Approaching a potential client is always a little nerve-wracking. You know you have the knowledge and expertise to help them, but how do you convince them of that? What can you say or do that will help them see that they need your services?
When it comes to digital marketing, one of the best things you can do is to audit their website and present them with your findings.
Why Do an Audit?
Let’s talk for a minute about the benefits of approaching a potential client with a web audit. Conventional wisdom says that you should have one sales pitch – the same thing you use for every potential client. You point out your strengths and talk about how those strengths can be useful to your prospect. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Effective sales pitches have to be targeted to the correct part of the brain if you want them to work. The human brain is divided into three parts. The first, and oldest, is the reptile brain. This is the area of the brain that handles the primitive “fight or flight” response, and when it’s in charge, nothing else matters. You may be tempted to present a logical sales pitch, but logic isn’t going to get through to the reptile brain. It’s ruled by fear, and a good salesperson knows how play to that.
When you present a new client with a site audit, you are targeting their fears by pointing out the ways in which their website is falling short. No website is perfect, and SEO is a constantly-evolving science. Your prospect hasn’t come to you because they think everything on their website is as good as it can be. They have come to you because they know it’s not. That’s an important distinction, and one you can use to your advantage.
Tips for Conducting Your Pre-Sale Audit
It is important to make your client feel that you can help them, but you don’t want to overdo it in terms of fear, either. The goal is to point out the ways in which their website is underperforming – and the best way to do that is to do a side-by-side comparison of their website with a competitor’s. To be valuable, your audit doesn’t even need to be of their entire site. In fact, it can be very effective to choose a single page to audit, and then contrast it with the competition. For example:
- Review the potential client’s website and choose an important page – one they have clearly tried to optimize for a competitive keyword.
- Analyze the content, tags, backlinks, and images and make a note of areas that could be improved.
- Do a Google search for the keyword in question and identify a top competitor – one whose page for the same keyword has a significantly higher ranking than your prospect.
- Audit their page and put together a side-by-side comparison. For example, if your prospect has not optimized their images for search and their competitor has, you can point that out.
The goal of a quick audit like this one is to prove your value to a potential client. It is one thing to watch a presentation about SEO in general and how you can help them, and another thing entirely to get a concrete presentation showing specific things they can do to improve their search ranking.
How to Present the Results of Your Audit?
After you have completed your audit, it’s time to present it to your prospect. Remember, the goal is to make a very quick impression on a potential client. They should be able to see, immediately, the concrete benefits of engaging your services.
One of the most effective things you can do in your presentation is to walk your client through the audit process. Explain to them that what you have done is just a taste of what you can do for them if they hire you, and then give them the details on what you found. You may have to weave in some SEO basics if you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t understand how it works.
To instill fear, you might begin by showing them a screenshot of where they sit in Google’s search rankings – and then show them where their competitor is. This tactic gives them a powerful visual image showing their company lagging behind the competition.
From there, you should walk them through everything you audited, contrasting what they’re doing – and the results it is getting – with what their competition is doing. If your audit of the competitor’s site revealed areas where they could do better, make sure to disclose that too. It’s a way of saying, “Not only can I help you do as well as your competition, I can help you do better.” That’s a powerful statement to make, and one that can have a huge impact.
The point of presenting the audit this way is that it does the following:
- Engages the client’s fear by reminding them how far behind the competition they are
- Gives them a concrete explanation for their lackluster performance
- Promises an easy solution if they hire you to help them
The promise of a solution is key because it relieves the fear that the client is feeling and makes it possible for them to hear the information you present at the end. The finale of your presentation is the best time to present things like fees, contract specifics, and other logistical items. Presenting them earlier, before you have given them a solution for their problem, is not helpful.
Winning over a new client isn’t easy, but when you have the right tools it’s not hard, either. When you approach a prospect with a website audit, you’re giving them an easy-to-understand, concrete example of what you can do to help them. In the end, that’s a lot harder to resist than abstract information about your expertise and services because it speaks directly to their pain.
About the Author – This guest article is a work of Sameer Panjwani, Founder & CEO, Mondovo, an ultimate suite of SEO, Social Media and Analytics tools for getting results that matter.