Selling SEO services without mentioning SEO services

Part of my day job is running a Digital Agency in Ireland. We cover everything from Web Design to SEO and everything in between.

Web design is easy. They either have a website or they don't. They have an old website that needs updating or they have a website that doesn't deliver and want something new.

Selling SEO services on the other hand is not so easy...

I find the best way to sell SEO is to not sell it and talk about revenue and earning potential instead.

For example:

Lets create an imaginary customer called Dave.

Now Dave is a smart guy who runs a large plumbing business in Dublin.

He knows nothing about SEO and doesn't really care much for his website but understands that he needs one. 

Thats about it technically...

My end game with Dave is to get him signed up to an ongoing service - that's where we make our money and where we can deliver the best value to Dave.

 Web Design is great but it takes forever to extract the information from a client and it's a once off.

So how do I frame the SEO conversation without sending Dave into techie hell...

Understand their Business

First I ask Dave about his business, how many staff he has on the go and a bit about his overheads. This gives me a bit of background to work with.

Understand their Target Audience

Next I ask Dave to talk about his ideal customer:

His answer is as follows:

He has repeat customers that come back year after year. They may get their boiler serviced annually. Shower replacement every couple of years and renovate a bathroom every 5 or so years.

This is repeat business and because they are happy clients the referrals are also great business for Dave.

When we look at this from a financial angle it looks like this:

Boiler service runs about €150 per year. Shower replacement runs at €150 every second year (Irish people like to have plenty of bathrooms) and a full bathroom fit out can cost upwards of €2,000 every 5 years.

Doing some quick sums this equals €625 per year for this particular customer.

It doesn't have to be an exact number but come to a number and get Dave to agree to it being realistic.

We will stick to the €625 for this example as I have already worked it out 🙂 

Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Now this is where it gets interesting...

I highlight this number to Dave and then tell him I could get him another 100 customers per year that would deliver similar revenues for his business. 

I let that sink in for a second and then reiterate the numbers. 100 customers at €625 equals an additional €62,500 per year.

They I talk to Dave for a second about what he could do with that €62,500 per year.

It could be a new truck for his business, take on another plumber to help with the workload and expand or put money away for college bills for his kids.

Then I wait for a bit to let it all sink in...

Then I wait a little bit more...

Hook line & Sinker

In his mind Dave is already spending the money and he doesn't want to give it back.

So what do we do next...

If you think about the numbers again from a different angle:

100 new customers is only 8ish customers per month or 2 per week.

This is not a huge task for a confident SEO and a decent game plan. 

But notice we have not once mentioned SEO yet.

No mention of on-page SEO, off-page SEO, alt tags, meta descriptions, nada, nothing technical whatsoever.

And that's why it works.

Dave has zero interest in technical terms related to his website but he has a huge interest in the €62,500 he is going to earn from landing new clients.

We used to focus heavily on our technical expertise with SEO and still do but found that customers like Dave and everybody else for that matter don't care one bit about technical stuff to do with their website.

They care about generating revenue for their business. End of story...

What we have done in this example is examined the business Dave runs, identified his target audience / ideal customer and simply shown him how we will land new clients that he can convert into revenue.

This is the reality of business today. People are far too busy and distracted to care or listen to how good you are at SEO so don't even mention it.

They care about driving their business forward, paying the bills and maybe expanding and taking on more staff to grow.

How much does all this cost?

Pricing this service when we sold the technical side of SEO used to be a painful process. Telling people they can get to the top position in Google and capture 30 odd percent of the search traffic means nothing if they don't understand the benefits.

Creating long form detailed content is out of the question. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt etc...

They couldn't care less about well optimised images and alt tags, let alone having a well constructed Google My Business listing.

How you price the service for Dave is up to you. How you deliver it is also up to you.

You might be able to land Dave 100 new clients a year by some targeted Facebook advertising or Google Adwords.

You may find after examining his website in more detail that the content and structure is good enough to work with and with some tweaks and SEO wizardry  it will rank in the top position and deliver leads on auto pilot anyway.

You may also find that his website is complete crap and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

His son might have built it for him so don't say it's crap - just highlight that you may be improving it - to earn him more money...

Dave doesn't really care, nor should he.

All he cares about is what he is going to spend the €62,500 on...

Price you services to suit both you and your customer. Don't over promise and under deliver and don't take the piss either.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below...

About the Author

Gary is a seasoned SEO who runs an award winning Digital Agency in Ireland. He writes for multiple SEO blogs and has been featured in Forbes.