06 May Thinking About a Yellow Pages Website Packages… Think Again!
Many readers here are either small business owners looking to gain that competitive edge, or web developers looking to give their clients that competitive edge. In a sense, I am BOTH.
One of the constant battles I see play out in my business world is the end result of a business owner who has gone down the path of the Yellow Pages website package – you know the ones… the ones that cost 5x more than they should and deliver 10x LESS that they could.
I’ve known for a long time that these packages are a complete waste of time for the customer, and many times I’ve had to pick up the remains of their business afterwards.
For those of you perhaps considering such – here’s a post I came across the other day from on one of the business forums I frequent from a fellow small business web designer – and his direct encounter with the Yellow Pages sales person whilst in front of the customer. It’s rather edgy, somewhat blunt, but it gets straight to the point (reprinted with permission).
It’s an eye opener. Enjoy!
I don’t know about you guys…but I absolutely HATE Yellow Pages and anyone associated with them. I constantly find either myself or one of my team members arguing with them over the phone about domain ownership issues. Most of the time my clients end up paying a “cancellation fee” to take over ownership of THEIR domain…I simply can’t stand Yellow Pages…
Well…long story short…
Today I woke up very hung over and irritated. Only to get a call from one of my reps saying he wouldn’t be able to take any meetings today because a family emergency had come up and he had to go out of state for a week.
Being that it was such a short notice, I could not have anyone cover his meetings today. So I climbed my ass out of bed and somehow made it to the shower and got ready.
I arrived at an appointment at 9:00 AM. My meeting write up simply said
“Meeting with (name) at (place of business) 9:00 am – Currently building website but interested in SEO and SMM”
Normally we do preliminary research before meetings, however I was hung over and felt like “winging it” today.
I walk into this lawyers office, speak to the secretary and she sends me in a meeting room. When I walk in I see the two lawyers sitting there with a gentleman in a suite and tie with his little tablet. I walked in, introduced myself and said “would you like me to wait outside while you finish?” They insisted that I sit down. They introduced me to their suite and tie man and said he’s from the Yellow Pages and they were just finishing up their meeting regarding a website.
I took a seat, still dizzy with the feeling that I was going to puke at any minute. He had what looked to be a contract sitting in front of him. As they continued talking I immediately knew that they WERE indeed having these idiots build their website. I let them continue to talk for about 10 minutes, contemplating weather or not I should risk this meeting and put him in the hot seat.
After 15 minutes passed I began to get pretty irritated, plus it was extremely hot in this room. So the “asshole” came out in me.
Just as they got to the contract and started talking numbers I abruptly interrupted (I could not just sit and watch them do this…That’s how much I HATE Yellow Pages). PLUS their setup installment was $1,200!!!! PLUS $275/mo “maintenance”.
I said, “I’m really sorry, but are you seriously considering having these guys build you a website?” After a snarl from the salesman and odd looks from the lawyers, they replied “yes, we are…why?”
That was my key to completely destroy this guy. (I had prayed for this opportunity for years)
I won’t go into what I said, because I babbled for a good 10 minutes on how much Yellow Pages hinders businesses and completely rips them off.
I told them how over 50% of MY clients have done, or still do some type of business with Yellow Pages and HATE them. I also offered to phone up my assistant and have her draft up a quick reference list to email me so they could actually CALL these business owners on the spot. If they had the time of course…they rejected to that.
At this point the salesman was PISSED. He fired back at me with “What exactly makes you an expert in this field? What can you offer that I can’t?”
I told him that I could offer them solution that will actually get prospects to view their website, pick up the phone, and call them to do business.
I pulled out my laptop and Googled “city” “featured on yp.com” I then explained how they don’t build a website. They take your information and throw it into a crappy template that spits out a horrible looking “website”. I handed the laptop to one of the lawyers and told them to start clicking on the different websites listed on Google. As he did this, he said “they all look the same”
I said THAT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.
The salesman tried to rebut with shitty excuses for another 10 minutes as I put him over my lap and spanked him.
- We covered how they don’t design worth a shit
- Their websites don’t convert
- Their websites pretty much ruin any opportunity to rank well on search engines
- How they hold their clients domain names hostage
- How their SEO packages are nothing but a bunch of crap that could easily be outsourced to fiverr.com (I even explained what Fiverr was lol)
I ended my rant by saying, “I’m sorry, but if you choose to sign a contract with these guys, I don’t want to work with you. I feel that I would be a part of your upcoming nightmare on the internet. I just don’t feel that it would be worth your investment TO ME if you have such a horrible baseline like a yellow pages website”
The lawyers looked at me, looked at the goof sitting across from me, and said “How about we keep your proposal and think things over..”
He packed his shit, shook their hands, looked at me like he wanted to murder my family, and left.
I ended up continuing my meeting, apologizing for “lashing out” and closed a deal 3X bigger than what he proposed
I know this was putting the sale at jeopardy, and COULD have made me look unprofessional to certain people. But I didn’t care…I have always ran my company with the mindset that I would much rather be aggressive, assertive, and maybe even a slight dick, and make my clients money rather than be a softie and fall into the category of “just another SEO guy”.
In this case, I was thanked for my attitude. The one lawyer made a point to say “I hired you because I can see you want what is best for your clients, most people would have never stood up for someone who is NOT paying them.”
Anyway…I wanted to share this story, because it will probably never happen again. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit face to face with my arch enemy
“This story was crafted by trained professionals, Please do not attempt to recreate or re-enact these stunts at home”