Right or Gracious?

sm-playYou know how ‘they’ are all saying how it’s all about relationship building, not pushy sales? You’ll enjoy this…

Last night, I sent a quick note to a big name in the coaching industry. He’s an ex-teacher, so I thought he’d appreciate a couple of really glaring spelling goofs on his site. I mean, come on, payed? Strategys?

He emphasizes how he had held a prominent position in the education field, awards and all. But his very forceful copy and videos combined with the misspellings left me with a nagging feeling – I really hesitated over whether or not I’d want to either work with or promote him to others.

So I decided to do a little experiment. I wanted to see if he could come through with high-relationship-building points…after all, if I hired him as a coach, I’d want to have our relationsip be comfortable, right? I was disappointed.

Here is what he wrote:
“I teach my clients to always test and if you can believe it the copy with misspellings out pulls the proper spelling.

“Fyi…virtually no one ever comments on misspellings. They focus instead on our material and how helpful it is…

“Angela—you need coaching.

“I know you have talked with our office about coaching.

“Do what you can to come in.”

Goof #1: So now I am ‘virtually no one,’ since “nobody ever comments on misspellings.” Huh – here I thought I was someone….

Goof #2. Did you notice how his reply was all about him and his material, and had not one opening where I was received? Instead of thanks, it’s ‘our programs are great.’ Disconnect.

Goof #3: Yes, I did contact and speak with someone at his office, but he still has no idea how much of his materials I have or have not accessed, yet he’s telling me I need his coaching. He hasn’t even talked to me or asked me what I’m looking for, how can he really know that, or that we’d even be a fit?

Goof #4: He’s telling me what to do. Big mistake. You don’t EVer tell me what to do, unless it’s an emergency and you’re a doc or an official of some kind.

In actuality, I have spent a lot of time looking at all of his available stuff – freebies, video testimonials, website copy, offers – over the past 2 weeks to see what he’s got, what he does that’s different, how he puts his systems together, how careful he is, his method of delivery, his tone of voice – all the things that add up to a choice as to whether or not I want to pile my money on his desk.

His reply was a real put-off for me. If he had been gracious, here’s how it could have sounded:

“Thank you for your note, and for pointing out the spelling errors. I appreciate that.

  • (Make the writer or feedback-giver feel good, that s/he helped and is appreciated.)

“I’m actually aware of the errors, and decided to leave them because our testing has shown that the misspelled pages pull better than the ones with perfect spelling.

  • (I will NEVER believe this unless shown actual stats. Spelling errors make you look like a doofus. Especially if you claim to be an ex-teacher, and especially if they are right in your headlines! Yes, we all make mistakes, but surely you’d catch a headline error!)

“I’m not sure why you were on my site, but I would love to be able to assist you in finding exactly what you need to get the success you want. I invite you to consider coaching with me or one of my high-results coaching team.

  • (Tell the truth – you don’t know the person! That’s OK, and extending an invitation instead of a direct, in-your-face command is far preferable – especially if your market is predominantly women, who HATE (despise, detest, abhor, resent…) being told what to do.)

If he had written me like that, I’d be all over it. I’d think, “here’s a guy who appreciates my taking time out of my day to point out something that would help me make my site better. I appreciate that. And he’s not pushy – he’s inVITing me to coach with him.”

But he didn’t, and although I may get the one product he had that has something I can use – no, I will not use him as a coach.

Last week, this very thing happened to me – someone wrote pointing out some spelling errors I had made on one of my sites. I was so glad she did! I felt like the one who ate the blueberry muffin and had blueberries all over her teeth, and no one speaks up! Hello? She did me a favor!

I appreciated it – especially because she told me the same thing I just said – that my credibility went out the door with the 3rd misspelling. I could have lost her, but she took the time to write and tell me.

In a world that is going increasingly faster and where people are sucked for all their energy and time all day long, for her to do that was a real act of kindness. I believe that it’s imperative to respond back with kindness and appreciation!

What do you think?

Thanks for your note – I appreciate your taking the time to enter your post.

I agree that a couple of goofs is OK – all of us err at some point or other – sometimes quite often! But I think to use dyslexia is a pretty poor excuse, esp when we have spell check! Come on! How easy is it to use? I think it shows respect for the reader to have your message as clear as possible before sending it out, and spelling is a big part of that.

Isn’t it a shame that families and friends can be torn apart by one person’s being Right?!? Have you ever asked your relative (or whoever she is) what, exactly, she wants out of a relationship with you? I bet she’s never thought of it or considered it. She won’t have any deep answer right up front, I can bet. Let her stew on that without taking it any further, and see what develops. Stick with “I feel…” instead of reaction, and see what happens. Sometimes when we model graciousness it goes unheeded, but if we step forward and make queries, we can make inroads. Good luck!

karylee Grubaugh Bonta says:

I am also put off by many spelling errors, although I can appreciate it when the errors are in the work of Gene Monterestelli who admits upfront that he’s dyslexic to explain it.

And I agree that a gracious reply gets people much farther. I am currently having to deal with someone who MUST be right to such an extreme that she expects me to practically be a doormat before she’ll open up communication lines (a family situation). I’ve made numerous efforts to be friendly WITHOUT being a doormat for her, and I’ve just gotten evidence by email that nothing but the doormat approach will be acceptable.

Since I won’t go there, it appears that we will continue with closed communications. It’s unfortunate for other family members who must also pay a price for this impasse.

Helena says:

Hi, Angela! I have been receiving your emails for some time now. They are very interesting to read. Yes, I agree, it’s better to be gracious. I see misspelled words everywhere I go and it’s frustrating that so many don’t even know what correct spelling is anymore. But more importantly, the way he responded was so typical of a man who thinks he can be the authority over women. I hate being told what to do, too. Good for you for sending the word out and for so clearly stating how you perceived his stance. I’m all for being a gracious, sensuous, playful woman and I do not want to feel put down by the likes of him. You did it for all of us. Thank you.

Yup – spelling errors can be a turnoff for the reader – BUT – the thing we all need to remember is to forgive and forget – because most times the writer is so passionate that s/he wants to just get the stuff OUT there. If there are repeated errors – like what might happen if the transcriber of something was not a native English-speaker and there are ons of little stupid mistakes, for instance – then I don’t forgive that – that’s just shoddy work.

The thing I objected to was the careless response – careless about me, careless about his own appearance, and insisting I do something without developing a rapport with me. I’m not in the service, so the hairs on the back of my neck shoot straight up when someone orders me to do something or tells me I need something.

I am not going to say who it was because he IS a sincere guy, totally believes in his work and really does want people to succeed. He does help a lot of people, and gets good results, so I’m not going to knock that. It just ain’t my style, is all, and there’s no judgement on that. There’s a difference between judging and saying he’s a ___ (fill it in) ___ and discerning that this person is someone I want in my life or not and then making the appropriate choice.

I think the only sad thing is to wonder how many other people we turn off unknowingly by our unconscious choices.

love to you, too!
AT

Maria says:

Aloha!

Totally agree with you, Angela! Proof reading can be a bore, but it’s VITAL! Coming across with typos in your copy is a BIG turn-off for me, and I’m happy to see I’m not alone!

And how SUPER GOOFY of him (who is it? who is it???)to NOT jump on this occasion to make amends! But perhaps the pushier style works on dyslectic people? ;) How would WE know?

Lots’a l ove to you too! :)

: ) Maria

Heather says:

Hey Angela
Loved your blog. Pity about the responce. I get corrections from people and I agree – it is helpful – and how are we gonna know unless someone tells us? lol!
thanks
Heather

Liz says:

I have found that spelling mistakes on website don’t ‘pull’ me at all! On the contrary I immediately turn right off feeling that if they can’t even take care over their site then surely their product probably won’t be up to scratch either.

Totally with you Angela… his attitude is quite appalling :-)

Geneva says:

I agree with you. We need to be aware when someone is all about what they think they know and have no thought or awareness of the others they are dealing with.

However the flip side is that is neither do I care to be the one that passes Judgment so for me I will just know that the response was not justified and Move on. I will ask that my heart be filled with compassion for the individual because he/she still does yet know or understand the Golden Rule.

Carol Boxrud says:

Out pull? I’ve heard that too, but who are they pulling? People who don’t know the difference? His unproven statistics of best response has too many variables to conclude it’s the spelling errors alone that pull. For me, I want to do a good job when I write what I mean to say. I want to set an example of correctness, and honor my reader, who knows which spelling is correct or will learn it by my being correct. When copywriters use their instead of there, or the big one seems to be your instead of you’re, (“gawd”, I hope it’s not on purpose, and I’m not falling for that), I have a better opinion of myself than they do, I guess. It’s sloppy. He thinks his slight-of-hand explanation apparently covers his ignorance. Then he compounds that by arrogance, which is often an ego issue, and proves it, by bullying you to need him (clearly demonstrates his neediness, however). I’ve even heard it said, “just get it out there, readers think they are helping, and will correct you and that proof-reads it for you. Duh? I want to learn from someone who knows more than I do…if I have to choose a mentor based on having to overlook his incorrect spelling, (in spite of, or perhaps because of his ploy), the correct speller wins my respect and decision to count on him as a teacher.

Thanks for your note, Robin – I so agree. Especially if they feature website building! LOL!

Hey – nice sculpture!

Thanks for taking the time to comment –
aloha –
Angela

Hi Angela,
How refreshing!! I am appalled at how many spelling and other grammatical errors are made these days, especially by people who claim an “advanced” education! It’s difficult enough to communicate when sticking to a common language and language structure, without the additional massive amount of mistakes in almost every written material, whether actual magazine articles, blogs or ads. I, for one, am not impressed, much less sold by someone who claims they can provide me a service when that person or organization doesn’t even take the time to proof their own materials!