The Dore Program is the perfect human interest story. Retired millionaire living on yacht gives it all up to help his suicidal dyslexic daughter. Spending his millions liberally he speaks to scientists around the world and creates a new treatment that cures his daughter. Persevering despite the scorn and criticism of almost all the world’s dyslexia experts he markets the new treatment and heralds a new world where dyslexia and ADHD are 100% curable.
To a magazine or news editor this story is gold dust which is one of the reasons why Wynford Dore has been so successful about getting his story on TV shows and in the papers. The other reason why the Dore Program has achieved such a high profile is Wynford Dore himself. He is a man driven with an idea. He has a sharp eye for when opportunity comes along and he is a natural salesman able to sell ideas through sheer enthusiasm and belief. These skills made him a millionaire and it these skill that have propelled the Dore Achievement Centers along. It is also the exactly the same skills that have made the Dore Program so controversial and now may be doing more damage than good.
The educational market place in which the Dore Program operates is a difficult one to work in. It is dominated by the billions the government spends on it. Careers are built gradually overtime and change comes slowly. Ethics also play a large part with protecting the child from harm being the overriding concern and as with anything involving children, it is a highly emotively charged. With children’s futures, careers and billions in funding at stake, the market becomes conservative and skeptical of new ideas.
In to this environment bursts Wynford Dore and his Dore Program. An entrepreneur with a background in the tough, nonsense world of industrial paints. Its not surprising his brash claims of being able to treat dyslexia generated so much antipathy and skepticism amongst the dyslexia establishment.
Since its foundation the Dore Program has been funded by Wynford’s millions but over the last two years, that supply of money has come to an end. This begins a process that happens to all start-up companies when their investor’s money runs out. The previously generous and relaxed environment becomes more stressed as belts are tighten and the sale team comes under enormous pressure to do their job. This is make-or-break time for a company and it is this change that is driving the employee dissatisfaction self-evident in the recent controversy about its sales tactics. Much of that debate focuses on what is appropriate behavior for the salesmen to use in order to close the sale.
Two central claims have been made. Firstly that Dore’s sales staff are encourage to use methods first developed by door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen such as the adjournment close. The other allegation is more serious, that customers are being deliberately deceived. No one has put forward any evidence that this happens but several current or ex-Dore Program staff have suggested it in comments left on this web site. These allegations come at a bad time for the Dore Program. As the company changes internally and increases the pressure on the sales force, a lot of the negativity generated by Wynford Dore is coming to the boil as scientists resign in protest over Dore scientific research.
This long running antagonism towards Dore held by many people in the marketplace is amplifying people’s natural distrust of salesmen. In this environment the press, once so keen to show Dore’s miracle cure, will sense blood. All it will take is one photogenic little girl, a number of angry parents £2000 out of pocket and a slow news day. Then Dore will receive a lot more free publicity then he bargained for.
The fundamental problem in marketing the Dore Program is Wynford Dore himself. It is time to move on from a marketing strategy based on a human interest story and a mantra that ‘any publicity is good publicity’. Wynford is the lightning rod for much of the discontent in the industry. Dealing with the lightning distracts everyone in the company and harms the Dore Program’s image worldwide.
Part 2 of this article focuses on how Wynford Dore could not have any sales staff and still make a profit.