Things to Consider before Accepting a Client

Sometimes it might not be worth it for you to accept a client and here is why.

Video transcript:

Tim: What are some of the metrics that you might use to qualify or disqualify a client?

David: I want to make sure we have a common view of the goal of the campaign. If we have different understandings of what makes SEO successful, and we can’t come to an agreement on that, then we’re headed for doom from the beginning. For instance, with almost every prospect I speak with, I mention that I will not report on rank. Because in my experience, people who report on rank focus on the wrong things, get obsessed with the wrong things, and end up forgetting that SEO has a return on the investment, and it becomes an ego game. That’s hard to satisfy because you’re always going to be able to think of another word that you don’t rank for yet. And you might say, “Oh, this isn’t working because I just thought of a word, and we don’t show up for it.” In reality, you could be making a lot of money from it, but because you’re thinking about the wrong goal, you are there. And I remember speaking with one prospective client, and it would have been a great opportunity not only for a good client but where it seemed like a good growth opportunity for me of making more connections with the clients. That client was first almost yelling at me about how SEO is just about rank. And when the tone turned that aggressive, I immediately bowed out. I just said, “Listen, it sounds to me like you are looking for someone else that’s not me. And so, I’m just going to say I’m going to bow out and let you pursue that relationship with someone else. Because I know you’re considering other people, and I think you should work with one of those.”

Tim: Mm-hmm.

David: And boy, they were so shocked. They were like, well, wait, wait. Let’s talk. And I’m like, “Sorry. It’s clear to me that this isn’t going to work, and I’m just going to walk away at this point. I wish you the best of luck.” And I’m really glad I did. First of all, no one pays me enough to abuse me.

Tim: Right.

David: And if you’re raising your voice at me, in a prospective call, I can’t imagine the first month we have a bad month, how you’re going to talk to me. And you don’t pay me that much.

Tim: Yeah.

David: Nobody is going to pay that much to abuse me.

Tim: Yeah.

David: I’ve had abusive clients, but I’ve either fired them, or my previous boss fired them when he realized someone was abusing me. And so, I’ve learned really quickly just to stand up for myself. But that’s one of the big disqualifiers is, do we have the same goal? And from that goal, the second disqualifier is how much could you possibly make from our efforts? Because if we’re working on the same goal, meaning you’ve generated income from our SEO efforts, whether that’s sales or leads or whatever, how many sales are you getting right now online? And if we grow it, will we need it. For instance, I have a prospective client in the pipeline right now. Their goal is to get fifty new leads a month by the end of the year. I love a goal like that. Right? It’s quantifiable. We can measure it. Great. The problem is that when they do the math if they’re getting fifty leads a month, let’s say they’re making $2,500 a month. That’s below my minimum SEO campaign. So, that means their product isn’t as profitable as would sustain my efforts because even if they paid me my minimum and they hit their goal, they’re losing money.

Tim: Yeah.

David: And as we ramp up to get that goal, they’re really losing money.

Tim: Yep.

David: I had a prospective client. It was a good client. They were a local business to me, selling running shoes. But when we did the math, or how many running shoes he’d have to sell to pay for me, I’m like, “No. I’m not going to take your business.” He wanted to do it. I’m like, “No. I wouldn’t feel good about that. You’d have to sell a lot of running shoes to pay for me, and I don’t think we’re going to get there any time soon.” So that’s another disqualifier. And as long as we’re having the conversation like that, it’s a business decision. It’s easy to bow out because it’s not personal. And I think people appreciate that if they can’t afford me, that we’re thinking this way, and I’ve set the tone for a good client. This is why my favorite clients are business-to-business clients who sell one piece of industrial equipment, and they’ve made $100,000.

Tim: Yeah.

David: Right? Yeah. I’m a rounding error in their marketing budget. And that’s great.

Tim: Yeah.

David: Because I could really offer a lot of value.

Tim: Right.

David: And a couple of my best clients are that way. If I give them more than one lead month, but if I can generate a good quality lead, even better, because that’s great because I can send more leads, but not every lead is going to be a sale. And so, if we have a good conversion rate off leads, and twenty percent of the leads become customers, and I bring ten leads, I just get two customers a month. And boy, that math has to work out to pay for me.

Tim: Right.

David: And if we’re having these qualification conversations in the process, you’re setting yourself up for success, you’re setting the client up for success, and you’re helping the client not waste their money, and they will really appreciate you.


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