One of the biggest challenges in growing your SEO business is the outbound call. This is the first engagement you are going to have with a company. It should be appealing and invite the person you are speaking to want to know more about your services and ways you can work together.
The following five steps will help anyone experienced or otherwise with their SEO cold calling endeavours.
Compliment the person you are speaking to on more than one element of their website. The guy or girl that carries the most weight in decision making and influence is very likely to have influenced their strategy and made important decisions on how their website is put across to their customers. It is so much harder to get praise than criticism, so people expect it less. What a positive way to start a call…
Have examples of rankings you have achieved for a number of industries and sectors. Have them ready for B2C and B2B and if you have them specific to their products, services and solutions tell them. Have lots of examples, as many as you can think of, include variations and keywords.
“You may not have heard of us, but we rank our client #1 for [Insert competitive Keyword here]. It took us [this long] to get them there and we have kept them there for [this long].”
Be ready to follow it up with another example and another on some calls.
“I think a search term you might be targeting is […]. What search terms would you like to be in prime positions in Google for?”
The Passive Approach:
This is especially good for the bigger enterprise companies, one where the call taker would normally firewall a call from the decision maker. Call to ask a question, one that could be useful to you in future that implies it is anything except an introductory call:
“Hi sorry to trouble you, it’s just a really brief call if you can help me. We’re putting together our latest ebook and I just wanted to check I had the right person to send it to, would that be Chris Smith?”
Then follow it up with another one:
“Do you know if you have any third parties to help with link building and content copywriting?”
The amount of calls that get passed through to a decision maker this way is surprising. The next bit is tricky…
When you talk to someone assuming they cannot help and have no decision making authority, it is remarkable how many of those people will want to convince you they do have the power to make those decisions and try to convince you they are worthy of discussing SEO with.
The Real Frustration:
This is a tricky one to pull off and isn’t for the feint-hearted caller and there are 2 hard ‘ins’ to consider. Something like:
“I see you are trying to rank for ‘XYZ Widget’ and ‘ABC Company are ranking above you. I looked into it and they are ranking in Google for about ten times more different widgets than you are? Are you happy with your share of your market amongst your competitors?”
Or even more daring:
“I see that you are paying ‘Lead Forensics’ for IP tracking, but ‘Who Is Visiting’ is a much cheaper UK based alternative, what would you do if you weren’t getting your money’s worth on any other part of your business?”.
If you are a really good rapport builder and can present these questions whilst still coming across as friendly and warm, then this will be responded to with an excellent discussion of their specific business plans.
You will not get this to work on a very cold approach where you have just asked for a name and launched straight in, it will be viewed as hostile.
The closed question:
This is brilliant if you have a very consultative and informed approach, where you know you are speaking to someone who is more technically minded. It works on providing two options, both of which will contribute to further conversation. So if you were approaching a recruiter, the series of questions might go like this:
“I see that you specialise in sales recruitment in Nottingham and driver recruitment for the same region, are you targeting more for drivers or more for sales at the moment…or both perhaps? I can see you are actively looking to rank in search and get more visibility in social networking, which do you think you are likely to push more in in the next 6 months, social or SEO?”
It will also help if you can give examples in responses to their questions: “I think you’re right to do that, we help our client [example] to do something similar.”
You could be the best SEO practitioner in the world, able to execute the best most rewarding campaigns for your clients – if you are, picking up that phone in the first place will really take you out of your comfort zone. Hopefully this will help.