To add to what others have said — I consider it a scam. I was approached by one of their agents, named David Kavrell. I got a highly scripted presentation that claimed I was an ideal candidate, would get all sorts of offers, etc. At no point was I asked if I had any questions, just went straight to the closing.
I had a question, however. I wanted to know why they used a subscription model of $200/month, rather than the more traditional model whereby they take a commission from successful matches. This question obviously upset him, as he quickly turned defensive, and made a rather obvious attempt at the whole “withdraw the offer” sales tactic.
That ended our call, but I got a really friendly email afterwards about how much he had enjoyed our conversation, and encouraging me to follow through. I then had a brief email exchange with him, which I am sharing here, verbatim, for everyone else:
My Email Response and Proposal
I am writing to let you know that I will no be signing up for ExecRank, at least not based on the pitch you made. And I wanted you to know the reasons.
I could go into the online research I've done about ExecRank, which has revealed a rather incredible level of unhappiness from past users. However, I wish to take a different approach.
I asked you one question during our talk, a question that I consider critical to this whole equation -- your income model. You make money exclusively from signing up members for your services. You do not make money from actually placing them successfully on a board.
And that means one thing -- that your sales must be driven by signing up as many members as possible, regardless of the actual qualifications, experience, or ability of those people. In fact, when I looked at the complaints that some of the people had about your site, I found that many of them were dreadfully unqualified, and highly unlikely to ever be considered for a position on a board of directors -- but they'd received the same sales pitch I did, promising all sorts of wonderful things.
Now, in our interview, you said that you were confident that with my background and experience, I could get board positions. And I do think that I have valuable and unique experience and knowledge to offer, especially to those interested in doing business in China.
So here is my proposal: I don't pay you a cent. You guys help me craft my resume, and you guys present it to all those thousands of boards that you claim to have lined up. And for every board position that you successfully place me on, I will pay you a commission of 20% of the value of the first year's salary for that position.
Now, according to your own sales pitch, I should be expecting to be getting at least $50,000 per year from each board position. 20% of that would be $10,000. Which would be equal to four years of membership fees at $200/month. If you get me two such positions, that's $20,000 for you guys. That's a shitload more money than you will ever make from charging me a $200 monthly membership fee.
Here's the thing -- If you truly believe that my qualifications are suitable, and that you can find me board positions, there is no reason whatsoever not to accept my proposal. The only reason not to accept it is that you are, in fact, not confident of your ability to get me a role on a board of directors.
And if you are not confident in your ability to do so, why the hell would I pay you $200/month?
Thank you for your well thought out and thoroughly explained proposal. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are wrong. The reason we can not do as you asked is that it would be unfair to our current 10,000 members. I am sure that you can understand that. There are many reasons for people to write bad reviews, but I will leave you with just one thought. We are a month to month model, why would we do that if by letting you on and giving you access to all of our members you could find out how miserable they are?
I wish you all the best, but to determine not to proceed because of what a bunch of strangers say seems illogical to me.
Thank you for your time.
His response only confirms my opinion. His claim that my proposal would be “unfair” to their members is patently nonsense — how is it “unfair” to pay a company for actual results, compared to paying them a monthly fee even if they do nothing whatsoever for you? Not to mention that the model I proposed is one that is used by hundreds of companies, and I don’t hear people complaining that it is unfair.
“If you get me results, I pay you. If you don’t get me results, I don’t pay you.” How is that “unfair”?
Then there’s the fact that, both in our phone call and in this email response, he fails entirely to address the question of why I should trust him, given that the company’s obvious business model is to sign up as many people as possible, regardless of their qualifications, since that is the only way that they can make money!
He also obviously misses the irony in criticizing me for listening to “what a bunch of strangers say”, while simultaneously expecting me to believe him — a stranger who profits from getting me to buy his service.
As I emphasized in my email to him, were this company’s services legitimate, and were they confident in getting board positions for me (and their other clients), they’d be idiots not to use the pay model that I proposed, as they’d make far greater profits. They’d get far higher revenue, while also significantly decreasing the complaints from their clients. After all, who’s going to complain? If they’re not successful, I pay nothing — and have nothing to complain about. If they are successful, I pay them a previously agreed fee, and I have a board position — again, nothing to complain about.
The only reason for them not to use this model is that they know they cannot deliver on their promises.
Very interesting. There was a recent post about ExitRound. The CEO stated that their business model was based on done deal transactions essentially. What I pointed out was that their business model is getting entrepreneurs to pay $99-$499 per month for their "algorithm" matching pitch process. They also stated they had 70 success stories in three years. With 4000 members that is a 1.7% success rate! (Perspective and wording) AND that is assuming those 4,000 members have stayed those three years. If they have had 12000 members revolve with membership in three years, that decreases to .5% success. NOT great numbers.
People don't always perceive situations with much thought. Think about it, Exit round is wanting you as an investor. That's all it is. They take your money and promise results. So if someone came to you right now and said "Hey Mr.S. Investor. I have a GREAT concept. We have had over 70 success stories ranging from $100,000 to $15M. You could be one of them. I just need you to invest $500 a month." The next question should be "What is your rate of success?...no..wait..what is my chance of success." If they answered openly and honestly, it would be "Well Mr.S investor while people do win the lottery..er...complete a transaction.... Your personal rate of success based on our numbers is 1.7%. But its only $500 a month. YOU TOO COULD WIN THE PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE..if you buy a bunch of magazines" Who in their right mind thinks that is a good deal??
Good concept of matching but for all the positives of computers, algorithms etc..the numbers are poor. In this case, I would advise the entrepreneur to put in some personalized research and start reaching out..more direct...more intelligent and specified than any computer engineer could achieve. Maybe if you don't have the time, or if you have so much money you like to give it away..I don't know..but 1.7% success or less???
The results seemed similar to what Im reading here. I would be curious to know the numbers of ExecRank in terms of how many people they place. The concept of ExecRank could make a bit more sense, but at $200 a month? Seems steep.
These types of businesses truly are about them, not you, not your business. They generate revenue on the fact that they are open to EVERY one and not exclusive. Which that makes people feel good, and for some it obviously works. But I liken some of this to the Hollywood Agencies...and managers. The successful ones don't charge upfront. They only get paid upon successful transactions. The agents and managers who have no pull or little ability for success charge upfront. And while there are success stories here and there with them, for the most part they make money, and the people paying them lose money. $200 a month is a lot to pay to be lumped in with thousands of other people.
I was one of their execs for quite a long time. All I will say that I was not impressed. Their best part was their pitch.