The concept of private labeling has become a huge topic among online sellers and continues to be the area of my business I receive the most questions about. A couple of years ago, a big online course was released covering this topic which largely sparked all of the interest.
At the time the first version of the course was being promoted, I had already been making a full time living utilizing private labeling (and other strategies that I talk about on this blog and in my book) for years. I was excited to see a course that would explain all of the ins and outs of this to people who wanted to explore selling online. After all, when I started, I had to figure out everything myself- through making a ton of mistakes! When the promotional videos for the course were released, I felt like they provided a lot of great value and some fantastic actionable information (in the free videos alone!) However, there were also elements of the videos where I felt the over-the-top marketing techniques shined through. I’m not a fan of these techniques, but I still felt the information in the videos was really valuable. I eventually connected with several individuals who had actually gone through the course and had become very successful very quickly. I ended up promoting the course to my readers for versions 3 and 4. In the emails, however, I spent a great deal of time cautioning readers to overlook the hype, not give into fear or a scarcity mentality and to think long and hard about the decision (because the monetary investment of the course was very large!) My primary objective is always to consider the best interest of my readers. I do this by putting myself in their shoes and give them what I would want. If there was good helpful course available that would benefit me, I would want to know about it, but I also wouldn’t want to be manipulated. I would want the freedom to think things through rationally.
WHAT MY PAST TELLS YOU ABOUT MY FUTURE:
Let me stop here for a moment and back up to a personal story. In 2005, I worked at a music gear store. I worked primarily on commission ( I had a sales draw which meant I was paid a minimum wage until my commission level reached beyond that wage). I was taught sales techniques, how to “generate leads”, how to “utilize those leads”, how to “up sell” and “cross sell” and many other techniques including how to “close the deal.” I loved music gear and I loved people who loved music gear. I was genuinely interested in what these people were doing with their music and what their specific needs were. I wanted to help them reach their personal goals and I was happy to suggest gear that would meet these goals, but I was a horrible “salesman”! To me, all of the “techniques” I learned seemed to be motivated by the end goal of making as much money as possible. My personal “end goal” was helping musicians meet their music needs and reach their music goals. At times these 2 objectives or “end goals” were at odds with each other. As a result, my customers loved me. I believe they felt that I was going to genuinely work in their best interest. However, my paycheck and my “performance” (sales standards) suffered severely as a result of not embracing many of the sales tactics.
If a customer came in, I would allow the customer to explain his musical goals, the vision that he had and the current tools he had to make that happen (music gear, budget etc.) Sometimes a customer would gravitate toward a specific piece of equipment- usually because they were told they needed it by an ad, a sales rep at another store or by someone else with financial interest in the product. I would often realize that the customer’s need could be met for hundreds of dollars less than the gear they were looking at. I would naturally direct them to the less expensive comparable product.
Now, in some cases, keeping within a particular budget was not the customer’s main concern. In some cases, the customer simply wanted the top of the line, highest quality, feature rich piece of equipment. In other cases, the objective was status (and some brands will provide this more than others despite the similar functionality.) In these cases, of course I directed those customers to what fit best for them. I definitely sold my share of high end gear, but never by telling a customer he needed something he did not just to make a little extra commission.
MY “SALES STRATEGY”:
After spending years looking into internet marketing and internet sales, I find that many of the techniques are the same as I learned in my commission based job. Why? Because they work! People respond to fear, a sense of scarcity, manipulation, hype, excitement and many other profoundly powerful emotions and people have deep needs to feel important, competent, successful, inspired, protected and secure. The techniques work, but it is my opinion that they work at a cost. I may get the desired result (a commission check) at the expense of trust of my readers. This is not worth it to me.
As an affiliate of this large course, I am sent pre-made emails to send out to subscribers which are saturated with the marketing language that targets these emotions (“don’t wait another minute!” “this could be your last chance!” “Do you want to secure your future?” “Learn a SUPER SIMPLE method…” etc etc). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with language the encourages people to buy as long as it’s moderately used and not extreme. However, even during my promotion of this course, I simply could not bring myself to use those emails (even knowing statistically how effective they were having been meticulously tested). Instead, I crafted my honest thoughts of the information and I took a fair look at the positive and negative elements of the course. As a result, my performance as an affiliate was extremely poor!
A couple of you reached out to me during the previous promotion and expressed some concern that perhaps I was becoming “another one of those marketers” by promoting a big course like this. The truth is, I think the course is valuable, the course creators actually do what they teach (and have made a lot of money doing so). I personally know several people who have gone through the course and have done very well and I’m confident that if you take it seriously, you’ll make your investment back in a very short period of time. However, I take comments and concerns from readers very seriously and have given this a lot of thought. What is comes down to for me is this:
It’s more important to maintain trust with my readers than to promote a course that may cause suspicion from some readers- even if I personally believe in it! It simply isn’t worth it.
Now, there were some who truly were grateful for my thoughts about the course last year. It helped some people who were on the fence decide to pursue it and helped many others decide not to! if you want my thoughts on it, just email me and I’ll be happy to tell you. I ultimately feel the course has value, but for the reasons mentioned above, I have decided not to actively promote the course. This essentially makes me a “failure” as a marketer, but hopefully will have long term benefits in terms of relationships, trust and authenticity.
With all of this said, my intention is and has always been to provide as much value for my readers as possible. Over the next several weeks, I plan to write some posts specifically targeting the topic of private labeling. I believe it will provide a lot of value to you and if you’ve not yet pursued private labeling, it may help you understand the risks and rewards of doing so.
FREE AND INEXPENSIVE RESOURCES
In the meantime, feel free to take a look at the resources that have helped me which include free and low cost tools and courses that got me to where I am. These provide tons of value and I hope you find them helpful!
If you are just starting and want a free guide that will give you actionable steps to start making money right away, please sign up below for my free ebook “system start up.”
Thanks so much for your continued support!