My talk was in conjunction with my new book, Anti-Sell – essentially a condensed talk version of the book, giving sales and networking tips to freelancers and small business owners who struggle with (or simply downright hate) sales.
Shout out to @steviephil for a fantastic talk yesterday covering the perils of self-promotion. Some great advice for those with sales phobia – like myself… Eeek. Did I mention that he's written a book? 😉 pic.twitter.com/xHyNbIPjyv
Wanna learn more about how the book came to be? Read on…
The story of Anti-Sell
Truth be told, I never thought I’d ever become an author. I love blogging (the fact that SEOno’s been going since 2011 is proof of that!) but I thought books were silly – after all, books can become obsolete (especially SEO books). But then…
A few years ago, I wrote a post on here titled 20 Ways That Freelancers Can Drum Up Sales During Quieter Times. Following on from that, I had a few more ideas of posts around the topic of sales and networking, aimed at freelancers specifically. Given that this is (mostly) an SEO blog, I wasn’t sure how best to proceed… That’s when I realised that the advice is pretty much timeless, and that each separate post idea I had could be a separate chapter in a book instead. That’s when the idea of writing a book – instead of lots of blog posts – became a plan.
A few weeks ago I received an interesting enquiry from a local designer, who does a lot of design work for musicians. Given that I’m a proper music fanatic, I was really excited at the opportunity to potentially work with him and his clients. He asked me for my hourly/day rate, and although I stressed to him that I quote on a per-project basis depending on what I think is required to do the job, I gave him a rough idea of how much I usually charge. We discussed a potential small one-off project (which sadly fell through shortly after discussions began, as his client backtracked on wanting SEO work done), and then he suggested that I work on a pet project of his instead. However when he brought up the latter project, he explained that when he told his team about me, they “freaked out slightly when [he] mentioned [my] rates!” Hmm.
I replied saying something about how we could price it based on their budget rather than my fee, if that was easier – and I left it at that. It was quite a weak and timid response, looking back at it now. I’ve yet to hear back.
Ever since I sent that last email, I’ve been kicking myself.
Sure, the “your prices are high” reveal could just be a ruse to try and get me to lower my prices. Or it could be the case that his team doesn’t value or ‘get’ the cost of SEO. I don’t think I charge exceptionally high prices (I know a few SEOs with less experience who charge about the same), and given that he’s a designer – and probably gets people raising their eyebrows at his prices – I’m surprised he’s surprised (if that makes any sense)!
Whatever the case, I later realised that I didn’t give him any reason to realise why I charge that rate, whether it’s perceivably high or not. I just said “oh I can probably match your budget if you let me know how much that is.” What a mistake. I could’ve/should’ve used it as an opportunity to sell myself a bit more…
To be fair, I hate to brag – and the paragraph above feeling like one full-on braggy braggathon. Ych a fi!
…But I could’ve left it with him to think about. Did he think my rates were too high because he didn’t know too much about me? Would he still think they’re too high now that he knows all of the above? I guess I may never know – but next time I’m gonna try this approach instead.
The moral of this story? Don’t be afraid to blow your trumpet once in a while. The next time I get chance, I’m gonna blast the hell out of the damn thing.
I recently listened to Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell is Human (having previously listened to the also excellent Start With Why), which is a great book if you don’t particularly like sales but have to do it (e.g. you’re a freelancer/consultant).
The idea is that every Pixar story is told in this way, in six simple steps – and that’s why their storytelling is so effective. In the book (and this blog post), Finding Nemo is used as an example:
Once upon a time there was… a widowed fish, named Marlin, who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo.
Every day, … Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.
One day… in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father’s warnings and swims into the open water.
Because of that… he is captured by a diver and ends up in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.
Because of that… Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.
Until finally… Marlin and Nemo find each other, reunite and learn that love depends on trust.
Oh, spoiler alert…? Sorry! Moving on…
I wondered if this formula could be applied to what I’d call ‘modern SEO’ – i.e. a collaborative approach (something that I preach at MOM, especially on the link building side of things) in the current post-Penguin, content-focused, let’s-break-down-the-silos digital marketing climate…