You Are Judged By The Company You Keep! (written April, 1999)

The other day I received a publication that looked to be of decent quality. The paper was good stock and the printing was well done. In short, it had all the ingredients of a high quality publication, one that made you think the publisher was legitimate and knew what they were doing.

Then all of the sudden I turned the page and there it was! The killer! A full page circular for one of the “bogus” programs being promoted today. As I looked at the “dealer” name at the bottom of the circular promoting the bogus program I noticed that it was the same as the publisher of the publication I was reading. Immediately any credibility that was built up in my mind on the part of the publisher was lost. Because of that one bogus program everything else in the publication immediately lost value. It was really too bad. The publisher went from an honest promoter of high quality programs to a greedy scam artist in one turn of the page. While they may or may not be a scam artist, the point is that in my mind they were. And the same would have been true for anybody else reading the publication that was aware of the bogus program.

The point is – you have to be careful of the programs that you promote because, believe it or not, you are judged by the company you keep. I know you heard your mother tell you that numerous times. Well she was right. In almost any area of life, you are in fact judged by those with whom you choose to associate. It is especially true in mail order, where your reputation is so important. Because people do not generally know you on a personal level, they judge you by the sales materials that you put out. If your materials are of poor quality, you will not be taken seriously. This is bad in itself. But if the programs themselves that you promote are bogus, you have destroyed your reputation in the reader’s eyes and it will be very difficult to convince them to buy anything from you – ever! Think about it. If you see someone selling high quality stereo equipment at a competitive, honest price you will be inclined to do business with them. Take that same person, selling the same equipment that is known to be “hot” or stolen and suddenly you are not so eager to give them your business. If you are, then you are no better than them!

So be careful what you promote. Do not promote the programs that are just asking for money in return for a copy of the same ad or circular and do not offer a legitimate product or service. Do not get involved in programs that are known to be bogus (the 2 cent first class mail program or the numerous chain letters). Being involved with these types of programs will “label” you in the industry and destroy your reputation. Reputations are so difficult to build, yet so easy to destroy. I suggest you follow a rule that I do when selling anything. Ask yourself “would I buy this if I were not selling it?” If the answer is no, stay away from it. You will always be more successful selling something you believe in anyway. Do not be tempted to promote those bogus scam programs. By the way, do you know what I did with the publication I received with the bogus program? Well that one scam circular caused me to chuck the whole thing in the trash! So all the other ads in the publication never were read! Just remember, we are in fact judged by the company we keep!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.