Unethical Offline Prospecting?

by sunshne721 28 replies
Hello everyone,

I recently purchased an offline marketing course from a pretty well-known marketer. His training basically goes through how to provide web design and landing page services to local business owners. The course also shows you how to prospect for potential clients in a way that he claims will guarantee results! It involves typing a keyword in Google, making a list of only the business owners that have ads within the search results, going to their website and filling out their form pretending to be a potential customer who's interested in their services. If and when you get a reply back, you would then pitch them your services.

Now I don't know about you guys, but this doesn't seem like an ethical way to prospect. Pretending to be someone who's interested in buying their services is just wrong in my book. It almost seems like you're wasting their time which they could use to help REAL customers. I tried this method with only a few businesses and I only received one reply telling me to never contact them again. I won't be using this anymore, I feel like a slimey salesman.

What are your thoughts? Are there better ways to get the business owner's attention without pretending to be someone you're not?
#offline marketing #offline #prospecting #unethical
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I tried this method with only a few businesses and I only received one reply telling me to never contact them again. I won't be using this anymore,
    Had to chuckle a bit - did it become 'unethical' when it didn't work?

    I think of ideas like this as 'parasite marketing". Why would a business want to deal with someone who begins by abusing a function of that business?

    Of course there are better ways - cold calling and ads would be a start. Visiting the business - networking with local business groups, etc. I'm not an offline marketing expert but common sense would tell me to listen to a better "teacher".
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi sunshne721,

    That was an incredible bad idea.

    I suggest that you ditch the marketing course and add that " well-known marketer" to your email block list. Don't let fools and idiots become your role model.
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  • Originally Posted by sunshne721 View Post

    Hello everyone,

    I recently purchased an offline marketing course from a pretty well-known marketer. His training basically goes through how to provide web design and landing page services to local business owners. The course also shows you how to prospect for potential clients in a way that he claims will guarantee results! It involves typing a keyword in Google, making a list of only the business owners that have ads within the search results, going to their website and filling out their form pretending to be a potential customer who's interested in their services. If and when you get a reply back, you would then pitch them your services.

    Now I don't know about you guys, but this doesn't seem like an ethical way to prospect. Pretending to be someone who's interested in buying their services is just wrong in my book. It almost seems like you're wasting their time which they could use to help REAL customers. I tried this method with only a few businesses and I only received one reply telling me to never contact them again. I won't be using this anymore, I feel like a slimey salesman.

    What are your thoughts? Are there better ways to get the business owner's attention without pretending to be someone you're not?
    It isn't that it's unethical, it's that it's a terrible way to prospect.
    I own a business with websites. If someone acts like a customer, at the beginning, to then switch to a sales presentation....I immediately say "No".

    The "Let's anger the prospect then try to sell them" approach is silly.
    And this is the exact type of technique that continues to get repeated in sales books, and in courses...by people that have never used it, and do not know how to prospect to sell the thing they are training you to sell.

    I can promise you, the author of this course never even tried this approach once. It's the kind of thing that sounds inventive, but would fall flat on it's face if anyone ever tried it in real life.

    I don't know how to say this without just coming out and saying it.

    I wrote a book on Sales Prospecting, and one on Selling Advertising (which is what you are doing).

    But the single best way I know to get the low hanging fruit in that business is to contact the people who are spending money on print ads already. If you have any local coupon books or a local newspaper, just see who's paying for print advertising. These people are buyers. They buy advertising from ad reps. And what you are selling is essentially advertising. Just call them and tell them you saw their ads and you have an idea that will make their advertising pay better. Then ask for the appointment.

    I promise you, whoever sold you that course, never sold anything in their life, using the method you describe.

    The "Pretend to be a prospect first..." idea is so inept that the fact that it may be considered "unethical" is almost immaterial.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Hi sunshne721,

      I have to assume this "well known marketer" is well known for marketing his own questionable courses, to UN-suspecting people?

      Sorry to hear you got caught up in his scam. If it's any consolation... at least you can consider this as the price of education? You've now been educated to be wary of "snake oil" salesmen.

      Listen to what Claude is saying... he knows what he's talking about.


      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      I wrote a book on Sales Prospecting, and one on Selling Advertising

      .
      Hi Claude,

      Speaking of your books... Don't know if you remember a couple weeks ago, when I said I bought one of them on Amazon? Thanks to ADHD, it's been sitting on my desk for the past couple weeks. Just started reading "Selling Local Advertising" this morning. So far, it's a good read.

      All the best,
      SAR
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      "It all boils down to psychology, and numbers"
      SARubin - Direct Response Copywriter / Advertising and Marketing Aficionado
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  • Profile picture of the author wifiboos
    A valuable lesson learned, always check, the value and authority of people flogging you something. Do some research and don't trust anybody without some real life references and backup. Shady marketing gives everybody a black mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    This is a prime example of a "con-man technique" typically promoted by someone who doesn't know
    how to sell. Someone who doesn't know how to sell, can't teach you how to sell, either.

    What they usually do is promote "one-size-fits-all" tricks and gimmicks, as a way to avoid the sales process.

    As you've discovered, tricks and gimmicks don't work in the real world.

    At some point, maybe you'll decide to stop wasting your time and money, and learn some real selling skills.

    When you do a world of opportunities will open for you.

    Ron

    PS I wrote my post before I saw Claude's. Go back and read his again.
    He's so "right on!" it made my teeth hurt...and that ain't easy.

    PPS I've read Claude's book on selling advertising. If you had spent your money on Claude's book, I believe we would be talking about how well your completed project went and how much value you received from Claude's book. Think about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Low Capital
    An extremely powerful way of connecting to potential leads, is simply by ordering a pizza to their address with a note on top / or inside. This of course, is only good for businesses that are perfect and seem like they would fit your services well! Even if you spent $100 on 10 pizza's, you'd only need to get one client paying you $100's or even $1000's monthly..
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  • It's not as unethical as it is just plain stupid.
    The thing I do is grab Verizon yellow pages and see whose advertising. You know these guys are spending money on ads. Approach them.
    I'm more concerned that you didn't give us the guys name. I personally like to know who to stay away from.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    you didn't give us the guys name
    That is not allowed on the forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author cjsparacino123
    just talk to them, get an email or something and talk to them
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