Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Quickly Generate Lots Of SEO/SMM Clients

The story of how I went from struggling and broke to highly paid consultant ... and how you can too

If you want to get more business for your SEO/SMM consulting practice then what I’m about to share with you can revolutionize how much you’re making and how easily you do it.

It is my hope that you'll avoid the mistakes I made (I explain the pitfalls) as well as gain an ability to more quickly experience success though the 4 simple steps I now use to gain top paying clients with less effort (my clients now have to explain to me why I should accept them).

Read on for the full story...

You see for a very long time I struggled to actually build a practice.  I did all the “usual things” like advertise, attempt to network at various events, and even a little article distribution and the like here and there.  While I did get a few clients, it was frustrating to me that I was helping them to make a lot of money while they often acted like they were doing me a favor to pay me the $100 or $200 per month I charged.

I was working insanely long hours to have customers I ultimately hated, and a family that neither understood what I did nor did they like how long I spent doing it for the small amount I made.

It was a struggle for me and my family, and it was horrible.

To understand what happened, it’s important to know why it is that I struggled to get clients.

1) Focus on SEO that was incorrect

I did reasonably okay with my own SEO efforts.  I ranked well for local searches on SEO and even got some traffic from the various search engines for the phrases.

What I didn't understand however is that the only people who even know what "SEO" is are other people offering those services.  In other words I was doing a good job of teaching my competition how to beat me while not reaching my target audience at all.

Regular business people do not look for things like "SEO" or "search engine optimization" or other such phrases.  Only those of us "in the business" look for things like that.

My point is that the reason for struggling was that I wasn't ranking for phrases that my customers actually searched for.  By the time they knew things like "SEO" they were already the client of someone else.

2) I charged far too little to do far too much

This was probably the second largest mistake that I made, and it's why I talk about charging more so often.  You can solve an awfully large number of problems by taking better clients that pay you more.  I've said this before, but your clients will place a value on your services directly depending on how much you cost them.

If you are just some little nothing of a cost to them, then you are a little nothing of value.  It becomes easy at that point to waste your time because you've proven to them that your time has no value.

Further, even if I was able to prove that I was bringing in millions of dollars worth of new business; to my clients I had little to do with it because I had little value.  So when I did prove to them how much I was helping them, in an effort to raise my prices some, they would get furious and stop doing business with me all together.

3) I took any and every client that came along

This was easily my biggest mistake.  Even when I knew a client was going to be a jerk, treat me like crap, try and not pay me while they demanded far more of time than what they paid me deserved, I still took that client.  This was mostly because I was broke and struggling and I needed the money they were going to pay up front.

The end result however was that because of the time they sucked (sometimes hours a day for only $100 per month) on top of how poorly they treated me, it continued the cycle of being broke and frustrated in a way that was only compounded by charging to little.

How That All Turned Around And Struggle Became Success

A few years back I had just gotten off the phone where I had been trying to get a client that I had worked very hard for over the previous year to pay me more to renew the agreement with me.  When I started working with this particular client his chiropractic practice was in a small hole in the wall office in a bad part of the city he lived in, he was the only "doctor" and he barely made enough to pay the one assistant that he had.

Following my advice, over the year I worked with him he dominated searches in his area, his practice boomed, he hired other people to work in his office, and after the first year of working with me he was doing over 1.5 million per month just from the people that came off of the internet stuff I was doing for him, and I could prove it.

I could prove the massive benefit I brought him but he still saw little value in my services.  He said that I wasn't "the expert in the field," and he wanted to transfer to working with someone more of an expert now that he could afford to pay more.

He told me that he had already signed with a larger firm, ran by a recognized expert and wanted to stop working with me when the year contract was up.  The receptionist had grown to become a friend of mine and she told me that he was going to be paying that other firm $10,000 up front plus an additional $2,500 per month. Understand that he was only paying me $200 per month and all I was asking for was an increase to just $500 per month to renew the agreement for another year.

That was when I realized I had to do something different.  I spent some time talking with my wife and we completely revamped how I was going to get new clients, what I would charge, what clients I would and would accept, and so on.  I was given one month to turn things around, or I'd have to "get a real job" which was something that I really did not want to do.

Fast forward to today and I am now easily the highest paid consultant of my type making four times more per client than my next closest competitor.  That happened in a period of only about two months, and this is how I did it.

1) I Immediately dropped every client that didn't immediately see my value and pay me much more

To do this I emailed every client (I was doing this anyway but they got an extra report) with the exact results of their traffic and rankings before I started working with them compared to what they were now.  Where I could (which was most of the time) I gave information on the number of calls being generated from my activities, number of sales I was instrumental in generating, and so on.

I then proceeded to tell every one of my clients that effective immediately all contracts were terminated, my work on their behalf was going to stop, all websites I had created would be shut down, all accounts at any services closed, and so on.  I showed each client exactly how much traffic and business that likely involved.

I called up each client and told them that I would rather keep them, but instead of a flat fee, I wanted 25% of what I helped them to make instead.

I would negotiate down to 20% and nothing less.  Anyone that said no (and nearly all of them did) I dropped and did exactly what I promised.

I think at the end of it I had like three clients left.  However, the very first month after I implemented this I made nearly ten times more what I had made the previous month, and like I said, that was from only three clients.

2) Stop "networking" and start building authority

I immediately stopped going to various and sundry meetings for the purpose of "networking" with other businesses and trying to get clients that way.  To them I was then yet another "sales person" trying to drum up business.  As a result, people were mentally building up barriers when ever we talked.  I know this because I did the same thing.

I would go to events if I could speak at them, but not if I was just going to be another of the "rabble".

I essentially immediately began to put myself out there as an authority and only as an authority.  If I couldn't be put into that kind of position, then I wouldn't go.  I scheduled extra seminars through any and every organization that I was a part of.  I also began doing webinars and teleseminars for organizations outside of where I lived.

I demonstrated at every chance the results I got for my clients and what I did to get those results.  In other words, I would freely and without reservation tell anyone what they should do if they wanted more business (not how to do it, only what to do).  Every time I explained a technique, I would explain how that would generate more clients and more business and then ask, "do you see how getting clients that way will help your business?"

It was a question meant to reinforce that I was the authority they should be looking to.  I explain this technique fully, explaining the full presentation method and exactly why it converts so many clients at this post here.

I also turned my own sites into incredible sources of content, began guest blogging, and doing tons of other things to establish authority
note on this subject: When I started doing things this way my sites were too "corporate" with a big business feel to them and no personalities or "real people" behind them.  I'm now "branding myself" as well as putting some personality into the way things are done.  This actually makes getting business much easier.

3) Massive price increase

When I talk to other SEO/SMM business owners I often work with them on increasing their prices between 4 and 12 times their current rates (which is less than the increase I went through).  That's because most people aren't undercharging as badly as I was.  Anyway, instead of 100 or 200 per month, I began charging 20k "up front" (actually it's spread out over 4 payments) plus 25% of what I help them to make.  I don't negotiate this, I don't mess around.

The clients I work with now clearly understand my value and interestingly all of them have a much greater respect for my time and don't just waste it.

Not only that, but by charging so much I can bring services to the table that my competition can't possibly duplicate because they don't charge enough.  Sure, there are other firms out there charging 20k for a year's worth of services.  More than a few charge 60 to 75k for a year's worth of work (with that amount spread out over the course of an entire year).

My smaller clients pay me a quarter of a million per year.  Just think of all of the great things that I can do for them when they are paying me that much.

4) I don't take just anyone as a client.  A client has to prove to me they are going to be worth my time.

The presentation method that I teach instills a sense of trust and authority in me.

When I speak either to a large group, or even to a potential client on the phone, as I end the presentation I'll switch to something along the lines of "now it's up to you to prove to me that I should accept you as a client."

I am not kidding, I actually make people prove that they are going to be worthy of my time.  At this point, I don't need any more clients.  Every new client I take is time away from my family and I consider that time very precious.  In my mind it's therefore only fair for them to have to explain how they'll be worth the loss of that time.

In fact, let me give this to you as a secret.

Your Time Is Valuable! A Potential Client Should Have To Prove They Will Be Worth The Time They Take From You!

If you take nothing else away from this post, please take that away.

How I generated new clients quickly

I really sort of said how, but I slightly danced around the issue and included how I did it while talking about something else.  The bottom line is that I scheduled seminars through every chamber of commerce that I could on how a business could use social media.

Basically, I got new clients through being an authority.

I expanded on that with additional webinars and teleseminars through other organizations and groups.

There is no question that if you want to get new clients for your SEO/SMM consulting practice then the best way to do that is to be perceived as an authority.  The best way for that to happen is to give talks, trainings, and do events.

All Is Not Rosy! The Massive Growth Mistake I Made

As I shifted to being an authority, and taking on much larger clients for much larger fees, I also took on two partners to help with different areas of the business. (that is beside the mistake that I made with corporate looking sites with no "people" behind them)

Let me say that again.  I took on partners.

That ended up being a massive mistake.  If you have a consulting practice, then you run it.  If you take my advice, and that leads to your practice growing, then hire any skill gaps you want filled.

If you take on partners, and give them a piece of your business, then you lose control and they can screw you over.  If you instead hire people, then you have and maintain control and that is less likely.

In my case, I literally had to just walk away from a 10 million per year practice.

Well, over half of the clients came with me.  My two "partners" who decided to screw me, are making less now than before while I'm making more than I did with them "helping" me.  I look at it as a sort of "success is the greatest revenge" kind of thing.

However, that experience did end up turning into something good.

A friend of mine, with some pretty good SMM talents of his own, wanted to start a practice and stop working for the web design company.

So I taught him how to find and close clients.  He's now on track with his clients to hit two million this year.

I've since then I've done the same thing with several smaller SMM practices in my area and I genuinely like it.

Not only that, but as I've said before, in some ways we SEO/SMM people have a responsibility to help local businesses to do better.  That in turns spurs local economic development.  By helping local businesses, we are in turned helped.

Just remember, that you actually help your clients the most when you charge much more.  By charging more, they have a greater value for you and what you do and are much more likely to implement what you suggest to a greater degree.  Charging more is good for you and it is good for them.  It's literally a win/win as strange as that sounds however, it's very true.

If I can help you to make more, if I can show you how to get more clients, then your local economy is improved as well.  How would you like me to show you how to build your own practice to over one million?

How would you like to have clients fighting to convince you to do business with them? How would you like to not only get a much larger amount upfront, but also get paid hundreds of thousands on top of it?

I'll do a free strategy session to help you with this.  Just click on the "strategy session" link above and I'll help you with your business.

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