Ask yourself these questions when evaluating which company can actually provide Google Places Optimization and Local SEO. Does their plan include each location have an SEO'd website with a unique url for the listing? Can they get listings verified and live in Google right now? In order to achieve the "Megalisting" in Googles new mashup of local search results, it's imperative to have both traditional website SEO as well as optimization of the listings themselves. Now more than ever the average small business will need the help of a Google Places Expert to achieve a ranking in the 7 pack or in the "enhanced listing" section.
The important thing to keep in mind, and you can do your own research to confirm this statement, that you MUST do both traditional SEO AND optimize each Places listing to achieve top 3 results. Add to that the fact that Google is now indexing EACH page on your website independently and also adds value for positive reviews while penalizing for negative reviews, it's clearly a whole new world.