If you’ve been selling SEO services for some time, then I’m sure you already know how important it is to engage prospects during a sales pitch.
You know that to convince them to hire you you need to get them to trust you and believe you can provide value for their business with search engine optimization.
And you know that the best way to do it is by showing them an SEO sales presentation to help demonstrate what you can do for them.
What you probably don’t know, though, is that just talking about the benefits of SEO or your company won’t keep prospects at the edge of their seat.
Nor will it make them instantly reach for the checkbook—luckily, this problem can be overcome. And in this post, I’ll show you five hacks that will transform your sales presentations, and your agency.
So, let’s get started.
Hack #1. Change the Focus from You to Them
The first tip is a very common misconception—since you’re pitching your services, then it’s only logical that the presentation should focus on your agency, your achievements and results.
Unfortunately, these are exactly the things your prospect doesn’t care about!
If you want to convince a prospect to hire your agency and position your SEO services as the only solution they need to overcome their problem, then the last thing you should be talking about is you.
Let’s face it…your cumulative years of experience, awards, or breakthrough work you did for some company years ago mean nothing to them. Your prospects want you to tell them only one thing:how you can help their business.
That’s the fundamental question you should focus on in your presentation. To answer it, your sales deck should communicate four key things:
Identify their target audience and their problem
Communicate that you understand their unique business challenges
Demonstrate how SEO can help solve these challenges
Back up your claims with case studies
Let's break each of these down in a bit more detail.
Identify their target audience and their problem.
Start your presentation by mentioning the audience’s hopes, fears, and pain points. The best way to do it is by asking them questions that relate to the above.
Because questions grab our attention. Our brains are naturally wired to notice and respond to questions. No matter how distracted your prospect might be during the sales presentation, seeing a question on the screen will automatically bring their focus to it.
For example, Mark Johnstone, who used to work as an SEO consultant at Distilled, includes just a single question on the first two slides of his presentation.
I only include a screenshot of the first slide below but do check the entire slide deck. It’s a great example of how to open it by referencing a prospect’s pain points and create engagement.
Communicate that you understand their unique business challenges
In the next couple of slides, show proof that you understand the prospect’s situation. This could be some data, statistic or an example that’s relevant to their business challenges. For example, Slides That Rock uses several slides to highlight typical mistakes companies make while pitching to their clients.
Show prospects how SEO can help solve their challenges
You’ve outlined that you understand your prospect’s problem. So now, show that what you offer (i.e. SEO services, or whatever else you’re pitching) can help them overcome the problem, or at least improve their current situation.
Back up your claims with case studies
Finally, you want to prove to your prospect that whatever you've claimed is actually true with testimonials and that the solution you’re suggesting really works.
The best way to do this is by offering a case study, statitics, and data to prove your point. For more great insight into shifting the focus from you to them, check out this fantastic presentation by Slides That Rock.
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Hack #2. Let Visuals Do Most of the Talking
You have so much to say to a prospect, and you want to make sure that they remember it. So you pack each slide with bullet points, facts, graphs, and other data. And potentially end up with something like Seth Godin describes as the "worst powerpoint slide ever used by a CEO":
Here’s the trick—you stand a far greater chance of potential clients remembering your message if you use visuals to communicate it, rather than words. Sure, bullet points make content easy to scan. But they don’t connect with a prospect on the emotional level. They’re also just plain boring. Full stop.
However, visuals like images, photos or graphics can evoke an emotional response far better than text and can often communicate more complex information.
One reason for that is that our brains process visuals much faster than text. For example, we can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Also, it only takes us 150ms for a symbol to be processed and 100ms to attach meaning to it. We’re more used to visual communication too. Almost 50% of human brain’s activity is involved in visual processing. (see the full infographic here)
When putting together your presentation, include images that might spark an emotional response from a prospect along with no more than one or two lines of text. For example, an image showing the results of an SEO site audit can be very impactful, particular if the score is well below average.
Hack #3. Use Stories to Build an Emotional Connection
You can construct your presentation in one of the two ways: List all the facts and data in order, and let the prospect make the sense of it.
Or...you can convert the facts into a story to which they could relate. After all, stories are the best way to teach, engage, and persuade.
What’s more, a team of scientists at Princeton University has proved that stories bring people together. The team conducted MRI scans of a woman telling a story, recording her brain activity as she was sharing the story. Then they got a group of people to listen to the recording of the woman’s story while having their brains scanned as well. And no surprise, the participants’ brains showed the same activity as the woman’s as she was telling the story. When her insula, a brain region responsible for emotions, became active, so did theirs. When her frontal cortex sprang into action, so did the participants’.
This means that when telling a story, you can transfer your experiences directly into the minds of your listeners, and plant ideas or emotions into their brains.
The point is, constructing your SEO sales pitch as a story will help you connect with the prospect on an emotional level. And as you know: we typically buy based on emotions, and only later do we add logic to the decision.
Hack #4. Overcome Their Objections with More Objections
This may not make sense at first, but let me explain.
You know that identifying your prospects’ sales objections and overcoming them in your pitch may actually win you the sale. You know that as the prospect sits there listening to you, they often try to find reasons why they shouldn’t hire you.
These objections might be as simple as the good, old “your services are too expensive”, or they may be more complex, like “your service is too difficult to manage, I don’t think we need something as complex.”
It’s how you handle these objections that might make or break the sale for you.
A common method to do manage objections is by offering strong enough proof to convince a prospect that their objections are in fact unreasonable.
But there is another way.
One way you can do this is to turn the tables around and get them to question their current situation. For example, if your prospect’s been implementing a basic SEO strategy in-house, utilizing their limited resources, you could pinpoint potential risks and downsides to this approach. Or, if they haven’t been doing any SEO at all as they saw no reason to do so, outline how their inaction will result in their business being left behind sometime in the near future.
In short, get them to come up with objections to their current situation instead of hiring you.
Hack #5. Show Prospects an Example of Your SEO Reports
One of the best ways to close a sale is not to show prospects the benefits of SEO, but rather what the final results might look like in your pitch deck.
We mentioned using case studies to do this earlier, but instead of showing prospects the same old PowerPoint they've seen a million times, another way you can do this is by showing them exactly what their SEO reports would look like.
Of course, you'll need to anonymize some of the data if you're using an existing client's report, but to give you an example let's look at a few examples of what's included in our prebuilt SEO report template:
SEO Report Summary
Often, clients care less about the technical details of our digital marketing campaign, and they just want a high-level overview of the results. An SEO report summary is the best way to do this, as you can explain in plain English exactly what your goals, KPIs, and progress were that month:
Traffic Overview by Channel
Next, you can show prospects the different traffic channels that you can target for their campaign. In the image below, you can see that the breakdown of each channel is very intuitive and any client, regardless of their techincal expertise, can understand:
Conversions via Organic Traffic
Coming back to the point of understanding your prospect's unique business challenges, one of the best ways to do this is by identifying what conversions matter most for them. For some businesses they care about phone calls, others it may be email leads—whatever the case may be, showing prospects an example of conversions from organic traffic is a great way to demonstrate that you're focused on their bottom line:
Finally, similar to understanding your prospects most valuable conversions, doing keyword research to understand what their audience is searching for on Google is a great way to show prospects that you did your homework and understand their market. You can then run those keywords through the Keyword Rank Tracker tool to show your potential client exactly where they currently stand in the rankings race:
These are just a few examples of important sections that you can show to a prospect to demonstrate your expertise. If you want to really impress prospects, you can show them a live SEO dashboard during the sales presentation:
What do you think?
Do you use presentations in your sales strategy? What are your experiences? And do you think these 5 hacks will help you achieve even better results?