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Reading time – 1:33 seconds (oops); Viewing time – 2:38  .  .  .

Recently a friend enthusiastically recommended a line of products to me, so I poked around the company’s website to learn more. There was a technical aspect to their products, so I looked for that kind of information, but all I could find was promotional material, testimonial quotes and smiling faces. It was frustrating not being able to find what I wanted, as well as off-putting and I felt a bit hustled. My friend, though, was so positive about the products that I was convinced to give them a try.

The box arrived and I enthusiastically opened it to find the products, along with a CD, a DVD and lots of documentation, nearly all of which were company and product rah-rah, along with plenty of material instructing me how to sell the products. That’s when I learned that it was a network marketing scheme and – did I mention? – I felt hustled. Not by my friend, whose intentions were pure, but by the company, and I immediately lost trust in the company and its products. I sent it all back.

In a later conversation with my friend to explain what was up I offered to describe my experience to people from the company, if that would be of service to them. A conference call was scheduled and that’s when things got even worse.

The call started with my offering my experience to them. The immediate reply from a VP on the call was about how they were on the INC-1000 list of fastest growing companies, that they were changing their marketing to accommodate both those who want to network market and others who just want the products and about how good that will be for the company (he actually said that twice). He ended with a wimpy apology for my poor experience. Are you seeing a problem here?

The call ended with my feeling blown off and hustled (again).

At this point I’m convinced that the VP and the company are all about themselves and that at best I’m just an afterthought.

The point of this is about how to treat people. In this case I was a customer and I wanted them to focus on my interests and needs – basically to treat me as, well, a customer. Your customers feel the same way when they do business with you and those who look to you for leadership – guess what? – they want that “I care about you” message, too.

Let this company be a perfect reverse barometer for you. Whatever they’re doing, do the opposite.

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