Tell Your Customers Your Flaws


It used to be, if you wanted to move products, you’d have to stretch the truth as much as possible. The only way to get a person’s attention was to make outrageous claims:

Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days!
It’s Like a Shammy, It’s Like a Towel, It Works Wet Or Dry!
The Secret to Unlocking Your Wildest Dreams!

But that doesn’t work anymore.

What grabs our attenition more than anything is honesty. Someone letting us know their product may not satisfy our needs.

Oil Slick Marketing Woes

Someone I know recently released a book online. In his book’s marketing copy, it states

You can expect to  make $xx,xxx per month!

It backfired completely. The comments from the release all talked about how scammy the book sounded. The reputation of the people who behind the book is now at risk.

If they’re willing to lie on the front cover, what can I expect about what’s inside?

Your Reputation Is Everything

Some marketer thought they’d be smart and give everyone a nice compelling reason to buy. Only the problem is, nobody believes it. And, according to the recent FTC rulings, their claims may even be illegal.

A much more compelling way to demonstrate value is to be honest.

Instead of presenting your product as flawless, give it flaws. Let people know it doesn’t solve everything.

Too many people go right for the immediate sale, and assume people won’t buy if their product is imperfect.

But we consumers are jaded. If you don’t let us know your flaws, we’ll assume you’re hiding something. And we’ll go looking.

Honesty Based Marketing

I know honesty based marketing works, because I’ve tried it.

I used to try selling my software using sly marketing psychology. Trick your customer into believing your software will solve all their problems, by using subtle psychological triggers.

It didn’t work. I made some sales, yes, but I didn’t experience viral growth from referrals. And the customers I did have weren’t the greatest.

Finally, frustrated, I decided to be honest and let people know exactly, what my product could do for them, and what it couldn’t.

I decided to let them know up front, and make bold, what my product’s flaws were, exactly.

The Turning Point

This worked like a charm. I doubled my sales, and started getting referrals for the first time. People love honesty. I’m now applying complete honesty to all my businesses. And my customers are loving me for it.

The Take Away

Make yourself seem vulnerable. Make your products seem simplistic. Let your customers know when you can’t solve their needs. Social media means everyone’s going to find out anyway.

Jump the gun, and give your product a human voice. Reclaim the scammy marketing space you used to fill, and replace it with honesty. Now laugh at yourself and share with your customers when you inevitably mess up.

Flaunt your flaws. It’s what makes your business real.

My First eBay Seller Experience

My hobby is film photography. I love shooting photos on old cameras, and over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of old cameras people have just given to me.

Recently, I decided to get rid of all the cameras I never use, figuring I might be able to make a bit of cash on eBay, and give someone else a really good deal.

Just a Tiny Fee First

Creating an eBay account and listing my items were easy enough. However, the fees structure is very confusing (maybe on purpose):

So, for a $190 camera lens, we have (50 * .08) + (140 * .05) = 4 + 7 = $11 in eBay fees.

Don’t Forget Collecting Your Payment

Paypal means another $0.30 + .029% of total price, including the shipping ($10 in this case). This brings the middleman’s total up to $17.10 on a $190 purchase. No big deal.

They’re taking a realistic 9% total cut from your sale on the cheapest item category. But it’s not immediately apparent based on their page.

A little misleading, but no big deal. But then, you meet the hidden dragon!

eBay’s “Security Features”

It doesn’t say it anywhere on the site when you begin selling, but you’re not given access to your money after you’ve sold and shipped an item. Instead, the money is transfered into your Paypal account, where it’s locked.

You wait until your customers say they’ve received your packages, and then maybe a few days later, Paypal decides you’re entitled to money. Or not.

More “Security Features”

Well, as soon as my payments went through (still locked), and I’d shipped my items, I got a nice little email from Paypal. Apparently, they don’t think I’m who I say I am:

As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. During a recent screening, we noticed an issue regarding your account.

To meet financial service industry regulations, we need more information to help confirm your identity. To provide this information, please go to the PayPal Resolution Center.

To find the Resolution Center, log in to your account and click the Resolution Center subtab. Click Resolve under the Action column and follow the instructions.

So, I’m out $40 in shipping fees, and I’ve already shipped all my items, and yet, I’m not guaranteed I’ll ever be able to access my money. Ebay already has my credit card number on file, and my bank account information. Now they want my photo ID, and proof of my address.

Loose $300 worth of my cash, or play their game? I decide to play along.

Another Email Arrives!

Dear K.P. Kaiser,

We’re writing to let you know that any recent bids by XXXXNAMEOMITTEDXXX may have been placed by someone who was not authorised to use that account. We’re currently restoring the account to its true owner and have cancelled all recent bids.

The item has shipped, I was told to ship as soon as possible to get access to my funds. And now eBay is telling me the person who they said was safe, really was a hacker.


How did eBay and Paypal become so dominate? I literally cannot believe this seller experience. There are thousands of sellers on eBay, they can’t all deal with this crap, can they?

Someone please, destroy eBay and Paypal. The world needs its evil destroyed.