Have you ever heard of the Rule of Three or the Power of Three? In writing, the number three suggests completion and unity. Things are funnier, more effective, and more satisfying in groups of three than in any other number. People even remember three pieces of information more easily than four or more. Don’t believe me? Think of your favorite group of people. How many of them are there?
While you’re thinking, here are the top groups that popped into MY head.
- Luke, Leia, and Han
- Harry, Hermione, and Ron
- Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey
See what I mean? Trios, the lot of them.
I might not be a part of the Rebel Alliance, attend Hogwarts, or live in a swamp, but I do like to structure things in groups of three. And since my world revolves around search engine optimization, here’s my Rule of Three for pitching and selling SEO.
1. Be Prepared
In 1919, the Reverend H. K. Williams wrote in a periodical, “If you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail.”
It would be incredible to just wake up, get to work on time, and immediately give 100% to your work day. But life doesn’t quite work like that. Giving something your all takes preparation.
Before taking calls, take a few moments to ready yourself for the day ahead. What are your goals? Who do you need to follow up with today? Do you need coffee? Check in with yourself and find out what you need to do for your day to be successful.
Make a list of everything you need to get done in the day and put it somewhere visible. As you accomplish tasks throughout the day, scratch them off your list. This will a) make your brain happy and b) give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose throughout the day.
- Place sales scripts and helpful collateral where you can access it easily. Knowing where the answers are will keep you cool, calm, and collected when your customers ask questions during your pitch.
- Prepare a designated place for note-taking. Sales has a lot of moving pieces. You’ll be capturing information about a customer’s business, industry, and goals. Whether on your computer or with a notebook and pen, write it all down and save it. Every tidbit of information you gather about your customer’s business is ammunition for your SEO fulfillment team to create a successful campaign. The better you know your customer’s business, the better their SEO will be.
2. Be Connected
It’s easy to (please forgive me) phone it in when you’re on the phone (I’m truly sorry) for most or all of your day. I’ve been there. The key to breaking the monotony of phone call after phone call is real, human connection. Here are a few ways to achieve that.
Ask for your customer’s name and use it.
Not only at the start of your conversation; use their name throughout the entire call. According to a study by ContactPoint, employees only ask for a customer’s name 21% of the time. Since your customer has a name 100% of the time, its use will make them feel valued and important. Remember that handy dandy designated note-taking spot you prepared? When you hop on a new call, put your customer’s name at the top of the page the second you hear it so you don’t forget it. Or accidentally call them the wrong name.
Read the room and adjust your pitch accordingly.
Or read the phone call, as the case may be. Sales rarely happen the way they are scripted. People are different and respond differently to different tactics. #ruleofthree. Be flexible in the way you sell. Some people know next to nothing about SEO and will pepper you with questions. Educate them. Others know how SEO works and want to jump straight into pricing and what the next steps look like for starting an SEO campaign. Guide them. If you use the exact same pitch on an SEO novice as you do an expert, your SEO newbie will be confused and possibly ashamed of their lack of knowledge. Conversely, if you talk to an SEO-savvy person like they’ve never heard of Google, there’s a 99.9% chance they’ll think you’re patronizing or making fun of them. If you don’t adjust to your customer’s knowledge base, the conversation will be stilted and the connection you’re trying to make with your customer will break.
Show your customer that you’re a regular person, too; not just a salesperson.
If you’re pitching SEO to someone who owns a bakery, ask them if they bake your favorite treat. If they don’t, say something like, “Oh, you don’t carry pumpkin muffins? You should totally consider it. I’d shop there all the time if you did!” It’s only three (see what I did there?) sentences, but it humanizes you and makes you more approachable and authentic. Just remember that there is balance in all things. Don’t invest in personalizing your pitch so much so that you lose sight of the purpose of the call: helping your customer rank on the first page of Google by way of SEO.
Every call is unique if you connect with your customers. Actively listen for moments where you can personalize your pitch. If you do, it will help you treat each call like it’s the first call of the day. Or second call of the day if you’re like me and need a few jolts of caffeine in the morning to get going.
3. Be Honest
At Boostability, one of our 5 core values is, “Honestly, be honest.” Seriously. You can find it right here. We believe in being honest with ourselves, our coworkers, our partners, and most importantly, our customers. It’s entwined in every one of our processes and in the way we do business. One of the biggest challenges we face is restructuring customer expectations if they have the wrong expectations set in the beginning.
Clear expectations are attainable expectations.
The best way to set up a sale is to be completely open and honest about what you can and can’t do for your client. Good SEO simply can’t be done overnight. Typically, we see keyword rankings reach the first page of Google in 6 months. If you promise first page rankings in 3 months, they will be sorely disappointed and angry. And so will their friends and family. In fact, The Harvard Business Review claims that customers who have a negative experience will tell at least 10 or more people all about the company who did them wrong. Yikes.
Be transparent and realistic when discussing your customer’s budget.
Pricing changes drastically depending on your customer’s market, industry, and location. For example, if a corporate lawyer in the insanely competitive market of New York City wants to rank on the first page of Google, they’ll need to pay more than $200 a month for SEO. There simply isn’t enough budget for the amount of work that would need to be done to achieve their goals.
Be 100% certain of your product.
In our 11+ years in business, we’ve unearthed a multitude of mistakes because someone was only 90% certain about pricing/timelines/processes and didn’t double check the 10% they weren’t sure about. It’s better to find the correct answer than a quick answer. Don’t be afraid to be truthful with your customers and say, “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”
First impressions are last impressions.
For many, the first impression they’ll have of your company is that initial sales call. Use that call to instill trust and loyalty in your company and your product.
Simon Sinek says, “Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or price to continue doing business with you.” Loyal customers are worth up to 10X as much as their first purchase.* Build a foundation of customer loyalty by being prepared, connected, and honest when you sell SEO.
And then follow my favorite SEO Rule of Three—sit back, relax, and let Boostability do the rest. Learn more about our SEO Partner Program!