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Selling SEO the Right Way

For your convenience, we transcribed our Boost Your Business: Selling SEO the Right Way webinar below.

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Webinar Transcript

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

Bernard:

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Boost Your Business webinar series. And this time, we’re talking about selling SEO the right way.

{slide: Meet Our Panelists}

So, as always I’m the cute guy on the left. And I actually just came from a four hour learning session with the digital marketing institute where I had to do a lecture— and I am feeling those 18 years of web experience! So as always, I’m Bernard and I work for you at SEOReseller. And a lot of you will have met me already and those that don’t I look forward to actually meeting you guys or at least speaking with you guys on the phone. For this discussion I thought it would be perfect to bring William on board again and I’ll let Will, as always, do his own intros.

William:

Yeah, so it’s Will guys I know some of you have spoken to me before. But for those who haven’t, well we’ll talk soon. But I just wanted to talk about myself briefly.

I started as a web designer and I had basic knowledge of SEO . As of today I’ve learned so much from SEOReseller. And I’m still learning, and it’s been awesome. And I know all about the growing pains that some of you are facing. And believe me when I say that this webinar will help you. It will help you take a step back and see exactly where you are and how you’re going to move forward.

Bernard:

Right, and I think a lot of people are looking forward to that. One of the things I think that you guys you may not realize is that when you sign into the webinar and make your responses on the survey, we do listen like a lot of you will be thrilled with the next Boost Your Business webinar. But for now it is shameless plug time.

{slide: What Happened During the Previous BYB Webinar}

And I promise to only do a couple. What happened during the previous business webinar: In the previous one we talked about how to keep your clients and keep them coming back for more, and we showed you the stats of some of our powerhouse agencies.

Some of the newer people didn’t quite assimilate what the services were and how to sell them, and so we talked about knowing your baseline. You know, you can’t really set a goal for yourself if you don’t know where you’re coming from. And then setting a goal for yourself if you are starting out with relationships with your clients that last three months, you have to figure out what it takes to get that to six months, and get that to nine months, and a year. And hopefully more than a year. We have clients that have worked with us for over four years.

Also highlighting success means talking about where you added value from this month compared to last month. And usually there is a positive trend in terms of performance.

Adding more value to clients, meaning, don’t stop at just selling SEO. You have to listen to what your customers are saying and sell them something they actually need.

And then of course, never stop looking for ways to drive more business. Meaning, okay, so you’ve gone through a six-month contract. Is it over? Is it time to shake hands and part ways? Not necessarily. With every business you can only target so many keywords in a six-month span. Which means you could always move on to the next set, and the next set, and the next set. And all of these add value to that business that you’re working with.

Now, true to my word, it’s shameless plug time.

{slide: Coming Soon: Reputation Suite}

And this is the Reputation Suite. This is a streamlined dashboard that helps you take charge of your client’s online reputation. If they’re a local business, they need this. What this allows you to do is manage their reputation online by taking a look at how are people reviewing you, what properties are you listed on, which ones have you claimed, which ones have you not, a summary of the review that they’ve got, the locations that are listed on their business. It allows you to control your client’s feedback. Allows them to take control, actually, of the feedback that they have online and actually execute activities that manage their online reputation. And then of course monitor feedback from the end customers, which is really the lifeblood of all businesses.

{slide: Coming Soon: Partner Bootcamp Series Launch}

In addition to that we are launching the Partner Bootcamp Series. And this is a bit of a more technical webinar, where our goal is to expand your knowledge base, to help you work smarter and provide enhanced service delivery. We want to provide you with expert insights on cutting-edge industry development and methodologies and learn how to take full advantage of the dashboard, the technology, and our full suite of solutions.

{slide: Discussion Overview}

Now I’m going to jump into the meat of the conversation. Before I do, I wanted to remind everyone you can feel free to use the WebEx Chat in order for you to pop your questions in as soon as anything interesting comes to you while we’re on the subject matter. But I’ll let Will get us off on the right footing. So before that, I guess I just want to ask Will: What do you usually do Will? Because you talk to the client’s the first time and you’ve got a very similar, analogous, experience with them. What happens during those first few conversations?

William:

So when I have that first conversation with new partners, I always ask them about who they are as an agency, what they’ve been through, and what their plans are moving forward. Some of them, if they’re not sure about who they are as an agency, also don’t know how to plan for what’s next.

Bernard:

Right that’s sort of not surprising. The companies and the agencies and even the freelancers that we work that have a good idea of what their identity is and who they are targeting as their target market typically ramp up and grow to powerhouse status the fastest.

So let’s start off with the overview of this discussion.

William:

So have you guys ever closed a client and then have the opportunity to close a different client who was just like the first one, but you couldn’t figure out how you did so well in the first? So these are the questions you need to ask yourself. No one has ever gone from good to great just overnight. It takes time, but to start you on the right path here are a few questions you should ask yourself, and some tips to fix your mindset.

Who are you? Who are you really as an agency? Next is, what are you selling and how do you figure out how to sell those? And more importantly how are you going to sell it well and effectively. Some tips or things to keep in mind is, what are the most common challenges and objections you face? And last is, what are the do’s and don’ts?

Bernard:

So just as a teaser for everybody, I know that this webinar is not enough to cover the most common challenges and objections. So we are going to start that topic off with this, but eventually we want a full webinar covering the most common challenges and objections because we like listening to your feedback on whenever you guys enrolled in a webinar and this is a lot of things that a lot of you filled in in the survey questions like how do you overcome this issue and how do you overcome that issue. And I think I didn’t see any entry there that we were not familiar with. And so I would love to be able to discuss those with you at length.

Again feel free to send your questions in advance in the WebEx chat.

{slide: Know Who You Are}

So let’s talk about knowing who you are. Knowing who you are allows you to identify who your target market. What kind of provider are you?

William:

So a good way to tell who you are as a partner or as an agency is by identifying who exactly is your target market? Do you work closely with local professionals or local service providers in your area? Are you more comfortable with that? Or are you targeting e-commerce sites that cater to customers from all over the country, or even the whole world? Or are you focused on just a single industry, and you’re the expert in online marketing for them, within their niche? In short, who are your customers?

Bernard:

Right because that tells you what kind of agency you are. Are you a local authority, are you a national authority, are you a national powerhouse? What are you trying to set up your agency to be?

So I’ll start off with one of our agency partners in Australia. We started working with them about three years ago. They’d never sold SEO before, but they decided to position themselves as the local authority in SEO. They studied our methodology. And now, they’re not just limited to within their own city, their growing things nationwide.

One of the things to remember that they did really well: they understood the clients will buy from you if you have enough confidence in your service to use it yourself. They would not have been able to manage to beat everybody for the keyword “SEO”+city. So what they did was, they hit up to full term search engine optimization and the cities that they targeted are actually their specific city. And they showed that “we’re number one for this term,” which allowed them to leverage the authority bias. And now they’ve got a gamut of clients from all over the country.

And the second one is one of our partners in the UK and they specialized in web design. They initially had access to a dental network, and they had no SEO experience whatsoever. But they learned the methodology, they studied it, they tried to figure out “are we going to stay within this niche, are we going to go to another vertical.” But they decided to stay with the people they knew, the industry they knew, because their ability to find common ground with this profession specifically was already tremendous. They have since grown to monthly recurring revenues of thirty to forty thousand pounds every month, and I think that’s amazing.

{slide: Define Your Initial Market}

So what is the practical application of this section of the webinar?

In order for you to execute a growth hack on your business, you need to find a niche that you’re familiar with or have history with. For example, I am passionate about toys. If any of you have seen my LinkedIn profile…Let’s see how many toys do I have on display in the office in my room. I just bought my four hundredth Transformer five weeks ago. So I’m passionate about toys.

What a lot of people also don’t know is that I’m a flooring expert. I worked for four years with the largest online retailer of flooring in the US. I am, literally, a flooring expert. I can install hardwood, laminate, engineered wood, you name it. Pergo, Milliken—that’s a carpet—I’m a pro at that. It would be easy for me to sell guys in these verticals our services because I have a history with them. With toys, I have a natural passion for it and with flooring, I have a history with the industry.

What you want to do is begin with a niche that you’re familiar with or have history with because it allows you to leverage common ground immediately. And common ground is one of the most powerful objection breakers there is.

One of the other things that I wanted to share with you guys is one of our partners in Rhode Island. We have a partner that happens to be a lawyer there, and instead of competing with his colleagues he decided to offer an adjunct service to the industry. And so he services only lawyers. What that allows him to do is it allows it to sit comfortably with his peers, speak their language. And they don’t have to feel threatened that they’re being talked to by a competitor. They’re being talked to by somebody that can offer them a service, that understands what their needs, are because he was there.

Again, common ground. Tremendous for breaking ice, tremendous for breaking objections, and so on and so forth. This is the practical application of this section of the webinar.

Moving on I want to talk about defining what you’re capable of selling

{slide: Define What You are Capable of Selling}

And this is really the services that we offer you.

William:

So now that you’ve sort of figured out who your initial market is or you’re familiar with, the next thing is, you have to assess what you’re capable of selling to them. You need to know the scope of your business and what you’re currently limited to. Do your clients actually need all the services for them to compete in your industry? Do they need SEO all the way to branding? You have got to figure that out.

And next is figuring out what commodities are you providing them with. Just like McDonald’s, they sell consistency and predictability. And Rolex sells achievement or success. So what commodity are you projecting? We’ll tackle this later on in the webinar.

Bernard:

Right. And I want to remind everybody that we’re being very careful when it comes to the verbiage of saying commodity versus product because we’ll make a differentiation on this later. I’ve always said McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers. No, actually if you take a look they are a real estate company not primarily a food chain. But McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers. Burgers are the commodity. People keep coming back because they’re looking for that consistent experience, and they’ve learned to leverage the invisible.

So we have a lot of commodities that you are able to resell. SEO, or PPC, or Social, or Web Development, or Branding Services. And as of this moment, we only have about three partners—three powerhouse partners—that are capable of selling more than three of our services. So imagine that. Only three partners we’ve had relationships with for three, four, five years. And they’re only capable of, and they’ve only mastered three or four of our services. It takes time to build the expertise. Be a pro at SEO before you decide to be a pro at SEM, and don’t decide to be a pro at SEM at the same time. And don’t try to be a pro at SEO, SEM, and social at the same time. Develop your revenue stream. Don’t try to be an expert at everything all at the same time.

{slide: Define What You are Capable of Selling—Practical Application}

So what’s the practical application of this in terms of knowing what you’re capable of selling?

We’ve had two business coaches so far that were our partners. And the business coach partner had an initial strong list of 49 people already in his active client list. However how he sold our service was, he would launch a three-pager website for them, do on-page optimization on the second month, and then, in place of link acquisition and content marketing, he offered them social media services in place of the links.

The problem there is that, for anybody that knows their SEO, gaining likes and gaining social vouches is not the same as earning backlinks. It’s not the same, absolutely not, as content marketing. So what happened was he achieved short-term success. He actually managed to on-board all 49 clients. But he couldn’t maintain them. Because somewhere in the second or third month, his clients were beginning to doubt the value of what he was selling. And he had to resell them over and over and over again.

So what is the moral of this story? You have to sell a service that your customers need. You can’t be a good enough salesman to keep selling them a service they don’t need. And then the sharpest skill that you can bring to the table in a sales pitch is the ability to listen. The most important selling skill is asking the right questions. And don’t be ashamed of walking away from a sale you shouldn’t close. This is a very important lesson we learned. We know that we’re not the cheapest providers. We know that we’re not the simplest providers. But that’s because our market is a specific niche. We like to provide value, we like to provide results. And so when we and our partners don’t see eye-to-eye, we try not to take money from people for whom we can’t add value to. No longevity exists by selling people a mismatched service based on how expectations were set.

Now given that, let’s talk about differentiation. Because remember, you’re not the only person that knows how to do this, and you’re not the only person that’s going to walk into that boardroom to try to do a pitch.

{slide: What is Your Differentiator?}

William:

Now this slide is a personal favorite of mine because it helped me a lot. And I can’t wait for you to actually bring up the practical application of this.

It’s all about assessing what makes you different from your competitors, what makes you stand out. Are you cost effective? Because it’s really based on your target market’s ability to spend. Do you have that technological edge by having access to the latest online tools, or have experts in your company? Or simply your methodology is different but it definitely works.

So these are three questions that your unique selling point needs to answer: What would make me transact with your business? What differentiates your product or service from others? And what can you provide that others cannot guarantee?

Bernard:
Right. So what we’re trying to teach you guys is, being the cost effective provider, being the guy with the technological edge, and the one with the effective methodology, when you try to position yourselves, don’t try to position yourselves as all of them. Primarily position yourselves as one. Don’t try to leverage all of them because when you try to project yourself as a jack of all trades you become a master of none. Be a master of one. So how do you use this when you’re on the pitch?

{slide: What is Your Differentiator?—Practical Application}

So here’s another practical application and a case study. One of our more successful partner agencies actually sells our services cheaperthan everybody else. In the previous Boost Your Business webinars, we’ve always consistently tell you that all our partners sell our services at double to triple our rates, and it still remains competitive pricing-wise.

So the partner essentially sells a DIY service, and this is their differentiator from everybody else in the market. By not having to hand-hold, baby-sit, and whatnot they’re able to lower their costs because they don’t they don’t have to hire an army of project managers to manage a dozen clients. So he specifically sells them our services, and he sells them in a way that they are self-service. So he educates them for the first few weeks prior to intake.

And by selling it at a lower cost—meaning the maximum markup that he ever does is a hundred-percent margin and at times he starts off with a fifty-percent margin—he sells his services like a self-service campaign and then it doesn’t wind up being a large, noticeable expense in a monthly financial statement. This either allows the client to be more patient, because the larger the price that you pay off the stronger the buyer’s remorse and the faster the gratification requirement is. But because of the lower price, he’s able to extend the time expectation. He’s able to get it ignored several months and just get it renewed and renewed and renewed, which I think was a very smart move because it’s real. And I notice that from my own practices when I review our own financial statements.

He sells in volume because again there don’t have to be half-a-dozen salespeople to manage a dozen clients. And he doesn’t try to sell like a premium provider, and he sets expectations. He tells them in order for this to work, the methodology will work, but you have to collaborate. Here’s the service, here’s your dashboard, here’s how you monitor it, here’s all the work that’s being done for you, here’s why you approve or disapprove and so on and so forth. And then he just sends them the bill month-over-month-over-month.

Now remember that he doesn’t ignore his customers. He allows them to reach out to him over and over, but they know that he’s not the hand-holding type. Still, he managed to build a powerhouse agency around that. So the moral of this story is, it doesn’t even matter how you differentiate, because a lot of our partner agencies differentiate in one way or another but not that doesn’t necessarily make them more or less successful than the others. What matters is that you differentiate. You must differentiate from the competition.

So moving you on to the next topic let’s talk about what you’re selling.

{slide: Determine What You’re Selling}

So essentially what you’re selling are our services. I’ll let William take this one because he talks to you guys about this every day.

{slide: Understand the SEO Methodology}

William:

So most of the partners that we’ve worked with have had, in one way or another, their own understanding of SEO. And there are the very few who are able to understand how effective the methodology is.

For the partners who are just getting started, we implore you to understand how it all works, through us. Because over the years, we’ve had to endure many of the challenges that our industry had to throw at us, and we’ve adapted. We’ve learned and we’ve grown from them.

Below are a few statistics that we’re proud of and we’re very confident in sharing with you. And these are historical trends, by the way, they’re not guarantees. Each site or campaign is different, and will require your careful analysis. They’re just meant to assure your clients the right way. So we’ve gotten to where we can rank 80% of websites for reasonable target terms.

Bernard:

And I stress reasonable target terms.

William:

We can get 60% of keywords to first page within six months or less. We can also drive up to times 22 ROI per dollar spent.

Bernard:

And I can vouch for this through an end-client’s testimonial.

William:

And clients typically stay faithful to the a service for over a year. That says a lot, too.

Bernard:

Right, it does because that shows you how effective the methodology actually works.

So one of the things that you need to remember is, inside the conversation, if your clients were experts at SEO, why would they need to hire you? You are walking in there armed with a methodology that ranks 80% of websites, 60% of the keywords on the first page in six months or less, can drive up to 22 factor ROI that people love to use continuously for over a year. If they had this in their toolkit, they wouldn’t need to hire you. And this is the value that you bring to the table. But when you come to the table, you need to understand you’re the pro, you’re the expert. You have to explain the SEO methodology, you have to be transparent, and don’t forget to pitch alternative solutions and look for other areas of opportunity. Remember that on the pitch, the most valuable skill is listening. If your customer tells you in one form or another that they need immediate results, then it’s quite possible that SEO is not the solution and you might need to move that conversation over to SEM. But let me move this to a practical application.

{slide: Understand the SEO Methodology—Practical Application}

So the practical application is about you using the Resource Center to your advantage. And I know that this slide is a little self-serving, I try to keep going back to the Resource Center.

William:

But it helps.

Bernard:

It does, it does. A lot of our partners will swear by how effective it is. And the reason we built it is because of insistent public demand. When you walk into that pitch, you are going to have 30 minutes to an hour at best. When you walk, in nine out of ten business owners have never heard about SEO. Chances are, they will want you to explain every element of it bullet by bullet by bullet. You’re not going to have the time to do that.

If you respect their time and they respect yours, what you need to do is bring a structured Pitch Deck. It allows you to leverage the cheerleader bias of positive experience. The Pitch Deck shows them the things that they did right and the things that you can do for them.

You need to bring a Methodology Explainer because you’re not going to have the chance to explain bullet by bullet what each element of the SEO package is. And it allows you to be the pro. Remember, you’re giving them all this value before the first dollar is spent. And it allows you to leverage the authority bias because the moment they read through the methodology explainer, they will have more questions. Guess who they’re going to ask the moment they have more questions? You. Which then positions you well as the authority in the field.

And then the last bit is, of course, testimonials. There are white label testimonials where end-clients sent us feedback about what they think of the methodology and how it helped them. And this allows you to leverage a bias that’s called group think, and that’s the reason why it’s there. They are speaking about the methodology that you will use. So using all of these allows you to effectively use that 30 minutes to one hour window for better chances to close the sale. It isn’t meant to distract the client away from what’s important to them, but remember that you don’t learn anything by talking about SEO. You learn something by figuring out what their business goals are, and that’s your job. Your job is to help them. If you don’t manage to ask your questions and identify the needs, you will not have provided good service in
that pitch.

{slide: Managing the Experience}

So let’s talk about managing the experience. Now before I get into that, I just want to remind everyone that the chat box is available for you guys to throw your questions at us. Feel free to send them in at any time.

Let’s talk about managing the experience, and one of the things I’m most proud of. We have been around for five years and building a methodology, I can say, it’s got its days and it’s got its days. But personally I love it. I love breaking things apart and piecing them together. One of the things that we had to break apart was figuring out, in our early days, why we had first trimestral cancellations. Because it is painful to us for people to try our methodology for a hundred days and then leave it. Because it feels like, you know, what went wrong? We try to add as much value as we could. And what we realized was that this is about immediate gratification. Customers as soon as they pay the bill look for immediate gratification and look for reinforced gratification, especially during the first 30 to 60 days.

Therefore, we built a service that allows you to overcome buyer’s remorse based on how it’s built. The methodology operates off of frequent touch points within the first 30 days. The strongest milestones happened within the first 60 days as long as all recommendations are implemented. Regular reporting and less collaborative activity happens afterwards, where clients are expecting that the work is moving forward and they’re seeing a positive trend. Increased frequency, though, in our presence and our need for collaboration will exist. Remember we’re SEOs. We live to make things visible, we live to rank things, and sometimes we’ll do a review in somebody’s search console and realize that this term with a thousand impressions only gets three clicks and it’s on position five, and with a little nudge of better on-page, more quality content, and different content formats on the page, we could probably nudge it above the fold. So we will increase the frequency of touch points again.

Let me show you this in a graphic representation.

{slide: Manage the Experience—Timeline}

This is what the methodology looks like in a flow chart. Even before the first dollar is spent, the black line that is the pre-intake, we’re already working for you. Our project managers are walking you through the dashboard, we’re explaining the methodology, but more than that. From the end client’s perspective, we’re already assessing their website. We’re already paying an SEO to take a look at the website to tell you whether that’s a fight you can win or not. And so our SEO’s will execute an actual audit and tell you, “Yes, good campaign to rank, here’s where we think that the opportunities are,” and so on and so forth. Now as soon as the invoice is paid, the campaign officially launches, and this is where the interaction begins. We send the intake forms to you, you send them over to the client. We execute the keyword research, you must get them to sign off on it. We provide you with access to the white label dashboard, you create their access to the white label dashboard. We create the on-page structural report in about 7 to 10 days, we give you the new content for the websites. We execute somewhere in between as soon as you get the credentials, and then we send you the executive summary. A minimum of six touch points in the first 30 days spread throughout those 30 days.

Within the second month, the implementation keyway happens, meaning, after the on-page is executed, we monitor for two to three weeks. If the site has performed according to our expectations, and as soon as it does—we like the cheerleader bias. We will be your first cheerleaders and we’ll tell you “Hey, are you seeing how the rankings are going?”. Five days prior to the end of that month we send you the executive summary. And again, the first two executive summaries typically bear the strongest results of the methodology. On the third month we sort of wean off the more frequent conversations, off the more frequent touch points, and then you just get a monthly executive summary over and over and over again. But by this time your client will have had so much of your attention that they will have learned they love it, and they begin to trust you. And the executive summary’s become good enough. And this is essentially what we do to retain clients. Now again barring the fact that there are more opportunities that we see and, we do look for them, we will then go back to some of the touch points on month one. But typically, this is how it’s executed. We built a methodology that allows you to overcome buyer’s remorse.

{slide: Understand the Technology}

So, I’ll move on to understanding the technology. Now I’ll let Will do this because, to be perfectly honest with everybody, I think Will’s dashboard walkthrough has gotten to the point where it’s better than mine. And I’m proud of that whenever I see that. So Will, talk about our technology.

William:

Thanks Berns. Okay, so now let’s talk about how you guys can understand the technology. How does the technology help you work smarter?

When we started a few years ago, and I know about the horror stories, a lot of what we had to look at to help us manage campaigns were just spreadsheets…

Bernard:

Google Docs.

William:

Right. And there was a lot of data that we had we had to collate and analyze. In short, it was painful working that way, right?

Bernard:

Yeah.

William:

So, today, the agency and white label dashboard, they’ve become the solution to how I manage it, how you guys manage it, and how your clients manage it as well. It was a natural advancement of similar agents just like us, and it’s become the standard I guess for all white label SEO agencies.

Bernard:

Yeah I would think so. Every respectable agency executes or manages one form of a white label dashboard or another. Although, you know, I’m biased. I love ours the best. I think ours is the most accurate and so on. But enough selfish plugging.

William:

So when I say that the dashboard is capable of doing all your deliverables in real-time, you can check your rankings daily, you can integrate that traffic from Google Analytics, and you can see it daily as well. And all that, your client gets to see. Now you wouldn’t have known any of that, you wouldn’t have understood the value of all of that, if we didn’t have that conversation.

So you need to have that conversation with your client. It’ll help you identify the level of understanding that your client currently has, and it will steer that line of questioning. So leverage technology, and talk to your clients at their level. Don’t assume that your clients already know just how good technology is. Who knows, maybe it’s all they need to hear.

Bernard:

Right. So the Dashboard’s primary capabilities were built around the spirit of allowing you to view the work in real time, and see the rankings daily because we do our own proprietary technology scrapes. So our ranking reports are not an API from anywhere. We built that technology. See traffic reports on a daily basis, and show your customers their own dashboards. And then, of course, coming soon because we never stop looking for ways to add value to you, we are creating the Reputation Suite. You know, my shameless plug somewhere on slide four, that was it. You and your client will see where they’re published online and see their reviews of their site and the business.

{slide: Understand the Technology—Practical Application}

Now I’ve got a practical application. Actually this one not so much a practical application as it is an awesome story, I never forgot it. This was two years ago. I’m not sure if people out there will remember. But there was this surprise snowstorm somewhere in the mid-west. If it wasn’t last year it was two years ago. We had a partner in the mid-west and was a surprise snowstorm, and his client woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The wife was PMS-ing and the daughter decided she was going to be the most ungrateful child ever born on the face of the planet—he wasn’t having a great morning. Add to that the fact that there’s a surprise snowstorm, he’s got normal tires on his card he has to change up to chain wheels before he’s able to drive off to work and at this point he’s really late. Somewhere during the travel from house to work, he gets a blowout on one of the chain tires. And I didn’t even know that could happened.

The client has decided, this is going to be a horrible day. So he calls for a tow. And in the meantime, there’s nothing to do, might as well get some work done. One of the things that he sees in his email is the link coming from our partner giving him the URL, username, and password for the dashboard. He follows the link logs in, and its incidentally two to three weeks, fast implementation of the on-page where we typically expect the strongest results and, voila everything is green. It made his day. He was so happy that he dialed up the partner all the way until the tow truck came in, and the partner immediately gave us a call and told us that story. I’ve never forgotten it.

But this is sort of a moral as to why you need to use the dashboard. You never know when it’s going to make a difference. The dashboard is like the score board. For you guys that watch basketball or football or the NFL or baseball or whatever it is, can you imagine watching a sporting event where that little widget in the middle is missing? You don’t know who shot how many hoops, you don’t know how many three-pointers there were, who’s got how many fouls and so on and so forth. You don’t even know how long into the game you are. So how interesting would it be to watch a sporting event that was like that, where you have no clear picture of who’s winning and who’s not. That is what your dashboard down that’s what your dashboard dash for your
Customers. It gives them a sense of gratification they invested with the right agency. It is your score board. You need it in their face all the time. It literally makes the experience with you more enjoyable.

{slide: Learn How to Sell Effectively}

So let’s talk about learning how to sell more effectively. Because this is what we’re trying to talk about in this webinar.

{slide: Differentiate Commodity vs. Product}

Let’s talk about differentiating commodity versus product. In a book called selling the invisible which is really where we get a lot of this from, Harry Beckwith differentiates very well between what a commodity is and what a product is.

The product is essentially the invisible thing that you’re getting them to emotionally buy into. The commodity is the good or the service. McDonald’s commodity is the burger. The product is the consistent service, the consistent quality, all the consistency. The consistent colors, uniform, speed, everything is consistent.

At Starbucks they offer the same thing. They offer you that comfortable third place. And Starbucks tries to nurture the human spirit one cup at a time. But Starbucks’ actual product is a consistent experience also. It’s a consistent experience for anybody looking for that quiet place where they could spent time for themselves and whatnot. The coffee is the commodity. The product is the experience.

The same is true for Nike, the spirit of adventure. What’s the commodity? The shoe. Same for Rolex. They’re selling you watches as the commodity, but the product is achievement. The best one: De Beers. How dare they sell “forever”? How dare they sell “eternity”? And yet they do, and they do this successfully. The commodity is a diamond, the product is a commitment.

So you have to differentiate between your product and your commodity. The commodity is our service, and the experience that’s the product. What kind of experience are you trying to sell them? Are you trying to offer them convenience, a one-stop shop for all their digital marketing needs where they can get their SEO and SEM and their web design and branding requirements all in one place? Or are you trying to offer them premium experience, meaning you will be the best consultant ever thought about SEO that they’ve ever met? Or are you offering them a plug-and-play experience? Again, it doesn’t matter which one you want. All that matters is that you’re one of them.

The other is, for some of our partners, performance is they’re product, and they commit to specific traffic results, specific ranking results, or a specific ROI. Let me give you practical application immediately after this. But before that, I want to give you a “do”: define your commodity and product, and make sure your sales team knows it by heart, that everybody is selling it the same way. If it’s a premium experience everybody needs to talk premium. And if it’s convenient, make sure that everybody is upselling other services to remind customers that we are everything under one roof. Now, remember, don’t just sell a product though. It’s not enough that you differentiate your commodity versus your product. Inside the pitch, don’t sell the product sell the solution. Highlight the problem, and let them know why you’re the answer to that problem.

{slide: Differentiate Commodity vs. Product—Practical Application}

So here’s the practical application. This is a case study with one of our more successful partners. This partner only offers a premium experience. They sell nothing under $2,000, monthly contract, minimum contract six months, at retail. If the results they project past the six months are not met, they actually foot the bill for themselves. But this is what they’re selling. They’re selling a premium experience, their expertise, one-on-one time with their account managers, experts, people that have actually spent a lot of time with us and with me personally to get trained on how our SEO works, things they might not know, questions and curveballs that customers throw them that they need advice on. But they understand the methodology, and they trust it. And they guarantee the increase in traffic and performance only if the site owner gives them free rein on the website. Meaning, if we recommend it, you implement it. Otherwise, we can’t guarantee that the methodology will meet the requirement.

And other than that, it allows them to close the sale by creating a security blanket. When there is even an informal guarantee, even an informal promise of a certain result, it allows a buyer to make a purchase with a certain sense of security. And so with that sense of security, you diminish the feeling of buyer’s remorse. And it’s, in my opinion, an amazing application of this method.

{slide: Acing the Pitch}

Now I want to go back. This is our previous conversations from the previous Webinar, and it’s about acing the pitch. What I wanted to do in order to help you ace the pitch is essentially maximize the use of that time. Arrange a pre-planning meeting. Meet with your project manager, ask them for advice. Qualify the client, execute the pre-site audit. Know if you’re supposed to take that customer’s money. Know if you can rank them, achieve results, add better value for their business. And then, arm yourself with a pitch deck. Arm yourself for the pitch by downloading the pitch deck, preparing a proposal, and running an audit report. These save you time, which is what our objective was. Our objective is for you guys to spend quality time with a customer.

And then on the pre-intake assessment, make sure that you include the output in your presentation and covered the basic areas to improve. Don’t get stuck in a methodology conversation. Don’t get stuck in a two, three hour methodology conversation, because it can it can last that long. I could probably talk SEO with anybody for like 16 hours straight. But don’t get stuck in that conversation. You have 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Your time is valuable when a question is flying out of your customer’s mouth. That is when you find out what the customer needs, and when you’re able to match it with a service that adds value.

{slide: Most Common Challenges & Objections During the Pitch}

So what are some of the most common challenges and objections during the pitch? And this is actually sort a teaser for the upcoming Boost Your Business webinar where we want to talk about the most common objections and how to overcome them.

So some of the most common objections that we get: What do I do when my potential client wants immediate results? So there’s a straightforward, way and there’s a way to dance around it that I don’t necessarily disagree with. The straightforward way is to tell him that SEO is momentum-driven, and recommend SEM as an additional service which allows them to gain fast results while the SEO operates in the background. The other is to explain that the time invested in waiting on the results of SEO ultimately leads to free traffic. Remember that with SEM, the moment you turn off the drip, the traffic is gone. For SEO, you invest in that keyword, in that optimization once. And you build your digital footprint, right and you get free traffic against that keyword for a long time and then you keep looking for other opportunities as you look forward.

What do you do when they lack knowledge on how SEO works?

This one, I really say give them the Brandable Resources that outline the methodology. They will review it on their own time, and they will have questions. Your objective here is to get them to desire to reach out to you. Now before you do a pitch, make sure that you execute some prep. Know the stats on the industry and know who their competitors are. Nobody likes falling behind the competition, and if you know who their competitors are, and what their opportunities to get a leg up against the competition are, you will have sold them a solution.

What do you do when they think SEO costs too much?

So what I like to do is, I’ve got a lot of figures off the top of my head that I like to tell everybody whenever I have an appropriate opportunity. This is one of those. According to Google 93% of buying experiences begin with a search. 60% of those searches are for local establishments. Think of the lost opportunities for your clients. They potentially lose 93% of interested, matched customers for their business. Potential customers want to know who you are. I can say that as early as 2002, 2003, I have never patronized an establishment I couldn’t find online. And I’m seeing that practiced more, and more in common with the current generation. We want to know who we’re patronizing. We want to know the establishment that e frequent. We want to know who they, are what kind of service they provide, we want to see what other people have said. The internet is a very powerful tool, and Google is an Oracle. Everybody wants to know ahead of time that they won’t regret spending or investing their money with a specific establishment.

When clients worked with a previous agency that they’re unhappy with.
This one, easy for me. It should be easy for you, too.

Now when you’re working with a customer that tells you, “Oh yeah well I worked with a freelancer and they got my site in trouble,” what do you do? You can honestly tell them, “No, none of my clients have been penalized,” because that’s true, none of your clients have been penalized. I can proudly say our clients have not been penalized.

Now some of our partners are actually honest. If they’ve had experience of previous white label providers, and they got them in trouble, they honestly come clean and say, “Yes, we have and here’s what we did to recover them at our expense,” and I think that is tremendous faith.

Now for us as an agency, and as your provider, what we say is, “We have worked with clients that had penalties from previous providers, but we’ve got a hundred-percent batting average at cleaning it up and recovering from a penalty.”

So these are three ways in which you can truthfully respond to that question. Bullet two, only if it’s true.

So I want to show you guys how this webinar started a couple of weeks ago. When we decided that this was the topic for the webinar, we asked our sales team what they wanted to discuss about how to sell SEO the right way. And it became a long email thread, and I want to read you the email thread because the content of this webinar is largely based off of that collection. So I’ll let William do this.

{slide: Do’s and Don’ts}

William:

Right, so even I had to throw in there. I won’t say which one’s mine because it probably isn’t there. But anyway, so we’re just reinforcing a lot of the things we’ve already said in the previous slide, so I’m just going to read through it.

Do develop your revenue stream one at a time. Don’t try to provide everything at the same time.

Do choose one differentiator to become an expert at. Don’t try to leverage all of it, because when you try to protect yourself as a jack of all trades, you’re a master of none. Be a master of one.

Do be the SEO expert. Explain the SEO methodology and be transparent. Don’t forget to pitch alternative solutions. You have to look for areas of opportunity.

Do set realistic expectations from the very start. Don’t offer guaranteed rankings. Don’t be a “yes” man

Bernard:

Okay, I want to hammer on on that. I think for mature salespeople, sometimes “No” is the right answer. But of course, always positively script it. What I want to remind everybody who’s a budding salesman or does not think they’ve got very mature selling skills is, saying yes to everything does a tremendous disservice to your customer. Don’t say yes to everything. You will provide a disservice to your customer. Set proper expectations. It is uber important.

William:

Do talk to your potential clients at their level of understanding. Don’t assume your clients know the benefits of using your technology.

The last one is, Do define your commodity and product and make sure your sales team knows it by heart. Don’t sell a product. Sell a solution.

Bernard:

And I think with that, we’re just about ready to wrap up. And we’ve got a couple of minutes to go through the Q&A.

{slide: For Our Partners—Organic SEO Pitch Kit}

Now for our partners, we built the organic SEO Pitch Kit, and it contains the organic SEO pitch deck, the SEO methodology explainer, the SEO flyer, the audit report, the SEO catalogue, and a sales guide. Sign up now, or log into the dashboard to download your Organic SEO Pitch Kit, and it’s in the Resource Center in your Dashboard.

{slide: Q&A Session}

So let’s move on to Q&A, and let’s take a look at what you guys had to send in. Let me take a look at the first question, I’m really just seeing them for the first time now.

So the first one says, “When clients are checking their dashboard daily, how do you handle clients asking about a drop in rank?”. Awesome question.

So remember how we like to talk about SEO being momentum driven. For anybody that’s been in the industry a while you will be familiar with the concept called a “Google Dance”. Google is mitigated by almost 300 ranking factors, not all of those ranking factors kick in at exactly the same time some of them happen more frequently, some of them happen less frequently. And so fluctuations in the rankings are perfectly normal. What you need to get used to is to not be reactive to drops in rank. Typically, when you see drastic drops, you see a recovery happen in a couple of days, and it’s not unusual for Google to do that. So for anybody that’s been in SEO for a while, you want to take a look at the larger trends. You don’t want to take a look at little fluctuations. SEO is like the climate, and sudden fluctuations in rankings are like the weather. The objective is to get the customer to take a look at the climate, not the weather. Okay, I hope that answered the question.

Next is, “Will you be offering white label webinars?” That’s an interesting question. I honestly don’t know how to answer that yet. I probably have to talk to our marketing team to see scalability options, technology options, and whatnot. So I’m not throwing it out the window. I will probably want to talk to whoever threw this question in there. I think it’s a great idea, and it allows us to mass-produce the education and the expertise, and throw it out there for customers to to hear about it. But I’ll park it, but you guys need to understand that I never leave things behind in my parking lot.

Next question is, “By recovering with Google from being penalized, are you referring to link detox cleanup?” Okay, great question. When I say a penalty, I mean there are algorithmic penalties and there are manual penalties. And I’m saying that every now and then, we intake a customer with a manual penalty. There’s an actual warning: A partial match penalty—not a pure spam, and we’ve never seen that and we will never take that—but we will see those who bought links and whatnot. There’s an actual message in Webmaster Tools or in the Search Console. And when we see those, we execute a disavow and a reconsideration request. So we execute a link clean-up, meaning we remove the links and then we send emails to the webmasters that own those links, and then we submit a reconsideration request because Google will not entertain a reconsideration request or a disavow without any attempt to contact those third-party web masters.

And then we have a hundred-percent batting average at cleaning up the links. I’m going to probably say by the way that that’s better. When we started that off two, three years ago, our initial batting average was eighty-nine. We’ve been cleaning it up a hundred-percent ever since.

The next question is, “What is the average monthly SEO fee for a customer?” For me, it sort of depends on where you’re niched. Are you a low-cost provider or are you a premium provider?

Remember how I said one of our powerhouse agency partners only offered premium services. They don’t sell anything below $2,000 retail. But we’ve got that plug-and-play reseller that sells things starting at $450 retail. So there is no true average monthly SEO fee for a customer, because it really depends on what their needs are, how many pages they need optimized, the nature of the keywords that they need, and how fast.

I like to compare this to the wedding analogy. Weddings can be fast, beautiful, or cheap. They can be two out of three, they cannot be they cannot be all three. You want something fast and beautiful, it won’t be cheap. You want something fast and cheap, it won’t be beautiful. And if you wan’t something beautiful and cheap, it won’t be fast. The same is true when it comes to average monthly spend. But I would say that, as a general rule, if I were going to take it against our figures, I would say that the average retail SEO dollar value that we serve probably amounts to roughly around $1,500 to $2,000. Our average retail fee, I should say, based on the average business that we get.

Next one: “Can I ask how you guys get clients to commit after they keep getting cheap SEO companies calling them?” Okay, how do we get clients to commit. Will, how do you get clients to commit?

William:

I sell the difference.

Bernard:

Okay, not bad.

Getting clients to commit is a couple of things. We try to get them to fall in love with the personalities that work with them in the office. For some of the partners that have flown here, they absolutely know the size of the office, and how many people there are, and how hard people work. They’ve seen it. Oh and by the way, we’re in a central business district, so it’s not some sweat shop. We’re very premium. So we get the customers to commit and we get the clients to commit because they see the results. The methodology is effective. We make sure that our customers are not burned, that they don’t get penalized. We review our methodology frequently. So once they try the service, most people understand you get what you pay for. And I think they get the impression that when something is too good to be true, meaning too cheap to be true, they’re afraid that the quality might match. And you know they’re right to be afraid because it probably will. And this is how we get them to commit. It’s the results that speak for themselves, plus the relationships.

The next question is…

William:

“When is the right time to give clients access to the dashboard?” Okay, this one I like because most assume there will not be much to report in the beginning. Actually you can show it in the beginning. What some some of our resellers do, they use it as a demo account. So they are able to show what it would actually look like. Or another way to do it is, you can ask the client upon intake what keywords that they’re currently ranking for, or you can figure out the keyword research for them. What you can do with the dashboard is you can plug it in. You can plug in all the keywords, then pick their top five competitors, and put them against it. Within 24 hours, you’re able to show them where their baseline is, and you can also show them what they’re up against when it comes to the competitors. So I I really do believe you can show it the beginning. Shouldn’t be a problem.

Next question is, “95% of the objections I receive from prospects are about pricing. They complain it’s way too high”.

Bernard:

Wait, I want to take this. I want to take this.

Okay so I’m going to try to avoid being snide when answering this question. The bottom line is you you get what you pay for. I personally feel that I’ve been lucky enough to get into industries and companies that never tried to be the cheapest. I’m proud of that, and I’m proud of being part of this organization where we’re not trying to be the cheapest in the industry.

Now we understand from your perspective that 95% of the objections you receive from your prospects come from your pricing. But in reality, 95% of those people that object are probably not ranking 95% of the time. So they’ve gotten what they paid for, right? You go with a cheap provider, you’re probably not going to achieve significant results. Part of the reason we charge the way we charge is because there is a significant amount of technology backing up what we do, and there is a significant amount of research behind what we do. And that costs money. It costs money for us to figure out what methodology works today, because SEO always changes, it always evolves. And if we lag behind, we will not be able to continue to provide services that offer an edge to our customers and our agency partners.

So the best way to overcome this is by, a) offer them a premium experience, it’s the first, and b) it’s about the results. It’s the best way to overcome it. And then c) don’t be afraid to walk away from a sale. Serious people that want to invest in the future of their company will eventually invest. SEO is not a question of if they will execute SEO on their side, it’s a question of when. 90% of websites are not optimized. Eventually, they will be. So they either work with you and invest in it today while they have an edge over the 90% that aren’t optimized, or they optimize later, but later is when they get a return on their investment.

Now, the next one is, “I showed them the value of the service provided with the Brandable White Papers, but it hasn’t been working too well. What can I do?”

So let me put it this way. The Brandable White Papers are there for you to leave that as an afterthought. Remember that the conversation is about you to pique their interests and find out what their needs are. The Brandable White Papers, the Methodology explainer, and all of the documentation that we sent you are meant for you to leave on the table before you leave to tell them, “if you have any more questions I’m leaving you documentation on the methodology, on the service, and please review them and raise any questions you have. The objective of the Brandable White Paper is a) to eliminate question-and-answer time, that’s one, but b) is, it encourages them to initiate contact with you over and over and over and over again. It allows you opportunities to build more trust.

Also don’t be discouraged when they don’t call you the next day going bonkers, meaning like “Oh my god! This is like the SEO manna from heaven!” It’s not. We believe that as with us, so with you, SEO customers take a while to decide on whether this is an investment they’re willing to make. There was a retail client we worked on who took 8 months to decide before they decided to close. So keep them warm. It’s like being a car salesman. Keep everybody warm, whether or not they bought a car from you, greet them merry christmas, greet their children happy birthday and whatnot. Keep the relationship warm because you need to be there when they’re ready to buy, and they will be ready to buy.

William:

Okay I can take this question, because I get it all the time. “What do you say when they asked for a high-volume keyword to rank quickly?” Ah, so there’s a misconception here. It doesn’t mean that the keyword that has higher volume versus the keyword that’s longer or makes more sense will rank faster. That’s not about it.

Normally when I speak to a client, what I want to do first is I want to ask them if they have access to their Google Analytics or their Google Search Console. What I want to do is to see the relationship currently of their website with the entire web, especially with their competitors. I want to see which keywords are currently generating traffic for them. And there are certain keywords that you can’t actually see in Google Analytics that you can see in Google Search Console. So if you go inside, you’re able to see the performance of the keyword, you get to see the click-through-rate and the impressions. So how many people have seen that keyword and click-through? That’s a good tell from my end if that’s a keyword you should try to approach. But you’ll notice that with that keyword, let’s say that keyword is volume ten, and it’s a keyword with a local target or a city. And when you go into Google Search Console, somewhere down the line, it’s got the least impressions, but it’s got amazing click-through. This is the keyword you should leverage. You just got to figure, “Is it on the right page?” You’ll notice also what the average ranking of that keyword is. Don’t know whether it’s being targeted properly? Move it. That’s the sort of conversation I’m having. Instead of saying, “Let’s get all these keywords, because they’ve got amazing volume.” It doesn’t mean that you’re gonna get all that traffic.

Bernard:

Or ranking might already exist for that keyword already, which means you don’t necessarily kick it out of the options. Now there are a lot of other questions, but I’m only going to take one because I’m actually exceeding time now.

But the last question I want to do is, “How do you guys do your initial prospecting?” And I’m going to teach you guys a growth hack, you might not like it, but I’m going to be a little snide. We don’t do prospecting. Customers come to us, because we rank for our keywords, and we strongly encourage you to do the same thing. You also want to invest in your business, so I would strongly recommend you also enroll it in an SEO package.

Remember that if you’re our partner, we won’t necessarily rank you for free, but we will pay more attention because we know that when we rank our partners, the better they rank, the more customers they are able to close. So we don’t exactly execute initial prospecting, because after people execute a search they come. Wow our sign-up volumes are in a few hundred, so it’s a little difficult.

Now how do you replicate this? It’s really simple. Get your website to rank. Enroll your own website in SEO. Same as the case study I did earlier with the Australian partner, there was no way that they could leverage the term “SEO”+city overnight. But in a matter of less than a hundred days, they would be able to rank for the longer-tail variation, which was “Search Engine Optimization”+city, and that allowed them to walk in as experts into their pitches. So I guess that’s about it for me, and we’ve run out of time. I appreciate the presence of everybody in the audience. This is a particularly large audience, and these are awesome questions. I wish we had time to deal with all of them. If you guys are still itching to get any of these questions answered, feel free to give us a call at our toll free number, or our US number, or e-mail us at info@seoreseller.com and we’ll do our best to answer you. But that’s it, I’m Bernard I’m signing off.

William:

And I’m Will, and thanks guys for having us. Thank you.

Bernard:

‘Til the next Boost Your Business Webinar.