How I Lost an $800/month Offline Client - And What I Learned

by Jimian
34 replies
Yo Offliners...

The other day I got a call from one of my offline clients, a tiny 2-man law firm, informing me they wanted to terminate my services with them.

It involved a second website (separate from their other law website), SEO on both sites, backlinks & some other tasks. $575 start-up fee and $800/mnth. It lasted just 5 months

It wasn't my biggest account but it was my first "firing" and I wasn't too happy about it.

The relationship started off well, after I initially did a Google Places listing for them which resulted in numerous calls to their office. But for reasons I'l explain later, it deteriorated not long after that.

The day after the "termination," I got a call from another client.. This client wanted to expand or segment his current business into several different niches. He wants 4 new websites and a main corporate website. (I did his original site and GP listing)

Woo-hoo!!

Now here's the difference between these 2 clients. (I was oiginally going to title this "A Tale of Two Clients")

The first client ( I call them client A) chose the domain name for their site. The domain had little keyword value. I suggested better names but he insisted.

Secondly, for the website, he was venturing into a very competitive niche of law he had no experience in and no track record to speak of. I made suggestions for the need for social proof in order to sway his prospects to choose his services.

And, also adding a blog as a way of strengthening his position as an expert in that particular field of practice (and it just makes good SEO ranking sense.)

In addition, after making changes to the title tags, meta description (taking care of the SEO) making minor changes to their web copy, he would go in and change it and wipe out the keywords I'd added. It wasn't working out.

Now, after Client B and I talked, I made a few suggestions and he said "do your thing." I got to pick the domain name, I created the site like I wanted (with whatever he wants in it) I add and take care of the blog, etc.

And his phone rings.

In other words, he does what he does best (his work) and I do what I do best: the marketing.

Lesson: I can do as the client wants even though I know it's not the right thing to do (marketing-wise) or I can just refuse that particular client right off the bat.

Any thoughts?
#$800 or month #client #client getting #learned #lost #lost $800 or month #offline #offline consulting #offline marketing
  • Profile picture of the author HassanAjmal
    Wow thats crazy man.

    You win some and you lose some.
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    • Profile picture of the author Flamboyantegg
      I'd rather save myself the hassle of having bad word-of-mouth from a client who is unwilling to listen to the expert advice I have to offer than take the quick buck and essentially wing it.

      Exactly as you showed in your own post, there are clients who are willing to use your services to the best of your ability, not try and fit what you might be able to do to what they "HAVE TO HAVE".

      Plenty of fish in the client-sea (and they'll bite more often with amazing word-of-mouth as well!).
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianTerr
      IMO.

      If the client wasn't prepared to take your expert advice, if the client made changes to the website to the detriment of the marketing plan, then you should have fired the client.

      In my line of work I provide marketing and print services to clients, I always stress that they don't have to follow my advice, but my 20 years experience trumps their first design efforts in paint.

      If they insist on doing it their way I point out that the results may not to be their liking. If they continue to insist then I politely indicate that they may be better off going to one of my competitors.
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      • Profile picture of the author BayAreaSteve
        Originally Posted by BrianTerr View Post

        IMO.


        If they insist on doing it their way I point out that the results may not to be their liking. If they continue to insist then I politely indicate that they may be better off going to one of my competitors.
        You could have added, " And I will go to one of yours, may the best man
        win "
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  • Profile picture of the author Kierkegaard
    Fire the client. One's that won't listen will always end up being more trouble than they're worth. Even when you're not actually with them they've got under your skin and you're still thinking about them. Even going out to dinner with your wife can be ruined because you find yourself talking about these people all nigt long!

    Maybe that's just me...

    But if I'm hired as an expert and not respected as one - I go elsewhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author mr2monster
    I've fired a couple clients for that exact reason..

    If you're going to hire me to do a job, let me do my job... If you want to do the job, then you do it and let me save you some money...


    I've also turned a couple of those high maintenance clients into consulting gigs where I tell them WHAT to do and they implement. It generally doesn't last too long, but I'm always able to ask: Did you implement what I told you to? and it keeps them quiet when they're not seeing the results they want.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
    They're the exact type of clients I fire.

    If I'm not able to do things exactly the way I want to do them, I cut the chord. I'm not putting my reputation on the line for any one single client. I don't go into my clients offices and tell them how to conduct their business, so I expect the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Those are the exact type of clients that NEVER make it through my screening process. I choose who does business with me, not the other way around.

    Its my way or the highway pal. No time to deal with clients like that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    It appears that everyone here is in agreement: My Way or The Highway!

    That kinda makes me feel better about the whole thing and I'm moving on.

    Nothing like crackin' open a beer and talking it over with my 'beer buddies' on the WF.

    Thanks Y'all!

    JIM
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    • Profile picture of the author teaball
      Originally Posted by Jimian View Post

      It appears that everyone here is in agreement: My Way or The Highway!

      That kinda makes me feel better about the whole thing and I'm moving on.

      Nothing like crackin' open a beer and talking it over with my 'beer buddies' on the WF.

      Thanks Y'all!

      JIM

      J
      May I suggest an even better lesson?

      Fire your stupid clients!

      You stated all of the clues of the arrogant and stupid client.

      You are the marketer, not the client, right?

      It's like back in the 80's and 90's when CEO's all wanted to be "the face" of the big companies. Why? They thought (wrongly) that they were just as personable and likable as Wendy's CEO and founder, Dave Thomas. Thomas was the anomaly and not the norm.

      Fire the self important, ignorant, arrogant clients.

      Firing them when they are a prospect, is even better!!

      I just fired 2 prospects yesterday. Man, they were pissed off.

      Anybody surprised that they both were realtors/brokers?? rofl

      Their response to my SEO/SEM offers was how and what they wanted me to do, etc. etc. etc. I listened and then simply said, "I think you might find another local person to do the wrong things for your online marketing, but I won't." "Why?", they asked. I politely answered, "I know what to do and what not to do. I don't think you do. It's my applied expertise that you are buying. If you won't let me do the right things I list in the offer, and only the right things, then I will beg off and retract my offer."

      I find the idiot gene is alot more prevalent than I thought.

      I immediately walked across the street to their competition and got a firm prospect nearly confirmed. Probably get them on Monday, as the broker asked me to meet him for early breakfast meeting on Monday. He's 3 times bigger than the 2 brokers I fired, combined.

      I wonder if the other 2 were watching me cross the street.

      TB
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Rhome
    I position myself as the consultant with the expertise in marketing. As you put it so well, "he does what he does best (his work) and I do what I do best: the marketing."

    But I'm a consultant, not running his business, so he doesn't have to follow through or agree with everything. In your case, he was going against your expertise so it made no sense for him to pay you.

    I don't see it as a "firing", but as simply parting ways.

    I also have the "My Way or The Highway" attitude... in theory. As I'm starting out, I'm more flexible and maybe I shouldn't, as when you are, you get more rejections and bad seeds. But I won't pretend I'm in a position right now to refuse business, BUT, I definitely plan to make the rules as soon as I'm in the position to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author dark witness
    And a great case study for someone who is new and just looking to get started offline.

    one potential pitfall to lookout for and make sure I don't make that mistake.

    Thats why I like this place.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Williamson
    Exactly! I've had similar experiences and I get so frustrated; sometimes I get defensive quickly and it just makes me want to say "If you're the SEO/IM expert all of a sudden then why'd you hire me?!" - I had clients deleting/changing header tags, keyword tags, trying to edit code on the backend, etc. and I 'fired' some of them because the costs just outweighed the benefits. The best clients are of the 2nd kind you mentioned - where they do what they're best at and they let us 'do our thing' - makes for a much better, more pleasant overall business transaction/relationship.

    This concept reminds me of Pareto's Law - 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input. Some specific examples related to this:
    • 80% of your headache comes from 20% of your clients.
    • 80% of your results/income comes from 20% of your efforts.
    • 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of the inputs.
    • 80% of your time is taken up by 20% of your difficult clients (similar to first one)
    • etc.
    I try to constantly have a cost-benefit analysis mindset when considering anything, and there are definitely times when continuing to deal with a client just isn't worth it...
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  • Profile picture of the author akazo
    My question would be, did you get compensated well for your time? You never mentioned that they just kept wanting more and more with no increase in cost. These are the ones to avoid.

    You made almost 5 grand over 5 months. Not too shabby. For all of the macho bravado about "I'd fire them" consider that it is better to have a slice of pie than no pie at all.

    You were in the game, you had a shot, it didn't work out. So what? What is there to complain about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
      Originally Posted by akazo View Post

      You made almost 5 grand over 5 months. Not too shabby. For all of the macho bravado about "I'd fire them" consider that it is better to have a slice of pie than no pie at all.
      For those that have been at it a while, that's a pittance for the headache they provide.
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      • Profile picture of the author akazo
        Originally Posted by mgtarheels View Post

        For those that have been at it a while, that's a pittance for the headache they provide.
        The OP said that they had their own ideas about branding, and it is their business, so fair enough.

        The OP said that the client reversed some content changes. Sounds like he did not get permission first. Again, it is their business not his.

        He never said that asked anything unreasonable.

        It sounds to me like a lot of people are assuming facts not in evidence. Based on the facts that have been presented, it sounds like the OP messed up.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
          Originally Posted by akazo View Post

          The OP said that they had their own ideas about branding, and it is their business, so fair enough.

          The OP said that the client reversed some content changes. Sounds like he did not get permission first. Again, it is their business not his.

          He never said that asked anything unreasonable.

          It sounds to me like a lot of people are assuming facts not in evidence. Based on the facts that have been presented, it sounds like the OP messed up.
          The only one assuming anything is you.

          "Sounds like he did not get permission first." Assumption.

          If the guy has the login information for the backend, obviously he was given permission to change things on the website. Anyone going in and changing the work you've done for on-site SEO is a client that does not understand you're the expert.

          Not sure where you see the OP messing up, considering all the advice the OP suggested, according to this thread, was not heeded. These types of clients are quite common, maybe you've never experienced one. $800/mo is simply not worth the hassle.
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          • Profile picture of the author akazo
            Originally Posted by mgtarheels View Post

            The only one assuming anything is you.

            "Sounds like he did not get permission first." Assumption.

            If the guy has the login information for the backend, obviously he was given permission to change things on the website. Anyone going in and changing the work you've done for on-site SEO is a client that does not understand you're the expert.

            Not sure where you see the OP messing up, considering all the advice the OP suggested, according to this thread, was not heeded. These types of clients are quite common, maybe you've never experienced one. $800/mo is simply not worth the hassle.
            I'm not going to debate this with you... most of the time I enjoy your posts. So, this will be my last post on this topic.

            Nobody but the OP knows all of the facts. Not you, not me. The indisputable facts are the OP agreed to xxxx work for yyyy dollars. The client was not happy and terminated the relationship.

            Now, since the OP never mentioned any unreasonable requests, I will take the liberty of assuming that there really were none. So, he got paid what he asked. It wasn't a matter of not being worth the hassle until the OP says otherwise.

            When I worked in the corporate world, one of the key points I always had to drive home to my staff was that IT exists for the business. And as an offline consultant the OP is essentially functioning as a part of their IT efforts. I am sure that the OP is more than capable, but ultimately it is the business that pays. We do our best to guide and steer them to what we think is the right direction, but ultimately it is the business that decides.

            Right or wrong, the client felt that they were not getting value and terminated the relationship. They are the ones paying, so fair enough. The OP got paid what he agreed, so fair enough.

            Everyone that is saying to dump those ungrateful clients is reading more into this that what was written. Maybe the OP will come back and give more details. Who knows? I agree that if a client is asking for free changes or expanding project scope without changing time or cost, they are clients you do not want long-term. But the OP only said that the client wanted a different domain name, well that's a pretty fair branding concern. He said that they reversed some changes, well it is THEIR business. So, again, a very fair thing for the client to do.

            And just because he had access to the backend does not mean that he has free reign to make whatever changes he wants. It is not his business and a law firm will care very much about what is presented to the world.

            So instead of just blowing this off as a ungrateful client. How about helping the OP understand that there are other lessons that might be learned that can help him down the road.

            Maybe he can implement a change management sheet that will ensure that the client never reverses any changes because they were all understood and agreed in advance.

            Maybe, just a thought, the OP needs to define success metrics that get reported every month so that the client's expectations are managed. Maybe he did all of these things and just didn't mention it.

            But just glibly saying get rid of those meddlesome clients do not offer any constructive advice without knowing more details.

            Again, I enjoy your posts and this is not an attack on you. I just think that the OP should really think this through constructively.
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        • Profile picture of the author donhx
          Originally Posted by akazo View Post

          The OP said that they had their own ideas about branding, and it is their business, so fair enough.

          The OP said that the client reversed some content changes. Sounds like he did not get permission first. Again, it is their business not his.

          He never said that asked anything unreasonable.

          It sounds to me like a lot of people are assuming facts not in evidence. Based on the facts that have been presented, it sounds like the OP messed up.
          Can't agree with that at all. Would the lawyer in question allow his client to change legal documents? I think not.

          Know-it-all clients bring down a curse upon themselves. They pay good money for professional services, then ignore it. Such clients are not very bright and there is no point in trying to help such people.
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  • Profile picture of the author Demond Jackson
    I guess I'll chime in here as well. If you have a client that is going behind your back changing things that they don't understand, they are sabotaging the whole campaign. If you can't effectively do your job as the expert, they need to hire someone in house to experiment with marketing their business online.

    Not doing so is a waste of time for both you and them.
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  • Profile picture of the author wanna-succeed
    When someone hires you to work, you work, if they don't agree with what you've done (like client A), and want to change something, that's up to them. They get the last word, as they are paying you.

    I personally would let client A do as he wishes, it's his downfall, you're only trying to help, and you get paid for it.

    There's no point in argueing with a customer if he is paying you and you are doing your job. If he doesn't understand what you are doing and insists to do as he pleases, that's his choice, nothing you can do about it. He is only digging his own grave.

    Would be pretty funny if you sued him....lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
      Originally Posted by wanna-succeed View Post

      When someone hires you to work, you work, if they don't agree with what you've done (like client A), and want to change something, that's up to them. They get the last word, as they are paying you.

      I personally would let client A do as he wishes, it's his downfall, you're only trying to help, and you get paid for it.

      There's no point in argueing with a customer if he is paying you and you are doing your job. If he doesn't understand what you are doing and insists to do as he pleases, that's his choice, nothing you can do about it. He is only digging his own grave.

      Would be pretty funny if you sued him....lol
      And then you realize that he starts telling other business owners about his terrible experience working with you, how much money he was paying you, and how little results, if any, that he saw.


      It's much more than simply taking the paycheck and shrugging off the client.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      You sir, have a LOT to learn.

      Originally Posted by wanna-succeed View Post

      When someone hires you to work, you work, if they don't agree with what you've done (like client A), and want to change something, that's up to them. They get the last word, as they are paying you.

      I personally would let client A do as he wishes, it's his downfall, you're only trying to help, and you get paid for it.

      There's no point in argueing with a customer if he is paying you and you are doing your job. If he doesn't understand what you are doing and insists to do as he pleases, that's his choice, nothing you can do about it. He is only digging his own grave.

      Would be pretty funny if you sued him....lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimian
    OK..maybe I need to clarify... I had permission to redo title tags, meta description for each page and /enhance some of the web copy.

    Now, some of their original web copy stated "we are the best attorneys in the area...."

    But had no social proof to back that... I spoke to him about revising it but didn't touch it.

    Instead I added keywords like 'City estate planning attorneys ' City landlord/tenant lawyer, and other city keyword rich stuff.

    So one day (3 months later) I go to the page and see EVERYTHING wiped out (including title tag) He said, "I was embarrassed about the "we are the best attorneys.." and all the other stuff I wrote.

    It finally dawned on him that he was making these outlandish statements without having a lot of experience in his field.

    In fact, what was constantly swirling in my own mind, was WHY these two young guys (late 20's) were even in business for themselves in the first place.

    I assumed a fresh attorney out of law school would gain experience by working FOR a law firm, not STARTING THEIR OWN.

    To add even more pressure to himself, he decides to enter the criminal law niche -- of which he has absolutely NOOOOO experience in.... and wants a website for that.

    They seemed inexperienced in the business world in general about marketing, client acquisition, and other details. They were burned by a big-name online SEO service doing Google AdWords for them: "They charged us once $90.00 for ONE click" he told me.

    Even more strange is that their "office" is in a large impressive building, but the "suite" was no bigger than a bathroom with a desk and computer - that's it. They would meet clients in the conference room if and when clients came to their office.

    I knew they were just starting out and we did talk about the fact that were creating an "image" or "front" ...sort of the "fake it 'til you make it" approach. So we both understood each other and we're open to their 'starting out' approach.

    They're learning... and hopefully they won't run out of money. I feel they can perform as well as any other attorney in the area, but they have the added burden of trying to drum up business as well, which is tough when you're the new guys in town -- and green.

    JIM
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    • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
      Reading everything, it seems they were bent on doing things their way, yet refusing to take responsibility for what and where they were messing up when it came to determining reasons why their business did not grab as much rank in the search engines or with clients as it should have.

      With that said, I can't say I see why you would feel you "lost" anything. You might have gained some sanity.

      Originally Posted by Jimian View Post

      OK..maybe I need to clarify... I had permission to redo title tags, meta description for each page and /enhance some of the web copy.

      Now, some of their original web copy stated "we are the best attorneys in the area...."

      But had no social proof to back that... I spoke to him about revising it but didn't touch it.

      Instead I added keywords like 'City estate planning attorneys ' City landlord/tenant lawyer, and other city keyword rich stuff.

      So one day (3 months later) I go to the page and see EVERYTHING wiped out (including title tag) He said, "I was embarrassed about the "we are the best attorneys.." and all the other stuff I wrote.

      It finally dawned on him that he was making these outlandish statements without having a lot of experience in his field.

      In fact, what was constantly swirling in my own mind, was WHY these two young guys (late 20's) were even in business for themselves in the first place.

      I assumed a fresh attorney out of law school would gain experience by working FOR a law firm, not STARTING THEIR OWN.

      To add even more pressure to himself, he decides to enter the criminal law niche -- of which he has absolutely NOOOOO experience in.... and wants a website for that.

      They seemed inexperienced in the business world in general about marketing, client acquisition, and other details. They were burned by a big-name online SEO service doing Google AdWords for them: "They charged us once $90.00 for ONE click" he told me.

      Even more strange is that their "office" is in a large impressive building, but the "suite" was no bigger than a bathroom with a desk and computer - that's it. They would meet clients in the conference room if and when clients came to their office.

      I knew they were just starting out and we did talk about the fact that were creating an "image" or "front" ...sort of the "fake it 'til you make it" approach. So we both understood each other and we're open to their 'starting out' approach.

      They're learning... and hopefully they won't run out of money. I feel they can perform as well as any other attorney in the area, but they have the added burden of trying to drum up business as well, which is tough when you're the new guys in town -- and green.

      JIM
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  • Profile picture of the author cma01
    In fact, what was constantly swirling in my own mind, was WHY these two young guys (late 20's) were even in business for themselves in the first place.
    They probably went into business for themselves right out of law school because it is almost impossible for a new attorney to get hired unless they were the top of their class.

    There was an article in the NYT about it not too long ago and there are a lot of disgruntled law students sitting around with no job and mountains of debt. There are rumblings of fraud for some law schools because they will count a former student as "employed" even if they just have a job at McDonalds.

    Some people think that it is unethical for the schools to keep admitting students at the same rate when they know full and well that the chances of getting hired and having the slightest chance of paying off their loans is negligible.

    It sounds like they are all at sea in their business, and until they get a strategy in place, there really isn't much you could do for them. Hopefully they will stay in business long enough to get their act together and maybe the opportunity will come again to work with them . . . if you want to that is.

    But at least they are going out there and starting a business on their own . . . even if they are inexperienced. It's better than sitting at home, being bitter, and blogging taking pot shots at other people like some other wannabe attorneys.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jimian
      Originally Posted by cma01 View Post

      They probably went into business for themselves right out of law school because it is almost impossible for a new attorney to get hired unless they were the top of their class.

      There was an article in the NYT about it not too long ago and there are a lot of disgruntled law students sitting around with no job and mountains of debt. There are rumblings of fraud for some law schools because they will count a former student as "employed" even if they just have a job at McDonalds.

      Some people think that it is unethical for the schools to keep admitting students at the same rate when they know full and well that the chances of getting hired and having the slightest chance of paying off their loans is negligible.

      It sounds like they are all at sea in their business, and until they get a strategy in place, there really isn't much you could do for them. Hopefully they will stay in business long enough to get their act together and maybe the opportunity will come again to work with them . . . if you want to that is.

      But at least they are going out there and starting a business on their own . . . even if they are inexperienced. It's better than sitting at home, being bitter, and blogging taking pot shots at other people like some other wannabe attorneys.
      Thanks for explaining that...It never even occured to me and makes a whole lot of sense. My mind is still in the 80's and 90's sometimes. ha- ha

      JIM
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      • Profile picture of the author advancedyn
        Tim Ferriss talked about firing PITA clients and how it correlates with the Pareto Principle, aka: the 80/20 rule. No, I'm not selling the book but I highly recommend it to everyone reading this.
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  • Profile picture of the author zoobie
    Some clients is like that. It is not your fault though.
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    • Profile picture of the author MRomeo09
      It sounds to me like perhaps the ROI wasn't there for the client. I saw a few keywords slipped into your original post, originally the Google Places was rocking, and then it wasn't. No offense Jimian, but that's on you.

      I've ranked completely flash websites #1 on Google before even though it was a HELL of a lot more work for me. Of course I charge accordingly. You should be clear on that.

      I get the lets fire the clients that are annoying. I also get that it's up to us to provide more value than ever, especially at obstinate clients.

      You don't need reviews to rank Google Places, and with attorney's that's very tricky anyway. But within 5 months, there is no reason whatsoever that you shouldn't have dominated Google Places.

      So, I'm going to play devil's advocate. I see you trying to avoid responsibility and place blame on clients editing their website, but in the end it almost always comes out to ROI, if they aren't seeing it, then you don't deserve to be paid. Now I know it takes a few months to really get rocking and rolling, but it was 5 months, there's a ton of things you can do in 5 months. Especially in the niche that you were playing in, lawyers can see really good ROI and it's hard to charge them enough money to cover what their ROI should be. I've seen attorney clients at $1k a month turn that into $20k a month income.

      I'm not getting on your case Jimian. But as consultants we should uphold a high standard. Don't take on clients if you don't believe you can create a solid ROI for them. Give a lot more than what you're paid to do. You should provide so much value that they would be insane to give you up. It's up to you to wow them. It's up to you to get the phones ringing, however they of course have to close the deal(a problem with my lead gen clients). Another side note is that some of the things you and your client talked about are good enough to get your client disbarred. You can't claim best, and you also have to be extremely careful about "social proof". The steps to doing it "legally" are egregious to say the least.

      If I were you, I would refuse to be "fired". I would work on my own dime and turn it around. I would take a more active interest in their business. I would help them to develop phone scripts. I would help them design a better marketing message, opt-ins, free reports, call in 24 hour recordings, etc. I would help them develop a solid plan of action. I would do what I had to do to make them happy, and make them successful. Because that could be a REAL feather in your cap. I would talk to Brian Anderson"Liquid SEO" and find out what you have to do to get them on the top of Google Places. His cheat sheet is excellent. I wouldn't take this lying down, I'd come out fighting and kill it for my customers. If you do your job right, it should be EXTREMELY SIMPLE to dominate with this client. It doesn't take much work for your $800 cost to become $4k, 10k, or 20k to them.

      That's just the way I see it.

      Marcos

      P.S.- I really hope I don't upset you Jimian I wasn't trying to throw you under the bus. I was trying to help in the best way that I know how.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jimian
        Originally Posted by MRomeo09 View Post

        It sounds to me like perhaps the ROI wasn't there for the client. I saw a few keywords slipped into your original post, originally the Google Places was rocking, and then it wasn't. No offense Jimian, but that's on you.

        I've ranked completely flash websites #1 on Google before even though it was a HELL of a lot more work for me. Of course I charge accordingly. You should be clear on that.

        I get the lets fire the clients that are annoying. I also get that it's up to us to provide more value than ever, especially at obstinate clients.

        You don't need reviews to rank Google Places, and with attorney's that's very tricky anyway. But within 5 months, there is no reason whatsoever that you shouldn't have dominated Google Places.

        So, I'm going to play devil's advocate. I see you trying to avoid responsibility and place blame on clients editing their website, but in the end it almost always comes out to ROI, if they aren't seeing it, then you don't deserve to be paid. Now I know it takes a few months to really get rocking and rolling, but it was 5 months, there's a ton of things you can do in 5 months. Especially in the niche that you were playing in, lawyers can see really good ROI and it's hard to charge them enough money to cover what their ROI should be. I've seen attorney clients at $1k a month turn that into $20k a month income.

        I'm not getting on your case Jimian. But as consultants we should uphold a high standard. Don't take on clients if you don't believe you can create a solid ROI for them. Give a lot more than what you're paid to do. You should provide so much value that they would be insane to give you up. It's up to you to wow them. It's up to you to get the phones ringing, however they of course have to close the deal(a problem with my lead gen clients). Another side note is that some of the things you and your client talked about are good enough to get your client disbarred. You can't claim best, and you also have to be extremely careful about "social proof". The steps to doing it "legally" are egregious to say the least.

        If I were you, I would refuse to be "fired". I would work on my own dime and turn it around. I would take a more active interest in their business. I would help them to develop phone scripts. I would help them design a better marketing message, opt-ins, free reports, call in 24 hour recordings, etc. I would help them develop a solid plan of action. I would do what I had to do to make them happy, and make them successful. Because that could be a REAL feather in your cap. I would talk to Brian Anderson"Liquid SEO" and find out what you have to do to get them on the top of Google Places. His cheat sheet is excellent. I wouldn't take this lying down, I'd come out fighting and kill it for my customers. If you do your job right, it should be EXTREMELY SIMPLE to dominate with this client. It doesn't take much work for your $800 cost to become $4k, 10k, or 20k to them.

        That's just the way I see it.

        Marcos

        P.S.- I really hope I don't upset you Jimian I wasn't trying to throw you under the bus. I was trying to help in the best way that I know how.
        No hard feelings taken, all solid advice. And I was alarmed that they used 'the best' and I believe paid for some 'reviews'... I did learn they were handed a lawsuit but for a biz they had outside of their practice.
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  • Profile picture of the author LasseKohau
    Hi Jimian,

    You did the right thing. You cant beat a client to reason or work with him.

    Let him go, and focus on new clients to come.


    Client B is happy with your services. Let him spread the word of your excellence.

    kind regards, LASSE
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexandru
    The customer doesn't always have to be right.

    Once you already have a client database you should definitely refuse to work with clients like that!
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  • Profile picture of the author Iemagine
    I ran into this a couple months ago. I learned my lesson too. I figured if I ran across another customer like this I could either say no to working with them upfront because they won't let you do your job or tell them you will build the site the way they want and release it to them. You know the website won't make money because there's no traffic due to the client thinking he knows everything. I haven't ran across this situation since then but I'm bound to in the future. I probably won't do business with customers like this. You can't do your job and do it right the first time if you don't have control.
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