Providing search engine optimization (SEO) services locally can be a very lucrative and rewarding job, but gaining new clients can also be quite a challenge, especially as you are just starting up. This is especially true when you are cold calling or walking into businesses blindly hoping to get their business. The first thing here is often an education component that you need to provide- you really need to create that value proposition for your business and your services and sell it in terms of why it is good for THEIR business or company.
There are often great information asymmetries and you will often find that potential clients have very little to no understanding of the web and how search engines actually work. Coupled with this, they may also not completely grasp the power of ranking well and getting organic traffic to their website. These are points for which you should really try to fill the evidence gaps. Usually, they will have only heard buzzwords if anything and you have to make sure that they understand realistically what can be and should be done
Your pitch is everything once you have your foot in the door. Practice it a hundred times and practice it again because it can literally make or break your business. A strong pitch can make even the ficklest of clients open-minded and open to your ideas.
The first thing that you need to master are the facts. If you do not know what you are talking about it will be clear as day. You have to have a smooth pitch in which you show confidence and understanding. Filler words like “um” and “like” have the opposite impact so you need to practice avoiding them. Furthermore, you should have an evidence-based presentation with data to back up any claims you make. You should also do some scenario planning for potential questions you might get and be prepared to answer those with any data you may have. Facts matter and people recognize that.
Beyond being confident and understanding the space (including competition, needs, gaps, etc.), it is important that you understand the particular client you are going to speak to. Now you will never have all of their information from the get-go, but you should do you due diligence and try to estimate what their needs are to the best of your abilities. Once you start your discussions, do not be afraid to ask for more information or ask if your assumptions about their business are correct. The more relevant and focused the presentation is to their business, the more effective it can be. To do your background before you go in, use tools like MozLocal Listing, SEMrush, and other local listing vendors to see how your potential client currently fares and who their major competition might be. From there try to cater a presentation which hits on the primary points of your findings and helps them improve relative to their competition. Local SEO can be a tough sell, but once you show that you can help them gain customers over their competition, they will be on board.