Ep #1: How to Sell SEO: Improve Your Offer to Close More Sales

Most SEO consultants and even agency owners give little or no thought to their offer. They simply do what everyone else is doing. “We provide SEO services”. There’s no innovation, there’s little to no incentives around providing something that’s special or unique.

It’s basically just the same old same old.

If your offer stinks, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, it doesn’t matter how good your sales team is, or the quality of work you provide – if you’re just offering the same as everyone else then that’s going to have a negative impact on your agency.

Which is why you need to create an irresistible offer that makes you the obvious choice.

What you will discover

In this episode I talk about how important your offer is, and why SEO consultants and agency owners should spend more time crafting an offer that allows them to –

  • Attract higher quality clients, and charge a premium
  • Sell and close more deals with much less friction
  • Have a unique point of difference and stand out from other agencies

Featured on the show


Click below to read the transcript of this episode.

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Hey guys. John here from Bring the SEO. In today’s podcast I want to talk about offers. Now, for most SEO consultants this isn’t a topic that gets spoken about very often, and I think it’s one that we should all consider because it ties in closely with our ability to pitch and sell our services.

I’ve been having a really interesting discussion with a number of the members in the group recently about this because it’s become obvious to me as I spent more time or less time, certainly, in technical SEO, (more time in marketing and sales), that my awareness around some of the issues that exist for many SEO consultants – that is getting clients – this issue around the offer is becoming more and more, let’s say, prevalent. It’s definitely something that I’m seeing for many SEO consultants, like I said, it’s an issue.

You can have your niche dialled in, you can have your target audience dialled in, you can create who you consider to be an ideal client, you can have the greatest marketing, you can have the best sales team, and you can be providing fantastic SEO but if your offer stinks, then none of that’s going to matter. Now, what do I mean by offer? Again, this isn’t something that many SEO consultants give much thought to because when it comes to selling SEO, well, hey, I’m just providing SEO services.

That’s what we do, and unfortunately for many SEO consultants and even agency owners, this isn’t limited just to just freelancers and independent contractors, this goes for a lot of large scale agencies as well, is that they’re selling rankings. And when it comes to sales, that becomes part of the offer. We sell SEO services and we can help you rank page one in Google. Well, if you think about it, that’s probably true for the way in which most agencies present themselves, and that’s essentially their offer.

So I’ve scribbled down a couple of quick notes here that I want to go through, and I want really want all of you to give this a lot of thought. Take a look at your service offerings. Take a look at your service offering and ask yourself like, is my offer attractive? Is this something that’s going to excite prospects and have them really eager and keen to work with me? Now, if your offer is the same as everyone else’s, that is, okay, we do SEO and we can help you rank and Google, then chances are you’re going to be really struggling with your sales.

There’s a lot of other factors that come into play here that might affect sales, such as positioning and your pricing, and as to where they’re not you are operating as a generalist or a specialist. But certainly the offer plays a huge part in your ability to sell your services. You’ve got to step back from the noise and look at your offer and say, what am I doing? Am I doing the same as everyone else? Is a prospect going to be excited by this? If the answers are, well, not really, then you need to stop and spend some time and think about your offer and what you can do to make it incredibly attractive. There’s a whole bunch of incentives and things that you can do.

I know that for many SEO consultants, they might be challenged by the thought of this and thinking, well, I don’t know. I’m just selling SEO. How much better can I make it? Well, I had that very discussion with someone recently and I said, well, you need to stop for a moment and ask yourself, do I have a closed mindset? Do you have an open mindset? I’m going to share with you a couple of things that you can do that will help give you something to think about in terms of how you can improve your offer. So let’s start with number one.

The first thing you should do is stop doing what everyone else is doing, and this is a huge problem in the SEO space. I see this all the time. For many SEO consultants, like I said, they’re simply doing what everyone else is doing, and they don’t stop to ask themselves why. So that’s my first point. Stop doing what everyone else is doing. If your offer is the same as everyone else’s, then it’s going to be a race to the bottom. That’s my first point.

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The second point is create an offer that makes you uncomfortable. Now, this is something that I heard Frank Kern talking about not too long ago. He said, take a look at your offer and ask yourself, does this make me feel really uncomfortable? If you get on a call with someone and you’re hosting a sales presentation or you’re pitching your services and you make an offer that you really don’t want to, then chances are you could be onto something really special.

That doesn’t mean of course doing something really silly, it certainly doesn’t mean accepting all of the risk. And this is something that I want to point out real quick. Because you may be thinking, okay, well, what can I do to make my offer better? Do I just drop my raise? Do I work for free? Do I offer a guarantee? Do I do all of these things? What if it goes pear shaped? I’m taking all of the risk, therefore, if something goes wrong, I’m going to be out of business. Well, that’s not what I’m saying at all.

It shouldn’t be a win-lose between you and the client. It should be beneficial. It should be a win-win. It should be beneficial for both of you. But again, it comes down to the way you position your offer. What does your offer look like? So that, hey, this is an irresistible offer for the client and I know I can do this, I can pull this off and work with confidence and get the results that they’re looking for, and the outcome is going to be positive for both of us. So it shouldn’t be a win-lose, but getting back to my point, you need to sit down and think about how you can create an offer that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Point three is give customers exactly what they want. This might sound pretty obvious but I think for many SEO consultants when they start pitching their services they’re talking about all of this technical nonsense and they’re focusing on the deliverables. Well, what if you could drop all of that and instead say, okay, I know what you want. I can help you get 50 high paying customers or 50 sales or 50 bookings or whatever that might be.

That’s going to be our focus. I can help you do that, as opposed to getting caught up in making assumptions around what they want or perhaps even presenting stuff that they’re not interested in at all. And I think when you focus on giving customers exactly what they want and changing our conversation, especially around technical SEO and rankings and everything else, and focusing on helping them get customers, generate sales and revenue, then that’s going to be a far more attractive conversation for them. As opposed to perhaps a dozen other conversations they’ve had with other SEO agencies that want to focus on all of that, focus on the things that they don’t necessarily care about or even understand.

Now, my next point here is become the obvious choice. This ties in somewhat to positioning, but if you tie in your positioning, let’s say you are going to be working with plumbers. We’ve got a good idea of our ideal customer. Now we’ve got a history of we’ve been working with plumbers for, let’s say, five years. We’ve got all these case studies and results and everything else. And then you stack a really attractive offer on top of that, some kind of pay in advance incentive or there’s something in place there where when you meet with a prospect or speak with them over a call, all of these things come into alignment and they can look and think, oh, this is the obvious choice. When it comes to your offer, this isn’t just about services that you provide or your price. It can also be about deliverables as well.

Again, let’s say that you decide to niche down and work with plumbers. You can say, okay, well, we’re going to give you a free site, and guess what? It’s got a booking system built in because this is the area that we specialise in, and we know that plumbers want people to be able to look at their available schedule and be able to book in a call-out or a repair job or service or maintenance or something like that directly through the site. This is how you can improve your office. Even if there’s small incremental improvements in various areas, little details like that can improve your offer and make it far more attractive for prospects, which of course can help you sell.

Now, before I share any strategies with you around how to improve your offer there’s one thing that I will say, and this is naturally what most SEO consultants tend to do, and this is really important, and if you’re listening, if you’ve got the opportunity, I want you to write this down. Improving your offer does not mean offering more stuff. This is a terrible habit that is probably not limited to just SEO consultants.

I talk about improving your offer, and the first thing SEO consultants want to do, and certainly students in the group, and I’ve had this conversation 100 times over, okay, we need to improve our offer, we need to start offering more stuff. Okay, we’ll do SEO and we’ll offer Facebook Ads on top, and we’ll offer Google Ads and we’ll beef up the reporting and we’ll offer them this. And no, you don’t want to do that. An attractive offer in many ways should be about less, not more. And in fact, your offer it should be a really simple and easy decision-making process for your prospects. You can have this or you can have this.

That’s it.

So don’t make that mistake. Don’t make the mistake of thinking we need to stack or add more stuff as part of our offer, because that’s not what I’m saying.

So what can you do? What can you do in order to improve your offer? Firstly, sell the outcome. Focus on selling the outcome or the end result. You’re at A, you want to get to B, we can help you get to B and talk about B. Don’t talk about 5 links, 10 articles, audits, keyword research. Who cares? Customers don’t care. All they care about is what they care about.

The next point is try and work towards removing all friction during the sales cycle. Take a look at what sort of pushback you are getting in your sales cycle. Now, the first thing you’ll be thinking most likely is, okay, well, we get a lot of pushback from about our pricing. Well, if that’s the case, there’s two reasons, two reasons that I can think off the top of my head.

One, you either are too expensive or two, you’re targeting the wrong people. 99% of the time it’s all about positioning. You can’t sell $5,000 a month SEO to Karen who sells candles at the weekend markets, but you can quite easily sell $5,000 a month SEO to a legal firm. So, well, there’s friction and we’re having problems with our sales calls, don’t default to we need to lower the price, okay? Keep the price where it is. You’re always best on increasing the value, not decreasing the price.

But have a think about why you’re getting pushback. We don’t want lock-in contracts, we don’t want to pay in advance, whatever these objections might be during your sales cycle you need to have a look at and ask why. Okay, well, this is a big ask, maybe our offer wasn’t clear. Remove all friction and work towards risk reversal. This can be okay. If we don’t meet your objectives within 12 months we’ll give you all your money back.

Okay, I want to talk about finish up… Well, before I finish up there’s one more point. Take a look at non-related industries for inspiration. This is something that I do a lot. Go and look at the music industry, streaming TV services or streaming services, sport, entertainment, luxury goods. Go and look in different industries and look at the way in which they’ve positioned themselves and their offer. Look for offers that you look at and go, wow, that’s a pretty good offer and I wouldn’t have a problem signing up for that.

Now, I want to finish up on one last thing here which is certainly going to raise a few eyebrows, and this is consider offering a guarantee. Now, before you head explodes hear me out. Offering a guarantee is something that you should be confident doing so long as you are providing revenue focused SEO. This should not be about rankings. And I’ve been saying this for many years now, probably close to 10 years, you should be running your SEO campaign, much like a PPC campaign. It should be all about return on investment. Dollar in, two, three, or four dollars out. Now, you should be able to say to a prospect, okay, listen, if we don’t increase your bottom line by at least 50% within the next 12 months we’ll give you all of your money back.

Again, for most SEO consultants they’ll be thinking, what are you talking about John? This doesn’t make any sense. Well, it makes perfect sense. So long as you niche down, you specialise, you product your service offerings and you provide revenue focused SEO.

Now, I go into detail about how this works in the SEO Accelerator Program, and it’s an absolute game changer. All the students, once they learn revenue focused SEO, they think, why wasn’t I doing this 10 years ago? It makes so much sense. Now, there’s a lot to consider here before you start throwing out guarantees and I know that for many people, they’d say, guarantees in SEO, that doesn’t work.

Well, no, it doesn’t if your definition of results are based purely around rankings, but once you shift over to revenue focused, SEO rankings matter much less, and it’s more about the compounding effect of return on investment. And your ability to calculate and forecast with confidence around outcomes, that comes with spending more time in one industry operating as a specialist in your chosen niche.

Okay, guys, that’s it for today. I’d like to hear your thoughts. I want to finish this up by saying, have a think about your offer. What can you do? Look at your existing offer and ask yourself, if I had to grade this out of 10, 10 being absolutely fantastic and 1 being, ugh awful, where would I grade this? Now, if you’re at a 4 or a 5, then you probably should take the time to think about improving your offer. You want to get it up to an 8, 9, or a 10 if possible, and become the obvious choice. Bypass all of this nonsense around maybe, let me think about it, too expensive, no, you want to get straight to, hey, we have to work together. This is too good to pass up. That’s where you want to be.

Okay, guys, thanks for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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