But Wait, There’s More!

There is a trend of incredible temerity and lack of ethics gripping seemingly desperate speakers and consultants. They want their moment in the sun, their Warholian 15 minutes, no matter what. Talent doesn’t matter, value isn’t a consideration. It’s a Kardashian moment.

Recently, a trainer I hadn’t spoken with in over a decade wrote me and asked if she could send me a copy of her new book. I said she could, and I received an uninteresting, uninspiring, self-published book that I tossed out. A month later, she sent another note around, obviously to a large group of which I was a part. She requested the following: “You’ve received my book, and now I’d like you to go to Amazon and write a five-star, positive review. Please do this even if you didn’t like the book. I greatly appreciate your help in trying to make this launch a great success.”

I am not making this up. I should lie about her product so that she can dupe more people while she has a nanosecond in the limelight. Really?

Every day I get requests from people who want me to vote for them in some Internet contest about being a great author, or having a great web site, or being great at asking for votes about being great. When I wrote back to one woman that I had no idea who she was, she told me that she had been in a session I ran seven years ago, in a group of 50. Well, I’m clearly qualified to comment on her new cartoon book about working mothers, right?

Have you seen the book solicitations where you’ll receive “thousands of dollars” of bonus material if you buy the $24 book? Most of the bonus stuff is from people I’ve never heard of offering “tip sheets” of a few worthless ideas which they “value” at $300! (Disclaimer: I know this because I recently agreed to do this for a respected author, and I provided one of my teleconference downloads which sells on my site for $100. When I was offered a view of the total package, I found scores of people, only a few of whom were of the author’s caliber, some offering “invaluable” manuals and $1,000 worth of ideas. It was painful, and I thought unnecessary for this person’s very good book. These others wanted to have their names involved. I learned my lesson.)

Have we come to an age where we need these kind of faux inducements to attract people, where value and repute alone are not enough? Is a better ranking on Amazon worth conspiracy and deception?

I have a book coming out next month from John Wiley & Sons, The Consulting Bible. For $25 you just get the book, nothing else. Well, maybe something else: You get the ideas, models, techniques, and practical application to vastly improve your business. How’s that for a return on investment?

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

21 thoughts on “But Wait, There’s More!

  1. Alan,

    I may never be your best pupil…but I’d much rather pay $25 for your upcoming book…and have a valuable resource that I can utilize in my practice…than “$1,000 of valuable ideas” that are a tired re-hash of what thousands of other hucksters push out via the internet.

    If possible, sign me up for an advance copy!

    • Alan,

      I don’t want a free copy of the book- having read several of your others I’m sure this one is well worth the 25 bucks. But I would love an autographed copy. I don’t want to set a precedent here, but is that something you would be willing to do for

      • Oops! My finger hit enter before I finished my previous post. I apologize for that.

        To finish that earlier question… is this something you would be willing to do for me, and how can I prepay for a copy of the book?

  2. Alan,

    The reason that these “packages worth thousands in bonuses” are made available, is, quite simply, to manipulate the Amazon bestseller rankings.

    simply get 250 buys of your book in the wee hours of a Saturday morning and your book will be #1 on Amazon for an hour or two. get a screenshot… and ta-da! you are now a “bestselling author!”

    I’ve had clients that, before meeting me, had paid (rather “been scammed”) roughly $10,000 or so for this dubious privilege!

  3. You’re exactly right, which is also why you see the Wall Street Journal and New York Times footnote certain book titles on the best seller lists with “indications that mass purchases were made.”

    One guy in NSA actually sent out a mass email asking everyone to go into book stores to turn his book around so that the full cover showed on the shelves! Not surprisingly, his book plagiarized the original sources.

  4. The audacity of that woman! How in the world she thought she could get away with saying “even if you didn’t like the book” without it coming back to bite her is beyond reason.

    Occasionally, when someone sends me an email praising my book I will politely ask if they might take the time to review my book on Amazon. Once, when I handed out discount sheets for my book at a conference I hand-wrote on them, “Please consider reviewing on Amazon, thank you!” but I would never ask someone to be dishonest.

  5. John Wooden once stated that working hard gets you to the top but a strong value system keeps you there. I would rather have 5 books in my collection if truly insightful and valuable information (where everytime you read them you discover something different) than 500 books of the same old stuff. Nice to see people are still building businesses on building and adding value first. Thanks for the opportunity to give my 2 cents. Time to make change however you choose! Good Luck with your book launch! To your continued success, JMM

  6. You must have incredible time management skills to keep publishing your great books! I recently purchased Million Dollar Speaking and Million Dollar Coaching and am looking forward to The Consulting Bible. Thanks for all you do!

  7. I contributed to the same “respected author” you mentioned and it was incredibly disappointing to see the masses with considerable garbage on that site! The whole “best seller campaign,” I believe dilutes one’s credibility and it may produce a spike but seldom value-based sustainability.

  8. I bought Million Dollar Consulting and could not put the book down. I still can’t believe Alan phoned me on SATURDAY morning.

    You should see the book all sorts of post its sticking out. LOTS of value, exactly what I needed. Looking foward to working/seeing Alan in some shape or form very soon.

    Oh thank you for the great post, far too many pretenders out in the marketplace.

  9. David, agree. I thought there would be a few high quality contributors, instead there were scores of low-value stuff. The book rose in the rankings for a day, and has disappeared.

    Paramjit, if you get the chance and are so disposed, please consider writing a review on Amazon.com!

  10. To satisfy my curiosity I once bought a book offering the thousands of dollars of bonuses. I was interested in one of the bonuses: a review of my Web site. The person who was listed to review sites carefully screened those requesting a review and refused those she didn’t think would pay her a fortune to have her redesign the site. So not only was the original author unethical for trying to fake a high Amazon ranking, but some of the bonuses were unethical or nonexistent.

  11. Naomi, it’s such an amateurish game that’s actually espoused by people speaking at professional events. It’s like the people who keep telling me about their book, which turns out to be self-published, or their TV show, which turns out to be purchased cable time, or their radio show, which they’re paying to host. When you can’t make it with real talent, you pretend.

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