Some time back I was reading a book by Tom Hopkins (made his money in real estate) who said “Be a product of the product.” I believe he was trying to make a point that if you are going to try to get someone to buy something, you should be using the product yourself. I was involved in an episode where I was trying to sell someone on a certain type of home refinancing and the prospective client asked me point-blank “Is this what you do?” Well, being as how I had not used that particular type of home refinancing myself, it was a pretty awkward moment.
There was definitely a lesson to be gained from that moment. Things would have been so much easier if I had been able to say well yes I do and that would have put the client more at ease. Now I admit, there are cases involving products that I promote that I myself do not actually buy. I have set up Amazon affiliate websites promoting cameras and laptops that I do not actually own. But these are products that involves things I am interested in and am confident that if the customer is not satisfied, he or she can follow a simple process to get a refund.
But herein lies another scenario; let’s say that you are promoting a product that you use and for some reason, you decide that you are not satisfied with the products performance? This happened to me recently with a mobile phone application that started having some problems with how it worked. Whenever I was playing some of the videos that were available with this application, for some reason they would just pause. Needless to say it was pretty frustrating and got to the point where I would not want to be getting a call from someone saying “What is it with this thing that you got me to buy?”
So I made the decision to cancel my subscription to this phone application and since then have decided I am okay with that. It was unfortunate that things worked out this way since I was enjoying use of the app while it appeared to be working properly. But just knowing that there were some glitches involved made it practically impossible for me to move forward trying to promote this product to others when I myself knew that there may be some “hiccups” along the way.
So my recommendation is that whenever possible, be a “product of the product” when promoting it to others and if it’s not feasible to own the product yourself, make sure that there is an avenue for your customers to follow in case any problems occur after the sale. The long-term effect on your reputation definitely outweighs the short-term satisfaction of making a sale.
My thanks to Tom Hopkins for making me aware of this vital concept.
Early in 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation imposing a tax upon affiliates of Amazon.com which resulted in Amazon suspending affiliate operations in that state. Amazon took the stand that it should not have to collect sales tax based upon not having a physical presence in the state. California in turn felt that since Amazon was involved with a startup company called Lab126 in Cupertino, California, that in fact a physical presence did exist and therefore the sales tax could be imposed.
With the suspension of some 25,000 affiliates in California, the state cut itself off from another source of revenue. This would have been the tax on income that would have to have been reported form the affiliate commissions that were generated and paid to California based affiliates. I did come across instances where people were going to Nevada and other states so that they could maintain the business relationship with Amazon.
Months after the bill was enacted, it was later repealed and Amazon reestablished it’s affiliate operations in California. I must admit I was happy to see this because I enjoy promoting Amazon products. It also gives people an avenue to pursue business ventures in the online arena even when the time constraints of a regular job can get in the way. With this new development having taken place, let us all continue to be thankful for any opportunities to pursue business success that come our way.
When government enacts legislation that affects your business, you must take the time to stop and evaluate your options.
I recently was notified by Amazon.com that my affiliate contract would be terminated due to the state where I am living having signed into law new legislation that would impose tax upon sales made by California residents. Now was I happy about this? Of course not but I knew that at the moment I was not in a position to do anything about what had happened so I decided that I would need to evaluate other potential opportunities. At the moment I am still “bummed” by this whole affair. Amazon has a wide variety of products to offer and I definitely liked the ease of use when using the website to search for various items. They also have lots of widgets that one could embed their affiliate link into and post nice links on a blog or website.
But as entrepeneurs in the online business world, we are of the spirit that causes us to rise up whenever there is a challenge. We are always on the lookout to see what else is out there and where we can offer solutions to those who needs answers to their problems or wants.
So if you happen to be a former Amazon affiliate living in California or in any one of the other states to which Amazon has said “Adiós!,” keep your chin up and continue to take advantage of all the other opportunities that are available. When I recently spoke with someone about what had happened, I was reminded that other avenues of business such as eBay, Shopzilla and CommissionJunction.com are still in the game.
If you are not sure what else to find, do some networking and connect with other business minded individuals. Strike up a conversation in an affiliate marketing forum and get some thought-exchange started. Opportunity it itself is a blessing so make every effort to take advantage of it.
Best Wishes and Here’s To You “Making It Happen!”