What’s the best way to close your next deal with a promising potential client? It’s simple: know the most common questions you’ll be asked, and have excellent answers, examples, and materials prepared in advance.
We’ve compiled the top 10 questions our customers are frequently asked by potential clients, and laid out how to answer them to ensure your agency absolutely nails its next sales meeting.
1. What value will your agency provide? What kind of results can you guarantee?
First off, a good SEO agency will never, ever guarantee any specific results within any specific timeframe. The world of SEO is constantly changing, and your clients need to understand that what works today may not work as well down the road. Setting your client’s expectations is absolutely vital, even in the early stages of the relationship.
But, explaining your agency’s value and what you hope to achieve for your client is the first step in gaining a client’s trust. Cater your response based on the specific goals you’ve discussed with the potential client, and show that you’re invested in their success by asking good questions about their company and industry. No two clients are the same – one may care more about rankings, while another wants links from other websites. Listening intensely before answering these questions and getting a feel for the style and tone of the person will help you best cater your response.
2. What is your SEO philosophy ? What specific strategies will you implement, and what tools do you use?
Having a very clear and up-to-date elevator speech for how your agency approaches SEO is vital. Some clients may be misinformed and still clinging to blackhat SEO and outdated tactics, and it’s your job to convince them that your approach is correct. Speak authoritatively, and back your responses up with data and research when possible.
Or, they’ve heard the same spiel from other agencies, and adding in your agency’s unique personality and brand persona is what will seal the deal. Don’t be afraid to show some personality and approach the meeting conversationally and creatively to set your agency apart. If you have in-house tools or products you use, highlight your ingenuity and the exclusiveness of using them on your potential client’s account.
3. Will you create custom content as part of your link building strategy?
Even if your agency won’t be creating content in-house, it’s important that you relay your viewpoint and expertise on the subject. As you probably know, awesome custom content is the best way to generate high-quality links back to your client’s website and boost their overall authority in the eyes of search engines, and clients who have done their research will know this. Often this question helps weed out those SEO agencies that still employ outdated tactics and guarantee quick and numerous links.
What’s more, having examples of custom content you’ve created for other clients in the past is likely to make you stand out. Because people are visual thinkers, they’ll be much more likely to remember an interesting infographic example than any good point you make verbally during the meeting. Be sure to present a range of content examples to get the client excited about the potential opportunities to amplify their brand – really good content examples where the client understand’s it’s purpose and results have the potential to energize the room and leave your client motivated to sign a contract.
4. How will you measure success, and what kind of reporting can I expect?
Hopefully you have metrics in mind based on the conversation so far that you can discuss when asked this question, and a standard reporting process in place. Having a sample report as a visual or take-home material can go a long way in building credibility with the potential client, and be prepared to propose a reporting schedule and stick to it if the client signs on.
Talk to the client about what they’ve measured in the past to get a feel for their knowledge level and expectations. Showcase your analytics expertise by discussing Google Analytics and what goals you’d recommend setting up.
5. How will you keep me in the loop on your progress?
Again, this question is best answered on a client to client basis. Agencies know that some clients require more attention than others, and you can start to get a sense of this during this sales meeting. Propose a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly ROI call, and then simply ask them if that works for them. Clients want to be reassured that you’re available and reliable, so it’s important to be upfront about a meeting schedule that works for both parties.
6. Do you have case studies?
Definitely invest some time in creating 2 -3 (or more) robust case studies to be able to speak to this point. Case studies are great tools that can be used for lead generation and as sales tools, and can be in a written or visual format, or interactive format like video. Get creative, and showcase your agency’s greatest achievements.
A good case study clearly lays out what the client was trying to achieve, describes what you implemented to make an impact, and focuses on the results with real data. Draw out the important pieces, and avoid fluff. Be prepared to talk through a case study example during the meeting, and follow up with links to your case studies afterward.
7. Can I contact any current or past clients, or can you provide references?
It’s always a good idea to speak with your current happy clients about being a reference for your agency. If you’ve done your job and have a good relationship with a current client, they will most likely be willing to provide a positive review. Build a list of references as your agency grows so that when asked this question you can not only provide a contact, but one that might be closely aligned with your potential client’s industry and/or goals. Make it easy on your current clients who are willing to say a few good words by doing the legwork like coordinating email introductions or setting up calls to connect.
8. How will your services integrate with my other marketing initiatives?
Clients are really looking for SEO agencies to offer more integrated services as the lines between SEO, digital marketing, and online PR blur. Even if your agency doesn’t offer the full package, understanding where your services integrate and supplement any other efforts the potential client’s company is implementing starts with asking pointed questions. Use this SEO questionnaire as a guide for asking about current initiatives, and be prepared to show your knowledge of other marketing tactics even it’s not your wheelhouse.
9. Who will I be working with on a day to day basis?
Highlighting your team members is an excellent way to make your agency stand out. At the end of the day, people know that they’re working with other people, and personalities have a large role to play. Instill confidence in the potential client by discussing your team’s backgrounds, what they’re like, and how they approach problems and solutions. If possible, have your strategist or account manager drop in to say hello – being personable goes a long way and the extra effort to make introductions will be memorable.
10. How do you price your services?
Ah, the elephant in the room. At the end of the day, every meeting with a potential client will boil down to the question of cost, and the formula is different for every agency. For small businesses especially, many SEO agencies seem the same in terms of what they can provide, and a lot of the final decision comes down to cost. Even larger or marquee clients with big budgets aren’t likely to hand over their business without a solid understanding of the return.
However, here are a few general tips for handling this question with tact:
- Ask what their budget is upfront. There’s no point in skirting around the question at this point. Not asking this question can be the biggest pricing mistake your agency makes.
- Describe what you’re able to achieve with different budget ranges. This way, the potential client will see that they’re getting what they pay for.
What other questions have you fielded during interviews with potential clients? What’s your agency’s recipe for success? Tell us in the comments!