For most people, negotiations are always an anxious time. There are always numerous concerns. Worries about being swindled, worrying if a better or cheaper SEO might be found with just a little more looking, worrying if it might be more stress than it’s worth… or if you’re even proposing a fair deal.
These tips will dispel some common misconceptions and help you negotiate with your SEO.
Know Your Boundaries and Stick to Them
It’s important to know where you stand before ever getting to the negotiating table: identifying the things that you will not compromise on. Some individuals may urge you to hear the other side’s proposition before even outlining this list to account for and adjust to your SEO’s position… But that can lead to muddled results and an unhappy partnership.
So, before going to the table, think to yourself: What do I want out of the deal? What is the least amount of work I will accept, and what is the most that I will pay? Would I be willing to take a trade instead of money? At what point would I drop the contract and seek another SEO?
This reduces the stress of making potentially difficult choices on the spot: you know your target zones both for the good side and the bad, and know your zone of acceptable business. And, if in negotiating you reach a zone you’re not prepared for or haven’t set boundaries for, it is absolutely okay to request time to think on them. You are never obligated to make a decision on the spot, and any SEO who asks you to might not be the one for you.
Do Your Research. Really.
Everyone hears this advice at some point, but you might be shocked to learn how many people simply don’t put in the time to do research. Have you gotten comparable estimates from different SEO firms? How many? Have you compared the per-hour prices or wages, project prices, and retainer prices? Did you just look on the websites, request a simple free SEO quote, or did you speak at length with a representative? Have you looked only in your geographical area? Only sought out those who were recommended to you?
You need proof that your offer is realistic, proof that they’re a reputable company with a long list of happy clients, and clear measures of their efficacy. Did you pick a firm with very few testimonials and a small web presence?
Does the bigger firm charge double the smaller one because they have a lot more overhead, or because they’re delivering a better and more thorough product with better support? Do you know if you’d be getting any discounts for paying for a month or year upfront? If, like many, you haven’t even begun to dig deep in your research.
The bottom line is: if you do your research and have a lot of comparable data, data which you can show your SEO, you have given your arguments ammunition. It’s not just about knowing, but about having proof to assist in your negotiations and other offers to show while at the negotiating table.
Understand the Barriers on the Other Side of the Table
Before you get to the negotiating table, try to anticipate why your SEO might not want to consider your offer. Are they afraid of committing so much time when you want to pay in increments? Why might they be afraid to commit to you?
Try to think of great ways where you can reach out and address those fears. Demonstrate ways that they can trust you, and that you can be a good client. Offer to be flexible on certain deadlines, if you can afford that, or to give them a certain amount of flexibility that doesn’t influence your boundaries.
Remember to Be Fair
After doing a lot of research, have you found that the average prices for the project you’re wanting are significantly higher than what you want to pay? Gone are the days when good SEO was a bunch of backlinking accomplished anywhere on the ‘net: it’s expensive and time consuming, and the results won’t be quick if they’re done right. Always be aware that ‘what you think might be wrong’ could be happening on your end of the negotiating table.