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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.

Read the sum­ma­ry and key take­aways or watch our pre­vi­ous webi­na­rs.

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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 objec­tionshap­pen. 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 click­ing here, 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.

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