Congrats! If you are reading this, chances are that you found a new customer and are now negotiating the terms of your contract. Unless you work pro bono, it’s pretty straightforward: you offer a service at a certain fee, and your client decides whether that’s within their budget. Right?
Unfortunately, things are often more complex than that. For example, they may be offering you a revenue share model. In theory, if you are good at what you do, you’ll have no problem making the money you deserve.
Yet, we strongly advise that you don’t sign up for this type of compensation, especially with new customers. Here’s why.
Know the Client, Know the Industry
Every deal is based on mutual trust and, of course, that should be paramount when it comes to your business. You know that you can get results in the market but your client still hasn’t seen that first-hand. Ask for the chance to prove your worth.
More importantly, you want to see if the customer can hold up their end of the bargain before entering a revenue share agreement with them. Your work may result in great lead generation, but they are the ones who have to close those leads. Without good marketing, follow-up, and sales skills on the part of business owners, your work will go to waste.
Moreover, specific industries may have limitations for equity and revenue share. If you are considering working with real estate in the U.S., for example, you should know that different rules apply in different States. An example? The State of Virginia won’t allow revenue share for realtors at all.
We only recommend going into a revenue share position after you have built a relationship with your client.
How to Convince a Client to Agree to Your Fees
Changing people’s mind is hard. There are three ways in which you can convince your small business customer to agree to your proposed SEO consultation fee:
Explain that it’s in their best interest. After all, they have never tried your SEO services before, and trust must be built on both sides. Showing them case studies of your previous success can also be helpful.
Make them aware of your hard costs. You already know that there are high costs at the beginning of every marketing campaign. Staff, ads, fees — they may easily add up to 65-80% of your initial compensation. You can present them with a list of costs you’ll incur into, and make it as detailed as you wish.
Propose a compromise. This should be your last resort, but there are many ways in which you can meet in the middle. You can set a timeline where you get an initial fee to produce results, and then renegotiate the revenue share idea down the road. Or since your initial costs should be gradually re-absorbed, you can propose a discount after a certain period of time. In general, we do not recommend dropping your fee entirely.
Learning how to close SEO clients can be tough, but there’s one main thing to remember: you should never work for free and you should never take all the risks. If a potential site owner insists that you do either, they may not be worth working with in the first place.