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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – A Lesson in Attitude

Today I sat in on conference call presentation on behalf of one of my clients.  The publisher, whose products they sell, was rolling out a new marketing program for channel partners.

This program provided a very powerful and easy-to-use tool.  The program provided content – copy for emails, white papers, success stories, etc.  The tool allowed for customization so that each deliverable would contain branding for the channel partners.  There was a dashboard for measure results.  I was salivating.

The total annual cost?  $1,000.

Now I was salivating and wishing that the tool was available to me.

But when the lines were opened up for Q&A, to my astonishment, there was bitching.

“I can’t use this if I don’t have an email list I can market to – are there any plans to make lists available?”

“$1,000 is a lot of money for us small guys, can we pay monthly?”

I went through a quick series of emotions.  I was stunned.  I was embarrassed for the people who were whining.  I was angry.  I was wondering why Capitalistic Darwinism hadn’t put these guys out of their misery years ago.  I felt terror for the customers of these guys.

There are lessons to be learned here.

There are some people that no matter what you do, you will not make them happy.  So the next time you feel the pressure to discount your rates – stand firm and walk away if need be.  They won’t appreciate the decreased charge.  You could give it away and you wouldn’t satisfy them – they are energy vampires.

The call re-emphasized for me the necessity of a positive attitude.  I wonder if these guys have any clue what a buzz kill they are.  Being positive is a habit.  I’m not suggesting being a Pollyanna or entering into denial – but rather being a glass half full person.  The last thing people need is someone bringing them down.

If you’re thinking of doing business with someone – ask them how much they spend (time and money) on marketing.  It doesn’t have to be direct mail or advertising.  It could be a blog or a referral program, networking in professional associations or speaking locally.  I would be suspicious of someone who could not afford $1000 a year in marketing.  I would be suspicious of someone who doesn’t have some kind of network.   I am a VERY small business and I budget $500 month (which I regularly exceed) for marketing, plus I spend all kinds of time speaking, blogging, and on social networks.  I am constantly learning about new technologies, new marketing approaches, and new ways of growing business. If someone is not investing time and money in their business what does that say about how they value their own business?  What does it say about them as an “expert” – how do they stay plugged in.  If they’re isolated and inactive – can they really bring best practices to your business?

Have you ever done business with someone who is whiny and retired from learning?  What was that like?  Do you think I’m being too hard on my fellow conference callers?  Let me know in the comments section.

 

6 Responses to No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – A Lesson in Attitude

  1. Dan Kraus says:

    Dawn, I completely agree with your assessment (and I kn0w most of the details you speak of). What you, and I and other small businesses that invest in marketing realize, is that there is no silver bullet. The guys on the call complaining or asking for more, as looking for that bullet. They want a magic way to create sales without any further effort, risk or expenditure.

    Many businesses think they are only in the business of selling/delivering the product or service that they bill for. They forget that they are also in the marketing business – the business of telling people they are here and can solve their problems. That business takes work (real work) and costs real money. When you hear the phrase “you got to spend some to make some”, marketing is the spending part – time, money and energy.

    Keep up the positive attitude and keep being a great change agent!

    Dan

  2. Keith German says:

    Spot on, but which is the real problem – that the “small” folks were complaining or that the publisher you speak of entertained the pay monthly idea and failed to stand their ground. It was almost as if the publisher didn’t BELIEVE in their offering. Additionally, if the partner is selling at all they can EASILY cover the $1,000 via 100% co-op. My gosh, how much easier and affordable can you freakin make a program!! Finally, isn’t this the same publisher that preaches “discounting is for losers?” It really was sad…

  3. Tom Thornton says:

    I know those guys! They are the ones who said “Marketing doesn’t work – I tried it once in 1986 and never got any leads.”

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