Early today, I was having a conversation with a client. After giving him my usual talk about what we can do, our services, and what the ranking benefits can be to him, he got a little quiet. This was a big client and I was dealing with several members of the company trying to get them to close on the services. I started grasping at straws, fumbling back to my usual script to engage him. Right after I felt him slipping more, that’s when it hit me. He had no idea what SEO was and what benefits that it could give his company. After stating that I was sorry and did he have any questions as far as what I was going to do for him that’s when he stated what I already knew: “I’m sorry, but I really have no idea what SEO is. I’m just following up with you because I was told to.”
We’ve all been there. Be it perhaps when we were sitting at a bank trying to get a mortgage or possibly when we called up our insurance agent. They start talking to you about what your priorities need to be in order to get what you need. Then they start using acronyms and words that you have no idea what they mean. So you try to keep up using context clues in the rest of the sentence. But it’s too late, as the speaker starts to go on and on about the topic that they are an expert in but you are already lost. Not wanting to lose face and wanting to be seen as the smart person you are, the questions that you have get lost as you try to keep up with what they are saying.
There is a lingo that goes with whatever profession that you are dealing with and too many times, those individuals seem to be talking in code. Those of us in the SEO world are certainly guilty of it just like any other profession. As so often when we get asked what we do, we are at a loss of words because outside SEO, really what we do to so many people is a mystery. Speaking in our technical languages and our own acronyms we can lose people as we try to explain to them the benefits of using our services.
While not in a negative way, this can lead our clients and potential clients feeling like we were talking over their head or trying to pull something over on them because we were talking in what seems to be a code. That poor client that I was talking to had no idea what I was doing and why he was talking to me. For traditional marketing media, it’s a very easy to understand idea. For what SEO is, to many people it’s a confusing mess that makes no sense.
A lot of people are blind to the benefits of technology in general so trying to explain to them why website rankings are going to get them sales doesn’t seem to make sense. After all, to them they have a website so what else is needed? It is important to explain the fundamentals of what it is that we do. Whether that means bringing examples or showing them the actual results of what you have done, it is necessary to bridge over that gap. These aren’t stupid people that you are trying to sell your services on but they need to get just as excited as you about the benefits of it. Using lingo and talking fast makes it seem like what we do is just another way to get their money and it can in itself be intimidating.
After i had apologised to the client, I was able to talk my way back in by breaking down the fundamentals. To his credit, even though I was completely going over his head originally, he was completely willing to listen to what I had to say. In fact, not only did I make that sale but I was able to explain to him why there was such a necessity to remake their website into something more responsive.
Don’t over talk what it is to be in SEO. This is a new and exciting frontier in marketing but not everyone understands why it is important to remain competitive in the online market. Slowing down, explaining what it is that you can do in simple terms, and really listening to sense whether or not there was an understanding will lead to long term and satisfied customers.