**Full disclosure, this is meant to be a humorous type post and rant for fellow SEO professional, sorry if I have offended anyone! :-)
After 13 years in this industry, I have had my share of absolutely horrible SEO leads. I know that dealing with bad leads comes with the territory of being a business owner, regardless of industry, but sometimes I feel like SEO has to deal with more (or much worse) bad leads than other industries. Here are four of my favorite worst SEO leads I’ve come across over the years. How many of these have you had to deal with?
The “Serial Entrepreneur” Lead
Whenever I talk with an SEO lead that refers to themselves as a “serial entrepreneur,” all I can usually think is “hyper client.” I know there are people out there that make a fantastic living building a business from the ground up and then selling it and moving onto the next project, but I’ve found that the ones who are really successful at that aren’t trying to juggle 10 companies at once.
I was speaking with a lead a few months ago that had 90 websites he wanted SEO services for. Almost all of them were brand new (meaning zero search engine trust factor), poorly designed and had next to no content. I don’t like taking on clients that I don’t think I can actually help, and I knew that my company wasn’t a good fit for this site owner. I recommended that he take a few SEO training courses and learn the basics of SEO for himself and really narrow his focus on which sites he thought had the most potential and then maybe a few months down the road we could revisit an SEO partnership. His response? He didn’t have the money to take any SEO classes. Then how are you going to pay for full-service SEO on 90 websites?!
In my experience, “serial entrepreneurs” usually turn into hyper clients. They have a hard time focusing on what needs to be done (and getting in down in a set time frame) and aren’t ready to settle in for the long haul. SEO requires a lot of patience and a lot of trust in your provider, and leads like this usually have neither.
The Vanishing Lead
I do my best to get back to every lead that comes into my company, whether it is by phone or our online lead form. I am more than happy to spend a few hours going back and forth with a potential SEO client and walking them through my company’s SEO process. I do my best to address any concerns and questions, especially if they have been burned by a black hat SEO company in the past. I’ll draw up a proposal, and even meet them in person if I think it’s a potentially great client. But then what happens sometimes? They vanish off the face of the earth. Suddenly emails stopped getting answered, phone calls don’t get returned and that proposal is probably sitting in someone’s trash folder.
If you decide your site isn’t ready for outsourcing SEO, or you found another SEO provider to work with that’s fine, just let me know! I’ve put a lot of my time and effort into guiding you through the process, please don’t just disappear on me.
The Needy Lead
How many phone calls, proposals, face-to-face meetings and back-and-forth emails does one lead really need? I understand that choosing an SEO provider isn’t like deciding where you want to go for lunch, but there comes a point where you have all the information I can give you without you becoming an actual client. I want to make the process as transparent as possible and make you feel confident about choosing my SEO company as your SEO provider but there is only so much I can do!
Also, don’t expect me to outline an entire onsite and link building campaign for your website during the sales process. I’m not holding out on you, but I truly can’t make educated recommendations without having access to your site’s analytics, an insider’s look at your business and much more. Unless you are prepared to let me dig through your site don’t expect a custom SEO plan upfront.
The “Well,This Other SEO Firm Said…” Lead
I really hate it when leads try to play me against other SEO firms. If you liked what you heard from another SEO company so much that you feel the need to bring it up in our conversation why haven’t you hired them already? Trust your gut and go with it! I especially feel like it comes up a lot when leads start asking about pricing and they are trying to get me to lower the cost of my monthly SEO services by saying that company X was only going to charge them so much. I understand that some leads are just trying to get a feel for the types of SEO providers out there and figure out which one is the best fit for them, but it feels like others are trying to pit us against each other just so they can get a better deal. There is no “secret” to SEO success, and trying to convince me that another SEO company knows one and I better divulge it if I want you as a client isn’t going to work.
These are just a few of the types of terrible SEO leads I’ve dealt with over the years. I’d love to hear your horror stories in the comments!