How a sales & marketing guru convinced me to never to do business with him or his company
By Chris Simmons
I recently read a business book on the importance of building relationships. The stunning part was, the deeper I got into the book, the more I realized how little the author knew about effective communication. Even worse, he mistakenly believed gimmickry made him more memorable. It did — but not in the way he intended.
I was struck by the book’s lack of recommendations from business notables. Additionally, there was no introduction or bio to explain why I or anyone else should read and trust anything he wrote. He seemed to explain this absence with a story wherein he insisted that if you have to introduce yourself, you’re clearly an unknown – a nobody. As proof, he noted how Frank Sinatra never went onstage and identified himself as a singer. I later found the author’s bio buried on page 198 of his book. Was he known within his niche? Probably. Was he an internationally known celebrity like Sinatra? Not even close.
Then things got worse. He loved lists – every chapter had at least one. The problem was – for me at least – every list had a decimal point. “The top 6.5 reasons to do x,” read one. “Build rapport faster with these 4.5 secrets” said another. After a hundred pages, I was beyond annoyed with his shtick. Then he told a story about how he created a business card for one of his pets and began giving them out to clients and prospects.
The author wrote extensively about the need to provide value to your customers. Then he totally undermined his message with internet gimmickry to build his mailing list. Every chapter or sub-topic had a “for more on this subject, register with my website and enter the keyword “x.” While he may have thought he was providing value via his website, it provoked two negative responses from me. First, his book was only 200 pages, 50% shorter than normal. This led me to wonder if he cut content from the book solely to drive traffic to his website. Secondly, the numerous website offerings further diluted his value by making me work to get what should have already been mine. Where is the value in checking two separate locations (i.e., the book and his website) any time I need to refresh my memory on a specific topic?
Did the author achieve his goal of being memorable? Absolutely, and most of it was negative. Did he provide value, that is, did I learn anything from his book? A little: about 25 pages had ideas I will use in my business (but in fairness, a few of the ideas were sheer genius). The remainder of the book was so devoid of value it was hard for me to believe it was written by a credible marketing maverick. He failed to clearly and concisely communicate his message. As a result, what he promised wasn’t what he delivered.
On a positive note, I would have been more disappointed had I purchased the book rather than receiving it as a gift….