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Advertisements for Myself: The SEO Sales Conversation

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 29 June 2009 09:07
(the following is a guest post from Todd Mintz)

“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you -- tripping on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as Leif the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.”…Hamlet (Shakespeare, not Batista)

Recently, I was chatting on the phone with a potential SEO client about some gig work.  The conversation was going along fine until (in a roundabout way) he asked me for my “sales pitch” aka why he should use me as opposed to someone else.  I don’t think my answer was particularly compelling…not because I didn’t have a good answer for him but because I had several answers that got jumbled together in a form of verbal mush.   Since blogging gives me an opportunity for a “do-over” (a technique I’ve used before), I would like to recast my answer in a more powerful manner…

Hamlet does SEO

 

 

Dear client…let me count the ways..

…You asked me whether I might be a better SEO consultant than the other folks you’re considering.  Since I don’t know who those folks are, I’m not able to give you much of an answer to that question.  I do know that I’ve been doing SEO since the Year 2000 and I have no doubt that with an in-depth look at your analytics, I will be able to figure out your website “pain points” that you see as critical to the future health of your business.

You asked me about cost.  I told you my hourly rate which is (I believe) comparable to what others with my background and experience charge for their services.  One of my selling points is that I’m perfectly willing to sell you as little or as much of my time as you feel you need and I have no desire to lock you into any sort of long term contract.  As busy as I am with multiple engagements, I’d gladly give you some flexibility in your working relationship with me…because I’d like the same flexibility in working with you.  I think I can provide excellent results for you quickly and if you feel you got good value from me at an aggressive hourly rate, you’ll more likely to give me the referrals that I would desire.

I think you did a good job in documenting for me via analytical snapshots and explanations the “incidents” that you find of concern.  I believe I do know what happened with your sites just from seeing your documentation.  However, there isn’t any way I could possibly begin to estimate the cost of taking corrective action because I have no way of knowing how long it would take me to discover the information that I need to help you.

It’s like going to the doctor.  If you tell the doctor you need a wart removed, he could tell you what the cost will be.  If you tell the doctor you have a stomach pain, he can’t tell you the cost of treatment in advance of the appointment.  He needs to examine you and run tests to make an accurate diagnosis which could range from indigestion (cheap) to a heart condition (expensive). 

You can view me as website doctor.  I can diagnose your website problem(s) in great detail but I don’t know how long the diagnosis will take me (and I charge by the hour) nor do I know how long it will take to fix the problem (and I charge by the hour).

Also, it’s hard to know in advance the type of client you might be.  A certain level of client communication is part of every consulting engagement and this time isn’t billable.  However, I don’t know if you’re the sort who will demand more phone time than is necessary for the job nor whether you are the sort who will try to increase the scope of the project without increasing the cost.  That’s why “prix fixe” SEO scares me…every time I’ve done this, the time spent on the job doesn’t pencil back to my hourly rate.

One more thing…SEO advice should be given “Straight, No Chaser”.  Based upon this blog post I wrote a while back, I created a sales page at http://www.toughloveseo.com.  In all my relationships in my life (not just professional ones), I’m brutally direct and honest and I don’t mind hurting someone’s feelings if the end result will be to that person’s advantage.  I will not tell you what you want to hear about your web presence, but what you need to hear.  I will also treat your site as if it were my own…I will rejoice in its success and take any failure personally.

My objective in working with you is to have you feel you’ve generated significant positive ROI from our engagement and I will do what it takes to assure that will happen.  If my directness scares you away, I’m glad because it means we wouldn’t work well together.

Finally, I would tell you to Google Todd Mintz and read some of the things I wrote as well as what people have said about me.  If you feel comfortable with what you see, we would likely have a positive relationship.

If you have any questions, feel free to call or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it …email tends to get answered quicker :.)

 

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide. He is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association.

 

Comments  

 
+1 # Michael McMahon 2009-06-30 15:10
Great article, I want to share it to my facebook and linkedin pages but don't see a share button. I use JomComment too, and I think it's possible for you to add a "share" link.

Just a suggestion, and only made because I want to share the article with more people.

Thanks,

Michael
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+1 # Karie Barrett 2009-06-30 15:16
I absolutely agree with you on your comment that advice should be given
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0 # Gilberto Galea 2009-07-01 10:57
Great post, very clear and just right.
good speech to sell yourself.
B)
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0 # Dennis Yu 2009-07-04 03:33
Todd, great post. Standing by the hourly rate is to command professional respect, as you would an attorney who is billing similar rates, if not higher. Just ask an attorney how much it will cost to litigate-- same as how much it will cost to SEO a site or rank on a particular term.

Have you seen this one? http://www.cpashare.com/2008/09/02/made-with-100-real-ppc-how-to-make-easy-money-as-a-seo-consultant/
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0 # Naomi Pierce 2009-07-17 09:43
Excellent, excellent post. I have spent 20 years running my own graphic design studio (now part-time...) and a lot of what you say here also applies to the design business. I can't tell you how many times I've lost web design bids because the client demands a low fixed price, or had jobs go crazy because of the amount of hand-holding and/or scope creep that happens. Keep up the great work (and I'm sure you'll attract more quality clients with this approach!)
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