Hey, agency representatives: What is the biggest mistake you can make when pitching clients?
Hands down, the biggest trap people fall into is not doing enough research.
It’s tempting to think research starts after you’ve won a contract and that the sales process can focus solely on your offering. Your competition likely believes that. After all, it’s how it’s been done for many years. However, it’s only the best route to take if your goal is to blend with the crowd.
If you’re interested in standing out and leaving a lasting impression, then read on.
An Effective Pitch to a Good Client is Like a Good Blog Post
Successful pitches to potential clients are structured like unforgettable blog posts. Can you remember the last one that was truly unforgettable? Your potential client probably feels the same about pitches and presentations.
Think about the last time you researched a new product or service. Which article do you remember the most? Likely the post that answered all your questions, provided background, and gave you a detailed list of actionable steps to take. Not just broad concepts that make perfect sense when you read them, but leave you at a loss when it’s time to implement. Something unforgettable makes it memorable. And a memorable experience creates a brand connection.
Successful pitches work in the same way. They outline the objective, a roadmap of steps and deliverables to match. Developing a pitch with this detail takes time, effort and research. So the last thing you want do is miss out on making it a memorable experience that creates a brand connection.
How to Use SEMrush Reports to Close a Sale
I run a digital strategy agency with a consistent close rate of 95%. We accomplish this by having a differentiated sales process, which includes 3 key reports from SEMrush. Whether the client has asked for this information or not, we include them. Every time.
The SEMrush reports help show our clients where their sites are leaking traffic and potentially profit which then shifts the conversation into how to build a strong foundation. Our intention is purely to inform and educate. SEO is confusing to most business owners and we enjoy demystifying it for them. We’ve even gone as far to show prospects how to manage the changes on their own and maintain strong site health. However, this work invariably gets rolled into the larger contract.
In addition to your regular research, run these 3 reports and include them as add-ons for discussion. Presented with your ideas, the reports give you a competitive edge over the other agencies by showcasing you as an authority figure.
- Report on site health score
- Report on organic keyword ranking
- Comparisons with the competition
Report on health score
How to do it:
1. Go to SEMrush.com and choose Projects from the left menu. Then click Add New Project in the upper right hand corner.
Add a project in SEMrush
2. Create a new project by inserting the domain and the project name. Click Save. On the next screen choose the blue Setup button under Site Audit. Choose the number of pages you want crawled and click Start Site Audit.
Create project using domain name
3. Once the report has run, click the blue percentage number under Health Score to see the overall score with errors, warnings, and notices.
SEMrush Health Score
Important: Presenting only this cover page to the client is a little like fear based selling. Many business owners are already confused by the tech side. This step alone won’t help them feel in control of the beast.
4. Click to open each section for errors, warnings, and notices and export each for a download. Highlight which areas are most important of your potential client to urgently pay attention to followed by a second list of areas to look at as they have time and budget.
SEMrush: Health score breakdown
Report on organic keyword ranking
How to do it:
1. Head up to the top field next to the search button and add their domain in. Make sure you have the right country chosen below.
SEMrush: Organic keyword ranking
2. Click search and scroll down to Top Organic Keywords. Choose full report and sort by the up arrow in “Pos.” This is one of my favorite reports. It’s a quick and satisfying way to see the fruits of your labor.
SEMrush: Organic keyword ranking by position
I like to export and format the report into two sheets on a spreadsheet, one that lists the keywords by position and another by URL. Both provide useful ideas for further optimizing the site or blog post topics.
I’ve realized over the years that most clients don’t know how Google chooses to index a page, how many keywords it may index from a single post and how much traffic certain terms can drive to a site. When you show a business owner where their site stands, you’re offering such valuable information.
Arrive at your meeting with detailed knowledge on their competitors
Running both reports on two or three competitors usually starts an interesting conversation. It will show keyword opportunities, but more importantly offers context to the two reports you ran for your prospect's site.
Our main focus is not SEO, but we learned early on that taking the mystery out of SEO helps in two ways. First, it empowers clients to make the best decisions for their digital growth. Second, it helps them understand the background work you do before making each decision when improving their site health.
The key for this to work for you as effectively as it has for us is to offer it with no strings attached. If your approach is pure with built in time to educate, it will pay dividends. And it always feels good to give something back.
Here’s another tip: Be specific, particularly with deliverables. Think granular. Even when it seems obvious to you, articulate each deliverable and how the results justify the effort.
What do you think about this approach for differentiating your sales strategy? Share your tips with us in the comments!