Changing the Way You Sell Client SEO...

Hey there Serp Focus friends. I had a call today with Wes Ferrell and he told me his story which I felt you had to hear. Wes has been involved in our industry, learning the ropes of client SEO not for only 1 MONTH, and he just landed a $1,300 a month client, more importantly, you will never believe how he did it. Not only that he has created interest with another prospect doing the same exact thing. His method, although accidental, is extremely interesting so I asked him to share it in the Serp Focus group on Facebook. Here is his story:

Original Post in The Group:

SEO Sales Closing Systems Training by Operate It Pro

Mike Piet is the leader in SEO and Internet Marketing systems development training as far as I am concerned and is the only person focusing on the core of business automation, which is systems. Operate It Pro is a plethora of systems training and resources to help automate and scale any business but primarily focuses on SEO. Visit the Operate It Pro SEO Sales Systems homepage below and be sure to jump in the Facebook group for further discussion! I look forward to seeing you inside.

Training Page:

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How to sell digital marketing to small businesses owners, advice from a small business owner

If you've been working in the local B2B (business-to-business) arena for long you've likely found small business owners can be quick challenging to work with. In particular getting them to purchase SEO or social media management services, buy leads, or other digital marketing services. As a former small business owner I'm going to share some insights into selling to small business owners and how to turn them into your raving fans.


Understand their business better than they do

Most small business owners aren't business people. It's a paradox I know. They're technicians. Likely they stumbled into what they do either by accident, became unemployed after working in an industry for a while, a friends recommendation or family business. This means they are awesome at work, but not always super savvy business people. The majority of small business owners don't have any idea where their business comes from. Not all. Most. You need to understand their business better than they do and educate them on how you can help. The ones who listen will become your best clients.

Don't sell them, help them

Small businesses are constantly barraged by marketers. The wall a small business owner has around them is a mile thick when it comes to marketers. Unless it's their first rodeo they've been told every imaginable sales pitch and been promised the world more times than you've changed your { Profile picture | Myspace background | Gmail password }. What small business owners do really well is solve problems. What they're not accustomed to is someone else helping them solve theirs. Be a solution, not another problem.

Ask questions like:

Sell to their aspirations, not their bank account

Small business owners want and need only one thing. Help. Most of them aren't driven as much by profits like corporate people. If they were, they wouldn't be small business owners. They often love what they do. They want freedom, not obscene amounts of money. Money does motivate them, but not as much as independence.

Many are "lone rangers".  Too stubborn to work for anyone else, but maybe not savvy enough to build their own empire. It's easier to talk about their aspirations than to sell them.

Find out what they wish they were doing like:

Show them how your services will help them get that. You'll have their undivided attention.

They need reminders and accountability

Small business people can be unreliable. VERY UNRELIABLE. Missing appointments. Not answering their phone. Overlooking emails. This doesn't always mean they're going to be a bad customer or client. This is just a harsh reality for many business owners who achieved any measure of success in business. To say their plate is full is a gross understatement.

Case in point: I was once at a contractors home on a sales call.  He was the leading builder in the area. Built only multi-millon dollar mansions. We wanted his business. Went out to get the car to get a piece of literature and when I came back in the client was asleep on the couch. Maybe 60 seconds and he was OUT LIKE A LIGHT!

Remind them gently. Be empathetic. Most successful small business owners aren't flakes. They're living on the ragged edge. Every day they put out fires from morning till night. They're pretty much superhuman. Rinse and repeat 7 days a week.

If you don't hear from them. Give them a nudge. Be short. To the point. Make it easy to communicate with YOU. Make doing business with you painless. 

Most of all, don't waste their time.

You'll probably need to program their VCR

Some of you might be too young to remember this play on old people. Maybe how to change their ringtone? The point is many successful business owners are older. Unlike online, it takes years to build a solid local business. Usually this means business owners are middle age and older.

So while many of you grew on the internet, use Facebook daily and know what {spintax | word spinning | spun content} is, they don't. You cannot try to sell them the process. They won't buy it. You'll lose them and they'll shut down. They'll probably start a rant about how their kids never call, all they want to do is text. As a matter of fact many small business owners have a strong affinity to technology. Why? Because their younger employees WON'T STOP TEXTING! They have policies trying to limit business and productivity losses because of technology.

Don't expect them to be excited about digital technology. Show them how they can use to take their business to the next level. Leave the rest for your favorite forum or Skype group.

Focus on outcomes, not processes

Unless your only job is sales, you likely play some technical role in your business (or job). That means you have an intimate knowledge of search engines, email software, social media, website design standards and much more technical mumbo jumbo.


Small business owners are superhuman, but even they can only process so much information in a day. They don't want to know what CSS is or why HTML5 is better. They don't care about webpage rankings, Google algorithm updates, open rates or off page SEO tactics. All I want to know is that my marketing budget is producing results.

If you find yourself getting deep into what I call tech talk. Shut it down. FAST. Get off the topic. Get back to outcomes.

Try these topics instead:

Blow one away, then go for the referral

If you truly appreciate your customers, show them! If they're taking good care of you, then find a way to let them know. Don't just take the money. Sure you're entitled. Take a lesson from Olive Garden (an Italian food chain). If you complain about the taste of your meal, they not only replace  it and don't charge it to your tab, they offer a gift certificate for a free meal on your next visit. The relationship is more important than the transaction. 

When they see that you get this, go for the referral. Ask if they know other small business owners who are sick and tired of being treated like transactions. Just getting statements in the mail and an annual visit from their sales person. Small business owners are well connected. Tap into their Rolodex (that's a phonebook thingy your Grandpa used to store phone numbers). Don't send them a referral bonus, call them and thank them for the referrals and maybe send them a gift certificate to their fav restaurant. You'll have them for life.

 Seal the deal with value-in-advance

Don't talk, demonstrate. Design your products and services so you can give them results before asking for payment (video). Many pay-per-lead SEO's already do this by sending a few leads first, then asking for a commitment. Contrary to common thought good small business owners don't mind spending money. You have to prove value and their wallets will open. Here are few ideas:

About the author: Jesse business his first business at age 5 and has built and sold several businesss before retiring at age 32. He now blogs over at and on EatSuccess about digital marketing and small business. He also does affiliate marketing and all forms of SEO while living in an off grid cabin in the Pacific Northwest. You can find them on Twitter and on Skype at tykesmurf.