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Navigating SEO: How to Sell Your Boss on SEO

Sell Boss on SEO

"I couldn't sell my boss a pen if he was trying to cash a million-dollar check!"

Selling your boss has very little to do with the fact that they're tough or often balk at the idea of adding new expenses. Those are things you tell yourself to help soften the blow when you don't get your way.

To help you change your thinking and sell your boss on SEO, I'll step you through a few of the ways you can break through and make your boss see the light.

Ask Questions and Let Them Talk

One of the easiest ways to sell your boss on SEO is to simply ask questions, let them talk, and listen.

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

You've probably heard that phrase, made popular by Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, on more than one occasion. This is essential advice for solving problems, as well as getting what you want in this type of situation.

In order to understand things from your boss's perspective, you have to take yourself completely out of the equation. You have your own preconceived notions of SEO, and those will likely not line up with those of your boss. So instead of just going back and forth, trying to convince him to see things from your point of view, you need to really listen and truly understand your boss's position.

Doing this, you'll likely hear something you'd otherwise block out or forget by the time it's your turn to speak. This will allow you to think more clearly and openly, helping to make your point in a way your boss can understand.

Break it Down into Understandable Terms

When you're trying to explain a highly-technical form of marketing, you can't talk to your boss the same way you would another marketer. You have to break things down so they can understand the terms and comprehend the concepts.

I'd suggest thinking about the key points that matter to your boss and creating talking points with simple explanations. Some that come to mind include:

  • What is SEO? - An easy way to explain this is to compare it to advertising, as SEO is the opposite of advertising. Instead of broadcasting a message in the hopes of reaching people that are in search of your products or services, you make it easier for those people to discover your business over your competitors.
  • How SEO Works - Once you've got them up to speed with SEO, tell them how and why it's done, and what happens as a result. They need to be able to visualize all of this in order to truly understand it.
  • Quantifying Results - Let them know how results will be measured so they'll be able to see for themselves that the business is seeing an ROI. Many business owners are skeptical about SEO because they've been pitched too many products and services that fail to deliver. If they know that they'll have some level of control, it will put their mind more at ease.

Provide Examples of Successful Campaigns

As an automotive SEO company, Wikimotive uses examples from our own campaigns to show prospects examples of the success they can achieve with our services.

This is your best selling tool, especially when the example is one within your own industry. It's not only a relevant example, but it's also a way for your boss to better connect the dots and see the value in SEO.

Don't just jump in and expect the examples to do the work for you, though; take the time to break down everything. Explain what was down, how it was done, and give detailed answers as to why these efforts work and translate into results for the business.

If your boss can see the work in action, grasp the concepts, and see the potential for themselves, you should have no problem getting the green light on SEO.

Don't Bring Up Cost  Until it's Necessary

The cost of complex and labor-heavy services like SEO can derail your hopes of selling your boss unless you wait until your boss is already on board.

"How much did you say?!" is the type of reaction you can expect if you don't think about this before your (or your preferred SEO company's) presentation.

Your entire pitch should be centered around the value of SEO, working up to explaining the price. Whether that means you want to bring on a dedicated SEO professional or hire a company, you have to first make sure your value proposition was heard loud and clear.

Let me be clear: you're not trying to pull one over on your boss; this is simply about the presentation. If the first thing out of your mouth is "Boss, I want to spend $4,000 a month on SEO services," you're setting yourself up to fail. Not because the price is too high, but because you have to properly transition into talking about cost.

At the end of the day, selling your boss on SEO really all depends on your boss. Some may simply not be interested in it at all and others may be open to it with a proper pitch. But be prepared to fail the first time around. Stay on top of the latest happenings in the SEO field so that you can be ready to create another pitch down the road.


Search isn't going anywhere, so if you can be the person who helps your boss get started and succeed you'll gain trust and grow right alongside the company.


Originally Published to the Wikimotive Blog on December 21, 2015

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