An Open Letter to a Desperate Business : You’ve officially lost my trust and therefore my business!

Dear Desperate Business Owner or Marketing Manager:

I just got your last email and I’ve had enough.  I know that when I shared my email address with you and confirmed it, I was “officially” giving you permission to market your services to me but enough is enough.  I marked the last communication from your staff as spam so hopefully I won’t ever hear from you again.

It’s unfortunate that it’s had to come to this.  When I signed up for your service, I had high hopes.  You offered a free 30 day trial of your Web 2.0 application and it was presented in such an attractive manner that I couldn’t WAIT to try it.

As you’ve probably already guessed –  there was a significant lack of trust on my part when I agreed to your free trial.

What you may not realize is only one of those questions was whether or not the product would perform as promised.

I had other concerns.  Since this is a Web 2.0 application, this is not simply a product that I download and use.  To use your wonderful application, I must subscribe to your service.  That requires a higher level of trust.  This is not a one time transaction –  in purchasing your service, you are asking me to enter into a relationship with your company.


The trust element raised the bar significantly and changed the rules of the game.  When this went from a one time sale to a long term relationship – this transaction went from being a Minor Sale to a Major Sale.  (Pick up a copy of my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results for more on the differences in marketing the Major Sale vs the Minor Sale.)

Trust is a huge part of the Major Sale.

I understand that you probably weren’t aware of the differences between Minor Sales and Major Sales when you created the marketing for this service.   Perhaps you thought marketing was simply a matter of B2B or B2C.

I forgive you for not buying and reading my book.  That’s why I’m composing this open letter to you.

I trusted you enough to give you my real email address.   Perhaps you don’t recognize the significance of that.  Sharing my REAL email was in and of itself a huge trust step.  I maintain a Hotmail email account when a company hasn’t even earned the right to an email account I access on a regular basis.

However, while I was willing to share my real email address, I didn’t trust you enough to share my real phone number when I signed up for your free trial – even though that was a “required” field on your form.

I hated lying to you, but as I’ve stated before- I didn’t know if I could trust you with that information. In order to explore whether or not I could trust you and enter into a business relationship with you, I was required to tell a white lie when I filled out that form.

As you’ve obviously discovered – that phone number I entered into the form is not mine.  (I owe an OFFICIAL apology to whomever has been fielding the telemarketing calls from your firm.  Sorry about that.)

See,  I’m just like a lot of people who are using the internet.  I’ve shared my contact information only to have it shared and sold repeatedly.  That’s why I get so much SPAM on a daily basis!!!  I have no idea whether or not I agreed to allow this or not because I rarely read those privacy policies.  What I have learned over the years is not to TRUST anyone with sensitive information – especially someone I’ve only met on the internet.

From the tone of the emails you’ve been sending me this week, things are really desperate on your end.  You’ve obviously been trying to contact me via phone – and discovered you can’t.  So now you’re barraging me with emails as you desperately try to contact me.

Today I got the THIRD email in one week (yes, I had to provide you with a working email to download your free trial) with the title “Response Required”.

Response REQUIRED?

I’m REQUIRED to write a hefty check to pay my income taxes in a few weeks.

I’m REQUIRED to show up for jury duty when called.

I’m REQUIRED to tell the truth to the nice US Marshall when he asks me questions about the unusual activity going on across the street.  (Hasn’t happened – yet!!)

I’m struggling now to think of things that I am REQUIRED to do.   As I try to think of the things that I absolutely MUST do – most of the things that come to mind involve police officers, jail time and/or hefty fines.

Most of the things that I’m truly REQUIRED to do include dire consequences and quite honestly, I can’t think of a single downside to me NOT responding to your inquiries.

When I got the first email from you this week, I ignored it.  I’m not ready to buy and I’m definitely not willing to try to justify my decision on the phone to a pushy sales rep.   I didn’t mark this communication as spam because, at that moment in time,  doing business with you was still a possibility.  I’m still about 15-30 days away from making a serious purchasing decision about this service and at that point, you were still in the running.

When I got the 2nd email on the next day – I started to get irked.   However, I get that sometimes spam filters keep legitimate emails from getting through so I didn’t hit the “mark as spam” button – YET!

When I got the THIRD message from yet another email account from your firm – well, that’s what prompted my actions AND this open letter.

The path to the sale – especially a Major Sale – can be a long and complex journey.  Every step in the marketing process is another opportunity to earn another deposit into the trust account with this potential clients.

Trust is a tricky thing.  It’s hard to gain and oh, so easy to lose.  What’s worse is – as is illustrated by my experience with my pest control company – sometimes the actions of one member of an industry can destroy an individual’s trust with EVERY member of an industry.  Even though you personally didn’t do ANYTHING to destroy a consumer’s trust – one of your competitors may have.  When that happens, it makes your job of building trust with potential clients/customers/ patients that much more difficult.

On the bright side, once you’ve established a trusting relationship with these consumers – you’ll find they’re your most passionate brand advocates!


  1. This is so wonderful on so many levels! Here’s your next e-book product. Man, you’d think during a recession, companies would focus on doing the right thing and delivering a superlative experience. Sadly, they’re thinking it’s about them. Big mistake. Great fodder for blogging, though, eh? 🙂


  2. Well your letter is open. Did you send it to them from that hotmail address? I hope they “get” the message. Trust is earned by following through on agreements and expectations.

    I had to laugh though because as you know I used the required subject for participation in my coaching experience. Guess you trusted me enough to follow-through. 🙂

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..How To Create and Complete By Using Strategies

  3. Betsy- I truly would have NOTHING to blog about if every business delivered exceptional customer service. Dare I say – I believe the blogosphere would be a much less lively place if all businesses were well run. Fortunately, we’re not in ANY danger of that happening any time soon!

  4. Tom – and yes, you most certainly HAVE earned my trust – even without hearing your voice. THAT my friend is the power of blogging.

    Through your relentless and tireless pursuits of spreading your message of “authenticity in action” you’ve most definitely earned my trust! Which is why you’ve gotten an email from me – because in the sig file of my email is my phone number. So in answer to the question – NO I did NOT reply to the business in question because then they would have my phone number – and OMG I do NOT want them to have my phone number OR address!!! I’m sure they’d send someone to my door – Jehovah Witness style to “convert” me into a customer!

  5. Kathy Big LOL on Jehovah Witness style to “convert” me into a customer!

    Somehow I think that your sweet spot could be somewhere around your witty, hilarious and well written comments and responses to comments. You bring a lot of joy to the blogosphere just being your self!

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..How To Create and Complete By Using Strategies

  6. Powerful letter and it shows me that you are very capable and knowledgeable about what you want…

    I just got scammed and have been very fortunate not to be the first in my state – The Attorney General’s office in my State had 1,125 signatures on a class action suit when I signed on.

    I kept thinking how could I be so stupid, until I found out that about 17 folks that I workout with had also signed up at the AGs office. I got no products/tho most of my peers did/ and have now gotten funds back and changed their credit card numbers….I have not gotten $78.84 re-shelving fee because that money went to Florida where this kind of sales stuff is not illegal – my hope is that since I can prove I got no product or receipts or information, I would not need a re – stocking fee? I did have to get a new credit card, which was very time consuming.

    Thank you for this good post.

    Patricias last blog post..Announcing a Writing Contest – With a Financial Incentive!

  7. You said it, its all about Trust & relationship building and truly this company did not have this in mind. LOL – I love how you turned it around and plugged in your own sales technique there, love this post!

    JustinSMVs last blog post..Twitter Spring Clean Up

  8. Tom – :blushing: Thanks!

    Patricia – GRRR!!!! Hearing this makes me SO angry! I’m angry because it’s JERKS like the ones who ripped you off are making it a million times harder for the good honest businesses who are operating via the web! It’s why anyone who’s in business has GOT to work ten times harder establishing TRUST with potential clients/customers than they think they need to!

    Thanks for your input!

    Justin- 😀 you caught that? By the way – LOVED your Twitter Spring Clean up post! OUTSTANDING!!!

  9. Hi Kathy – Good for you. What you say is so true. These people think they’re selling hotdogs and many of them just don’t have the patience to sell major items.

    Bombarding folk with heaps of email during the trial and especially selling your email address are huge no-no’s.

    I hope they recognise themselves in this post and learn a valuable lesson.

  10. What’s REALLY sad is there will be 50 people who will think I’m writing about them and the ONE company that should be paying attention – won’t! At least, that’s been my experience here on the wild, wooly and social web!

  11. Many Big companies have this exact deception as well, it is absolutely crucial you build a strong client relationship. Building trust is KEY/
    Customer service is another one of the most powerful means of retaining happy recurring customers. Offering incentive programs, customer loyalty programs, and sales incentives is another
    powerful way to build a powerful customer relationship while branding your company as a success.