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What do you do when potential clients want to see a list of your current clients?
When it comes to obtaining new clients there's always that awkward moment when a potential client wants to see a list of your current clients. Are you the type of person that will willingly share your list of clients or will you hold their secrecy and not share to the potential client? I myself don't like sharing my list of clients because I feel like I'm breaking the trust I've built with them by just sharing all their info. Now if I'm dealing with a big fish, a company that wants to pay me $3,000+ a month, I will likely contact my clients and ask if they don't care if I use them as an example of the work we've already done in order to get a new client But in general I don't even think of sharing my client list with potential clients.
Why I don't share
When I'm dealing with potential clients I don't like sharing my lists with them because they don't need them. I've actually found out that sometimes when a potential client is asking it's really a competitor trying to reverse engineer my linking system to sell as their own lol. So if I don't share my lists I am keeping my clients safe from spam and I'm also preserving my link building methods at the same time.
If a potential client is asking me a few basic questions and then wants to see a list of clients to see what I've done with them, they don't really know what they're looking for. They will likely just call my client and ask if I'm reliable and trustworthy, but the "clients" I give them could just be my own websites, so why does it matter?
I do share sometimes
Now when the planets align and the stars shine down on me, I will share, but that's not too often. I probably share my lists once or twice a year because I'll have big corporations contacting me to do a lot of work for their website(s). These are the "Big Fish" of the online marketing world and catching them is every SEO service providers dream. Just landing one of these big fish can have you gaining a full time income month after month, which is very nice. Usually the work is a little more extensive, but not as much as you would think, so you'll want to share your lists with the hiring manager when they ask for previous and current clients. Just be sure to share the clients that you had a good time with and your business relationship is still strong. Sharing all of your clients, good and bad, will result in a negative outcome. The potential client will cherry pick the client listings and who knows what people will say about you if you didn't perform how they thought you were suppose to.
When it comes to sharing my clients info, I will email all of them first and ask if they don't mind. If they don't want me to share their info it's not a problem, I will not add them to the share list. If they do not mind if I share their info, I will add them to a one time share list for that specific big fish I'm trying to land
Does it hurt by not sharing?
Sure it does, but I won't break the trust I've built with a client to potentially gain another one. If a small mom and pop shop wants to pay me $100 a month and in order to sign up they want to see all of my clients, I guess I may not be signing them up. I will always tell them that I do not share client information because it helps my build trust with all of them. I let the potential client know that I will do the same with their information because that's what a good SEO team does.
If the potential client still doesn't understand why I won't share my current clients information I will ask them to share their clients information with me. They will always say no and then they will get that "Ahhhhh!!!!" moment lol. They will quickly realize that I won't share because I'm protecting my clients, not because I'm a jerk lol. Even if you talk with the potential client multiple times they will usually not understand why you're so secretive until you ask for their client list
This is a big thing with me and I like to think my clients love it. Well I actually know a lot of them do love it because most of them signed up just to be treated like a human being and protected at the same time lol. By protecting my clients information and not sharing their contact info with anyone who asks I'm building a great relationship with them. I will always be losing a client here and there because they want to call all of my clients to see what they think about my services, but I'm not worried about that. I retain a lot of my clients year to year and I like to think it's because of the great work I do, but I know that it's not the only factor
If you want to be more successful while losing some clients here and there, stop sharing your current clients information unless they say it's ok. If one of your clients is getting emails and phone calls every day from people asking if your company can do what they preach, it will get annoying really quick. Protect your clients information like it was your mothers social security number and an identity thief had his hand out asking to borrow it lol.
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