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Thursday, July 23, 2009

KENSEL TRACY: Sold and Emotionally Violated

by Kensel Tracy

Over the years, much has been said about advertising and its ability to get consumers and businesses to make emotional buying decisions.

These decisions are based on supplying the right kind of truthful information and then getting the potential customer or client to respond to the information supplied.

The other day, as a consumer, I, too, was confronted with such a decision.

This decision called for me to buy, and, for a moment, I was ready. I was sold, sold emotionally, and violated in the process. In the game of networking we talk a lot about social capital and developing trust with others through the art of networking. I wanted to share a story that happened a few years ago and left me feeling some what emotionally violated. For those of you who regularly read my articles this one takes a little different twist. It was originally published a few years ago however the essence still remains true today.

Some of you have most likely had your trust violated as well: by the mystery man "J."
"J" shows up in a typewritten envelope with a Philadelphia postmark. "J" encourages you to read an article by Leah Thayer, a book review on the guide "The American Speaker".

Enclosed is a page that looks as if it has been torn from a magazine and folded to look familiar. "J" sticks his initial on a "post-it" note telling me personally, "Try this, it works." I read the article top to bottom because it seems to have been sent by a friend of mine. I feel confident someone that knows me is truly trying to help me out.

I feel good that some friend knows and cares enough to send me information. I am truly blessed to have friends and business associates who truly care about me. Right? Or wrong.

Who is "J"? John my best man, Jim my high school buddy, Janis from sales, or James the vice-president? I spend the better part of an evening and early morning trying to figure out who the mysterious "J" is.

The next day, as I enter my office, a colleague bemoans direct mail and the lowest form of direct mail he got this week. The direct mail from "J."
How could "J" deceive me, and send this same advice to hundreds or thousands of other friends. It can't be, I'm special. "J" only sent this advice to me.

Disappointed, I realize that a bond of trust has been violated by "J." So, I investigate.

"J" turns out to be "The George Town Publishing House" in Washington,D.C. and when I contact them to get more information, I am told this was the method commonly used by them to sell their various publications.

"The American Speaker", (at a rip-off US$297.00 plus US$30.00 for shipping and handling), was the book being thrust upon me by my new concerned friend "J."

"J" had marked the document at the appropriate spot with which to order using tick marks and circles as would a true friend or business associate.

The whole piece was a scam. "J" was not a true friend, but an impostor: I felt betrayed. How could "J" say he was a real friend when all he wanted me to do was get me to buy a book? How could he assume it would work for me when he didn't know me?

"J" was crossing the boundary ever so slightly, but enough to make me feel cheap, used and mad. The lowest form of mistrust since I thought it was from someone I trusted from my confident business network built carefully over the years.

Having been in the advertising industry over thirty years. During this time I have seen a number of approaches used over years to try get consumers to buy. There have been a number of questionable calls. Yet,I have seen few tactics that callously pretended to be a caring, concerned friend or business associate.

For a second, I, a senior ad executive, had let my guard down. I trusted my friend "J," and I had been misled. "J" is a cheap imitation, a misleading piece of direct mail, a fraudulent piece of paper made to look like help from someone trusted.

I took two steps back and realized that in a business I love and care about, one always needs to be on the lookout for the "J"s of the advertising and direct mail world. In networking one cannot be to careful either because as trusting as we all are the "j's" of the world are always lurking. This does not mean you should go on the defensive and not share. It just means that one always needs to be aware that the "j's" the misleading businesses and business people are still out there plying their trade.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and is a Senior Partner with The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec. He is also the President of Business Over Breakfast (BoB Clubs)a business to business networking referral club now opening up in cities across Canada and the United States. For information checkout

For more information, please visit Kensel's TNNW Bio.

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Anonymous said...

I recently signed up for a discount card that was supposed to help the troops. Soon I began recieving envelope after envelope in the mail with instructions for this new card and that. I had agreed to give $1 to this and $2 to that, for the troops while on the phone with a fast talking representative. (That should have been my warning). When I recieved the mailings and called to fix the situation caused by my own misplaced trust in an organization claiming to be helping the troops, I was told that the trial period for the card that, the small fee that I had agreed to had only been a processing fee. Then I was told that my account had been charged more $28 for the monthly membership, before the information was even postmarked. I will never donate to any organization over the phone again. So the vets, handicapped and homeless helped by honest organizations are now losing due to this one tricky sales force.

The story has a semi-happy ending. My bank, HELPED me. They turned of my card, added notes to my account to watch out for future charges from the so called organization, and began an investigation of fraud...all with no hidden charge.

Anonymous said...

Why would yo not address who the sender was by looking at the origination of the email, or reply politely "not recalling" who it was?

TheBusinessMD said...

Hi Kensel,

In your situation, I can feel sympathetic while also expressing empathy to knowing how easy trust is lost when our boundaries are emotionally violated by friends that try to selfishly lead us down a detour in our life that not only wastes our time, our money and creates more heartache and work.

I recognize and respect that everyone has their own reaction to this type of experience. The way I look at is I am grateful for that person who violated me because the experience helped me to pay attention better to myself so I don’t make that mistake again. I also have learned to free myself by forgiving myself and the other person for trusting. After I get to that point, I can think clearly and become grateful that I learned the truth about the untrustworthiness of this individual. That is Priceless ---

In the short term you have the grief, right. In the long term this person’s unethical transactions will add up.

In Genuineness,

Christine of the North – TNNW Go West!!!

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