What is theft and what is flattery?
Thank goodness for Google Alerts. I was alerted today to a man promoting his ‘new sales model’ that uses some of my terms (terms that took me decades to come up with), some of my phrases (word for word from articles I’ve written), some of my ideas, and one of my Facilitative Questions (a type of question that takes great skill and training to formulate, as it uses a specific technique including brain function, memory storage and unconscious criteria). To add insult to injury, he’s taken the ideas and put them into a form of sales based on ‘helping buyers decide’ but all from the sales angle – so not at all based on what my terms were coined to mean. What if folks are not familiar with my material, read his, and find mine later? Do I appear to be plagarizing? Are my ideas then the ‘wrong’ ones?
Do I have legal recourse? Well, except for the Facilitative Question which was lifted directly from one of my books with just 2 small changes, he could make a claim that I have no legal right to the material since he added his own words around mine. Except for my registered, copyrighted term Buying Facilitation™, I do not. But a bit of attribution might be in order.
I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, as everyone has a right to make a living. But hey, folks, let’s stay in integrity here.
CONFUSING AND EXCITING
Of course, after decades of developing Buying Facilitation™ and calling it a decision facilitation model, I’ve put the term into the world and it no longer ‘belongs’ to me (as if it ever did). But to be honest there is some flattery here. I’m excited to know that my ideas are no longer ‘in the closet’ and now being gobbled up by mainstream. I’m flattered that the thinking is finally acceptable, albeit in a form that I was working so hard to avoid, and I’m no longer an eccentric crazy person.
But where is the line? Where can I expect attribution? We all still know that Neil Rackham invented SPIN and that Linda Richardson invented Consultative Selling, and that David Sandler invented Sandler Sales. I hope it’s recognized far into the future that I invented Buying Facilitation™ and coined the terms decision facilitation and Facilitative Questions.
But should I expect this? Well, my spiritual side says, “Let it go. This is flattery.” My human side says, “Yo, Buddy. I worked a lifetime on this material. Could you please put my name up there and give me a bit of recognition for all of these years and years – decades – of holding, writing about, discussing, mentioning, teaching, using, offering a model that few people were willing to accept or adopt (giving me time to perfect it and come up with the great phrases now being borrowed and ill-defined)? Could you please tell folks that you’re being smart and making money because I at least influenced your thinking?”
I don’t know where the truth is here. I can objectively see it from both angles. At the end of the day, it seems as if my ‘baby’ is now walking. And for that I’m proud. Now I just hope that the folks that ‘borrow’ the material will have the integrity to at least get it correct (on an earlier email this guy made a nasty comment about my ‘the sales model is br0ken’ ad for my new book – so he’s borrowing my thinking on one hand, and putting it down on the other!) and recognize that the sales model is indeed flawed, and only manages the solution placement end of the buying decision (this guy’s material uses my terms to help the seller place solution).
At the end of the day, let’s hope that all folks become Buying Facilitators and Decision Facilitators using the phrases and definitions that I coined many years ago. If so, we’ll all be servant-leaders and ensure that our friends, colleagues, family, and prospects make good decisions with no bias. And the world will be a better place. But I wouldn’t mind just a tad of attribution occassionally.
NOTE: Joe has since taken down his post, with an apology to me. Thanks, Joe.