More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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Hi Everyone!

My name is Garrett, and our team at has started ramping up our content marketing. Today, I have a blog post I'd love to share with this community.

Today's post:

When Agencies should say No to Reputation Management Clients


The post speaks to the agency/client relationship, specifically discussing when you should not take on a new client due to signs that they're not the right fit.

Choosing the wrong reputation management clients to work with can be disastrous for your business, potentially costing you money, time, and your reputation. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Know your own business and your own ideal customer.
  • How to identify ideal Reputation Management clients.
  • Red flags that will allow you to avoid the wrong types of clients.
  • How to say no when you establish that a client is not the right match.

I'm excited to learn more about the community's experience in selling Reputation Management Services. Here are a few discussion questions as well as a few that are sourced by my own curiosity:

  • How many of your clients are asking about Reputation Management Services?

  • Have you turned away any potential Reputation Management clients, because they weren't the right fit?

  • In your opinion, after you've signed the client, what red flags have they shown that made you regret bringing them into your family?

  • Finally, any anecdotal experiences in general about Reputation Management?

I can't wait to get to know the community and become a resource when it comes to reputation marketing as it becomes more essential for your clients.

If you found the blog post interesting, please share it with anyone that you think would find it valuable!

Don't hesitate to reach out if you ever want to discuss reputation management and if you have any requests for topics that we can cover on the blog.

Please follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog!

P.S. I'm the content marketing manager at, and I'm currently on the look out for agencies, consultants and SEO firms to collaborate with! If you're interested, please let me know and we can see how we can work together.

Welcome Garrett, and thanks for the awesome post!

I'm so glad you joined because I know our readers would really like to see more review and ORM articles. This one is great to kick off because it has some really good points for agencies and consultants to think about!
Thank you for the warm welcome Linda!

I'm looking forward to writing more content on ORM and Review Marketing. This is a great community to find out what everyone is interested in learning more about.
Nice post Garrett. At what point would you say no to a potential client who has a lot of negative reviews/negative press online, but may be able to work with you? I know the breaking point is a little different for everyone, so what's your take?
Hey Eric. Thanks for checking out the post!

Great question, and I wish I had a more specific answer, but I do think it comes down to knowing your business, your own personal standards for clients and the risk/reward of working with clients that have a negative reputation.

If your business is focused on Reputation Repair, your client base is going to be filled with negative reputations (and there are plenty of businesses out there that need that type of service). I'm not sure my post would apply to these types of agencies.

On the other hand, if Reputation Management is just one of your services, you have a different perspective on the types of clients you're willing to serve. I would recommend deciding case by case.

For each case, I'd speak with the client and see if they can provide some context for why they received the negative reviews or bad press and how they handled it on their own. They may be able to assuage your concerns with their explanation.

They might be a customer-centric company that got unlucky with a vocally negative customer, or there may be a valid explanation why they received that negativity. But if you can tell that they do care about their customers (not just saying it) and are willing to take your recommendations to improve, then they might be worth bringing on board. But it's still a personal judgement call.

The value of the client to your agency would impact your decision as well. If it's a low stakes client with too many red flags than you're comfortable with, it might be easier to avoid the risk.

For high stakes clients, there's more at risk for both you and them, but also more reward financially and potential referral business. The more visible their brand, the more impact a negative situation can have for both their reputation and your agency's.

I would also suggest creating a 'gatekeeping' program for Reputation Management clients. You can frame your service as having a high standard for the clients you serve. Explain how you take into consideration factors like existing reputation and customer service standards (both internally and on social media/review sites).

When educating the client, explain how reputation management is most effective when it's proactive and not reactionary. Your goal is to build their reputation, not put out fires. You have expectations of your Reputation Management clients in order to properly provide them with the best service.

For the clients that are in the gray area, you could even create a probationary program, where the client needs to show improvement in how they respond to reviews (unless that's part of your service). By creating these standards and being transparent about them, your clients will respect your service offering more, because it adds a level of exclusivity. Not everyone can be your client.

I hope this helps. Let me know if there's anything I can clarify in greater detail.

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