Tips one through three have been sort of ancillary – important in a general line-your-ducks-up kind of way. But this next one is something you just can’t fake or put a tie on to improve.
And we’ll probably agree that even if you can sell ice cubes to Eskimos, if you don’t actually have any ice cubes, you’ll never be truly successful in the end.
Tip #4: Know Your S#*@
Hey, this is a family friendly business! But seriously, when it comes to whatever you’re selling – business consulting, search engine marketing, financial advice – you’d better know your s#*@ inside and out.
Any Joe can iron a shirt, polish a pair of shoes and throw some authority around. It might even be enough to get the job if the charm is strong enough. But it’ll never be enough to keep the job.
If you don’t know your s#*@, it’s going to become obvious eventually and you’re going to end up with a lot of unhappy clients and bad press.
Know Your Services
You’d think this would be self-evident, but you have no idea how many SEO experts still want to sell me submission to 25,000 search engines. (You’re totally not falling for that search engine myth if you read this blog even once in a while.)
Get-rich-quick people take advantage of what customers don’t know (wow, 25,000 search engines? That’s totally like, a lot! I want that!) and make money by undercutting the value of the real service providers. They make big promises (25,000 engines!) for tiny costs (nineteen bucks a month!) and make it really hard for customers to make educated decisions about their businesses.
On the plus side, customers eventually take their nineteen bucks elsewhere when they don’t see results. On the down side, they’ve probably wasted a lot of nineteen bucks and are skeptical and hard to convince.
That’s why it’s so important to be the expert you want to be and the expert your clients expect you to be. Don’t be the one to waste their money and make sure you’ve got an arsenal of information so that you can show your prospect you mean business.
Know The Scams
This ties in directly with the last section about knowing your service. If you don’t know that there are people out there selling cheap SEO submissions, you won’t be able to counter the attacks. Better yet, instead of countering, you should be preempting.
Every industry has its scams. It’s hard not to know them. As a professional you’ve probably beaten your head against them time and again as you sigh and tell your prospect that no, it’s not really possible to be number one in Google by next Tuesday.
If you know the scams, you can prepare to discuss them and let your prospects know that they’re dealing with someone who can’t be fooled and won’t be doing any of the fooling.
Know Your Industry
It may seem redundant to say know your services and know your industry. After all, aren’t you selling the services in your industry? Well, yes and possibly no.
Your industry could be broader than what you’re offering. You may have a specialty that doesn’t encompass the whole of your industry, but it’s still important to know what’s going on.
Let’s take the example above. If you’re a search marketing expert, you may be terrific at running social media campaigns and building up lots of link juice and credibility for your customers, but not so great at running an AdWords campaign. Or you may be an AdWords pro but aren’t so keen on optimizing code.
You should be good at what you’re good at and still have a basic understanding of what else is going on around you. You don’t need to know how to optimize code to understand that it’s important and can have a big impact on your customer’s marketing efforts.
Be an expert that can also speak intelligently about things outside your area of expertise.
This tip is a no-brainer. If you want to be respected and command the fees of an expert, you just have to be one. Read, engage, learn, do, and you will not only have customers, but happy ones.
And happy customers give good referrals.
If you’re meeting a prospect, how do you establish your expertise?
Read More In The “Make The Sale” Series
- Tip 1: Qualify Your Leads
- Tip 2: Dress The Way You Want To Be Perceived
- Tip 3: Set Expectations
- Tip 4: Know Your S#*@
- Tip 5: Believe In Yourself
- Tip 6: Have A Personality
- Tip 7: Have Good Collateral Materials
- Tip 8: Don’t Sell Your Services
- Tip 9: Talk (And Learn) About Your Prospect
- Tip 10: Be Genuine
- Tip 11: Have A Good Website
- Tip 12: Follow Up
- Tip 13: Define Your “Je Ne Sais Quoi”
- Tip 14: Give It Away