“Coaching Offer” Phone-Call Scam
Admittedly, I always say negative things about products that are bad and I do occasionally point and laugh at silly marketers. But I don’t want product-bashing to be “my thing” and I know that there’s more value in providing useful information that can help you move forward than in railing on about everything that’s wrong in the Internet marketing space.
Having said that, there are times when people need to be warned and when a rant is in order. Now is one of those times.
“We Would Like to Offer You Coaching…”
I’ve gotten phone-calls like this, and chances are, you have too. Here’s what happens: You buy some online marketing related product and during the order process and a few days later, you get a phone call. The agent on the phone says something along the following lines:
We would like to offer you a very special opportunity to be enrolled in our exclusive coaching program. This is a very special opportunity and we have hand-picked you as a good candidate. We’ll offer you one-on-one coaching, to grow your business and make [insert arbitrary dollar amount here] in the shortest time possible. In return, we ask that we can get a testimonial from you and use you as a case-study…
- Always framed as a very exclusive opportunity
- Almost always offered “in return for a testimonial”
- Always promises coaching and guaranteed results
I have no idea why they do the “testimonial” thing. It’s probably just something that has proven to be effective.
The Real Deal
On the face of it, there seems nothing wrong with this. Why not offer coaching as part of a sales-funnel, after all?
Well, there would be nothing wrong with this if it weren’t all just a big lie. Here’s what you need to know about these “coaching offers”:
The deal is not exclusive at all.
They’re trying to get as many people to take these offers, as they can.
They lie about their affiliations.
The agent on the phone might tell you that they are part of X’s company, X being the person you recently bought an IM product from. They aren’t. The way this works is that marketers get your contact info from the order you place and pass it on to some boiler-room operation that does nothing but call people all day long, with these coaching offers. The marketer simply gets a cut from anyone who takes up the offer and pays.
They don’t care.
What the above also means is that marketers who do this don’t care about you or respect you in any way. These are often the same guys harping on about “building a relationship” with your customers and all that, mind you. However, they are willing to pass your contact details on to some “company” that does nothing but scam people out of money. Another way of saying that: They betray your trust for money.
Price: All you’ve got.
The goal with these operations is to find out how much money you have and take it all. If you listen for this, when you get a phone call of this nature, you’ll quickly notice that the agent is prying for info on how much you can spare, how much you’ve spent in the past etc. Typically, they’ll ask you to “invest” between $5.000 and $10.000 for the “coaching”. If you make the impression of having more to spare, they’ll offer more non-existant stuff for more money.
There is no coaching.
The offer is not real. You certainly won’t be enrolled in a coaching program that’s run by the person who referred you to the call-center. There’s either going to be no coaching at all (and some fine print in the terms that make sure you don’t get your money back, inspite of this) or there is going to be some kind of useless “filler” content that’s nowhere near worth the money you paid for it.
In short, it’s all just a system set up to extract the maximum possible amount of money from people who tend to fall for “hope and dream” marketing (these are often those who are desperate and can least afford to lose so much money).
Don’t Be a Victim
Not everyone who follows up on the phone with you is a scammer or a criminal. And not every coaching offer is fake.
Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of all such offers currently circulating are indeed fake. If you get a call like this and you want to make the agent squirm, start asking specific questions. Like what the company name is and where it resides. What their website address is, so you can get more information. What their exact terms of service are and whether you can have a signed agreement sent to you by mail… that kind of thing. Also ask about their refund policy.
In general, don’t hand anyone thousands of dollars for coaching.
If you want to see some ugly examples of people who’ve been ripped off by this type of scheme, take a look at this Salty Droid post.
On the bright side, when you get a call like this, you instantly know who you can’t trust anymore.
All the best,