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Mastering SEO Discovery Calls

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

The cornerstone of your sales process will be SEO discovery calls. This is a 30-minute phone or video call with a potential client allowing you to get to know each other. Think of it as a two-way interview to establish collaborative compatibility.

In a discovery call, you get to determine if the prospect is the right fit for your business. And the prospect, in turn, gets to determine if you are the best SEO provider for their business.

In this blog, Pathfinder SEO will share how having an organized agenda helps you master an SEO discovery call. And how this important, but simple integration ensures that you cover all necessary topics in the right order during the call.

Creating an Agenda for SEO Discovery Calls

Let’s dive right into the six easy steps to creating an agenda for your SEO discovery calls.

1. Introduction (3 mins)

The introduction is where you get the chance to make a great first impression. Overall, this section of the call is stress-free and provides an overview of what will be covered. It establishes who is on the call and what role they play in the organization. Here’s an example of how to provide an overview during the introduction of an SEO discovery call. “During this call, I’d like to get to know more about your business. I’d also like to share more insight into how we approach SEO. I’ll also leave plenty of time to answer your questions. Does that sound good to you, (insert prospect’s name)?”

Slide right into getting to know the prospect's business goals after the introduction.

2. Getting to Know the Prospect’s Business (5-10 mins)

Asking the right questions is the key to successfully getting to know your prospect's business. It’s common for agencies to pepper prospective clients with dozens of questions. But Pathfinder SEO recommends asking two key questions, instead. Specific questions that will lead to an organic conversation about their current pain points and their target destination.

How have you approached SEO in the past? Listen carefully to the answer. This will show you how much the prospect values SEO, how much experience they have, and how familiar they are with SEO terms. You might gain an understanding of their expectations, as well as learn who’ll be working with you. Most importantly, you’ll learn what the prospect’s pain point is, and by default, understand the number one challenge they are trying to solve.

What would your business look like if Google suddenly sent you twice your current traffic? The answer to this question will help you understand what the prospect’s end destination is. Seek to find relatability during this step. Acknowledge the prospect’s pain, empathize, and show them that you have the solution to get them where they want to be.

With a handle on these two answers, you now understand the two key dynamics that will help you close the sale: the challenge the prospective customer faces (pain) and their goals (destination). Now, your job is to demonstrate how your solution will help the prospective customer move from pain to the destination.


Grow your customer’s business while growing your recurring revenue. Learn how in “Getting Started with SEO Services”.

3. Where Most People Get SEO Wrong (5 mins)

At this point, you might be tempted to dive right into the solution. We commend this determination but don’t advise doing so. It can appear disingenuine and as if the sale is more important than delivering value. Instead, pause for a few minutes to genuinely connect with the prospect’s pain.

It’s worth noting the importance of not pointing fingers at the prospect’s potential past mistakes with SEO during this process. Try explaining what SEO is by describing what SEO isn't, instead.

Here are a few examples of how to do that:

  • SEO isn't a tool game. You can relate this to the real world with a story along the lines of, “Imagine you want to build a house. You're going to need to clear the land, tie into services like water, build a foundation, and more. If I were to show up with only a few gardening tools to help build that house, you'd laugh. For your business's goals, we don't need tools. We need a plan.” SEO tools alone don't solve the problem. It's a focused strategy that allows us to go from point A to point B.
  • It's not a set it and forget it dynamic. You can relate with the prospective customer on this point by describing the ever-changing nature of SEO. Google evolves and so do businesses. You can liken SEO to being similar to fitness. We can go to the gym to get fit, but we need to maintain and evolve that fitness over time to stay healthy. The key takeaway is that SEO requires an ongoing effort.
  • Targeting the wrong keywords. Try relating with the prospective customer on this point by describing the name of the game when it comes to SEO — keyword strategy. Speak to the importance of crafting a strategy that moves a customer incrementally closer to their goals. Explain that this is done by targeting attainable keywords and expanding as the strength of their website in the eyes of Google grows. The key takeaway in this section is emphasizing the reality that strategy is important.

Now that you can talk strategy with the prospect, you can float the conversation into how your service(s) will be the solution they need.

4. Presenting the Solution (5 mins)

You’ve made the necessary introductions and got to the meat and potatoes of the prospect’s goals. You have empathized with their pain points and emphasized the importance of needing a solid SEO Strategy. Now it's time to present your offering. This is the bridge that will move prospective customers from where they are today to their target destination.

It’s best to start by describing how your services help get the prospective customer where they want to go. Remember, it’s not about you or only about the SEO services packaging or even your process. It's about the prospect's end goal and where you can insert value for them.

Here's an example of how to present solutions to prospects during a discovery call. “Here's how we are going to get you qualified traffic that increases your leads. We'll start by targeting more specific (longer) phrases that will help us with early wins. We'll focus our efforts on the most important pages on your website for generating leads and closing sales. As our campaign matures we can compete for more competitive keywords. We'll move from these specific phrases to broader, higher volume phrases.”

Note, that you aren't explaining the mechanics. Instead, you’re focusing on explaining how the service delivers value. This serves as the perfect segway into presenting the offering.

5. Outline the Next Steps (5 mins)

Now we want to present the specific offering you are selling. Most often this will be an SEO Assessment. Sometimes, you may elect to skip this initial process and dive straight into the SEO Set-Up. You can determine which starting point suits the situation from the established rapport with the prospect thus far.

Your goal here is to successfully present an onramp into your service offerings. Focus closer on delivering verbiage that highlights where you bring value here. It makes the decision an easy and often excited yes for the prospect because you made it a no-brainer.

For example, “If you want to get started, I'd recommend a short-term project to create your SEO strategy. We call this an SEO Assessment. The project costs $X and is completed in a relatively short period of a week or two. With this Assessment, you'll walk away with an understanding of where your website is today and a roadmap for growth. Then, of course, we can build a long-term project to take action on this strategy if you are comfortable.”

Also, include a few nuts and bolts in this part of the description. Note when the prospective customer will hear from you again and what they can expect. For example, “I'll be in touch on Wednesday of this/next week with a formal proposal for this project.”

And just like that, you’ve pitched your offering to your prospective client in a professional and succinct amount of time. All while covering the fundamentals and getting the client excited for the next steps toward their end goal of success.

6. Q/A (5 mins)

Save time at the end of the conversation to leave space for the client to ask any questions. Don’t hesitate to flatter them a bit here, too. Express your desire to work with them and genuinely share the passion you have for helping them achieve their goals. Ask if there are any concerns whatsoever to keep the transparency wide open. This helps establish trust in the working relationship from the beginning and allows the prospect to feel comfortable voicing their opinion. This will only serve the two of you better when true collaboration begins.

The most frequently asked question you'll here is, “When will I see results?”

In your answer, you want to make sure your prospect understands everything that is required to “get results”. This includes re-explaining to them the importance of having a strategy, and the longevity of SEO. This only highlights the necessity for continued maintenance — which you offer, right? Further, explain that this means moving them from the initial SEO Assessment into action items.

Remember you can't guarantee specific rankings or traffic increases. You can guarantee a focused SEO campaign that is crafted around leveraging your expertise to drive results as quickly as possible. Further guarantee you'll communicate what you discover and see in those results along the way to bring the prospect alongside you in this journey figuratively.

What's Next

You are on your way to mastering the art of selling SEO services!

Next, learn how to create an SEO services proposal to win the deal.

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Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.
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