How to avoid turning prospects into detractors without ever making a sale

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I read an online advertisement from an online non-executive director agency inviting individuals to sign up. I decided to take this up to see what they were like and went through a lengthy form filling process.  Until I got to the last page and was asked for money. Which was a surprise as they had failed to mention upfront that their’s was a fee paying service.

Not only had I wasted time but I had given up my details to an organisation which had failed to be honest with me. So you can imagine how I felt about them but it also increased my sense of distrust about online offers.

This seems to be an increasingly common problem across many types of service and one I encounter in both consumer and business markets. A retail offer of free delivery and promise that orders would get there the next day made me go all the way to the checkout before being told it would cost extra to achieve that goal; a free offer that ends up requiring credit card details to obtain it; an email with a subject line ‘special invitation’ when its an ‘early bird’ offer for an event. What all these have in common is that they waste the prospect’s time.

Its a fine line to tread.  But being transparent about the cost of the service  and what the counter-party should expect in return are pretty fundamental to trade. Fail to do so and you turn prospects into detractors without ever giving yourself a chance to make money and build a reputation.


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