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Shifting Your Mindset About Pitching Clients

Show Clients the Door

Shifting Your Mindset About Pitching Clients

If you haven’t read the first article in this series, Are you making clients FLEE when you pitch them SEO? please do so before you read on!

It’s no secret that those of us in the tech services industries – think web design, development, and marketing - aren’t the best at pitching our services and results to potential clients.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that many people feel like selling just “isn’t their thing” or that they “don’t want to seem too commercial.”

These are some pretty deep-seated beliefs, but with a little bit of tweaking and a mindset shift, you can begin to view the services you offer as truly valuable and feel 100% confident pitching them to clients.

The typical pitching process can feel like you’re spending most of your time justifying your fee and very little time talking about the actual work at hand.

While this can work, it’s often more effective to flip the script and be the prize.  Think about it: if you’re truly good at what you do, businesses are usually lining up to work with you.  You need to convey this not just with words, examples, and case studies, but in your attitude towards signing new clients.

This means that not every client is a good one for you.  You should not be afraid to walk away from a client if you do not feel a good connection and mutual understanding with.  More importantly, you should not be afraid to walk away from a client if you are not confident that you can provide more value than they are losing by hiring you.

Do Your Research

Abraham Lincoln Quote

Photo: brittgow

Isn’t it funny that the people in our lives that seem to have everything handled also seem to have the most “luck”?  They seem to get amazing client work, perform well, make more money, and be more successful overall.

These people aren’t special, and they’re not doing anything that you can’t do yourself.  In fact, a lot of the keys to their success are done behind the scenes when no one is around.

One of these keys is preparation.  Going into a client meeting unprepared is a surefire way to blow any chance you might have had to get their business.

There are a lot of ways to prepare for a client meeting, but here are a few of our favorites:

Prepare a 3 Month Plan: Coming in with a three month plan of action for their business usually knocks their socks off.  Most business owners aren’t used to dealing with someone that’s professional enough to think that far ahead…and it shows that you have confidence in your skills if you’re planning that far into the future.

Come Armed with Research: While we personally use serpIQ to prepare keyword analyses and competitive analyses for our clients, you can use whatever tools you like – so long as you actually arrive with something.  It’s incredibly impressive to a business owner when you walk in the door with detailed notes and data about their competition…and how you plan to compete against them.

Be a Likable Person

Dale Carnegie

How can you NOT like Dale Carnegie!

Another important thing to realize is that people do business with people that they LIKE.  You could be the best SEO in the world, but if your social skills and intuition are sub par,  you’re going to have a hard time closing clients.  If this sounds like you, don’t despair!  You can drastically improve your social skills in a very short time with a bit of focus.

Dale Carnegie’s book is like taking a “Social Skills 101″ class and will take you from being a total social novice to someone that understands people and is generally well-liked.  It’s not the absolute resource and you can definitely overuse the concepts in the book, but we’re confident that working through this book is an amazing place to start if you feel you need improvement in this area of your life.

Get Out There and Close New Business

We hope this article series has helped you understand how to better position yourself and your services to potential clients.  Learning how to do this well can be a gamechanger for your business.  No longer will you feel like you’re struggling to gain any business at all and no longer will you be confused about how to present your services.

We’ll be writing more about this in the future…but before we do that, we’ll be covering some great ways to keep existing clients and build up a referral system for your SEO or inbound marketing business.

Resources Used to Build this Post

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

Ramit Sethi & Patrick McKenzie: Part 1 | Part 2

Double Your Freelancing Rate by Brennan Dunn

P.S. If you know someone who’s been struggling to find client work lately and you suspect that the reasons outlined in this article might be why, please share with them!

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I'm the marketing and operations guy at serpIQ. When I'm not working with serpIQ, I run my own inbound marketing consulting business and I'm also involved in the sustainable food, hydroponic, and restaurant businesses.

3 Comments

  1. hyderali

    Hi Kevin,

    What a timing! I’m planning big to start my own SEO business & your post comes handy. I read your 1st part & now this, you’ve totally nailed it down. I agree with you that one must do research first about the clients website, his competitors & other potential things & comes out with a plan to make the first impression, because without research you cannot win a clients heart. You are absolutely right that, pitching for SEO client is much tougher than for designing & other things. And even if you got the clients they’ll propose you low cost which seems to me an insult to this profession. Clients don’t understand that SEO is a long term investment & not just one time work. Due to some shoddy SEO work by others our SEO image is being ruined continously by other people.

    Thanks.

    • Thanks for the compliments :)

      It’s unfortunate that a lot of the lower-end SEO consultants can ruin SEO for local businesses simply due to lack of skill, communication…or both. The silver lining to this is that if you have both the skills and the ability to communicate well (which I tried to cover in this series!) you can really come out on top and deliver a TON of value to your clients.

      What you’re saying about “an insult to this profession” and that “clients don’t understand that SEO is a long term investment…” seem like communication problems on your end, though. I think you should take it upon yourself to educate the client as best as possible on how SEO works and if they’re still not receptive…well, then they’re probably not a good fit for your business. Don’t be afraid to walk away! There’s nothing wrong with saying “Thanks for your time, but I don’t think that this relationship will work out” if they don’t seem like the type of client that you’ll be able to deliver great results for.

      Thanks for reading, hope to see you around soon!

      • hyderali

        Well, my this sentence “insult to this profession” is because here in india, every other startup or small company now incorporate SEO as their services & it is like barber shop on each & every street. Due to that, the so called SEO company charge very less cost or you can say cheap & don’t provide the results which lefts a bad impression in the mind of clients. Also, when clients don’t know about SEO they’ll definitely go to there where price is low which again make us cringe & make our prices lower too.

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