Selling Link Building Services - A Sales Executive's Perspective
I love going home at the end of the day and sharing work successes with my fiance. Unfortunately, all too often though she looks at me like I am speaking a foreign language, which reminds me just how niche specific link building is.
SEO is often extremely technical and typically best understood by other SEOs, so you can imagine the difficulty I often face as a sales executive at a link building firm. It’s my job to explain one specific piece of a niche specific product, often to people who aren’t 100% fluent in SEO.
Selling link building to those unfamiliar with SEO is like trying to sell a Lamborghini to someone that wants a rocket ship but can only afford a Dodge Caravan. People are often looking for the magic SEO bullet that will increase their organic traffic over night, when really what they need is a quality link building campaign to naturally build that traffic over time. It’s a challenge, especially in an ever-evolving industry where best practices are constantly changing with algorithmic updates.
The difficulty of my job doesn’t lie in finding out what the prospect wants, because they often know what they want: page one results in search, overnight. The real difficulty lies in explaining that what they want isn’t a reasonable request anymore, and was always against Google’s guidelines. The days of blog commenting and mass directory additions are over. If they really want to see results they need a quality and sustainable link building campaign.
Page One Power isn’t the only company selling link building, although many companies have left the industry. Today link building means manual outreach, connecting your site with real humans, and putting yourself in the best position possible to increase traffic and rankings.
In the last year as a sales executive (I worked as a link builder prior to joining sales) I have heard many questions asked repeatedly while discussing link building, and it is not always an easy job to answer those questions.
Today I want to discuss some of the questions I’ve faced selling a very niche product, and what I’ve learned working for Page One Power, an SEO link building firm.
If you were about to invest significant money into a high-end product, you would want to take a look under the hood, right? Of course you would. No one is going to just trust the sales guy crossing his fingers hoping he gets that big commission. You need to ask everything you’ve ever heard about that product, and maybe even make up some rumors just to test his knowledge. For example, if you’re buying a car you ask:
- How fast does it go?
- What’s the horsepower?
- Does it come in red?
- How often do I need to get the oil changed?
- Can I get some free wheels?
I hear this all the time except it sounds a little different:
- How many links will I get?
- What’s the PR (page rank) of the sites? (outdated metric by the way)
- Does that include guest posts?
- How often should I update my website?
- Can I get a free trial?
My job isn’t to just sell sell sell. Regardless of my monthly quota, my job is to educate prospects on what they really want. There is no manipulating the system. You want to rank for Texas law firm? Great! You are going to need a few things:
- First you need a well-optimized website.
- Including title tags, URL structure, header tags, content, internal linking, etc.
- Is your website user friendly?
- Then you need great on-site content.
- Is your content focused on your demographic?
- Does the content provide value to your target audience?
- Finally you need a well-organized link building campaign to get your website noticed by users and Google.
- Should it be local focused?
- Do you have a game plan in place to reach your SEO goals?
All these various components take time, energy, and resources. I know I’ve done my job if a client comes in the door wanting links from sites PR 5+ and exact match anchor text, but instead starts a campaign by optimizing his site to match it's purpose, creates linkable assets based on our competitor analysis, and implements a variety of applicable link building tactics, all in order to increase their search visibility. To educate the client and build that trust; then I have done my job, and have another success story to share with my fiance.
Before I worked at Page One Power I literally thought SEO was social media. I literally didn’t get the difference, I just knew that if you had a huge social following you would rank for your name, and that was the extent of my knowledge. That being said I have come a long way and learned more than I could’ve ever expected. Page One Power has always made a point to ensure their employees are constantly staying up-to-date with new trends in the industry.
In SEO it’s not just about selling one-off packages, but also continuing to help you improve your website and educate you on important best practices, which will help you continue to grow your business. Although the goal is to achieve first page results in search we want to help improve you business as well.
Our number one goal is to help your business. I firmly believe in transparency, and will ensure we use your goals to guide our strategy across the campaign, while reporting back to you the results of our efforts, with ongoing consultations and conversations.
All too often we hear “my last SEO company got me a penalty and I don’t know what they did, can you help me?” Your website is your business in the digital world - it’s so important you understand every aspect of its development and growth.
In SEO you need to find a company that will be able to explain the results of a campaign even if you are not hip to the lingo. We have worked with high-level SEO firms all the way down to mom and pop shops who have to be told the definition of a link, and why they matter.
Seriously, I’ve had a prospect who was referred by a client ask “so a link is…?” I only wish he asked this before I gave him the in-depth breakdown of what our company does.
Educating and consulting with potential clients is the most important role of sales within a knowledge based industry.
When I get those really difficult questions about link building, such as:
- “Are there companies that still offer that as a service?”
- “Aren’t you worried with Penguin and Panda that you will get your clients penalized?”
- “Will this really get me the results I need?”
I am always happy to elaborate. Any big investment should be thoroughly researched, and that includes asking the sales guy tough questions. Being able to answer these questions is actually my biggest advantage in my position: I worked on our production floor for a year before I moved into sales, and had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of clients, industries, and projects. I was building links, constructing strategy plans, and implementing them before I ever tried to sell link building.
So when I get those questions about, “Will link building help my business?” I can honestly answer, “Yes” based upon my experience.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Our teams here are dedicated to following Google’s Webmaster guidelines when building links; we are white hat and relevancy-first. Like any tactic however, when done improperly or at scale you are susceptible to a penalty. It’s easy to find an SEO that will add you to 100 irrelevant directories or guest post from a blog network. You WILL get links, but they won’t matter. Even worse they might get you in trouble with Google. Commonly, websites are penalized for using manipulative methods to increase their ranking, which can take years to recover from. Things to watch out for.
Page One Power is dedicated to ensuring that we are not only well-informed in the industry but also setting industry standards with our autonomous work atmosphere and dedication to our clients. It makes for a really cool place to work.
To my fault, I am too honest when it comes to my job. If someone wants 50 blog comments a month even after I tell them why they shouldn't, then I will tell them Page One Power might not be a good fit for them. The key to a successful link building campaign is setting the proper expectations.
That is why I am proud of my position - I am a screening process for my production floor and a consultant to my prospects.
I can honestly say that if the day comes when I decide sales isn’t for me, I will still be more than happy to help our clients get the results they are looking for moving back into the production department. Happy linking.