Destroy a business relationship in five sentences or less


Today I sent out an email to all my business contacts announcing my new book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud. The email included a little bit about the book (what it’s about, who it’s for), a link to purchase it from, and a request for bloggers to mention it on their sites if they were so inclined.

I admit being a bit giddy. But how often does one have their first book published??? Well, I think it’s exactly once or never, depending on your circumstances. So my “once” is pretty special to me.

And one by one, I got lovely notes back from clients, associates, and friends.

And then there was “the” response. This response came from someone I respected greatly, until today. I had spent several thousand dollars in the past on his seminars and had purchased several of his books. I recommended him to many other professionals, and encouraged them to buy his books. I was recently eagerly looking at his seminar list, mulling over which seminar I’d be ready for next. (Another several thousand dollars for one of those.)

But I won’t be attending any seminars and I won’t be buying any books. This man didn’t like the fact that I emailed him my “solicitation.” But instead of just deleting the email and moving on with life, he sent a very terse response to me. I responded by saying that it was more of an announcement than a solicitation, and that I was sorry for wasting his time.

That was bad enough. I was actually expecting to get some encouraging words as I opened his initial email. Some of his seminars include discussions on writing books and getting them published. And he’s no slouch in this area. How silly of me to think that some of my newbie excitement would be encouraged by him.

And still, instead of letting it go at that and just accepting my apology as the end of an unfortunate email exchange, he replied to me. How he hates “these attempts to promote books this way.” And “imagine if everyone did this.”

Well….. I imagine that if everyone emailed their business contacts when they published books, they’d probably sell more books, don’t you think? It’s not like I randomly emailed people about my book. I sent the mail to people I’ve done business with in the past. Is that so wrong?

Unfortunately, it is for this gentleman. But his words hurt and he has lost my endorsement forever. I realize he doesn’t need my little fees for his seminars. He has plenty of people who will fill the spots. I’ve always gotten a kick out of his arrogance in the past. He’s a very accomplished professional who has much to be proud of and the arrogance suits him. But today the arrogance rained on my parade in a way that it didn’t need to.

3 thoughts on “Destroy a business relationship in five sentences or less

  1. Nathan

    I’m surprised that people can react so negatively to something like this. I feel I should also tell you how much respect I have for you for keeping him anonymous. It would be tempting for me to throw out his name in the hopes that others would stop attending his seminars, and it is encouraging to see that you exercised some restraint when others (like him) fail to do so. I hope for the best with your book, and I’m glad you aren’t discouraged by wet blankets like this guy.

  2. Tracy Coenen

    Hi Nathan! Thank you for such a nice comment. Believe me, I was surprised too and I sort of wanted to name him. But his name is beside the point.

    And the story didn’t end with this post. I got a follow-up email from him this morning, telling me how I “don’t understand marketing,” that HE is the one who has had successful books (not me), and that he was “taking time to help” me yet I was being resentful of him.

    Fortunately, I know the difference between someone trying to help me and someone just trying to berate me for the sake of berating me. Helpful would have looked something like this: “I’ve found that XYZ technique works a little better blah blah blah.”

    Helpful is NOT: You suck and I’m fabulous.

    But the beat goes on and I’ll still be selling my books. Just without the help of any of this man’s seminars or resources.

  3. Caesar

    Would you say that Rossie O’Donnell would love to hear this story? If she would, then I am not surprised at your story, the arrogance shows in all fronts…but do not let that bother you and continue with your book and your success. Some people want to make money out of you on your way up and when you get there, they have to push you down. It was never about helpoing you, it was about the fees to get you there. But don’t worry, The Karma police takes care of things, the hair will fall and the young wife will leave when he turns 70. Its just a matter of time…Good luck and much success.

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