Module 08 – Getting clients
Okay. In this module, I want to talk about getting clients.
Now, there is a couple of things that I just want to touch on before we get into this. Firstly, for those of you that already have an established client base where you already have one or two clients then, what I’m about to cover in this particular module, may not be of much value to you. But, I still strongly recommend that you watch in. For those of you who don’t yet have clients,
I’m going to share with you the way in which I got clients. And look I’m not gonna sugarcoat this. Getting clients is not easy, I’m here to find any sure fire way of getting clients way out of the box. Getting clients takes time, just within anything with business it takes time, it takes work and it takes patience. But if you implement everything that I show you in this training course, you start setting your pricing rates at 1500 to 2000 dollars, 3000 dollars a month. Then, you’re not going be constantly scrambling for clients.
I think this is where a lot of freelances get it wrong is that they get themselves into position with absolutely desperate to get leads and get clients, and in order to get those clients, they drop their prices. Because I think if it’s too expensive I’m not getting any clients. This is definitely a common thing that I see. $200 a month for SEO, $300 a month for SEO. You’re constantly chasing new leads because the leads you’ve got are just nonsense and they drop in and out and they provide no value at all. So, having said all of that, let’s now jump into it and I will touch on a couple of things that I’ve learned about getting clients and what sort of things you can expect to encounter when you first start out.
Before we get into that though, I want to say this, it’s really really important that you know who your ideal client is. Look, this might sound like a lot of nonsense. I remember sitting down with a mentor one time and he said ” what you’ve gotta do is you’ve gotta draw a person on a piece of paper. Give them a name. You’ve gotta know what sort of business the run, what kind of staff they’ve got, what sort of money they’re making, and blah blah blah.” And I found myself doing that and I thought this is just ridiculous.
That was quite some time ago, and I think back to that now and think, you know what? There is definitely some truth to it. Knowing who your ideal client is is just as important as knowing who, like the worst client possible is as well. So you’ve gotta know what type of person you’re looking for, the nature of business that they’re operating, the sort of numbers they’re doing, whether or not they have staff, how long they’ve been in business. All of these things really matter.
I’ll be showing you my telephone run sheet in an upcoming video. But, I’m always very very mindful of this when I find myself on a call with someone, a new prospect, and they’re inquiring about my SEO services. I just know from experience if I pick up the phone and they’re selling $2 pot plans or they mow lawns then they’re not going to be a good fit.
But if I get a call from a mortgage broker, or a dentist, or someone that works in conveyancing or property, or they’re running a pest control company with 20 service vehicles and 100 staff, then they’re more likely to be a good fit, and they’re the type of client that I want to have on board. So, knowing who your ideal clients are is really important. If you’re just getting started, you don’t yet have clients, you’re probably thinking “well, how the fuck am I gonna know?” But, by the time you get through this training course you should have a pretty good idea of that. The bottom line is this: you don’t want to work with idiots, and I’m about to touch on that in just a second.
You’ve got to work with people who are doing good numbers and stable and they been in business for 10 years, 20 years. They’ve got several staff, they’re doing $200,000 dollars a month, that’s where you need to spend your time. You don’t want to deal with morons that call you and say “We want SEO for $200 a month”, What do you do? “You know, we mow lawns.” It’s just nonsense. So be mindful of that. Over time as you move through the process, know who your ideal client is gets easier.
Avoiding idiots, for whatever reason in the SEO space, and I think part of the problem with this is the fact that there’s just so much noise and misinformation in and around SEO. I get it. I can understand why some business owners are confused. I mean, let’s face it, most people are providing services don’t even know how to do SEO themselves. So, how are they going to convey what SEO is to someone who knows less than they do. I think, in addition to that, when there’re such differences in pricing, that causes a level of confusion too.
You’ve got the business side of the guys to one website and they charge 200 dollars a month and then they land on my website and I’m charging 2500 a month, so I think a lot of the problems stem from that. But, that doesn’t excuse people that are just down right morons.
I follow a set process as part of my onboarding structure. I’ve got a telephone run sheet where I ask set questions and I listen closely to the type of language that the person is using. For eg “John, I’ve been working with 20 different agencies over the past six months, and they’re all assholes!”. It’s things like that are an immediate turn off. Another eg, “You know, John, I’ve got a copy of SEMRush and I know how to do SEO”. Well mate you go and do it. Don’t waste my time. And you know, all this scramblers, they’re everywhere. John, why you so expensive? I’ve only got $300 a month to spend.
There’s just so many idiots in the SEO space. You’re best off, save your sanity and just stay right away from these people because they’ll just do your head in.
Okay now only touched on what I did in order to get my first lot of clients, and how I’ve gone from, you know, having one client, two clients ,three clients. To where I am today and we’re going to steady stream of clients. The first one that look I really, you see this this sort of advice given everywhere.
And you’ve got to get out there and network, you’ve got to, you know, iron your shit, you should drive out to you know the other side of town, stand around with people that you don’t even know handing you know, worrying bloody $20 lanyards and handing out business cards and drinking cheap coffee and eating biscuits, stale biscuits and engaging in small talk and all that sort of nonsense. I hated doing this sort of stuff. I just wanted someone to call or email me so that I could get to work and start making money, but unfortunately it’s not that easy.
And the advice that I received and chances are you might have received that as well, you know, get out network, it’s still valid as painful as it was, you know, was going to a lot of business networking events, local meetups and whatever else. And just introducing myself, you know, I have wore my work clothes. Had some, $20 worth of business cards printed went out pulled out of bed at six o’clock in the morning drive half an ounce to networking event.
I did this month after month across various locations, handed out business cards, introduced myself.Hi I’m john, I provide SEO, blah blah blah almost everyone that I spoke to, at the time said there was too expensive. And this is something that you got to be mindful of when you first started like don’t let anyone. Don’t let anyone, anyone so bring you down, ‘ so yeah, so expensive, you’re far too expensive’. Just stick with your the pricing and eventually you’ll get one client, two clients and it just goes from there. But networking as painful as it was, it was a starting point for me and that’s where I got my first client, which led to another client.You know it’s a snowball effect from there.
I don’t do any more networking because I don’t need to, have been around long enough to establish myself in this space now, a lot of people know about me.I get a lot of my leads now through referrals and word of mouth, and that, that’ll comes with, you know, staying in the game long enough and doing doing good, good quality work.
Okay, another one and this is one that I had some level of success with, and that was partnerships and this is essentially where I reached out to other online marketing agencies that provided related services so they might do graphic design, they might do web design, they might do video marketing they might do tag words, they might do all of these other things I want to social media management, but I don’t provide SEO.
And it’s for me was just a matter of, you know, googling these places online. And these are all local businesses, I should point out, local businesses alone, I’m sure you could probably jump on a call with someone on the other side of the world, but what I did a lot of this stuff was local businesses you know and I just reached out and said hey, my name’s John based on the Central Coast ,I do SEO I can see that you guys do everything except us, you know how about is there any chance that you could maybe send me some leads or cut your commission 10 or 15, 20% whatever that might be.
And in a lot of cases that worked really well because that would say, they would usually say to me, ‘ John look we’ve got probably 10 leads, 10 businesses that we’re currently working with, five of them using someone else’s ratio they’re not happy or this other company. This other businesses, these other businesses that we’ve got are interested, what I did find those when you reach out for partnerships, as well as that worked for me.
One thing that I found, is that sometimes they asked me to white label so that meant that I was working away in the background. And I didn’t have any interaction with the client. I was never keen on that so I turned that stuff down. And the reason being, I want to have interaction with the client, because I think they’re establishing a relationship with clients really important.
And also, I have no control over what my partners might be doing on there end. So if they customer support sucks, or if they’re not answering questions about SEO that the client might be asking and then that’s going to hurt me. So when it comes to partnerships I was always interested in working with other companies, but it was always Hey, just send them to me, I’ll take care of them because I knew that I could answer any questions they had and I could look after my clients provide high quality work, and so forth.
Again I had some success with this.I don’t do this anymore.But I did have some really solid leads come through, come through with this and it’s certainly, it’s certainly an area that I would revisit again if I needed to.
Okay, here’s another one that is probably one of my favourite ways of getting leads. And that’s through business forums because I can do it from the comfort of my own office, don’t have to put pants on and do anything silly like wear a tie or wear a suit or anything.
Business forums have proven to be incredibly powerful for me.I think because, look I’ve been doing SEO for a very long time since 2002, 2003 I started teaching myself SEO. So, there’s probably not too many questions that get thrown at me about this year that I can’t answer comprehensively.And when I jumped into any number of business forums, I can usually throw out some really long winded comprehensive type answers, and that attracts a lot of attention.
I make sure and look there’s a couple things you got to be mindful and I don’t muck around an SEO forums. And I’m not interested in mucking around in Facebook groups either. Well, when I say business forums I mean it these are people that are asking that are running real businesses that have, you know, they’re doing $5 million a year and they’re in the business forums and they’re asking questions about business, my business forums, have marketing sub sections or categories, or even some have SEO dedicated SEO category’s, so it’s a really great way to get yourself in front of the right type of people, in order to generate some high quality leads.
And this has been one of my favourite and probably most effective ways. Now look, I want to say this, if you’re just starting out, and you don’t have, you know, 16 years for the best SEO knowledge, and you are desperate for clients I would not advise you do this, I would, I would go back to what I mentioned just a moment ago and get out there and start networking with people.
But make sure you know what you’re doing. You know I get, I get to sit with people that, you know, I’m going to start an SEO business I’m going to start charging $2,000 a month, and I’ve been doing SEO for three weeks. It’s just ridiculous. You’ve really got to know what you’re doing. I can teach you as much as I know.
Within this training course but outside of that, You know, it’s, you know, I’m a big believer in practitioners, you’ve got to be hands on. I still make sure, even now with stuff I make sure that I’m hands on so I’m sharp, and I still know what the hell I’m doing. So business forums is definitely one of my favourite ways of getting leads, but again, as I said, if your desperate, you need clients in a hurry, get out their network, partnerships, or another one as well that can bring in immediate leads. You know business forums, probably more so for once you’re established you’ve got a dozen clients will say, you can get yourself in front of the right people and start bringing in more quality leads.
Okay, another great strategy that I’ve found is looking for freelances on LinkedIn. And you can usually perform a search as you can see here on screen freelance web design. I look for freelancers in particular, because when there’s any opportunity for them to make money. They usually all for it. Now when I say, making money I’m talking about paying them for the referrals. So I would reach out to freelance web designers.
People that, freelance writers, freelance graphic designers. People that are working from home, doing whatever it is that doing because people say, listen, you’re getting the SEO leads, I’m going to be charging $2500 a month, I’ll pay you 10 or 15% for those referrals if you send them my way and I sign up so that might be three or $400 that you sending someone just, just for them to flick your referral, and there aren’t too many freelancers out there that will say no to that.
So, This strategy has worked very well for me, it’s definitely a go to, when I need to use it. I’m not using it as much as I have in the past, but getting clients or referrals rather from LinkedIn is definitely one that works. One thing that I do have to say is if you reach out to freelancers and say, you know, introduce yourself and say flick me some leads. You got to make sure that it’s clear, hey listen, make sure that these people are well aware of my rates. I’m not interested in you, passing the leads where people are looking for $60 a month SEO. So have that discussion at the beginning, don’t have it afterwards, because its never gonna work.
Okay look, friends and family. This is, it can be really easy to get sucked into this, I’ve seen, freelancers do it, I’ve seen people running large agencies get sucked into it. I’m talking about, oh my uncle, needs a website or my brother needs help with these plumbing business he needs help with SEO. This shit always goes pear-shaped, it never works.
You know I’ve been doing this long enough to know that, you get into a business agreement like this with friends and family. It can put a lot of strain on the relationship. It’s one that, look, depending upon how close you are with your friends and family. Maybe if you haven’t had any problems with it maybe it’s worked for you in the past, but for me personally I just don’t do it.
I have this funny saying when I have friends and family that ask me for help I say, ‘ look, I’m just too expensive.
Because I’ve just rather not. I’m happy to sit down and spend an hour, having a chat with your friends and family but don’t want to get into an active SEO campaign with my aunty or a cousin or something like that because it just gets too stressful.
Last slide here.At the end of the day, when it comes to getting clients. You just got to put it, you got to be patient and you’ve got to work hard, get out there network, bang on doors, hand out your card, start getting cards to friends and family and ask them to hand them out.
Reach out to businesses, where you can see that they’re not performing in search. Reach out to freelancers on LinkedIn, ask other people working and other agencies, if they can send you referrals.
All of these things combined, I don’t think there’s any one magical answer when it comes to getting clients and I think this is something a lot of my coaching clients when they sit on. When we start working together. They always ask me, ‘John, How can I get clients like I’ve got some sort of one, one line magical answer for that and out of just don’t think there is one .
There certainly wasn’t for me and I’ve never met anyone that’s at all. All you gotta do is press this button you’ll get a never ending stream of high paying clients. So at the end of the day, just kind of put in the hard work, be patient, stick with it. Don’t drop your prices in a mad peg trying to get low clients on board because it’ll just turn out to be a nightmare.
But just be patient, work hard, and those clients will come.