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Old 07-22-2005   #1
MarZ
clicks to sales--worldwide!
 
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How to get hired, for a change

There are plenty of white papers, posts, blog entries, etc. on how to select an SEO firm, how to avoid certain types of companies, who to work with, what signs to look for and steer clear of when contracting an SEO/SEM company, freelancer, etc.

What about if we flip the coin.

Lets talk about what strategies everyone (and that's an invitation) has to GET hired.

--What do you do to catch the client's attention?
--What do you do to court him?
--How long are you willing to court the client until you know you are losing money?

By this I mean getting contracted by a client, not an agency. The agency question will be a whole other thread.

Lets be honest, its getting crowded, although it depends where we are. But we certainly have a reputation for helping each other. Why not see if what you're trying is the same or different from other company's or individual's strategies? I'm sure a lot of us have been burned by clients. And surely we've changed our ways, figuring out what's profitable, what's effective, etc.
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Old 07-22-2005   #2
randfish
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I think the 2 biggest things are:

1) Don't chase the client, let them come to you - trying to sell someone on SEO who doesn't recognize its value is tough, and there's plenty of companies out there who know they need to be competing in the SERPs - go to them first.

2) Use honesty to sell them - Be forward about every step you're going to take, explain the basics of kw research, targeting, info architecture, design, usability, tracking and conversions and make them so comfortable with your skill and overwhelmed by information that they're ready to leave it all up to you. No one can do a good job when the client is watching over their shoulder.
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Old 07-22-2005   #3
MarZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randfish
Be forward about every step you're going to take, explain the basics of kw research, targeting, info architecture, design, usability, tracking and conversions and make them so comfortable with your skill and overwhelmed by information that they're ready to leave it all up to you. No one can do a good job when the client is watching over their shoulder.
I absolutely agree with you. I've seen first hand that being completely transparent and even educating your client can really go a long way. They like to know what the hell is going on and what we're doing.

But at the same time, what you've said reminds me of a number of incidents where I've done just that, pouring a lot of heart and effort into it, only to find that I've spent COUNTLESS hours on it, and the client has taken my hours, packed them up and taken everything he needs to know to another company, told them exactly what he needs done in neatly presented outlined proposal+analysis form, leaving you with your completely redfaced and your jaw hanging.

So the question is, how far do you go? How much do you give before the client gives back? When do you stop?
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Old 07-22-2005   #4
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I think you guys have highlighted one key aspect of the psychology here -- why you shouldn't pursue clients too hard with sales efforts. Not just psychology, though... but knowing this, you then need to know *what else* it is you should be doing to generate leads that don't require endless persuasion to land a client.

We all know that someone who is positioned as an authority or leader in their area (Eric Ward, say) will get a lot of referrals from related experts who need to be able to recommend someone good in a certain area.

So I think a big part of marketing your service today is through networking, B2B partnership wangling, and other means of going through trusted channels.

There are so many smart experts out there today teaching us that the game of "sales" has changed radically (just do a search for "why cold calling doesn't work" on Google)... I think folks should listen to them.

Obviously one of the things you can do that is not a cold call or a hard sales pitch is to write something or to get a speaking gig somewhere. Of course this can be chicken-and-egg. But it doesn't make it any less important.

Most of those who have no trouble getting clients either have (a) great contacts and referrals; or (b) have a knack for communicating, done over a sustained period of time in newsletters, articles, forum moderation, speaking, etc. I don't think you'd have to have both in place to succeed, but you would want at least one of the two.
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Old 07-22-2005   #5
Jill Whalen
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Yep, what Andrew and Rand said.

Also, you have to actually BE very good at what you do, not just talk about how good you are.

If you are good, your services will sell themselves and people will be beating down your door. Your current clients will be your best evangalizers.
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