How to say no to foot-in-the-door sales tactics

Digital360 on 18 July 2017

There are hundreds of SEO companies just waiting for the chance to snap up your business.

So, when it comes to finding the right SEO agency for you, it’s important that business owners and managers know how to identify the good agencies from the bad. Saying no to a persuasive salesperson might be difficult, but it’s your job to flag anything that doesn’t seem right.

To help, we’ve identified some of the most common hard-sell sales tactics employed by bad SEO companies and outlined how you might reject them.

Cold calling

What is it? We’ve all received a cold call. These unsolicited calls are usually an attempt to increase a company’s subscriptions, promote a new product, or conduct a survey, to sell products or services.

What are the signs? Thanks to the smartphone, unknown numbers are easy to spot and are a warning sign you're receiving an unsolicited phone call. Again, the origin of the call is normally displayed, which can also imply a stranger. If you notice a short break in the connection time, this can also signify that the caller didn’t contact you directly and they might be from a call centre.

Why is it effective? Unwittingly, and to be polite, many of us find ourselves answering the phone to unknown callers – and because of their well-rehearsed sales pitch, we can often find ourselves nodding in agreement.

Be aware of phrases like:

  • ‘We have to make a decision today.’
  • ‘I understand where you’re coming from.’
  • ‘This is a one-time deal!’
  • ‘Say yes now and pay later.’

How to say no? When you’re at the mercy of a pushy salesperson, stall. Ask for time to think, and take down their name and contact details. If they are a legitimate business then they won’t hesitate. Another great way to stall is by asking how their offer relates to you. In this way, the salesperson is forced to personalise their pitch and make it pertain to you.

Cold emailing

What is it? Cold emailing is when unsolicited email newsletters and spam appear in your inbox. No doubt commonplace, cold emailing and can prove incredibly frustrating for busy individuals who have to spend their mornings sorting through mountains of emails.

What are the signs? You can tell when you’ve been targeted by an unsolicited email campaign when you start receiving regular emails from an unsolicited address, or when your inbox is filled with mail from a generic or noreply address.

Why is it effective? Cleaning out your inbox can be onerous, and so many of us might not even bother to unsubscribe. What’s more, many of these email campaigns are clever, and they draw us in with catchy subject lines and clickbait content.

How to say no? At the bottom of most newsletters there is an unsubscribe button. Click that. You can also block unsolicited addresses to your inbox. And take steps to eliminate yourself as a target. These SEO companies and salespeople may have found your email address online. So do a search and remove it, if you can.

Free SEO audit and site check

What is it? An SEO audit or site check is much like a visit to the doctor. An audit looks at the health of your website, identifying on and off-page elements. This process analyses each element to make sure that your website and pages have been optimised for search engines.

What are the signs? If it’s a generic site audit that most businesses can conduct by themselves and for free online, then you know that the SEO agency is providing little value to you.

Why is it effective? Unfortunately, many business owners and managers don’t know about simple SEO steps they can take, such as online SEO audits. And often, they don’t have the time to investigate. SEO companies can take advantage of digital inexperience.

How to say no? Again, you must ask detailed questions. To help, you might want to draw up a list of possible questions.

Try phrases like:

  • How is my website’s navigation?
  • How do my keywords rank currently?
  • What is my domain authority?
  • What is my click-through rate?

Free consultation

What is it? When an SEO agency engages a client, the onus is on them to convince the client that they can improve their business online.

What are the signs? What are they promising? Are they genuine? You can often tell when a salesperson is just after your money when they do all the talking. If they aren't asking questions, then how can they understand how to better cater to your business needs.

Why is it effective? It’s simple, really. Everyone enjoys getting something for nothing.

How to say no? In most cases, the first SEO consultation should be free. It's an opportunity for the agency to have a look at your business and see how they can help. 'Free' consultations, meanwhile, might end up being a glorified sales pitch.

Final thoughts

Building up your SEO will be one of your business’s greatest digital assets. So knowing how to weed out poor quality SEO companies and by their aggressive sales tactics is an important first step.

By understanding the digital industry and asking the right questions to potential SEO agencies, you can spare yourself and your business a lot of time and money. At the end of the day, it’s your business, and it’s you who has the power to say no.

Want to know more about how to differentiate between good and bad SEO practices? Contact one of our SEO specialists in Melbourne today.