Why You Shouldn’t Pay for a Yellow Page Consultant

I know that it’s very tempting. They place ads on the Internet explaining how they can save you thousands with their expertise. They will look at your program and recommend different ways to make things better. Some will offer to redesign your ads with improved layouts, headlines, and graphics; all at a cost. So, can they really be trusted to create a radically fresh approach that will increase your results that dramatically?

First, there are never any guarantees. If they say they guarantee a certain number of sales or profits, run away from the offer. They are lying. The truth is that advertising is part science, part art, part guesswork, and mostly trial and error. Each account is unique and requires individual consideration. Many of these so-called “experts” have a stockpile of standard ads that they rotate through the headings. Suppose you are a plumber. They have dozens of basic plumbing ads and pictures where they can swap the headlines or art, at will. Or they can adapt the ads to any repair business, from electricians to heating and cooling.

Yet, for these “custom”ads, they charge ridiculous amounts of money. And again, without being able to guarantee you will get one additional customer more than the old ad received. But, how about some insider information? There are actually two types of consultants out there, of which you need to be aware.

The first one will survey your current program and reduce the size or drop the color to save you money. They then charge you a percentage of what you saved. These are called cutters and they are the parasites of the directory industry. They thrive on your notion that the Yellow Pages is always overpriced. Therefore, when they say that you are probably paying too much, they will show you why and you will jump at the chance. But the downside is the fact that they are the hit-and-run type that slash your ads down to an ineffective size and reap the rewards. You are left with pathetic advertising that costs you customers. But they have already made their commission and don’t actually care that they help destroy your company. Besides, you’ll probably never see them again.

The second are either ad designers or true consultants. The ad creators charge by the size and complexity. The consultants charge by the scope of the program or by the hour. There are many legitimate consultants that do want your program to succeed and would like you to use them year after year. The issue is that they make very minor changes after the initial revamping and still manage to charge a huge ongoing fee. The other difficulty lies in the fact that they claim to be the experts and you should do whatever they recommend. Remember that this is not an exact science and that, in most cases, they are simply guessing what will work. Yet you pay them whether it did or did not succeed.

In summary, should you pay someone $100 an hour to look over your Yellow Pages or $1000 for a half-page ad redesign? Don’t forget that you local Yellow Page representative has an art department at their disposal and you should be able to request a few different ad layouts from them. But I ran an ad agency and made my living off people needing design help, so I understand the dilemma. In addition, I was a Yellow Page rep and consultant for nearly 25 years. I also have a degree in marketing and I’ve been designing Yellow Page ads for the past three decades. But you cannot hire me and I’ll tell you why. It’s because (a) I’m retired and (b) I think you can spend your money more wisely.

Before you break down and decide you still need to hire that consultant, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself. There is far too much money at stake. Like I mentioned, some will just rip you off. Luckily, there are methods to fend these people off before getting caught in their trap. One way is to read everything you need about the industry, what a rep can do for you and how the consultants work. I would advise you to start with one of the best-selling books on Amazon regarding the Yellow Pages. It’s a small investment and a great place for any business to begin. Yes, I wrote it and I’m proud to say, it will save you thousands (just go to poweradbook.com). Finally, whether you buy my book or do your own investigation, realize that it’s your business on the line and the book is printed for a year, so you can’t change it once it comes out. So be proactive and let that next consultant that sees you beware; you now know how they operate.

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