Why do so many small SEO companies struggle with selling their services? Many reasons, as you will see below. SEO and Internet marketing services are, in the universal world of all type sales, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being really hard, and 1 being simple, about a 7. Here’s why.
1.) You are generally selling to a small business owner or manager.Small business owners really hate spending money on anything they can not see a very quick and tangible result from, and they have very good reason to feel this way. You must understand that most small businesses operate on a very slim margin of error when it comes to advertising and promoting their business. Unlike the fortune 500, where a $100,000 campaign is small fry, a few thousand dollars to a small business can be a big investment. A $10,000 investment may be one of the largest advertising investments they make.
2.) They don’t understand the process and experience needed to do SEO. It’s far easier to buy a T.V. or radio campaign than SEO. You can see or hear what you are paying for. It’s an easy decision (in comparison) to purchase a new server, computer, or furniture. SEO is a promise, an « IOU » if you will.
Many small business owners I have worked with just think it’s some sort of I.T., PR, Web based thing we do.
3.) Most local SEO providers don’t have sales experience and rely on word of mouth. This in itself isn’t a bad thing. If you have to rely on referrals and word of mouth you are going to have to be very good at what you do to keep the existing customers happy enough to refer you, so if this is your number one (and possible only) sales strategy, you are probably doing pretty good work for your clients! (That assumes you are getting referrals)
4.) Most Local SEO providers don’t really try to sell. This goes with number 3. Because they do not have the experience or training, they just don’t try. Can’t blame them really, if someone asked me to rebuild my cars engine, and just handed me a book with « how to rebuild your cars engine », the job would most likely, never be done. Or if it was, the car would not run, or be so rusty do to the passage of time, that it would be worthless. Does that sound like the state of your sales process?
5.) Many businesses in some markets have had a bad experience with SEO or Internet marketing.
So what are the solutions? If you look at all the reasons there is one very large commonality. They are all fear based both on the prospect side and on the sellers side. Like so many things in sales, a SEO service has to reduce and eliminate the fear of buying and the fear of selling.
How do you reduce the fear in buying? You replace it with confidence by identifying what the fear is, and addressing it. Let’s look at the first fear:
1.) I am afraid I will waste my money. How do you replace this with confidence? First acknowledge the concern (fear). Let them know you understand that many companies have a natural fear that SEO won’t work, and it will be a waste of money. And of course ask them if they feel this way.
2.) How do you answer that or address it? Actual current examples of SEO clients that are similar to their business with a full explanation of their success. Don’t go summary version with this. Have all the facts and details ready. Where they where ranked, what their traffic was and how much revenue increase they have seen. Have 4 pages of explanation, and the last page being the reference letter from that client. Three of these type examples, and a phone call from the prospects office on speaker phone to ask them to tell your prospect that it worked, and that fear as significantly out to rest.
All the buying and selling fears above can be addresses with logical, honest tactics, and having trained over 1000 sales professionals, hundreds of sales managers and business owners, I know that any company that makes a commitment to the sells process will see a results.