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The Mini Guide To Setting Client Expectations And Avoiding Nightmares Like a Ninja

By | February 27, 2019

Are you selling to your clients the “right” way?

After talking to (literally) hundreds of agencies, we’re able to see patterns of what the most COMMON client problems are…

…And many of them start before the sale even happens!

Avoid This Common Client Mistake

Here’s the biggest issue – Many agencies are promising to deliver on things they simply can’t control.

The thought process goes like this:

Most people get into selling SEO as a “rational business owner.”

They want to PROVE the ROI of your services, so they go to GREAT lengths to prove how it’s all going to work.

They start translating link building into rankings, rankings into traffic, traffic into conversions, and sales into profits.

The thing is, unless you’re running the entire client’s business, you have NO CONTROL over the vast majority of that. 

Their website might not be optimized for conversions. They might not answer their phones. They might not deliver on their products. They might have terrible salespeople. They might have a bad product. 

(I mean, you probably shouldn’t have them as a client at that point, but I digress…)

So what do you do instead?

How To Set The Expectations Correctly

You can close deals simply by showing an enormous amount of proof increasing traffic. 

PROOF is the most convincing element of the sale you can make, and makes many of the other questions diminish in importance.

Here’s how you can talk about the other main categories of expectations:

Timelines For Results:

  • In our experience, in general, it takes about 3 to 6 months to start seeing significant results with SEO.
  • You have to “suspend your disbelief” through this period.
  • You can set expectations of a minimum commitment of at least 3+ months.

Keyword Rankings:

  • We suggest not promising to rank for specific keywords. Instead, focus on the amount of targeted TRAFFIC they can drive.
  • With a content gap analysis, you can show them the enormous amount of mid-buyer-cycle keyword traffic that they could be targeting. This takes away the focus from ranking for that 1 golden keyword that might take 6+ months.

Costs:

  • Ask them what their budget is and compare that to what it will take to compete in their market. The higher the budget, the better and faster it will work.
  • You may be able to do small on-page changes for low dollar amounts, but if you want to move mountains you need a budget to work with.
  • If your clients can’t pay you for SEO, then you’re probably going after the wrong SEO clients.

By focusing on the right things from the beginning and setting expectations, you can drastically reduce client issues down the road!

Does this client conversation seem like it would work better? Let me know what you think in the comments!


Clayton Johnson is the CMO of The HOTH SEO company. He has over 8+ years experience in the SEO industry and has spoken at events like SEJ Summit. The HOTH has been featured in Inc 5000, Forbes, SMX, Pubcon, Content Marketing World, Affiliate Summit, Brighton and more.

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