10 Reasons We Won’t Promote Your Business

You’re looking to increase the size of your audience and you see someone who’s already got a decent size audience. It only makes sense that if they would promote your product or service to their existing audience, it will help you grow your own audience and make sales. This happens in business every single day and it’s an extremely effective strategy.

However, most people never reap the benefits of having someone of influence promote them because their approach is all wrong. Most screw it up big time. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me to retweet them, link to their blog, email my list with their sales offer, and I could go on all day.

Here’s 10 of the top reasons you’re not getting people to support your business, for the love of all that is good, stop doing these.

1. We don’t know you.

This should be common sense but don’t ask someone to promote your business when you don’t even know them. Relationships take time because they work. Stop being so sales focused and instead, get to know someone and figure out how to add value to their lives. There must be a prior relationship for most people to even consider promoting you.

2. You don’t support us.

The law of reciprocity is a powerful force. When you support someone and their business, they feel an obligation to return the favor. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a start. If you promote someone heavily, you will end up on their radar. That’s the foot in the door you’ve been looking for.

3. You ask us in a generic, mass email.

This gets on my nerves and it tells me I’m just a number to you. It takes hard work to succeed in business so stop being lazy. This approach is a huge red flag that you’re only after money and not interested in adding value to my audience. When you approach people like this it becomes clear you didn’t read reason #1.

4. Your product doesn’t fit our audience.

I teach businesses how to brand and market themselves. Yet, I was once asked if I’d send an email to my list to promote hammocks. That’s right, hammocks. Don’t ask someone to promote you unless you know that their audience will benefit from what you have to offer. We have large audiences because we provide things of relevance to them. If your product doesn’t benefit our audience, don’t ask.

5. Your business does what we do.

This cracks me up. If someone teaches time management strategies and you do as well, then why would they promote you when they could just continue to teach their audience themselves? Sometimes there is enough differentiation that it makes sense. Most of the time it does not. Bring something to our audience that we don’t.

6. Your only communication is the ask.

We see this all to often. A friend of mine in the industry only reaches out to me every 6 months or so. And the only reason is because he wants me to promote his latest product. He’s a good guy and normally a very smart guy. But the relationships you build has to be real. Don’t just contact your affiliates or supporters when you want them to promote something.

7. You ask on the 1st meeting.

Ugh. There is nothing more annoying than meeting someone for the first time and they can hardly catch your name before they start telling you about how great their product is. I was recently speaking at an event and after my presentation a gentleman ran up to me. He didn’t say a word about my talk, good looks, or book. The first words out of his mouth were “I want you to check out our (product name) and talk to you about doing a joint venture together.” What? This kind of approach is unacceptable. It’s like there’s a business school somewhere teaching jackassery.

8. You haven’t tested your offer.

Before you ask someone to promote your product, test your offer and sales process to make sure it converts. Don’t ask us to be the guinea pig. I once asked someone how their offer converted to which they responded “we’re not sure yet, but we’ll have concrete numbers to give people after you mail to your list.” Nice. If you do this please do the world a favor and get out of business today.

9. You don’t allow us to test your product.

When you’re friends with someone and know their business well, you can often promote their product without having fully tested it. You can make a safe decision based on their history. That being said, I recommend always testing before you endorse. We shouldn’t have to ask for your product, you should send it to us. I was asked to write an endorsement for someone’s new book, yet they weren’t willing to send me a copy. Needless to say, I did not write an endorsement, nor will I be promoting the book when it’s released.

10. Your reputation is questionable.

If someone promotes your product it’s an implied endorsement of you as well. Because of this, we strive to only align our brands with other brands that also strive for excellence. If your brand and reputation isn’t consistent, then it doesn’t matter how wicked your product is or how well it converts. We will not support it. Keep your brand in the front of your mind with all you do.

These mistakes occur daily. You have to set yourself up for success and learn how to properly approach people about promoting your business. It cannot be forced. The danger of the wrong approach is more than just getting a “no” for a response. It also shuts the door on any future endorsement or promotion.

Build relationships and establish trust with people first. It’s not a guarantee they’ll promote you, but it gives you the best chance possible.

What’s the worst way someone has approached you? I’d love to hear about in the comments!

  • Marty

    Breaking rules #1,2,3,4,6,7.
    I once helped a jeweller optimize their site. A month later a self-published book about how to protect your assets arrives in my mailbox, and I spend the next week being harassed by the author for my critique!!
    In his head the connection was, “There’s a chapter in my book about buying gold. You did some work for people who work with gold.”

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Marty, that is one of the worst stories I’ve heard! Unreal the “connection” he was making. 

  • http://twitter.com/trentgillaspie Trent Gillaspie


    Great post. #3, 6, and 7 seem to be SO significant when it comes to so many things. Honestly, it takes character to do your homework to avoid 6 and 7, and sensitivity to not do 3. I’ve fallen victim to all of those 3, and it is something I am still constantly focused on in my personal and professional relationship development as well.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Thanks Trent! #6 can be tricky. I know the friend I used as an example means well and probably doesn’t realize that’s become his only communication.

    #7 can also trip people up because if you truly have something of value to offer someone you’ll be excited to share it. 

    It’s all a matter of patience! 

  • http://twitter.com/trentgillaspie Trent Gillaspie

    #7 is also about having a visionary approach too, right? Having ideas about it even prior to the first meeting are great, but it’s keeping that in sight for the opportune moment to shine (and you to keep the door open) in the relationship down the road. If you forget about what you had originally wanted, you can still develop a fantastic relationship, but might lose out on some of the initial value-add you had in mind.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Spot on my friend. Doing your homework can mean the world of difference. Having a plan in place prior to the first meeting can make a world of difference. 

  • http://twitter.com/kylescheele Kyle Scheele

    Great post. Except I wish you had promoted the hammock deal. I follow you and love hammocks. Missed opportunity, man…. Haha

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    You know when I was writing that I was thinking of how nice it would be to lay in a hammock. 

  • cemanthe

    Hi John, this is a great post and I felt compelled to reply…which I normally don’t, I’m an ‘observer’ haha :)
    Anyway, I don’t have the above in products or services, ie. A list, however, think that everything you’ve stated above applies to business and networking in general. I once went to a networking event where a woman demanded a networking hug, of which I steered well clear! People like this are everywhere, I think they have no business understanding, or business etiquette. Rant over, great post!

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    First off, thank you so much for your comment! Jump in anytime!

    Your example is a perfect. I like that you brought up business etiquette. That’s something way too few have. 

  • Simon Oliver

    All good points and ones so often disregarded by people I see online.
    I saw someone recently set up a twitter account and then promptly asked top players in her field if they would mind RTing her first ever blog post.It amused me really.

  • http://twitter.com/t_cutting Teresa Cutting

    Appreciate your article, I think I am more frustrated that these points are not obvious.  At a former small company I used the same strategy you listed above (I didn’t know it was a strategy really, just good common sense) which increased sales by 150%.  The owner was impressed, but thought I had some “special powers” for networking/marketing.  I recently relocated to DC and in the job market for a new company – so I am learning how to apply the above strategy via the internet, digitally branding myself.  It just makes sense to investigate and then ask what a client is looking for, determine if you have any beneficial solutions, and be honest with them.  Not every “deal”, or company in my case, is meant to be a good fit – to your point…hard work.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    That’s unreal.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    I agree 100% Teresa. All of these should be obvious, yet for some reason people make these mistakes every day. I also like what you said about things being a “good fit”. That’s so important.

  • Susie Lomax

    Thank you great article. Not many people tell it as it is. I read it with a grin but have taken note. Keep it coming. Pleasure to read.

  • http://www.janicemobsby.com/ Janice mobsby

    Hi John,
      Love you’re article, being in affiliate marketing this is so true..I often wonder why these so called Great Marketers do not give their product to their promoters let them check it out before they promote.. If I’m going to promote someones product, it better be good,easy and great learning skills.
           Just sayin.. Thanks

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Thanks Susie! I appreciate the kind words.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    You’re spot on Janice. If someone isn’t willing to let people test the product they must not believe in it 100%. Thanks for your comment. 

  • Ryan Berg

    Great post, John. Something I wish more people would talk about. I’m guilty of having done just about all of these things I think haha (except maybe questionable reputation, I’d like to think I’m pretty reputable… although I’m sure there have been times when I could have communicated that better). And while I accept full responsibility for my “jackassery” 😉 …I do think part of it is the overall culture and messages we’re exposed to on the regular, that new entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to. 

    You can barely blink your eyes without seeing another guru or service provider promising instant results/solutions to something. And I think that’s where most of these mistakes come from, the desire for quick results. When in reality relationships take consistent effort over a long period. Great job shedding light on that!

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Thanks for the comment! You hit some excellent points

  • http://twitter.com/kenhowardpdx Ken Howard

    Great article John. I’ve been wondering just how to ask others to link to me while giving something in return other than a link. It’s a hard sell. To date, I only “ask” those I truly know. I can always find a way to help them out on or offline.

  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    Ken, the fact that you’re looking for ways to add value to them is awesome. You’ll be a  big success with that kind of attitude. I like it. 

  • Anonymous

    I have followed these steps my entire career. I was always more inquisitive about ones golf game or ideology than “pocket-strength.” My first agency failed because of the people involved. My second agency succeeded based on my rep, and allot of luck. 
    I am finding it a little harder the second year now that I have the financial strength and “proof’ as you have pointed out in another post. 

    My issue is so many business decision makers have been burned by the people instrumented in this post. How do we turn the corner? How does me being genuine create a unique selling proposition when the phony before me had the same approach? 

    “Linked in” has become the “like button” on facebook, people like a product and never return to the page they liked. Allot like connecting with someone on linked in. You connect, send an awkward “first message” like the note that says will you go out with me, check yes or no and find that no one responds. You don’t even get a maybe. 

    I’m connected to some major higher ups on that platform, what should my approach be? 


  • http://www.JohnMichaelMorgan.com John Morgan

    You’re that it can be hard. Patience is the key and continuing to connect with people on a human level as well as providing value to them. You won’t get them all, but you can get enough to make the effort and time worth it.