Today we pick back up with the second installment of focusing on helpful questions to ask a prospect in the SEO sales process. Check out our first installment here for the first three questions. Without further ado, let’s hop right in to three more zingers!
- A budget can be difficult to determine for this type of service. How did you come up with yours for this project?
Before you jump down my throat for bringing up budget, please notice that this question does not ask the prospect to actually share his or her budget figure. Rather, it is trying to get at the prospect’s reasoning for selecting a specific budget and, perhaps, it uncovers the prospect’s pricing expectations. I have found that the answers to this question can go in many directions. Some of my prospects who have had SEO services performed before say, “I was paying X before, and I don’t want to pay any more than that.” Others who are fiscally conscious will answer some variation of: “I have set aside X for my marketing spend and Y% of that is going towards SEO each month.” Finally, I find that perhaps the most popular answer is “I have no idea what my budget is for SEO as I have no category for what it costs.” Whatever the answer to this question, you are bound to walk away with new info that will: A) Help you shape a solution for your prospect and B) allow you to empathize with the prospect’s constraints and overall marketing strategy.
- In what kind of time frame are you expecting to see successful results for this campaign?
Unlike the previous question, this is a fairly straightforward one that bears real fruit for the SEO salesperson. If you read my previous post, you will already have figured out that this question is best when it is paired with the first question we covered that helped the prospect to express what he or she considered success to look like for their SEO campaign. If your client has identified success as ranking top 3 for all keywords targeted in 1 month, you know that you are seriously going to have manage his or her expectations! More likely, just like the budget question, many prospects don’t know what to expect or when to expect it from an SEO campaign. Though you can’t peer in a crystal ball and tell them what their rankings will be exactly in 6 months, you can emphasize the long term nature of an SEO investment and encourage the prospect to determine some realistic benchmarks and milestones to be set for the campaign.
- Can you share with me your basic understanding of what SEO is?
This one is simple and an oldie, but a goodie. However, care must be taken in placing this question in the conversation as improper use may lead to an agitated prospect. While it may seem to be common sense to ask this question early in the prospecting phone call, that actually may not be the best idea. Here’s my reasoning: Suppose your prospect knows as much about SEO as you do, he or she just doesn’t have the time to undertake and implement a strategy. You ask this question to soon before you have had a few chances to gauge the prospect’s knowledge, and you sound like a third grader interviewing his mother for a report on Mommy’s job. The fact of the matter is that this is more of a secondary question to be used in a specific situation. The situation to use this question in is when you think your prospect has a misunderstanding of what SEO is. Notice, I didn’t say to use it if you think your prospect has no understanding of SEO as that will make him or her likely feel kind of stupid. No, you use it when Glenda is confusing paid ads with SEO or Mike thinks that SEO is a simple use of meta keywords and that’s all. Using this question delicately and not stuffing your answer to it back in the prospect’s face will help you clear up a potentially crippling future miscommunication.
That brings us to the end of this series on great questions to ask an SEO prospect. My hope is that you can use these to help your selling mature or to help you in knowing the answers to these if you are looking for a campaign. If you know any great questions that would help, please leave them in the comments below for all of us to benefit from!