How to Sell Link Building (According to a High Earning Sales Executive)

I really love the fact that I can go home when my day is done and share my professional success stories with my wife. The only downside is that most of the time, she gives me this weird look that tells me I’m practically speaking another language, and one that she doesn’t understand. That’s just how narrow the focus is for the link building niche.

Search engine optimization is something that’s highly technical, and so conversations about it are usually best or even only understood by others in the sector. So, you can easily picture how much trouble I have as a sales professional for a link building agency. My job is to clearly explain one particular component of a sector-specific service, and I have to do this for folks that aren’t exactly fluent in the language of search engine optimization.

Trying to sell our link building services and products to someone not well-versed in search engine optimization is not that different than trying to sell a Porsche to someone who actually wants a jet but only has the budget for a Prius. Most consumers I deal with are looking for the same thing: a magic search engine optimization formula that doubles their organic traffic by next Monday morning.

What they actually need is a robust link building campaign that builds their traffic organically over many months and even years. That’s challenging, particularly when you consider the industry is always in a state of flux, where an algorithmic update can happen any morning and change the best practices immediately.

The hard part of my work isn’t figuring out what my prospects want. It’s almost always the same story. They want their website to show up on the first page of link results, and they want to see it the very next day. No matter how many times I do it, I still have trouble explaining to them that delivering that kind of magic simply is not possible anymore, and even back in the days it could happen, Google hated it.

Many people who know a little about SEO know about the time when massive directory additions and constant blog commenting could get you somewhere, but they don’t know that those days are over. If they’re serious about results, they have to be patient while a robust campaign builds sustainable, high-caliber links over time.

We’re not the only agency selling link building services, but we have seen a lot of players leave the field. Modern link building necessitates reaching out manually to people and connecting the promoted website with actual individuals. That’s how you best put yourself into a position to boost rankings and traffic.

I’ve been doing link building sales for the last year, and before that I was actually a link builder myself. In that time, I’ve gone through a lot of question and answer sessions, and the questions I get are not always that easy to answer.

For now, I’d like to go over some of the questions I get hit with a lot when I’m out there selling what is admittedly a very specific niche product, as well as some of the things I’ve learned in my time at the search engine optimization link building agency I currently work for.

Common Questions

If you’re going to invest a substantial sum of money into a high-caliber product, you’d want to look into it before sinking your money into it, right? Of course; it’s just smart and the diligent thing to do. You’re not going to trust a sales guy whose only intention is scoring a huge commission. As a consumer, you have to ask about every little thing you’ve ever heard someone say or write about that particular product, and just to test the knowledge of the salesman, you might have to dream up some fake rumors to put up on his toes. For instance, if you’re looking at buying a car, then you might ask:

  • What speeds can it hit?
  • How much horsepower does it have?
  • Is it available in blue?
  • How frequently does it need oil changes?
  • Can you throw in free wheels?

I hear things like this all the time, except in my case it sounds more like:

  • Just how many links am I going to get?
  • What page rank or PR do the sites have? (I think that metric is actually outdated to be honest, though)
  • Will the campaign incorporate guest posts?
  • How frequently do I need to have my website updated?
  • Do you offer a free trial of your services?

My role isn’t just blatant selling. I do have a monthly quota, sure, but my specific role is educating our prospects on what it is they’re really after. The system can not be manipulated, not anymore. So you want to rank your cousin’s diner as the best pancakes in west Podunk? Awesome! There’s a few things you’ll need:

First of all, your website has to be well-optimized. That includes title tags, header tags, internal linking, content, a sound URL structure, and more.

Second, you have to ask yourself if your website is user-friendly? Terrific on-site content goes a long way towards accomplishing that.

Third, does your content focus on a specific demographic? If so, does it offer your target audience value?

Fourth, you’ll have to have a highly-organized link building campaign that gets your website noticed, both by Google and by users. Here, do you need a focus on local SEO? Is there a game plan established for hitting your search engine optimization goals?

Each of these various parts of a link building campaign or search engine optimization effort require energy, time, and resources. I’ve had a good day if I walk into a meeting where the prospect is hoping for exact match anchor text and links from PR 4+ sites, but then instead walks out the door happy with a link building campaign that optimizes his or her site.

Not only that, but a campaign that aligns with the site’s intended purpose and will be supported by a broad variety of link building techniques that come from assets which competitor analysis says are prime areas for growth.When I educate a prospect about contemporary SEO and still establish trust, then my job is done, and I’ve got another “work win” to confuse my wife with in the language she can’t speak when I go home that night.

My Own Education

Before I worked at a link building agency, I honestly thought that search engine optimization was social media itself. I truly didn’t know the difference. I just was aware of the fact that if you had a lot of followers on social media, then you ranked well for your name, and that’s how much I knew. Obviously, I know quite a bit more now, and it’s a lot more than I every would have imagined.

The link building agencies I’ve worked for have always put an emphasis on making sure that I and every other employee here stay current with industry trends.

In search engine optimization, you can’t just sell a client a one-time package. True success comes from constantly improving the core website and educating everyone about whatever the best practices are for that current algorithm. That helps clients keep growing their businesses. Of course the initial goal is the achievement of first page results for the right search terms, but we generally want to help you enhance your overall business.

That’s actually our top priority: helping your business succeed. I am a believer in the ideal of transparency, and I’ll make sure that your own stated goals are the guidelines for our campaign strategy. We can report back to you how the results we generate are leading to your own goals and objectives, with conversations, consultations, and necessary adjustments happening along the way.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me a horror story about their previous digital agency earning them a penalty from Google, and they had no idea what happened exactly. They want to know if we can help. Given that your website is your business location in the digital side of the economy, it’s critical that you comprehend every single aspect of its growth and development.

When dealing with search engine optimization matters, you have to discover a business that can explain campaign results to you in language and terms that you can understand. I’ve personally worked with everyone from high-end digital agencies down to convicted felons starting up a food truck and were in the joint as the Internet boomed. Some of them can argue with me about the differences in PR 4+ and PR 5+ sites, and some folks have to be told what a link is, much less why it matters.

I have to gauge the knowledge of a person pretty fast and pretty early before I go into the sales pitch. Without knowing what they know, I can’t possibly consult and educate them about our services, which are clearly an industry based in knowledge and technical matters.

Sometimes, I get hit with hard questions surrounding link building services, like:

  • “Aren’t there businesses still offering that as one of their services?”
  • “Don’t you worry that your clients might get penalized because of Penguin and Panda?”
  • “Is this truly going to give me the results I have to have?”

Elaborating on answers and what they need to know is something that I’m happy to do, which is good considering I’m paid to do it. Anyone looking to put down the kinds of money that proper link building requires really should take a look under the hood and get to know it, rather than just kicking the tires. That means asking the sales guy hard questions. It helps that I worked specifically in link building itself before moving over to sales.

My knowledge and authenticity show through, and I earn trust as a result of my personal and professional experiences in helping clients large and small across many projects and industries. Before I ever sold my first link building product or service, I was building those links, creating strategy plans, and then executing them. I know the nuts and bolts, and now I sell them.

So, when someone asks me if this stuff actually works, I can emphatically say yes and then tell you how.

Honesty Is The Only Way To Do Ethical And Successful Business

The professionals I work with strictly follow the Webmaster Guidelines that Google has established for link building. We deliberately stay white hat. Having said that, an improperly executed tactic puts you at risk of a penalty. You don’t have to look far to find an SEO agency or possibility that might add your website to a thousand meaningless directories or start flooding a blog network with guest posts.

You’ll get tons of links from that, but those links won’t be effective. Worse yet, you might risk Google’s wrath. Websites that employ such manipulative methodology to boost their rankings can take years to recover. These are things to look out for.

My business is dedicated to making sure that we stay up to date with what is going on in the industry, but also that we adhere to industry standards, even in our autonomous work space. It’s an awesome place to work, actually.

Sometimes, I’m possibly too honest to be a salesman. A prospect might ask me for 100 blog comments over the next three weeks, and instead of selling him that, I explain why that’s not a good idea, and furthermore, if that’s what he’s looking for, then my business might not be the right option for him. Proper expectations are critical to any successful link building campaign.

That’s maybe the part of job that makes me most proud: being the bodyguard, the bouncer, the screening processor between the production floor and prospects; my consultations only make good matches between the two.

The day might come that I wake up and realize that sales are no longer my thing. If that happens, I’d probably move back towards the production department again, but I’d still be totally focused on giving our clients the results they’re seeking. Enjoy your links!

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