I would hope that most of you would immediately answer “yes”. But did you know there are so many small things we do in our businesses that create mistrust and may, cumulatively, end up eroding whatever trust our clients or customers have in our business?
Trust is fundamental to human relationships. Trust in one another has allowed all societies to function. We all know this. We trust that when a business says they’ll be open from 8 – 4, that they will actually be open for business during those hours. If you purchase something from an online store, you trust that what you bought will be delivered to you. It’s pretty simple.
Yet, there are so many small ways that businesses lose the trust of their customers or clients. Some of them are egregious and some are in small ways. The point is, as business owners, we need to be aware of how we break the trust our customers or clients have in us.
This experience was so profound that it changed how my business operates. Yes. One experience = a significant change in my business operations, all in the name of protecting the trust my customer and clients have in me and my business.
I had been watching this big, online guru for a few years while I was starting my digital marketing business. He had such authority that pretty much every successful online guru had used this system he pioneered. This system pretty much became THE way to sell products and courses online.
I came across a Facebook Ad which was offering a free download. I knew that by offering my email in return for that download that I would be put into a sales funnel. And I was. The offer was for his flagship course. The offer was delivered through a series of videos approximately 10 days in length. The last few days before the cart closed to buy this product, all the bonuses started to appear.
It was one of these bonuses that really caught my attention. If I purchased this course, I would be able to attend live weekly phone calls with this guru and, perhaps, be able to ask a specific question I had. This is what I really wanted.
On the last day before the cart closed, I pulled out my well-used credit card and entered the numbers to purchase the course. I was excited! I gained immediate access to the course and dove right into 6 week’s worth of material with the enthusiasm of an excited student.
About 2 weeks after purchasing, I received a notice about the upcoming live phone call. I dutifully noted it in my calendar and made sure to add extra notifications in my phone so that I wouldn’t miss it.
I logged into the live call a few minutes early as I didn’t want to miss a second. A female coach who had been certified and trained by this guru was on the call when I logged in. And then she stayed on the call – THE ENTIRE TIME. She answered all our questions. She moderated the call. What? Where was Mr. Guru? What happened to him?
It was August, so I figured, perhaps, he was on holiday. I decided to email customer support to find out if this was the case and to discover when he would be attending the weekly live calls.
Their response crushed me.
He was never going to attend ANY of the live calls for my cohort. Turns out, I was part of an evergreen launch and, as such, the calls were not weekly for my cohort but were monthly and were to be moderated by a certified coach.
The bonus mentioned during the launch talked about weekly calls with this guru, not monthly ones and definitely not with a certified coach. I was told that this guru runs evergreen campaigns and that I had likely found one of those and that the bonus around the weekly live calls with this guru didn’t apply to the evergreen campaigns.
I was devastated.
I felt I had been lied to, which I had. I asked why these weekly calls with this guru didn’t apply when they were offered as a bonus to the course. The customer service rep replied because the evergreen campaigns were simply a recorded version of the live launch campaigns and no one had ever raised this issue before.
It was just too bad for me.
The worst part about this experience was I was never offered any sort of compensation. I wasn’t told that once the live launch started in a few months that I could join those calls. Nothing. I bought this course for that bonus specifically. And that bonus was not genuine. I immediately lost all faith and trust in this guru.
It took me a few days to process what happened, how I felt about it and what I was going to do about it. I had already consumed a good portion of the course and didn’t feel comfortable asking for a refund just in case there was material I could find useful. So, I let it be.
But this experience changed me.
I do not offer bonuses for my courses or in my webinars. And not for the reason you may think. It’s because this experience made me question WHY we use bonuses in the first place when selling online. And the more I examined this, the more I became convinced that they are not right for my business.
I’ve written a second piece in which I explain more about the reason we use bonuses in the first place. It’s called, “Why using bonuses are destructive in your webinar or offer”.