They are referring those what 2014 video of Matt Cutts, and by knowing that too, you display expertise.

The next one is “Why do you need to put me on a contract?” This is very important to me. You’re highly likely to get asked this by someone that’s tried SEO services with freelancers, and that’s gotten burned before, freelancers tend to build only the work that they’ve done and whatnot, but I think any of you that work with freelancers will realize there’s not a lot of transparency there, and there’s no guarantee in the work, and you don’t know the kind of, or the quality is sort of hit-or-miss.

A contract sets your clients’ expectations for how long the delivery of the service and results should be, it puts in black and white what your commitment is to your client, and what their collaboration commitments are to you, and it prevents buyer’s remorse. Remember that whenever anybody parts ways with their money, they want results today. Actually, they might even want results yesterday, but they typically want results today. A contract sets everyone’s expectations in the right way, so it is a win for you, and it is a win for your prospect. Whenever you pitch a contract, don’t back down from the question because it will give them the idea that there’s something sneaky going on – no, there isn’t. You need to believe, because sales is a belief system, that a contract puts you in a win, and your clients in a win.

Rob:

So, I’ll pick up the ladder too. And the next one is, “Do you guarantee your SEO service?” So, two parts: remember that SEO process is an activity-driven profit, and what we guarantee is that we are going to fulfill all the SEO opportunities that you are going to pay for that month. But, the real question here, I guess, is the rankings – if we guarantee them. Remember that no one has a special arrangement with Google, and they actually have announced for us to be aware of the companies that do guarantee rankings. So, we don’t guarantee rankings, but we are going to guarantee that we are going to complete and you will get what you pay for.

Bernard:

Right. And this is really taken from Google’s playbook. They do say beware of SEO companies that claim that they can guarantee rankings. No one has a special arrangement with Google, the algorithm is completely independent, and we absolutely agree.

Rob:

And the last one, I know this is your favorite.

Bernard:

I wish to answer this. This is actually my favorite objection, and I like crushing this. But, I will let Rob have some me-talk.

Rob:

Thank you. “Why is your pricing expensive?” This is really simple. If you take a look at our prices, they are just really a third of the prices out there in the market, and they are very reasonable and competitive. You have to believe, though, that you are providing a premium service. There’s nothing in what we do that a freelancer can provide, so it’s very important that you know that we provide the best service and that you offer more value than the others.

Bernard:

Right, that you are a premium service provider, and it’s important that you believe that because selling is a belief system. So, hopefully, we’ve helped you overcome those four hurdles, but you know I’m seeing some of these coming into the question. So, I’ll move us forward.

[slide: Actionable Things for You to Do Now!]

Before we part ways with you in the webinar, Rob and I felt really strongly that our time and your time would be best spent if we left you with a couple of assignments and a couple of things to do, actionable things for you to do right now.

So, as soon as the webinar is done, before you give us a call or shoot us an email, do some research. Go to Google and join niche-related organizations in your area, join the local Chamber of Commerce in your area, find the local business associations that are of interest to you, join them. The other one is if you already have existing clients, offer discounts to your existing clients. That way, for every referral they send you, this allows you to exponentially increase the size of your network and your potential reach. If we’re talking about casting a wide net, this is the right way to cast a wide net.

Rob:

And the next one is attend or host digital marketing event or seminar. So, these should be included into your marketing budget. Our successful partners do these activities regularly. This shows your expertise; don’t just rely on Rob’s star power. Be your own expert, learn everything, download them now.

The next one is install the free site audit plug-in and be prepared. Like what we’ve been preaching on to this webinar, the site audit plugin is ready, take advantage of it right now.

Bernard:

Imagine you walking up to someone with your website pre-loaded on your phone, you typing their URL and sending them an audit into their mailbox in a couple of minutes. It makes you look incredibly savvy and incredibly techy. It leverages authority and expertise.

[slide: Partner CRM]

Now just as a reminder again, a couple of cool features that we developed specifically for you guys and in time for this webinar: an all-in-one platform for acquiring, closing, and servicing. Your white label dashboard has a CRM or a lead tracker. That way, you never lose another prospect or you never let a prospect fall between the cracks ever again. On-site SEO widget is ready for you to integrate into your WordPress website. The moment you send the audit, those prospects immediately get dropped into your CRM, track your leads, manage your customers, and show the results of your campaigns in one easy-to-use dashboard.

[slide: On-Site Audit Widget]

So, with that, this is the on-site widget, the email template, and the CRM where we drop them. Again, take advantage of it, nurture your relationships, and never lose another prospect again. Now it’s time to take a couple of your questions, and I know that Rob and I took up some time, and because sales is fun to discuss, but some of the questions that have come in are the following.

[slide: White Label Dashboard Training]

Before we get to the questions, just a couple of reminders, on August, we’re going to do training on the latest features of your white label dashboard, including how to use the partner CRM, how to integrate the site audit widget onto your website, and how to use the proposal builder. So, please join us again next month, and we’ll keep an eye out for the invitation that we will probably send out next week. So, let’s go to the Q&A portion of this conversation.

And one the questions that we got on the chat box was “How do I pitch local SEO to a business that has multiple locations?” The answer to this is easy. I’m going to try to not get too technical about this, but it is possible to get businesses to rank for multiple locations, especially if they have physical locations in their area. You guys are actually talking to the right guys. The number one auto dealership in the United States was a campaign that was worked by us with one of our agency partners, and it’s doable.

Take for example, if it was a Ford dealership with multiple locations, you can optimize each dealership’s page or each dealership’s website independently. You can create Google My Business profiles for them. What matters is that the names, addresses, and phone numbers are unique.

The next question that we got from you guys is “What should be an average price for the service per month?” And Rob, I think I’ll let you take that.

Rob:

Yeah. If you go to our dashboard and see our prices, you can actually double, or 200 to 300 percent, you can mark those.

Bernard:

So, about double to triple our rates will make you very competitive. Actually, double our rates makes it extremely competitive, because that is below retail market rates for Premium SEO services.

The next one is “Will you show us how to do a step-by-step prospect research, not just an overview but deeper understanding for us that are new to this industry but need to be successful in marketing SEO and web design?” So, this one’s a little difficult to answer. The answer is. Well, I guess I’ll leave it to you guys, do you want this in a format of a webinar or do you guys want it as a personal discussion? If you guys want it as a personal discussion, there are our phone numbers, reach out to us, and call us, and yes, we can teach you this step-by-step. And it’s not a long and difficult process; it’s fairly easy, but if you want to learn this in mass or, I guess, as a group of our customers, let us know by sending us an email to info@seoreseller.com that you would like a webinar on a step-by-step process on prospect research.

The next one is “Is there a limit to the number of citations you can build for a website?” And Rob, is there a limit?

Rob:

None. Actually, your only limit would be the listings that’s present or available out there.

Bernard:

It really just depends on the availability of local resources and hyperlocal resources in your area, but you know, I wish I could say that our research proved that there was a magic number to hit in terms of the optimum number of listings you have. But, the reality is, there isn’t. It just looks like the more, the merrier, and it blends well with links.

That is, unfortunately, all the time we’ve got, and we’re getting the wrap-up sign here, so I hope you guys enjoyed this Boost Your Business webinar on How to Sell Local SEO. Rob?

Rob:

I had fun.

Rob:

Yeah, so did I. This is a really fun run, and I hope you join us again on our next webinar. Thank you very much for spending the time with us, and talk to you guys soon.