2 Unique Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door With New Prospects
Selling is hard, right?
Screaming about your services from the rooftop usually has people running the other way (or gets people staring at you like a lunatic).
Especially if you’re new to selling, the process of getting people to even listen to your pitch can be extremely difficult, let alone getting the opportunity to show the quality of your work and prove yourself.
To combat this, you have to come up with a way to grab the attention and show the prove yourself to the prospect before anything else.
This is known as getting your “foot in the door”. Once you have your foot in the door, the prospect is much more likely to allow you fully in.
Getting your foot in the door doesn’t mean changing the overall structure of your offering, pricing, or adding fancy guarantees. It usually requires you to do some sort of work upfront for free or for a minimal cost. With this little friction, the prospect is more likely to hear you out, or you can argue that at this point they are your “client”. Being in this position is crucial as it leads to future conversations with the client (read: opportunities to upsell them on higher ticket services).
A great example of getting your foot in the door is through a referral. If a business owner hears from a trusted colleague that you are the perfect fit to help them with their digital marketing, your foot is in the door with that business. You can get an introduction and a meeting pretty quickly with that recommendation backing you.
In this post I want to explore two more unique ways to get your foot in the door with people that have never heard of you before. This will work perfectly in tandem with your outbound prospecting which I am so much a fan of.
Not quite sure why he chose to name it this, but the phrase SEO Splitting was popularized by big-time client SEO, Kotton Grammer back in 2014.
The idea is simple: Sell a really cheap and simple digital marketing service to a business. A no-brainer. Then once you deliver, since they’re already your client, they’re much more likely to agree to hear more about your more expensive services.
If you’ve ever sold web design or development you may have experience with this already. Over time, your clients start to send you emails asking if you have experience or know anyone that can handle the SEO, social media, etc for their business. It’s only natural, since now they have a brand new website and they’re looking to maximize it’s potential.
Here’s some ideas of cheap services you can sell:
- $20 Social media page creation
- $30 50-citation package
- $20 5-star reviews for reputation management
- $20 Business profile creation on Yelp, LinkedIn, Google Maps
- $50 Link building package
- $15 Website Audit
- $15 PPC/Funnel Audit
- $10 Facebook Pixel Installation
- $25 Keyword Research Report
- $20 Competitor Spy Analysis
Now you might be thinking “but I regularly charge hundreds if not thousands of dollars for these! How can I do it for so cheap!?”. In business this is known as a loss-leader, where you are willing to take a loss (of time, employee resources, etc) in order to get people through the door or into the funnel that are now likely to buy your main product.
All of the above services are just one part in a larger whole. A social media page is just the beginning – now who is going to manage the page? Link building isn’t a one-time effort, who is going to continue it every month? An audit shows a bunch of gaping holes in a marketing funnel – who has the expertise to fix the mistakes?
I think you know where I’m going with this. The answer to the above questions should be YOU.
Whatever your main service is, there is always a smaller, cheaper service you can sell that leads up to it. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t get used to ONLY selling these foot-in-the-door packages, and to only offer it to businesses you see as a good fit and that actually need your help in the beginning (if they are lacking in one of these things it’s likely that they do). You won’t make any money otherwise.
Where to find businesses to sell these services to:
Trade Shows – This is Kotton’s main suggestion for finding a lot of businesses congregated in one place. After all, this is a high-volume approach. Using a website like 10times.com, you can easily see upcoming trade shows in your area. Print out a bunch of flyers with your $20 service printed on it and go approach businesses. Take a female assistant with you (because frankly, it works) and start making conversation. Some shows will require you to purchase a floor ticket, others are free. Many don’t allow solicitations either so make sure to be careful there.
Picture this example to give you a better context of this entire flow:
You approach a boat supplies business owner at your local boating trade show. He has his own booth and doesn’t seem to have much going on. You chat him up and ask if he has a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Business account (which should be prominently displayed on your flyer). Odds are that he is missing one of those.
So you quickly explain the benefits (no need to oversell for such small feature-based packages like these) of having a presence and backlink from these easy pages. You mention that you specialize in setting them up and optimizing them for success in the beginning, and for people at this show only you are offering to do it for just $15.
Think you can make that sale? Odds are he will pull out his wallet and hand that to you in cash on the spot.
Now, you go back home, make the page in a few minutes, add some graphics and business details, and you’re done. You call up the client and tell them how you completed the work (way ahead of schedule) and that you’d like to setup a meeting to show how he can drive a considerable amount of business just from the page you made, with proper maintenance.
Boom, you got the meeting along with a much higher likelihood of converting him to a monthly social media management client.
Meetups – I’ve had more success with meet-ups due to their more personal networking and intimate nature. Sometimes only 20 people show up to a meetup, and you can connect really well with just 2-3 people.
Since everyone has their own specialty at these events, you can essentially toot your own horn about how great you are in whatever your field of digital marketing is. Offer a quick audit of their business and book at least 3 meetings from these. Well worth it for a couple hours of your night each week.
Get creative here- don’t go to meetups for digital marketers and try to sell them your digital marketing service. Instead, consider going to a meetup about a niche completely different than yours so you can learn something yet still be the authority in the room on the subject.
Asking to speak at these things almost always guarantees a speaking gig and you can triple the amount of consultations you book from just speaking on the topic of digital marketing for 20 minutes, with a light pitch at the end to approach you with any questions.
Prospecting Software – When we first built ScopeLeads, the idea was to only show businesses that were actually lacking something in their digital marketing, meaning they were a hot prospect for whatever it is we sell. The first Search Type we made was called Social Lacking, aptly named for businesses that are missing social media profiles. Send them a personalized email explaining which ones they are missing and that you can do it for very cheap. Search types also exist for those not bidding in AdWords, missing video, missing Facebook Pixels, and much more.
Don’t overthink this SEO Splitting method. Try out of a few sources of speaking to many businesses at once, offer your cheap service, and stick with whichever is catching on. You should be able to book 5-10 consultations a week if you do this consistently.
The other night I was taking an Uber downtown and when we approached a red light, what seemed to be a homeless man scurried over to the car with a window cleaner and spray bottle. Without question, he proceeded to spray and wipe the entire windshield in a matter of seconds. Of course the idea was that he wanted a tip after, and the driver graciously gave him one.
This story reminded me of what we do here with the Pro Bono method when selling digital marketing. You’re meant to do some work- very simple and quick work- completely without permission or even interaction from the business owner.
Here’s an example of how you can pull this off with SEO (adapted from Alex Becker at Source-wave.com):
You look for some really quick wins on your prospect’s website, like a term they could easily be ranking for but currently aren’t (just go to page 2 of Google for the same term and there is your list of prospects). A great start would be their main keyword, business name, or owner name + the zip code/city. If a business isn’t ranking for that, then they are seriously lacking on other areas and it should be a no brainer for you to fix.
If you need access to their site in order to add some text, you can also call them beforehand and just say you are offering a completely free ranking for a simple keyword that they are nowhere to be found for but their competitors are. There is no problem with talking to the business and discussing this beforehand.
Either way, it shouldn’t take you more than 3-4 days to pull this whole thing off. Then you call up the owner and explain what was wrong, what you did, and show them how you actually helped (before and after).
I’ve heard all sorts of excuses like “My assistant accidentally worked on the wrong website”, but none of that is necessary. Be upfront and honest about how you wanted to prove yourself in order to get their attention and show how you’re different.
Explaining this to them should make a lightbulb go off in their head because instead of being pitched by every other SEO cold caller in town, this time you’re actually one that did the work upfront and proved it with results. Ask for the consultation to discuss doing this for many other profitable keywords that actually matter. Foot in the door.
Here’s an example of how you can pull this off with Free Leads (courtesy of Chris Winters):
If you sell live phone calls via PPCall AdWords, this could be a great way to get a prospect’s attention (beyond the fact that the model of selling leads already makes it such an easy sale).
Once your campaign is up and running and generating you phone calls, direct them to your own phone at first. Someone has a leaky boiler in your plumber’s campaign? Take their details down and mention that they are going to get a call back with a quote from a master plumber within the next 30 minutes.
Proceed to call the top 3 plumbers in the area that are not massive franchises. A family-owned business that has good reviews but looks like it has room to grow is a great start. Explain that you have a hot lead and need someone to call them back and take care of their problem as soon as possible. Mention that you are going to followup with them as well as the lead to make sure everything went smoothly. You can deliver even more leads if you’d like, but when you call back, explain that you specialize in generating these leads and you can deliver a lot more of them.
As you can imagine, delivering an actual hot lead is much more effective than ranking for an odd keyword or providing a small service. It’s also addicting for the business owner and is true proof that you can deliver.
Where to find businesses to do free, upfront work for:
Along with your regular prospecting and the sources mentioned in the above SEO Splitting method, one source in particular that works well for this is your previous clients or prospects.
Nothing says “Choose me again, I want you back” like “here are the results that I couldn’t deliver for you in the past but I kept working and did it anyways.” For prospects that you couldn’t close for whatever reason, this will give them a taste of what’s possible and they’ll be wanting more.
I wanted to keep this short and sweet to provide you with some ideas of thinking outside of the box when it comes to getting your foot in the door and generating that consultation. These methods work great and are proven to convert when added to your consistent prospecting routine.
Need help with an idea or want to share a cool thing you’ve done to get your foot in the door with a prospect? Like this post and leave it in the comments below! Can’t wait to hear your feedback.