How Often do You Provide Free Consulting as an SEO Pro?

The Summary of Discussion 2: How Often do You Provide Free Consulting as an SEO Pro?
Jake
Real quick: How often do you provide "free consulting" as an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pro?
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Allen
I do it to help explain what needs to be done usually when obtaining a new client. If someone has questions i help. I'm building relationships even though its free. Some people prefer to get as many clients as they can and treat prospects as another sale but not my cup of tea.
Naik
I believe in help & sharing of knowledge. But I refrain myself from manipulation. I help to the point where it's really a help. Often, people misunderstand you and they try to take advantage, then I withdraw.
Sean
Some degree of "free consulting" is generally necessary as part of the sales process.
You don't necessarily want to be giving away a free audit with every pitch (although that's okay too if works for you) but you need to have enough information to at least overcome objections.
People say no to a sale for one of five reasons essentially.
No:
Money
Time
Need
Urgency
Trust
Good 'ol Mt. Nut.
Being able to show ROI should overcome the money argument.
If they don't have time, that's great, you provide a service so they don't need time.
If you can't illustrate why they need Search Engine Optimization (SEO) then you shouldn't be selling SEO services.
If they need it, can you make the argument of why they need it 'now'?
Trust – the most ambiguous of factors and really more of a barometer of how you've done with the other 4.
Jake ✍️
You never want to give away free consulting. They'll say thank you, and leave. Mostly because they're confused or think they know their problem and will.do it themselves
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Chris
if you have to do it because you are new or do not have clients, I understand. for anything else, there should be a charge. time is money, and there is no need to waste it. most will take advantage and have you jumping through a lot of hoops.
additionally, you do not want EVERY client. many are not worth having, so you have to manage your time especially if you are a one-man show. I feel that if you give them the feeling you are willing to walk, and not desperate, that seems to close a lot more business.
if you're desperate, they take advantage.

Jake ✍️
Maybe I'm wrong, but regardless of industry, they take advantage of any sales person. It is not a sin to lie to a sales person… but heres the difference as I see it.
An SEO giving away free information right away is desperate or really enthusiastic. Its not really professional, and there's no clear decision being made. When was the last time you went to the chiropractor and you said you had a neck pain and he started jumping, YOU NEED TREATMENT!!! I CAN DO THAT!!! ITS BECAUSE OF YOUR COLUMN AND MANY YEARS OF BAD POSTURE.
No one wants to hear that.
An SEO giving away free information, after they have qualified the prospect and they are in a decision framed mind… to decide if the audit is a clear yes or no decision for them… is a professional.
Its like you go to the chiropractor expressing your pain, they ask you how often you stretch, how much caffeine you drink, after Xrays, and some more questions… then they say what you want to hear. A diagnosis after you felt listened to. They're masters at this.
You can get to 10x more of those meetings, without giving away audits. I've done 50 of these audits in the past few months, and I haven't listed a single one on my website (I should prioritize that)…
But the main point is
People can share zero SEO skill and get more sales than people giving away… people get paid for their expertise and knowledge in this world.
Chris » Jake
trudat.
there are companies in some markets that are the listed as the top SEO experts on SERP and have 10-15 domain rating (DR). been in business for years, if not decade plus, and seem utterly clueless despite they are making tens of thousands a month.
I think those who are running around giving away free audits are simply desperate for business and doing anything to get in the door. when they should be working on the sales pitch as to the value of online media, website, digital marketing, etc..
Jake ✍️
Develomark was at like 50 DR and makes as much revenue as much as Chase does, prob a little more. Chase has half the DR score. Both companies are growing really quickly, so that number is obviously a guess.
They don't offer the same services. They have different strategies. Both business are doing super well, and I'm glad to network with the owners.
The largest local agency where I'm at has like 70 DR, gets 50M in revenue per year, and is basically just a content mill. ITs literally 1 SEO guy recommending keywords and 30 content writers writing long posts.
Its really weird – again, different services.
Here's the thing:
I give away free audits.
I do.
I give them away in the ONE sole exception that the business owner stop what hes doing, drive to meet me, and sit accross the table from me for me to audit their website.
If they can't set aside 90 minutes for me, why the f*ck would I do that for their business. "Its free". Time, Energy, and Money are resources. They're spending it either way.
FREE audits usually have the business owner spend 0 energy in terms of resources spent. So when you give them a free audit and they do nothing with it… you can't even show how your free audit did.
The worst is when you give away a free audit… and the company goes under… and you basically say to yourself, if only they listened… and someone else hears, "They hired an SEO and then went out of business… "
So respect your time. Stop giving away free Audits without qualifying them. They'll respect that.
They usually pay attention and cover the cost of my coffee afterwards if they meet with me locally. I love my clients.
Chris
The largest local agency where I'm at has like 70 DR, gets 50M in revenue per year, and is basically just a content mill. ITs literally 1 SEO guy recommending keywords and 30 content writers writing long posts.

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how often do you provide free consulting as an seo pro
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The Summary of Discussion 1: How Often do You Provide Free Consulting as an SEO Pro?
Jake
If you are giving away free "consulting", and not getting the sales you need… you need to read this because I learned it the hard way.
And no, its not just for SEO users who love explaining Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to business owners…
Consumers expect most professionals like accountants, lawyers, and real estate tradesmen to give away their knowledge on demand for a "consideration" to hire their services.
Even if you are starting off – this will bite you in the ass if you don't understand this next concept.
I've been selling SEO for 3 years after knowing it for a while. When I started off, I knew jack shit about SEO. So I asked questions and explained and "coached" less.
Guess what? Prospects were more OK since they didn't feel stupid for not knowing basic SEO concepts like how important an H1 tag was. I just asked them what their problems was and said SEO was the answer.
Fast forward to last year after a full year of studying SEO. I felt like a super confident SEO god. I got rankings and case studies. But I stopped asking questions and started explaining everything wrong with their website when they asked me.
"So, what can I do? What is SEO? What problems do I have"
So I blabbed. Got excited, and told them. Its a natural response.
"Multiple H1s, duplicate content on most pages, broken links galore! I can fix that!"
All ignored – because they didn't feel understood. They felt stupid, clearly it was obvious and something they felt they can do themselves.
But how do you show your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge?
Here's the truth:
There is a time and place for you to give that stuff away. What I started doing that has led to 5x more proposals (that's 400% increase in new sales) was just asking questions with a question.
In practice it looks like this:
Them: "So what are your prices to audit the site?"
Me: That's a great question, why do you ask?"
Them: "(to themselves: 'I hired an SEO guy/gal before and they did linkbuilding and destroyed my rankings'), do you do link building?"
Me: "Interesting question, why do you ask?
Them: "Just tell me how much you cost, and send me a proposal, and I'll figure out if it makes sense to me"
Me: "Supposing I do all of that, then what next?
Them Again: "Uhhh because I'm really interested in getting an audit.
Me: Okay. And why bother getting an Audit?
Them: Because I'd be able to identify the problems on my site, that's holding my company back from beating my 50M/yr local competitor. The money is super easy to get, but its just so hard to find someone. I've been burnt in the past and I just don't know.
Me: "That's okay. It sounds like you're really fearful of finding someone, and that you're super anxious, dreading who can help you out here. Does that sound right?
Them: "I'm super anxious. Can you help me now?
Me: "I'm not sure, but you're looking to hire someone right now?
Them: "Yes, how much do you cost, can you help me now?
===The one expectation to the rule is when they ask twice, super rare. Just give them the answer ===
Me: I have my laptop on me – I can do an audit for $500 right in front of you or you tell me a time that best suits you for me deliver my findings in a roadmap for either of us to clearly understand next steps. Does either work for you?
Them: *Pauses*
Me: *Holds the ground"
Them: *Pauses even longer*
Me: *Keeps holding the f*cking ground"
Cricket: "Chirps"
Them: "Okay, lets move forward. Lets reconnect tomorrow at 5pm. Who do I make the check out to?
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My ask is that you (dear reader) stop giving away free consulting for one week. Record how many sales you've done, and realize that by LISTENING you're able to stop yourself from f*cking up the sale.
Regardless of industry. You owe it to yourself.
Let me know how it helps (or if you think its bullshit) and I'll just agree and ask you how you feel about that.
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Timan
Insightful!

Jake ✍️
I appreciate it, thank you. The right time to use this information is at the presentation or demo, that's when you ask them for a clear YES or NO answer. No one likes being misunderstood, and no one likes being lied to… but you cannot be mad at the prospect for what you told them they couldn't do.

Nicole
So much unfolds from the "why?" questioning. It constantly amazes me how a simple thing like listening can create so much trust for the client. Thanks for sharing. 👍

Jake ✍️
"Hmm, I hear you, but you didn't say link building, so how 'bout them link building strategies yeah? <— not listening
Nicole
I should clarify I mean listening to the client's why responses. 😉

Nigel
In that conversation you are not showing the prospect that you know what you’re talking about.
Which after just a year you probably don’t.
There are ways of conveying knowledge without answering every question with a question.
Personally I’d be so irritated with you I’d tell you to F off.

Jake ✍️
Thats a valid point. Obviously, you pepper what you do and drop little value bombs here and there. I've never been told to f*ck off, but that's me. If the goal is mutual understanding, then that's a path both parties take.
Are you a SEO or a biz owner?
Nigel » Jake
An SEO But have been working online for 20 years so have fired a lot of bad SEO users

Tischler
Personally I think it’s okay to do a brief consult to establish your expertise. But, use the consult to sell the audit. This works for me.
In my experience people know that a “free” audit is cookie cutter and used to sell expensive services. By delivering a comprehensive report that they can take to any SEO, and then offering a discount if they decide to go with me for the services, potential clients see that I am confident in my skill set.

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This may satisfy you: To know whether a person is really good in SEO | Search Engine Optimization
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