Are you “selplaining” With Your Customers? If Not, You Are In Jeopardy of Churn and/or Worse, Being Poorly Reviewed!
How many customers have you lost because those customers wouldn’t take some time to understand what you are doing for them? How many customers switch agencies only to receive the same “poor results”?
What do you mean I am in sales?
If you are a digital marketing agency or you work with any part of the content, SEO or social media team then this article is written with you in mind. Anyone in an Internet advertising firm or agency that directly communicates with a customer, a client or prospect should realize that they are in sales. Even the receptionist has a role in sales. You may not be part of the sales team, but surely you are in sales. For brevities sake from here on in, I will call customers, clients, and prospects by one name which is the real “Employer.”
You see that while a company may pay you to work at their discretion, the real “Employer” are the companies that pay your company. While your boss or team is important, the “Employer” is much more important to the overall agency. Why? Because they pay your company, that takes their money, and divvies it up amongst you and your teammates as remuneration or pay for your services or labor.
Do you directly or indirectly communicate with your company’s clients?
So now you must be wondering what all this has to do with the term selplaining. In fact, you may be wondering what the heck is selplaining anyway? Read on, I will get there, and you will get it.
Selplaining is the art of selling, training, and explaining why certain things that you do on their behalf, are important to the digital marketing results that you are getting for them. Simply put, selplaining is taking every interaction or encounter with your real “Employer”: whether it be via email, phone call, text message or in person and using that time to remind them what they are paying you for and how little steps can gain them new clients or revenue.
Do your reports educate your clients or drive them crazy?
At our firm, we provide clients weekly reports that are designed to build trust, to convey that we are working for them and that what we are doing for them is working. We send them an email that takes about 10 seconds or less to digest and comprehend, all while it confirms and validates our value to them. Image 1A is the actual image a client receives modified with their data. Notice that we point out something valuable that happened with the data in their account.
It could be as simple as receiving five new backlinks to authoritative domains. It may be that three of their keywords have moved to page 2, after debuting on page 24. Little things that show progress are the key items.
These progress points teach your client about what is important and what drives the overall traffic via the organics. SEO, as you know, is that mystical magic that clients don’t understand. But, teaching them SEO components gently using this approach is extremely effective.
Remember you get to pick the progress points. We have used this report at varying times when a client won’t make a change that we know is needed. Sometimes clients won’t pay for backlink building which holds us back from generating enough quality backlinks. We use the Snippet to key in on the loss of backlinks, or keywords going in the wrong direction. This reinforces why these other items are needed.
Do you report regularly to the client?
The weekly “Snippet” has become a powerful tool that helps to keep our clients informed, which helps us retain them keeping our churn rate under 5%. At the end of the month, we send them a monthly wrap up. It provides all the pretty graphs and charts and other data that they don’t understand or care to understand - but still, we provide it to them.
The four email Snippets that we send each month provide them with knowledge, while showing them we are on top of their account and are doing our job. It also provides them with a positive feeling about our work. So, it’s a sales tool, right? Sort of, but that wasn’t why we originated it.
If the Snippet shows data going in the wrong direction, it validates the need for them to change. It also relieves pressure on you or your firm if there is not a lot of gain within their data.
We don’t use it for our PPC clients often. But, we easily could if we felt it was needed. Since our clients are B2C, they see our results via form submissions and phone calls. Phone calls (which we record and review) are another vital topic that I have covered in 5 steps to Turning Clicks Into Clients®.
Ok, the Snippet thing is good, but in every interaction someone should be selling?
YES, YES, YES! Let’s say that you work in an agency, and it is your job to make sure that reports are emailed. Take a minute to review the monthly report and highlight something positive that is within the report. Write a short sentence or two on the report’s email that could say something like this:
“Bill – great report attached! You will be happy to see that you gained 3 new backlinks. This is great news as both Google and Bing pay attention to backlinks and attaches high importance to them which affects your domain’s overall score.”
Let’s say you are a technical person that normally doesn’t interact with the real “Employers,” and now you have to be on a conference call with the client. Ask your account management team something that you can highlight or note that is happening within the account. You could say this to the client:
“Hey, Bill! Tamaqua tells me that your account is really moving in the right direction. She said you have 3 keywords showing up on page one of the search engines, that’s great!”
That’s it; you have just sent a sales email, client services email and account overview - all in one email. They may not even open the report, but they at least know that someone is watching and that something good happened.
Ok, do you get it? Selplaining is the act of artfully interacting with a client and providing them with news that is usually good, while teaching and/or training them. The act reaffirms that you or your agency are positively working on their behalf, behind the scenes for them and that reassures them they made a good decision to engage you or your firm. It also innocuously provides you with greater value and worth to them.
About the author
Mike Bannan is a blogger and marketing professional with over 30 years of building client relationships via sales and marketing. Bannan is a co-owner of the Philadelphia digital marketing agency Results Driven Marketing™. Mr. Bannan is RDM’s managing partner and Chief Vision officer. RDM supports him with a strong team of marketers and professionals and technical wizards.
Founded in 2013, RDM works primarily with clients that are in the B2C category. Lawyers, franchise owners, and small business owners are the main client types. RDM is a full spectrum Digital Marketing Agency which provides content services, blogging, graphics design, video services, web design and development, PPC, SEO, Local SEO, Reputation Management, and Social Media Management. Furthering the SEO team created the RD-Metric, a tool that finds the best keyword choices. The company overall has 16 employees, and the team holds over 35 active certifications within the digital marketing arena.