Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scam or no?

OK, so I'm sorting bottle caps for my retired husband's folk art and my cell phone rings. A man with one of those beautiful, deep radio voices introduces himself as representing an Internet program. Coaching has grown over 600% in the last few years and his company's research department has given him my name. He then asked me a number of questions about my creativity coaching business, always complementing whatever answer I gave. The program he represented was interested in having me on a show and interviewing me about creativity coaching. The interviewer would be a famous TV personality. I'd never heard of him. Thousands of listeners tune into their shows. Was I ready for the increase in business the interview would bring? The staff would work with me to script the interview prior to broadcast and I would own the rights. They would provide me with some copies of the interview on cd to be used in my marketing in any way I chose. And it would only cost me $2000.

"And this conversation is at an end." I told him. But wait! There's more. Because I teach classes as a creativity coach at a local non-profit and I could tell he was looking at their website as we spoke, he could offer it to me for the low, low price of only $995.

I still turned him down. Not that I don't have the $995 in my business account for marketing. I do. No, I turned him down and his fabulous interview that would triple my business because I checked with some colleagues first. One, an internationally known creativity coach, told me that she had been approached by this and similar organizations. They talked the talk but don't walk the walk. She knew of no one who had tried this marketing route to make any notable return on their investment,  especially the kind of numbers hinted at by the representative.

Another friend, an editor with a national newspaper syndicate called this type of thing "advertorial news." Basically, it's an infomercial. You pay, maybe people buy. Again, it's a limited return for little reward. So is it a scam? The fellow never promised, so technically, legally, I'm sure it's legit. Yet, the very calculating way he lead the conversation, the flattery were all directed at selling their product, not mine.

So what were my take-aways from this experience?
  • I'm glad I took the time to become a certified creativity coach. My business experience and training helped me make my decision.
  • Thank goodness for the coaches in the Creativity Coaching Association  for sharing their knowledge with me.  
  • Thanks, J.G. for your knowledge. And to think I remember when you were a dumb kid.
So, what's your take on my experience? Is it a scam? Have you had a similar experience? I'm interested in your comments.