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We Answer the 7 Questions Agencies Never Want You to Ask

Agencies don't want to hear these questions...

Agencies don’t want to hear these questions…

A few weeks ago there was an excellent blog post by David Rodnitzky on Marketing Land titled “7 Questions Agencies Never Want You To Ask In The Sales Process”.

Looking over these questions we certainly can understand why some agencies might be hesitant to answer these questions. As mentioned in the article, while these questions might be very reasonable, they do pose as Catch-22s for an agency to answer.

And face it, complete transparency can be scary.

Never ones to shy away from a difficult question, for better or for worse, we’ve decided to tackle head on all 7 of the questions no agency wants to be asked in the sales process.

Here goes…

#1. Will My Account Management Team Remain The Same For The Entire Engagement?

This is a great question. For some agencies this can be tricky to answer because of high turnover and the need to be constantly shifting resources from one client to the next.

What’s our answer?

Yes, the vast majority of the time your account management team will remain the same. We feel that the most successful campaigns come when the management team has a complete understanding of what the client does, what his goals are and the intricacies of their business and online market.

Having the opportunity to continuously work with the same clients allows us to better understand what works for them and helps us to create campaigns that fit their needs and in turn produce a great return on the investment.

That being said, for the first time in…well maybe in our history we’ve recently switched the account management for several of our clients to a new team member.

Why? We were fortunate to bring on Susan Staupe, who has over 8 years’ experience working with local SEO clients and Legal clients. Because of her experience, we felt it was in the best interest of our local and legal clients to have Susan take over the management of their account.

If you build houses for a living and hired Michelangelo, you’re not going to have him install drywall are you?

During this transition and for the foreseeable future, the original account managers will still work with Susan on the accounts and share the insights they have gleaned during their time with the client.

#2. Who Was The Last Client You Lost and Why?

As of writing this post, the last major client we lost was Publishing Xpress, an online self-publishing and printing company. This was in April of 2014.

Why did we lose this client?

We failed to do a thorough enough job of auditing their link profile when they first signed up with us back in December of 2010. After several years of working with this client and seeing significant organic growth, an updated Penguin algorithm dropped their online presence, and they elected to go with another agency.

This was our own fault. We should have known better. We should have done better.

Yet while we hated to lose this great client, we did learn from our mistakes.

We have made significant changes to our link audit strategies and are now making a complete link profile audit one of the first things we do for all new SEO clients. We have also gone back and done thorough audits for all of our current SEO clients and are utilizing better tools to do all of this.

No agency is perfect, but the difference between the good ones and the marginal ones is the ability to continually learn and adapt to meet the current requirements of the search engines.

#3. Will You Give Me The “A Team”?

I can’t speak on the availability of Hannibal, BA, Face or Murdock, but I can tell you that yes, you will get WebRanking’s A Team (I’m calling dibs on being WebRanking’s Face).

How can we promise this?

Because as a boutique agency, we don’t employ a B or C Team.

Each staff member specializes in a particular area of search marketing and will bring their vast experience and expertise to each client. So regardless if it is our CEO James Svoboda (16 years’ experience) managing your Paid Search Campaign, or Paul Kragthorpe our Technology Director (9 years’ experience) performing a technical site audit, or our founder Tony Svoboda (17 years’ experience) working with you on your SEO program, you are always getting the best we have to offer.

We love it when a plan comes together, especially when it relates to client success.

#4. Will You Match Your Competitors’ Prices?


The services we provide, our efficiencies and the experience we bring to the table makes us unique. This should be true for every agency.

Our goal is to provide clients with campaigns that will meet their goals while also generating an excellent return on the investment.

All agencies are different. Some look to offer low pricing, have very static and rigid deliverables and are more concerned with signing up a large volume of clients.

Others, like WebRanking, are very selective with whom they work with, and are looking to develop long term relationships. They have employees who are seasoned marketing veterans and their time and expertise is valuable and will also be more expensive.

WebRanking is not the cheapest and we are certainly not the most expensive option out there. However, we believe when you look at our experience, expertise and the results we provide our clients, we do offer the one of the best overall values.

#5. Do You Do Performance Deals?

No, we don’t.

Anybody who has been in this industry knows that there are too many changing variables to make this feasible. All it takes is a major algorithm change to have your success quickly turn into failure.

However, we don’t require our clients to sign any long term agreements with us. This means each and every month our clients make the decision to continue working with us.

We are extremely confident in our abilities to help clients succeed online. If we can’t produce results and achieve a high rate of performance, our clients would have left by now and we wouldn’t be in business.

#6. What Happens If I Want To Hire One Of Your Team Members Working On My Account?

Good luck.

Having worked for WebRanking now for 13 years, I think I can safely say that we offer a fantastic work environment, benefits, and salary to our employees.

We like to think of ourselves as one big happy (but somewhat nerdy) family.

However, if one of our employees are not happy here, or feel that there is a better opportunity for themselves elsewhere, who are we to prevent them from that?

#7. Will You Sign A Non-Compete?

It depends.

This would be decided on a case by case basis, factoring in the market, the client and the reason for needing the non-compete.

That being said, in the past we have elected to turn down work with a potential customer because we felt they were in direct competition with one of our current clients. We always put the best interest of the client at the forefront of what we do. Because of this, it just doesn’t make sense to work and promote another company that could potentially take business away from a current customer.

We hope this clearly answers the dreaded 7 questions no agency wants to be asked during the sales process. If you should have any additional questions to add to this list, or would like to get more insight into one of our answers from above, please feel free to comment below or contact me directly at 503.653.6134.

Photo by Paul Stevenson available under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

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