Knowing the clients financials (lead value, LTV, monthly revenue) is crucial for ROI


  • Clients will want to focus on rankings at the beginning of the campaign, but over time will shift their focus to revenue, so focus on revenue from the outset
  • You can’t help improve someones earnings if they aren’t transparent with the numbers
  • Work with clients that know their numbers, it will make calculating campaign performance and ROI much more effective


Marc:                    Any tips for how to get clients to agree to a value, for customer lifetime value, value per lead, that kind of thing? Because my clients struggle with that big time.

Marc:                    Some of them are new business owners; they literally have no idea. With other ones, you wonder if they maybe want to keep it a little bit on the down-low. Then if you’re sending them 200 phone calls, you don’t up the price next month, or something like that.

John:                     What was that? Some clients keep it on the down-low. In order to-

Marc:                    Yeah, they’re not really interested in sharing how many-

John:                     You can’t help people that aren’t willing to meet you halfway, right?

Marc:                    Yeah, yep.

John:                     If a business owner comes to you and says, “Right, we want to move from $10,000 a month to $100,000 a month,” you’ve got to be able to see the fucking data. You’ve got to be able to see the numbers. If they’re not willing to share the numbers, how the fuck are you supposed to do your job? You’ve got to know what the numbers are. If you don’t know what the numbers are, then, you might as well be doing SEO blindfolded.”

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     Doesn’t make sense.

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     I would be very very reluctant to get to work with anyone that isn’t willing to be completely open and transparent with their numbers.

Marc:                    Do you ask for monthly sales figures? Where they are now and where they want to be?

John:                     Yeah. Yeah. It’s something that, shit, it’s a heavy point of discussion during the end-of-month strategy calls.

Marc:                    Yep.

John:                     Aside from everything else that I said you touch on during that end-of-month strategy call, the primary focus of the call is to say, “Okay, you’ve got the reports and everything in front of you. Okay, Kevin, this month we sent you 300 leads, at the agreed lead value of 150 bucks a lead. That should be whatever that equates to. What did you see at your end?” Right?

John:                     This is where it’s really important; there’s two things that come to mind here. One, an SEO campaign done right is like a joint effort, right? But it’s where the business owner’s going to meet you halfway. Okay?

John:                     I don’t like working with business owners that just want to fucking throw money at me, and I never hear from them. I hate that.

Marc:                    Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John:                     Because I want to know, “How am I doing? Are we moving in the right direction? What are you seeing at your end?” You can’t just fucking meander around and go, “Well, fuck, I hope the phone’s ringing at the other end.”

John:                     I hate working with clients that just go “Oh I don’t know John, fuck here’s fucking two-and-a-half grand. You do it.” That’s where you need to be able to get on the end-of-month strategy call and say, “Okay, you’ve had 300 leads. That equates to $45,000. What did you see at your end?” Now, that’s up to the responsibility of the business owner, to be able to track and measure at their end.

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     So they can say, “Okay, John. Yeah, actually that’s pretty damn close.” Right? You can fine-tune this as you move your way through the campaign. At first, you might be too high with that agreed lead value. It might be too low. But over time, you can usually get pretty close. That’s where you say, you’ll come back and say, “Actually, John, yeah, that’s pretty close. We did $46,000, not 45.” Or you might say, “Those numbers are way off and we might need to tune it.” But that’s essentially where you want to get to, because that’s how you get to the happy place, and everyone’s fucking happy.

Marc:                    Happy indeed.

John:                     What was your first question there, aside from clients that … oh, clients that don’t know their numbers. Right?

Marc:                    Yeah, yeah.

John:                     Who don’t know their lead values.

Marc:                    That’s right. Yep.

John:                     There’s a couple of things that I want to say here. I’ve got a lot of thoughts running through my head, so I’m trying to get through all of them. Couple of things: … One thing that I’ve found pushing my way through the telephone run sheet, right? Which is how our sales script that we follow when someone picks up the phone and says, “John, are you interested in SEO? Marc, I’m interested in SEO?” When you ask them for that lead value, one thing that I’ve certainly seen a number of times is that for whatever reason; maybe it’s a pride thing; but some business owners will say … I’ll give you a good example.

I had a landscaper just recently. “John, I don’t do anything under five grand a month. Five grand. I don’t do anything under five grand. I don’t do any of that small shit.” Brilliant. Okay, we started working together, we’re like two months into the campaign. “John, fucking things are tight around here.” I’m like, “Well, I thought this month he had 50 leads. What the fuck’s going on?” “Aw, I’ve had to pick up a few small jobs.” He was running around doing $200 here, $300 there, $500. So he said to me, he didn’t touch anything under … So what I’ve found is that when they throw a big number at you, if you’re on that call, and they say, “An average lead for us, John, is worth a fucking eight grand.” Right? You’ve got to say, “Give me something at the low end.”

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                    Because I’ll give you a good example. Pest control. Termite chemical barrier installation might be five grand. But a regular pest inspection might be $180.

Marc:                    Sure.

John:                     Right, now if a business spends 85% of their time doing regular pest inspections, then it doesn’t make sense for them to tell me that an average lead is worth five grand. Right? This is where I always say; it’s in the way that you word it. I always say, “Give me something on the low end.” Sometimes you have to go back and forth a few times. They might say, “Ah, okay, something on the low end might be $1500. If we get one of these big jobs, that could be $10,000.”

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     Right? You’ve always got to try and massage the right answer out of them sometimes, because they usually; and maybe it’s a pride thing, I don’t know.

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     They usually go high. Right, “We do, we don’t touch anything under 20 grand.” But then you start working together, like, “Fuck, this month was terrible. We only did $7,000. What the fuck’s going on?”

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     But the other thing is the business owners that don’t know, right? Who are early on in the business, who don’t know what an average lead is worth. Man, that’s a hard one. I’d probably just say, “Look, you’ve got to figure it out.” One thing that I’ve learned, Marc, is some people are better at running businesses than others.

Marc:                    Sure.

John:                     Some of my clients, they know their numbers backwards. Right? They’ve segmented their marketing channels. They send me really detailed reports. “This is how much money we made out of word of mouth. This is how much money we made out of vehicle signage. This is how much money we made out of Facebook ads. This is how much money we made out of fucking SEO.” They break it all down. When I get reports like that, when I get clients like that, I can look at those reports and go, “This is brilliant.”

Marc:                    Yep.

John:                     Because I know they know what they’re doing. On the other hand, you might end up working with a plumber; and I certainly have; where they go, “Oh, yeah, I don’t know John, I wrote that shit down. I was at KFC the other day and I wrote that shit down on a napkin, I think. I don’t know, I lost it. Fuck-”

Marc:                    Yeah. Then I went to the pub.

John:                     Yeah.

Marc:                    One thing led to the other.

John:                     Or, “I wrote that on a coaster, I was at the TAB having a few fucking beers.” It’s really hard to help those people, right? This is where you’ve got to be careful; you’ve got to pre-qualify to make sure you’re working with the right types of businesses. But look, if they get on the call, they say, “We don’t know,” they’ve got to fucking know. If they don’t know their numbers, then I would just say, “Look. Call me back when you fucking do know.”

Marc:                    Yeah, yeah. Especially in the medical space, I feel it’s tricky as well because you might get a patient who comes in, who then refers their husband and other family members and friends. Really, one lead could be meaning four or five people new to the practice being introduced.

John:                     Yeah, look, getting the numbers really matters, right? And I’ll tell you why. When you start an SEO campaign; and I’ve seen this; time and time again, over and over, the conversation at the very beginning, right, whether it’s during that first call; whether it’s during the presentation; or whether it’s within the first three months of the campaign; all you will hear out of that client’s mouth is rankings, rankings, rankings, rankings. Right? You know this already.

Marc:                    Yeah.

John:                     Now, that conversation changes over time, especially when they’re throwing two, three, or five thousand dollars a month at you. Because guess what happens after, say, six months? They’re not talking about rankings anymore. They’re jumping in on those calls and they’re talking, the conversation changes to this: revenue, revenue, revenue.

Marc:                    Yep.

John:                     Right? Because they think, “Fuck, John, we’re paying all this money.” Or, “Marc, we’re paying all this money, the phone’s not ringing.”

John:                     It’s interesting, isn’t it? The conversation’s moving away from suddenly revenue matters more than rankings. That’s why I always have that saying: fucking revenue, not rankings.

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