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Overcome Sales Objections Like a Powerhouse

For your convenience, we transcribed our Boost Your Business: Overcome Sales Objections Like a Powerhouse webinar below.

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Webinar Transcript

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

Bernard:

And welcome back to Boost Your Business #5! So just to shake things up a bit, on this webinar we’re talking about “Overcoming Sales Objections Like a Powerhouse”.

{Slide: Overcome Sales Objections like a Powerhouse}

Now, I’m the guy to the right, and that’s not Tim to the left, that’s Keith – some of you guys might know him. But just to shake things up a bit from the normal way we’ve been doing it, I’m going to do introductions but this time I’m going to introduce Tim.

{Slide: Meet Our Panelists}

So for some of you guys, and some of you guys that are already in the room, I’m sure that you guys have already managed to speak with Tim, especially in your first few conversations with SEOReseller. Tim’s been with us for I think a couple of years or a little over a year, and he’s dedicated half a decade to being a top notch digital marketer, salesman and relationship builder.

In fact, I’ve personally assigned some of our key partners to him myself, and now that he does specifically only business development, meaning his job is to impress people in the first 30 days and overcome these objections that we’re talking about, I thought he would be the best panelist to share this webinar with. So for you guys that have met Tim, you guys already know how wonderful he is, and I’ll let him tell you how wonderful I am.

Tim:

Wow, awesome introduction Bernard. Thank you for having me back, this is my second time on the Boost Your Business webinar and with me of course is Bernard. He has been with you guys for almost every webinar, you hear his voice all the time, and he’s been in the industry for almost 18 years now. Bernard has started four companies, as you can see on your screen, taken three web-based companies to multi-million dollar statuses, launched over 300 websites, and has managed over a thousand marketing campaigns. So you can imagine, this guy is pretty much the busiest guy in the office, and I don’t know if he even sleeps.

Bernard:

And you forgot charming, I’m also the most charming person in the office.

Tim:

Right, that’s up for debate, so…

Bernard:

Tim does give me a run for my money. I have to say, when he’s in a pitch, I personally like listening to him, and that’s a good sign – that they’re approaching the sales process like naturals.

{Slide description: What Happened During the Previous BYB Webinar}

So, enough about Tim and Me, let’s talk about why you guys are here. Before I do that, let’s just do a quick recap over the previous Boost Your Business Webinar. So in the previous webinar we showed you how to go from good to great at selling SEO services.

And a lot of this has to do with knowing what your agency baseline is, what your identity is as a provider so that you know what kind of customers you can target. Know what you’re selling, know the stats, be a mini maven for SEO information so that you can prove expertise easily. And then learn how to sell effectively. Listen to your customers, and match the service to their needs. Match the service to the business objectives, because if you go into a pitch with only your agenda in mind, you will fail.

{Slide description: Limited Time Offer}

So, shameless plug time – and I’ve only got one this time, I’m not doing two – for a limited time, we are offering a 35% discount on the first month of any SEO package you get when you purchase it along with any Web Development.

This month, or actually within the quarter, I think we built around 37 or 38 websites so far, all of them leading up to SEO. And the reason that happens is when we take a look at a website and we do a pre-intake audit, we realize that the site is slow, or running on old framework, or is running on deprecated technology, and it just really needs a facelift.

Because quality is one of the things that Google looks at, and it’s worked really well. Now for anybody that tosses their web development project over to us, we’ll give you 35% off on the first month of your SEO package that comes with web development. That’s if you talk to me; I think you’ll get a better deal if you talk to Timmy.

Tim:

Yup, or any of your project managers.

Bernard:

Now if you want more details about this, feel free to follow the bit.ly link on the screen {bit.ly/getsked}. Now, moving us on, here’s what we intend to cover during this discussion.

{Slide description: Discussion Overview}

Tim:

So, we are going to discuss the key to closing a sale. Basically, that’s understanding what stops a potential client from taking action. So this webinar, guys, we are going to break down the pro tips on becoming the most common sales objections, and the methods powerhouse agencies use to close the toughest sales.

We are going to focus on general guidelines on overcoming objections, common client objections, and then we’re gonna pretty much summarize everything for you guys so you like have homework to do, or pointers when you’re doing your pitches, or when you’re having a conversation with your partners.

Bernard:

Now I’m going to move us over to a pretty slide, and we’re going to stay here for a bit.

{Slide description: Why Do Sales Objections Happen?}

Now, just as a primer to this entire conversation, overcoming objections is sort of Step 6 in the Seven Steps Sales Process that our guys are taught. They’re taught the Seven Steps Sales Process – it’s actually eight – and it depends on I guess the sales guru you talk to. Jeffrey Gitomer has got a 12.5 step, I share seven with Chet Holmes, Dell has five… Michael Dell of the PC company, they’ve got a five step sales process.

But the bottom line is, on each of those processes, there’s a section that’s always dedicated to this. And I’ll briefly run through what our sales process is like, because there won’t be a slide that shows that to you when it’s a 12 hour conversation on its own. But in short, our salespeople are taught:

Step 0 is preparation. Know your client. Google them, because if you don’t, they’ll Google you. And you don’t want to walk into a pitch at a disadvantage. Step 1 would then be to build rapport with your prospect. Meaning you get them to trust you, to like you, get them to laugh… Jeffrey Gitomer says that if you can get them to laugh, you can get them to buy.

After you build rapport, you qualify them. You try to figure out if your service is a match for their needs. Because if it’s not, don’t sell that, right? There’s only one reason you should be selling to someone, and that’s because you are able to genuinely add value to their business, or to their goals – you’re actually able to help grow the business.

After you qualify them, you identify their needs. So you ask more questions, then you match the need to building desire. Once you build desire, Step 5 is you secure commitment. Once you secure commitment, this is sort of when the objections happen. And of course, you know, Step Seven is when you execute a flawless close.

Now, the flawless close can’t be done when objections happen, because most of the time there was a weakness at some point in your sales process. Either you didn’t get them to laugh, you didn’t get them to trust you, you didn’t get them to like you at some point in the conversation. Or you didn’t listen to them during the qualifying phase, or you may not have matched the right product to the right need. There are several reasons why, and we’ll go through some of those reasons now.

{Slide description: Why Do Sales Objections Happen?}

So, why do sales objections happen? Objections happen because a section or a portion of your sales process is weak, right? You didn’t realize that you didn’t build enough rapport, you didn’t ask them enough questions about them, you didn’t give them a chance to talk – you talked for 45 minutes to an hour, and you didn’t give them an opportunity to speak up. I mean, when you do a pitch, it’s not a webinar; it’s a pitch. And a pitch is only valuable if you’re talking half of the time.

Now, I’ll post something from the Plato Playbook, and Plato wrote: “How you see the problem is the problem”. I can’t really remember whether he attributed that to Socrates or not, but he says that “How you see the problem is the problem”. And all he simply meant was you have a choice to see a problem as an opportunity, or you have a choice to see it as a problem you need to solve or overcome.

Behind every objection is a failure of a salesman to answer the burning question for every prospect, which is “What’s in it for me?”. SEO is an investment, what do they get in return? And if you don’t have a good understanding, if you don’t have a strong belief system that supports you, you won’t know how to address the objection.

So, general guidelines to overcoming an objection. Step 1 is to acknowledge the objection. Meaning, you don’t necessarily have to affirm it, you have to acknowledge it. If your customer tells you – and the most common one is pricing – if your customer says: “I think your prices are a little too high.” The wrong way to do Step 1 would be “It is, isn’t it? But you know, I’ll talk to management about that and negotiate for you.”

That’s the wrong way, that’s an affirmation, not an acknowledgement. An acknowledgement means “I hear you, so let me explain why.” or “I hear the pricing is too much for you, but can you tell me what kind of return you were trying to get out of this investment in SEO.” But an acknowledgement is you wanting to hear them out and not brushing their concern aside.

Step 2 is, you know, if it’s about pricing, isolate the objection. An isolation is really two things: one is you don’t want them to tell you “I think your price is too high, and SEO is too complicated for me, and my website is too old…” you know, you don’t want it to become a drawl. They are objecting to what you’re pitching for a reason. You need to figure out what that reason is, and if they’re objecting to pricing, you really have to figure out what they are really objecting to.

Most of the time when we hear a pricing objection, we are conditioned to think that the customer isn’t objecting to pricing, they are typically objecting to value. They didn’t see the value in the pitch. So isolate what it was that they are really objecting to; was it the price? Was it you? Was it the way you explained the service? And then of course own it. Promises are promises, and you know, it’s a dime-a-dozen. But if you tell them “Okay, I hear you, and here’s what we can do to meet you halfway, and let me get back to you on deadline.”

And when you give them that commitment, act on it, do it. Don’t just give a promise and then leave it hanging in thin air.

{Slide description: How To Overcome Objections}

Tim:

And on the last bit, actually, we would discuss the overcoming objections part, and we would be providing some sample questions we’ve gathered from a couple partners. These are classic situations and questions that we get almost every day, especially with myself when I talk to our new partners, one of which would be the value of SEO.

{Slide description: The Value of SEO}

So a lot of them, or a lot of them say actually, that our management does not understand the value of SEO. There are actually two scenarios that we came up with, the first one is that the client lacks knowledge about the industry itself, and then the second one is that you failed to listen to your prospect.

Now on the first one, I want to say that most of the time, it’s not really the client that really lacks knowledge, but in some cases you get to talk to someone on a business standpoint that is not actually the decision maker. What that means is, you’re not talking to the one who is actually the expert in the company; you are basically talking to the gate keeper, so what you want to there is to be able to leverage some SEO stats – you have to know your stats off the bat.

And later on, actually at the end of this webinar, we will be providing you some goodies. It’s going to be really, really great for you guys to have some key pointers on what you should spout in terms of stats.

Bernard:

Now, on 1 {the first scenario}, before I let him move on to 2… 1 shouldn’t be a surprise, right? On one of the stats that we gave you, two webinars ago and the webinar ago because we reinforced it then, 91% of websites across the world belong to small and medium sized businesses. And 90% of them are not educated; what that tells you is that 90% of website owners don’t understand the value of SEO. Education is part of the game, our most successful powerhouse partners know that when they get into the SEO game, there’s a lot of education that’s involved. Even we ourselves have to build a pipeline for 90 days because during those days, we’re trying to create desire, we’re trying to build excitement, and we’re trying to help them visualize how much bigger or how much better their company could be by investing in a service like this, by investing in an activity like this.

So SEO is an education game; you have to assume that everyone you talk to, it will be rare and few and far between that they will have knowledge that’s equal to or better than yours. You will educate most of the people that you talk to about SEO.

Tim:

And that actually leverages trust, on your end actually if you have enough SEO stats or digital marketing stats to throw out there, that just tells your client you know your industry and that you know what is actually going on right now.

On the second one, it says you failed to listen to your prospect; this goes back to what just Bernard mentioned earlier about you going through your sales process. Now remember it’s not linear; you have to make sure that you build desire, you have to make sure that you offer value, and if you fail to do one of those, at your sales steps or your sales process, then you are probably missing out on the opportunity of closing the sale.

Bernard:

Now, like what we told you before, we have a tendency to babysit our partners, especially the new ones, especially the ones with a great potential. You know by now, we’ve got a good eye for picking out the ones that have great potential. We tend to babysit them through their first few pitches, and I’ve personally done this with a few. An example is one of our partners in Australia pitched to an Australian pub. And because they weren’t experts and this happened during their first few months after signing up with our service, one of the companies that they asked for help to pitch was a pub; and during the pitch, you know, most of the time I like to be quiet unless I feel like I add value or I can ask questions that I think were missed and were important to the customer.

But essentially, it became a pitch where they kept on talking about rankings and traffic, rankings and traffic, rankings and traffic… and repeatedly the customer had said, what I want is 80% occupancy during lunch and dinner time, through Mondays to Fridays. So throughout occupancy, I want 80% occupancy of the pub. The only thing he really needed to hear is: “Is this service you’re offering the solution to my problem?”

And as soon as we gave them a yes, they signed up. As soon as we gave them a yes, they signed up. Now, I’m not really devaluing the technical portion of that conversation, because it did prove expertise, meaning they knew without a doubt that we were the pros and that we had their best intentions in mind, and that they saw our moral imperative. But there’s only one thing that the business owner needed to hear: “Will doing SEO create 80% or better occupancy during lunch and dinner during Mondays to Fridays?”

That’s it, that’s all they needed to hear. Now, again, while we don’t guarantee results, SEOs are experienced enough to make commitments. So after we signed up to the SEO service, before their sixth month had even started, they were at over 100% capacity within their fifth month. They turned off all other marketing avenues, especially the traditional ones.

So, the client now has all full occupancy on all weekdays, and sometimes in excess of their capacity. And this is an example of listening well to your customers; you have to ask them questions, they have to be talking half the time through the pitch, because they really weren’t wanting to hear “I’ll rank you” and they didn’t really want to hear “I’ll get you a thousand visitors a day”. They wanted all seats occupied during lunch and dinner, that’s the business goal. Your job as a salesman is to marry that business goal to what your service can deliver.

Tim:

Now on to our pro tip for our topic here. So the first one that we’ve got is know your SEO stats.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

These are just some of the stats that we came up with, and I think these are some of the most important stats for you guys to know. But like I said, at the end of the webinar, you guys would have to webinar to recreate it, so stay tuned for that one.

  • 93% of buying experiences begin on search. Not being present on search translates to lost opportunities for the client, so if you’re ever thinking of just going for traditional marketing, think again.
  • Can drive up to x22 ROI per dollar spent, and
  • There are 60 billion websites online today; can you believe that? 60 billion websites.
  • 91% of those aren’t optimized. That’s a sad story, but good news for SEOs out there.
  • SEO is a $16 billion dollar industry, so, you know, if I were you guys, let’s just try to get into the industry right now.

Bernard:

Now, let me just translate the opportunity at the bottom. What that means is if only 10% of websites are optimized, SEO can easily be larger by a factor of 10. It could easily be a $160 billion dollar industry; it’s not a saturated industry, it’s a very very very green field.

Tim:

And on to the last pro tip, translate the value of SEO into terms a decision maker can understand. This is what we were talking about earlier, about making sure that your client understands the value of SEO, and make sure that you don’t overwhelm with SEO jargon, just being able to show value to them is really important. Having stats on top of your head or off the bat really establishes trust signals. Use the white label testimonials from our resource center, and there’s a lot of different marketing collateral out there as well.

Bernard:

Now, I’ll move on to the next, and I’m just really talking because Tim will take the next slide too. So, this one, everyone’s favorite.

{Slide description: Pricing}

Now, I’ve got a mouthful to say about this, but it’s Tim’s slide, so I’ll keep quiet for a while.

Tim:

This actually is a meaty conversation, and I personally had some, you know, not really bad experiences, but challenging experiences on this one. So, we’re gonna talk about pricing, and this is one of the most common objections I get, and you guys probably get as well from your clients. A lot of them would say, a lot of your partners would say, that the clients find the pricing expensive. Or you might tell me, or tell your project managers, “I find your pricing expensive.” And really, if you’re reading between the lines, the translation of this objection is “I do not see the value of what you just offered me, what you just pitched me.”

So this goes back to the sales process of building desire or offering value to what you’re providing. But really, our pricing isn’t more expensive, and what I always like to tell the partners that I talk to is that we never claim that we’re the cheapest. That’s one, and I always go into probing when I get these kinds of objections. I ask them, do you actually get results for what you pay for? And, you know, you have to make sure that these clients are actually getting the right results, the right type of reporting, and we do provide that.

We offer you results, we offer you the client dashboard logins, so your clients can access the dashboard in real-time and view the performance of your campaigns. We provide real-time reporting that comes every end of the cycle, we have the executive summary reports, we have white papers and marketing guides.

Bernard:

Now, my turn. So, I love this object. This is the objection that is probably for me the easiest one to overcome. Clients find the pricing expensive; so, Tim’s primary strategy really is to tell people A} we’re not the cheapest provider and B} you get what you pay for. Which is really the easiest thing to pitch off the top of your head. Now, let me give you guys a couple of reasons why this is easy.

Some of you guys might not be aware, but we actually do have end clients. We have customers that come to us directly, especially locally. And in spite of facing the same objections that you guys face, we close 8 out of 10 for every pitch. So we’ve got an 80% close rate. And we overcome this because in order to make sure that we aren’t cannibalizing potential profits with our partner agencies, we also double to triple our prices locally. Now, why is it so easy to overcome?

First of all, I’ll go back to sales. It’s a belief system; I’ve seen how effective the service is, I’ve seen the businesses that its grown, and I personally sincerely believe, that when we work on a campaign, they’re going to get their money’s worth, and I’m doing them a favor by closing to the best of my ability, because they want to grow the same way that our successful customers have grown themselves.

So, by having a strong belief system in the service that we provide, I do not shy away from a pricing objection. So, I’ll give you guys a great example though, when you cave to a pricing objection. One of the partner objections that we worked with came on board with 12 customers. And by the time he had given us 12 customers, he had already been working on them for a year and a half. And he worked with some freelancers who had charged him $250 for the SEO. When we took a look at the websites, no optimization done to the website. Some very weak links from free blogs and what not, obviously advertorial content, just a lot of blog comments… none of this that works today.

No quality signals to Google, no trust signals, no well-crafted digital footprint, no authority sculpting inside the website, nothing. No rich snippets inside the web page. To his mind, he thought he was saving by only spending $250 at cost on his SEO. But in reality, he lost some of relationships along the way; relationships he will never be able to get back. And for the 12 that he had onboarded, he personally spent out of pocket $250 for each of those accounts. What’s 12 x $250? He was spending over $3,000 every month at cost, and he was burning relationships while doing that.

At the end of a year and a half, which is 18 months, he would have poured $54,000 down the train. For nothing. Right? So you really get what you pay for, and this is why we strongly advise that you need to be very selective with the partners you intake. Whether it’s us, whether it’s another provider, it doesn’t matter. You have to scrutinize the work that they do.

And they have to have a great belief system about their service. Otherwise, you don’t know that they’re good, because they don’t know that they’re good. So I’ll move us on to the pro tips, because I know I took up a lot of minutes on this slide.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

Tim: No worries. So on the pro tips, don’t dance around the pricing objection, address it. I mean, sure you can dance while you talk to your client over the phone, but don’t dance around the pricing objection, address it. I’m not saying you have to affirm it, but you have to address it. Acknowledge the objection, then isolate the objection and act on it.

There’s actually three golden rules in pricing, and I can have Bernard discuss about Primacy and Recency about this, but let me just go through 1, 2, and 3. You never mention pricing first, and you never let it stand alone. Lastly, never mention pricing last, and I’ll let Bernard discuss it.

Bernard:

People might not be aware, but I spent 7 years of my career in the online industry in a training capacity – in sales training. And there are three golden rules to overcoming the pricing objection, or preventing it from becoming an objection. Rule #1 is that you never mention pricing first; there is a phenomenon called Primacy. The first thing we hear tends to be stickier than everything else in the middle.

So how do you practice this? You don’t go into a pitch, and start off with “Hi, today I’m offering you a $2,000 package that will do this, this, this…” It doesn’t work. The moment you say $2,000, you might as well sing and dance and blah your way through the conversation. They will not hear anything past $2,000. So, you never mention it first.

Next, you never let it stand alone. So you don’t say, you don’t go through the pitch, whether at the first or at the last, and tell them “And you get all this service, and look forward to these results, at the end of six months, all of that only for a six month investment of $12,000.”

{Bernard makes cricket noises}

What do you think? So you never let it stand alone. You never let the pricing stand alone. It’s always… you always have to sandwich it between details. You will need to tell them, “The service plus this, this, this, and for that price, and for that investment, you get this, this, this, this.” And you never mention it first, right?

Now, never mentioning pricing last. If there is anything more powerful than the concept of Primacy, it’s the concept of Recency. And that is, the brain is biased to retain the last thing that was said. So the brain is biased to retain the last thing that was said. This is so powerful, that whenever you guys call a help desk, or a credit card line, or what not, they’ll tell you the brand first, so that they leverage Primacy, and they’ll tell you their name last. So that you remember the name of the person you talked to.

The brain is biased to treat the last information or the last thing it heard to be the most important. When you say “And you get all of this for a six month contract price of $12,000”, everything you just said, you might as well erase. So that’s the concept of Primacy, never letting it stand alone, and Recency.

Tim:

Alright, on to the next pro tip. Our new partners mark up service by just x1. I have to urge you guys, and actually recommend that you mark up services by x2 or even x2.5 retail cost when your portfolio is already built. And actually, this next pro tip is a partner that we discussed before, in the UAE gives 30% on their first 90 days.

Bernard:

Right, so we’ve got a partner in the Middle East, and the strategy that he does in order to get people into contracts {because he does sell them contracts, not a prepaid subscription basis}, but we’ve got a partner in the Middle East and his strategy is he only doubles the pricing that we have on the dashboard during the first 90 days of the contract. And then, he proves that he can deliver results.

Now, in SEO the advantage is well A} he is in a very ripe market, the Middle East is probably virginal to SEO – almost no one does it there, no matter how sophisticated and how advanced they already are. So almost any website he touches and implements On Page on, almost overnight turns to gold. They’re so convinced at the value that he’s very successful at converting them from 3 month contracts to 6 month contracts. And by the time they cross the 3rd month threshold, he puts them on regular pricing, which is the standard x3 of what our services are.

And this is a good way to approach it strategically.

{Slide description: No Guarantees}

Tim:

Alright, let’s move on to our next sales objection: no guarantees. This is one of my favorites, actually, and I sometimes get a laugh at this because a lot of our partners still have these kinds of issues. I can’t get approval for a service that has no committed results. Now sometimes that would come from a partner or their client. And really, the question there is why don’t you guarantee rankings, it really comes from them.

Bernard:

Actually if I could just steer the question a bit, why do we look for guarantees, right? Why do we look for guarantees? Why do people find guarantees attractive? And we all look for guarantees because there is a concept called buyer’s remorse, and buyer’s remorse is very powerful. It’s three times more powerful than desire. So, in order to steer away from buyer’s remorse, everyone is looking for that warranty, that guarantee, that 30 day return policy, something.

But you can’t do that with SEO, and then we’ll explain why.

Tim:

It’s very simple, because for example, if you get to talk to someone over the phone, maybe another vendor telling you “I can guarantee first page rankings on your website in the next 30 days.”

Bernard:

And we hear this too! We hear this every week, every time the phone rings a few customers will tell us “My previous provider promised me position 1. My previous provider promised me this. My freelancer said he could get me on Page 1 in X months.”

Tim:

Exactly, and you know what, I always tell them, and this comes from the bottom of my heart, drop the phone whenever you hear someone say that. Or you know, just change your phone number, get a new sim card, destroy your landline phone, whatever. Don’t ever talk to that partner again.

Bernard:

Flush your handy down the toilet. You don’t want to talk to that sales guy.

Tim:

Exactly, because at the end of the day, if you’re talking about SEO, there’s no one really who can guarantee rankings. There’s only two ways for you to be able to do that; first one is you’re probably in a direct control of the algorithm, meaning you’re working for Google. And that’s impossible, because not a lot of people do that.

Bernard:

And not even Larry Page manipulates rankings.

Tim:

Exactly. The second one is, they’re probably doing some Black Hat SEO, which is something you want to stay away from.

Bernard:

So I’ll dive in a bit deeper into that. What controls the organic rankings is a very very complex, very very intelligent, very very expensive algorithm. And no one controls that, not even Google engineers control how powerful their portion of the algorithm is. The algorithm determines the page that’s best for the user based on the query that they do. Google’s core is search, so they always want to give you the results that matter the most – the ones that matter to the users.

Barring you being able to control – now while no one can control the algorithm, which means you can’t place someone deliberately on position 1 – you can manipulate it. You can game it. And gaming the algorithm is dangerous because you’ll benefit from it in the short term, but you don’t benefit from it in the long term. So anybody that promises you position 1 rankings can only really do that by doing two things: either gain control of the full Google algorithm, or manipulate the algorithm in a Black Hat way. And that’s why you want to stay away from it.

Tim:

Also, sometimes we get asked “Why don’t you guys guarantee traffic?” It’s the same method or same approach that we take, we can’t guarantee traffic. But, here’s the big but, your SEOs or Project Managers actually, they’re all partnered up with seasoned SEO experts. And they’re pretty much experienced enough to set soft goals on what you guys can expect in terms of the traffic you will get on an SEO campaign.

Bernard:

Now story time, story time, before we go to the pro tips. And this is what we mean when we say soft goals. One of the clients that we had was an airliner, and the airliner’s goal was to gain a million more in traffic through that year by investing in SEO. We took a look at the site, we realized that there was a lot of opportunity, a lot of low hanging fruit. They didn’t have, they didn’t optimize for any keywords that said “flights from A to B”.

And there are so many variations of that keyword they can create because they flew so many places. And by optimizing for those, we wound up not adding one million, but almost three million in traffic to them. So what that means is we took on the business, even though what they wanted was a million more traffic. But given where they stood, the SEO was experienced enough to know “Yeah, I can do a million traffic. Against a website like this, with that many low hanging fruits? I can get a million traffic in there.”

The other one that we worked on that worked off of something similar is a bank that had three million in monthly traffic. And they wanted to increase that by a million every month. And when we saw that there was also a lot of low hanging fruit, meaning they had hundreds of pages that were not being crawled by the search engine, that were not getting indexed therefore no ranking opportunity… when we saw that, we realized that we could a million in traffic easy. And that’s why we said yes, and six months in, they got three million more in traffic every month.

Tim:

Alright, on to our protips for no guarantees.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

First one is know what you are selling. Be able to leverage expertise, know your stats, and you won’t have to go through that conversation about guarantees anymore. And our methodology works 80% of the time, ranks 60% of the keywords on the first six months. I’ve said this to a couple of partners that I have talked to, and this is very true.

Bernard:

And we mentioned it also on the previous webinars.

Tim:

Exactly. Last but not the least, talk to your project manager about soft goals. If you guys don’t have a project manager yet, talk to me.

Bernard:

Yup. Okay, now Bad Experience with Previous Agencies.

{Slide description: Bad Experience with Previous Agencies}

I’ve gotten burned by bad SEO providers. So let’s take something back from the Plato Playbook: “How you see the problem is the problem.” Right? If this objection had a subtitle, the subtitle would read “I understand the value of SEO, but I want a provider that I can trust.”

Now, this is really not such a problem for you, as it isn’t for one of our powerhouse partners. One of our powerhouse partners actually looks for people that have been burned by bad SEO providers before. Because in his mind, it doesn’t translate as “ooh, problem”. In his mind it translates into “hmm, qualified.”

Why? Because they’ve worked with SEO before, they know what to expect, they know how important optimization is, and so on and so forth. They no longer have to sell the service. They just have to sell themselves. So the only thing they work on in the sales process is the rapport portion of the sales process. Now, one of the things we’ve told you I think in the first webinar is: Itamar and I, we literally lose sleep when campaigns don’t rank.

Because A} he and I are both SEOs. He’s just, you know, a slightly stronger SEO. But we’re both SEOs, and we both like ranking everything we touch, we both like turning them to gold. And there are some partners that have taken campaigns away from us, to test another provider, only to bring them back two, three, four months in, with a manual penalty inside the search console.

And personally, and I don’t want to wax dramatic, but for me personally that’s a heart breaking experience. Because we would have worked on that campaign for three, four, five, six months… and all the work has gone down the drain, and now we have to be the ones to recover whatever the cheap provider had done in order to get results for the website. Nobody understands more than the CEO and I that a website puts food on someone’s table. So when you work for us, I think what you’ll need to know is that we understand that your website and your customer’s website, they put food on someone’s table. We take that very seriously.

But now, going back to the concept of getting burned by bad SEO providers… they’re out there. They can be closed. Given that one of our largest providers specifically leverages people that have been burned by bad SEO providers. You know, all he has to do is work on his likeability. And then he lets the methodology do the rest.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

Now, let’s move on to a pro tip. You have to leverage expertise and trust signals to differentiate yourself from previous providers. If you’re not new at this game, bring your testimonials. We’ve even had partners that said, “Can I talk to one, two, three of your partners? From the U.S., from three different regions, because I want to hear what experience with you is like.”

And you know of course they speak up for us, because we help them grow their business. But you have to be able to leverage that. Now, let’s say you’ve been in the game for a while, and here is one of the most difficult objections to overcome: “My previous SEO provider has gotten me penalized before, how do I know you’re not going to do that?”

And there are three ways to respond specifically to that variation of this objection. The first way to respond would be “Nope, none of my clients have been penalized”, especially if you’re new, none of your clients would have been penalized. The next one is if you have had the experience of working with bad providers before, that did get your clients in trouble, the question is: did you take responsibility for what happened?

If the answer is yes, then you can tell them “Yes, and here’s what we did to recover them at our expense.” Now, if you’ve been in the game and never had a client penalized, the best way to respond to this is “Yes, we’ve worked with clients that have penalties from previous providers, but we have a 100% batting average at removing penalties.”

Because it’s true, we have a 100% average at removing penalties. And our methodology is your methodology. Therefore if we bat at 100%, then so do you. There, now caution: there’s a wrong way to approach this specific objection and all its different variations. When they say that they have been burned by bad providers before, I think a lot of sales people find it all too easy to say “Oh, who is your previous provider? Yeah, they’re evil, they’re the spawn of Satan.”

You don’t want to badmouth the previous provider. In the same way, like in the rule of an interview, you don’t want to hire an employee that all they do in the interview is badmouth their previous employer, you don’t badmouth a previous provider. And then the next one is you don’t put clients in a negative mindset, partially by badmouthing the provider. If you guys get stuck on the badmouth on the previous provider, you’re making your close less likely because you’re putting your client in a negative frame of mind.

And in sales, there is a concept called putting your client in a Yes frame of mind. That’s a different topic all together. So I’ll move us on to the next one.

Tim:

{Slide description: Keyword and Search Volume Limits}

So this is to me more than an objection. it’s really more of something you need to understand better. Keyword and search volume limits; why do you have a limit to the number of keywords and search volume? I get asked about this almost all the time, and this is where we get a little bit technical, because some SEO campaigns are more difficult than others and require more work.

If you guys check our dashboard store and you view all the details in our Local SEO or Organic SEO packages, you’ll see that there are different tiers in our packages. They have keyword and search volume limits to reflect this. Again, we will say this: we can rank 60% of keywords on the first page, in the next six month, because the limits are there.

And some competitors will just claim the credit for incidental rankings. In our company we provide you executive summary reports every month, so you’ll see the target keywords we have, how much of them have ranked up, how much have trended up, but there are also keywords there that we would show you that happen to be like bonus keywords or incidental rankings. We don’t claim that we did that for you guys, we just present it to you guys so that you can offer more value to the client.

Bernard:

Right, now I’ll just reinforce this slide a bit, and I’ll try to do it in a minute and a half. Some campaigns are more difficult than others; working on a lawyer in Oregon, in any city in Oregon, is significantly easier than working on a lawyer – incidentally the most difficult one is Houston. And so there’s really no way to measure which one is more competitive and which one is not, and you can’t use the competitiveness metric inside AdWords because AdWords is PPC. The competitiveness metric there is a PPC metric and not an organic metric. The only true organic metric is the number of time a query is executed for your client.

Therefore, we use the search volume to indicate the level of ease or difficulty of winning a keyword. Now, going to competitor’s claiming credit for incidental rankings. We have seen SEO providers, retail and wholesale like us, like whitelabel providers like us, where in their report they say “Oh we ranked all these keywords.” You know, for 250 keywords, we ranked you for 50 keywords.

Now, we don’t do that. But it is true, when you work on one keyword, it’s like iron filings to a magnet, they all move together. But we don’t claim that we did that, we only claim credit for keywords that we worked on, and if there are incidental rankings we report it, meaning we tell them “Oh, and our work by the way had the incidental benefit for these terms too.” But we don’t take credit for work we don’t do.

Tim:

Let’s move on to the pro tips for this one.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

The first one is that getting this objection indicates that you’re on the right track. You’re not talking about pricing, you’re not talking about any value adding proposition, this one is about getting technical on a service. If you’re talking about this objection already, you’re on the right path. It’s a sign that you’ve piqued their interest because their questions have started to level up, and objections like this are opportunities to educate your clients, and demonstrate your expertise.

So, next objection.

{Slide description: Client Has an Existing Provider}

The client has an existing provider. Oh my, this is a meaty one.

Bernard:

This is also a – now, out of all these objections so far, I think this is the only really difficult one.

Tim:

I already have an existing solution Bernard, why should I switch to you? Actually, there are different variations of this objection. I already have a freelancer doing my work, that’s one. Second is I’m comfortable with my current provider, I don’t feel the need to switch. But really, what you guys are hearing, if you read between the lines is the client is really just adverse to change.

They’re happy with the current provider. They’re still getting not really good results, you have to understand that behind every loyal client is an awesome sales man.

Bernard:

So let me just zoom us out for a bit. Remember that when you’re looking for your opportunities, when you’re prospecting for leads, when you’re prospecting for customers. You don’t try to target customers in positions 1, 2, and 3. In fact, you don’t target or you don’t prospect leads from the first page. You prospect them from the second page, from the third page, to however else lower down the road.

But you don’t try to win a pitch – especially if you’re new, don’t try to win a pitch for someone that’s already ranking for their keywords on first page. Do your research. Make sure that you are talking to someone who you can help significantly. Now, if you’re talking to someone, a website owner who has a website that is only ranking on the third page, for a term that’s obviously relevant to them, you have an opportunity.

And yet they’re averse to change. They don’t want to switch providers. What that should tell you is these guys have an awesome salesman. So, how do you overcome this objection? You overcome this objection by getting them to become really uncomfortable with their results.

{Slide description: Pro Tips}

So, “I already have a freelancer doing my work.” Leverage the premium experience you can offer with the technology at your agency’s dashboard. Show them the dashboard, freelancers don’t have dashboards. They have Google Docs, and they have Excel Sheets.

“I’m comfortable with my current provider, I don’t feel the need to switch.” Well if you’re comfortable with your current provider buddy, are you comfortable being on the second page? So this is how you do – don’t badmouth them! Don’t badmouth the current provider. But do get them uncomfortable with the fact that they’re on the second page, that gets at best 24% click through throughout the page, and the third page which at best gets %13 click through throughout the page.

Now don’t try to pitch clients that are already in top spots, find your opportunities on the second and third page. But if they’re comfortable with their provider and they’re on the second or third page, they’re really just telling you that they love their sales man. You got to be the more lovable sales man.

Tim:

{Slide description: Summary}

Alright, so let’s summarize everything we have discussed in this webinar, and later on we will entertain some questions that we will answer for you, Bernard and I. So in summary, first one is Value of SEO. Know your SEO stats. Later on we’ll send you digital marketing stats so stay tuned. Translate the value of SEO into terms a decision maker can understand.

Bernard:

Next is Pricing. Don’t dance around the pricing, address it. Now rules to pricing, don’t mention it first, don’t let it stand alone, don’t mention it last.

Tim:

On the third one, no guarantees. Know what you’re selling, no one can actually guarantee rankings and traffic. So be careful who you talk to, but you know, most of all just know what you’re selling, know your SEO stats.

Bernard:

Bad experience with previous agencies. That’s not a problem, that’s an opportunity. Leverage your expertise, provide trust signals, sell yourself. The best way to overcome people that have a need for SEO, but won’t want to work with an SEO agency, is to prove to them that you’re just another guy with a strong moral imperative to see them succeed.

Tim:

And on keyword and search volumes, objections like these are opportunities to educate the clients and demonstrate your expertise. This is really telling you that you’re on the right path, how you see the problem is the problem, like what Plato said. And really, this is for you to make sure that the client is really engaging, thoroughly and throughout your conversation.

Bernard:

And the client has an existing provider: leverage your premium experience. Leverage the technology, and make them uncomfortable with their current results. They’re on page 2, right? What’s even worse is, if you type their domain name in the generic format of the query and they’re not number 1 for their own name, their provider isn’t providing a lot of value.

So if they’ve got an existing provider, the two things you need to keep in mind are A} the results are not there, and B} there’s a powerful sales man behind it, and those are really what you have to overcome. Make them uncomfortable with the results, and leverage a better experience with you.

Tim:

So, this is what I’ve been talking about earlier.

{Slide description: For Our Partners}

For you guys, digital marketing stat sheet infographic. These are the changes in the digital marketing landscape, prompt every business into action. So we compiled all the latest data from 2016 to guide you through this changes. So if you guys have access to our dashboard already, all you have to do is go into resources and click on Downloads, it should be available right there.

Bernard:

Right, and I mean a kudos to our marketing team. At every webinar they seem to have a new goodie for you guys.

Tim:

Woo hoo!

Bernard:

And oh, if you do download it, and you liked it, I’ll ask for a favor. If you guys could drop in on the chat box inside the dashboard and leave a nice word or two for our marketing team, since they really work hard to develop these for you guys.

Tim:

Awesome. Alright, so let’s move on to our Q&A.

Bernard:

Alright.

Tim:

We do have a couple of questions here.

Bernard:

Let me open up our chat monitor here. There you go. So, first question: we get clients that have websites that are not web responsive and designed in tables. Is there a workaround for it. Absolutely! Build a new site. 

So I’m not sure if you’re aware of if our marketing material has reached you, but we rebuild websites on WordPress for $499 with a two week turnaround period. You know, under the assumption that we get the response, and you guys fill out the briefs, but $499 is not an expensive investment for the redesigning of a site.

Also, if you don’t redesign the site to modern technological standards, the quality metrics in the algorithm don’t work in your favor. So, you really do want to do them a favor, and close them to the best of your ability, and help them build a new site.

Tim:

On to the next question that we have on the chat box, let me see. Alright, do you have any tips on how to respond to the familiar response from a prospect, “I will think about it”? What could turn the conversation around? Now, what I usually say when I get these kinds of responses from a partner who has just signed up with us, is you know I say I hear you, and I understand where you’re coming from, but I would always do the ABC. And that’s not Always Be Closing, that’s ABC meaning Always Book your next Call.

Ask for the available time next week, you know, I’ll try to adjust your schedule of course, and see when he or she is available and follow through. Maybe you missed something in the sales process that made him or her think twice.

Bernard:

For me, what I try to leverage in this specific situation is a concept called “ownership”. And the company that really executes this well is Rolex. The most famous ad by Rolex is the one about Mt. Everest, where they said, “At the top of your Everest, your Rolex waits.” Meaning they’re transferring the ownership to you already.

And that’s what I try to do, I try to get them to give me a URL. So they tell me “I’ll think about it”. I’ll tell them, “That’s fine, but while you take your time thinking about it, give me a URL. I’ll do an audit for you, so that you can see how good we are. That way, you’re making a better informed decision.”

Most of the time, when I get the URL, I will almost 100% of the time get the business. Because I will create a drop-your-pants awesome audit for them. And it’s commitment free! So that’s the best part about it, the fact that there’s no commitment involved, the moment that I get the URL I’m gonna work on that URL.

Tim:

Awesome. So we have another question here. How do I respon to a client who sees a penalty within one to two months while I am doing SEO for their website?

Bernard.

Wow, now this one, great. SEO is momentum driven. A penalty can appear anywhere between, you know, two months later down the road, three months later down the road, coming from a previous SEO agency. If they’re seeing the penalty appear, it’s usually easy to find out if it’s you or if it’s the previous provider.

Like take for example if you work with us, we submit every link we create for the customer. When Google sends you the warning, take for an example it’s a partial match penalty, meaning it found a link that it thought was bought or contrived, and it tells the site owner you don’t really need to do anything, but we are investigating the nature of this link and if you had anything to do with acquiring it. Google will give you the sample URL that’s triggering the penalty, and so all you have to do is match the fact that do you have a previous work report from your previous provider? Because this website is not on anything that we tried to acquire for you.

So it’s easy for you to prove that it isn’t you. But also the best thing is to do is, the penalty is already there, and your job is to be their advocate. So aside from you proving that it wasn’t you, and you do that by just being transparent, you have to be the one that helps them get over the penalty and get their sites appearing on first page again.

Tim:

Here’s another question, and I’d like to take this one. Is it wise to customize a package if a client has a low budget just so they can afford your service? Yeah, you can actually do that, you can definitely customize your package if it’s necessary for the client, especially if they are on a limited budget.

I can tell you this though, if your clients or if you think or you’re in a mindset that small businesses cannot afford the service… we’re doing SEO for lawn mowers. We do SEO for dog shops or barber shops, we do those for them. And if they can afford it, I think your clients can too.

Bernard:

Now, in your experience what do prospects value the most when deciding to buy a product or service? Now if I ran this on to Family Fued, the number one result or the number one answer would be results. That would be the number one answer, and that’s what everybody will tell you they want, but in our experience, it seems like the largest influencing factor in terms of whether people decide to buy seems to be the sales man.

Like how much they thought the sales man’s moral imperative was to see their website grow, or if that agency took a personal stake in seeing their business grow. But it seems to be more the relationship factor than it is the results. The results matter, or else you know, then we would spend $20,000 a month figuring out how to build better relationships than spending $20,000 every month figuring out how to do a better service. But we do spend it on the service, because the results matter.

But in our experience, the strongest turning point for close rate is the likeability of the sales man.

Tim:

Awesome. So next question we have here, “Can you help me to train my sales staff to be able to respond to these objections?” My answer would be an all caps, absolutely YES. You guys have access to your dashboard, and when you guys sign up for the first time, there’s a kick start call link right there where you can schedule a call with me. And what I really do is give you guys a walk through, train you guys on how to use the dashboard, be able to get you guys familiar with the methodology behind all our services, and if you guys want to have your sales staff join the call we can conference with you guys on it.

Bernard:

Now, the other thing is, we have partners that do monthly training sessions with us, and you guys can ask for that – especially if you’ve got a large potential to grow. The other is if your sales staff need training to be able to respond to these objections, what some of our partners do is right before a pitch, they consult us for 15 to 30 minutes to tell them, okay “so what if they say this, how do I respond to that, and what if they say this, how do I respond to that.”

There are about a dozen people waiting on our phones all the time, they’re the project managers. They’re there to wait for you to call, so that they can help you figure out how to do that close. So, please, call and ask us to train your guys on how to respond to these objections.

Tim:

Some of you guys don’t have the phone numbers on your screen right now, so I’m just going to say it out loud. 415-625-9700. If you want to ring my phone directly though, my extension’s 1013. Shameless plug.

Bernard:

Okay, I’m finding it hard to train my sales staff to have our client’s best interests at heart. Any advice? Wow, this one’s really tough. I would say hire the right sales man. Hire the right sales man. And if I were going to give you a couple of characteristics, what I look for in sales people, and the ones that create a vested interest in seeing their clients develop is I look for people who are naturally curious, I never hire people who don’t read books.

I check for their levels of empathy, I actually pay for a $10 test for everyone I screen and hire. And what I look for is an empathy score. And the empathy score, you guys can find this on a standard 16PF psychometric test. But there are providers for psychological exams, and for me what I look for is someone who is genuinely curious, great communication skills, but a high level of empathy.

So, for me, I don’t think you can train people to care. You have to hire people who care already, or at least ones that sympathize quickly or empathize quickly with people they talk to. And I test for empathy, empirically test for empathy. So my answer to this would be hire the right people, don’t train them to become the right people, it’ll be incredibly difficult.

There are times when I answer all of my prospect’s objections but I am still not able to close the deal. What are you doing wrong? A} Are you getting them to laugh? B} Did they tell you exactly what the business objective was, and does SEO answer that? C} Did you build desire? And D}, did you secure a commitment?

Tim:

Are you actually answering the prospect’s objections? Or maybe you are just affirming it. You have to be careful on that.

Bernard:

Now also, before you disqualify the failure to close, because even for us a close on a call is rare. It’s rare, we have prospects that close with us after 287 days. So, our sunsetting policy for a lead is tremendously long. SEO is still very unknown territory; it’s a 20 year old industry, but a lot of people still don’t know it that well.

So don’t disqualify your lead very quickly, but if you’re not able to close the deal, what I would say is A} you might be talking more than they are, B} you didn’t get them to talk enough, C} you didn’t get them to laugh, and I think that’s what you would be doing wrong.

Tim:

Okay, on to our, I guess, this would be our last, or maybe there are more questions in the chat, but I want to take this one. If a prospect asked me if I was working with their competitor – and I was – what do I do? How do I respond?

So here’s what I would say to the partner. I would be very careful. Yes we do work with your client’s competitors, but we do make sure that the campaign is assigned to a different project manager, that way there isn’t any conflict of interest. And 9 times out of 10 there would be a difference in the strategy and the budget of a client.

They may be doing a different approach, the other one is probably doing a more holistic marketing approach, they’re not just doing SEO, they’re also doing PPC or social media. So, those are the things that we can take into consideration.

Bernard:

Now this one is a matter of personal ethics. i just recently sat with a panel of SEO providers on an SEO summit over the weekend, and everybody on that panel got asked, “Do you guys work with businesses in a competing industry?” And everyone flat out said No. But you know, I bravely took the mic and I said, “Wait a second, yes, I do.”

Now, I don’t necessarily advise that you guys take the same approach that we do, but you guys have to understand that I think finding a good, effective, morally imperative partner is incredibly difficult. And I personally feel that I’m not doing the right thing if I don’t do my best to try to close someone, because in my opinion their interest will best be served with me.

So when I get asked this, do you guys work with my competitor, I tell them I don’t have an exclusivity policy but I do have a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. So if they ask, I will tell them. But I tell them I don’t offer exclusivity, I’ll work with anyone that needs competent service, because it’s fair; it’s a free market. And I think that I’m really good at what I do. But see, I’ve got a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. If they don’t ask, I don’t tell, and neither of us have to be uncomfortable.

Tim:

On to our last question…

Bernard:

Actually, yeah, this one says “My client wants me to do Black Hat SEO tactics in order to gain fast results, and then move to White Hate. What do I do?” A} Don’t do it. There are a lot of legit SEO activities that you can do to gain fast results. Black Hat SEO mostly has to do with link building, but why don’t you focus on On Page?

The returns of really strong, really focused On Page activities are seen in two to three weeks, all the way to six weeks down the road, and you benefit from it continuously, by the way. On Page activities, you reap the benefits from strong On Page activities every two to three weeks, every time a quality score is updated you get better rankings and better rankings and better rankings.

So if someone wants you to do Black Hat SEO tactics, go for legit On Page. There’s over 200 search metrics that you can leverage to your client’s advantage. And Black Hat only leverages Off Page. So it’s not a very powerful, it’s not the most powerful metric – still fairly powerful, but not THE most powerful.

And then the other one says, “How can I prove to my client that I’m better than a competitor?” Rank at a keyword better than a competitor. That’s how I would solve this. For all our partners, we watch the rankings like a hawk, and we make sure that they’re number one for a specific keyword. It doesn’t matter if it’s SEO, SEO company, Search Engine Optimization company… it doesn’t matter.

They have to be number one for any one term that’s relevant to them, and then they can prove to the client that I use my own service, and this is what I get, and all my leads come from that search term. You don’t have to out rank them on every query, you just have to out rank them on one keyword.

Okay, and I guess with that we’re out of time and we’ve got to wrap up. But you guys have been a great audience, and I hope you guys join us again for the next Boost Your Business Webinar.

{Slide description: Schedule a Call}

Now, before I close this off, you can schedule call by following this bit.ly link, and those are our phone numbers, that’s our 1-800 number, and that’s our Australian number, and that’s our U.S. number. If you guys have any questions, drop a line at info@seoreseller.com. Tim sees all the emails from info@seoreseller.com, but so do I. So you guys have experts looking at any questions you might have when you send it to info@seoreseller.com.

Hopefully you guys join me again on Boost Your Business Webinar #6, and I’ll see you guys a month from now. Thank you very much.

Tim:

Thanks a lot guys.