Over the years, I have given friends breaks on what I charge major corporations the full price for. Why? Because they were my friends (or so I assumed, the older you get the more careful you are about using the word “friends”). In the long run, I have realized this has NEVER worked to my advantage but always mostly to theirs. I absolutely always make sure I respect my friends and associates in business and even exchanges are rare so unless I absolutely need it, I don't ask for friends to use their businesses to help me and NEVER for free, at least at this point. I have decided that it's best that I don't mix my business with my friendships and I don't think that you should either.
Always consider what you do and why you do it. You must at all times have the utmost respect for your business and your clients. It's OK to go give discounts but just realize that it's like telling a lie. Telling a lie to your best clients UNLESS you make it fair to everyone involved. In other words, if you are giving a discount to a client with less budget, make sure you are being fair to your biggest clients in the process. For those who pay less, offer less and those who pay more… give more but NEVER anything for free. Here are the reasons why… (click NEXT for next segment)
Friends IMMEDIATELY take Advantage of Your Relationship
You can't get mad at friends for seeing how knowing you can help them accomplish their goals but the question is how does it make YOU feel extending yourself and your business? THAT's what you should pay the most attention to and focus on. They don't look at it like this but YOU must, they will be stealing money out of your pocket. (click NEXT for next segment)
It's not a Win/Win Situation
A majority of the time the greatest benefactor of the favor will be your friend, not you. ESPECIALLY when it's free. An associate recently asked me for a favor for free that I KNOW he will get paid for. You read that right, by me doing the favor, my associate makes money and I don't? You can allow your brand to be used for philanthropic efforts, which I do all the time but NEVER as a welfare agency. If friends or associate are not willing to AT LEAST give you half or more than you usually charge you and your business are being taken advantage of. Walk away and don't look back.
When You Give something for Free or Nearly Free, NOBODY will ever see the value…
Why should your friends ever come to you with money when they KNOW they can come with the usual, “I'm Broke” bit and get it for free? You can't beat FREE!
They Will Spread the Word to Other Potential Clients
Make no mistake someone will (and even if they MAY) mention it, it could hurt your bottom line. I have had clients call me and say, “I hear you are offering lower prices to other people so I need the same.” The “friend” that I have done the favor for sells me out then tells the person not to tell me they said anything so they can keep their deal in place and hurt my future business? Not good.
They will come back for MORE of the Same Thing
We teach people how to treat us. Once they learn they keep doing it, especially when it works to their advantage. You can ask for money if you want but once you give it for free there is no turning back.—————————–
How Well Will the Favor Serve your business?
You have a bottom line and employees to pay. Is doing the favor paying you or COSTING you. (Hint: if it's not paying you, it IS costing you… time is money)
They will “Dangle Carrots”
They will use strategies like: “I'm working on getting you some paid accounts!” As if that is supposed to sustain you. It's even MORE insulting when they spend money with your competitors but comes to you for free as if you don't know it, the problem is THEY DO which is why they do it. How well will that sit with your landlord or mortgage company? Imagine telling them “I'm working on paying you rent after this free month. What's the problem?”
It Might not only Affect your bottom line but also your Brand
How well does the favor fit with your mission or your brand? Is it a good fit or it is out-of-place? If it's out-of-place you are going to pay a higher price for doing it than just doing it for free. Your customers will notice something that does not fit the rhythm or the flow of what you are doing and you don't need that. Never whore your business out to do a favor for a friend.—————————–
When you object to anything they want the next time, YOU are the Bad Guy
Once you extend yourself, you are obligated for many more favors. When you complain or state your dismay YOU become the bad guy. After all, they are working on getting you some paid business what are you complain about? Your job is to shut up, lay there and get f'd by people taking advantage of you but I have some bad news… you can't blame them… (read next segment)
Learn to say NO
When someone asks you for something and it does not feel good (that gut feeling or your intuition comes into play saying ‘I don't like this' simply and UNregrettably say NO with absolutely NO explanation. If they ask you why say NO again. You don't have to explain why you refuse to be taken advantage of. If they STILL push it.. state, “I'm not comfortable with it…. that's all I'm going to say about it” Saying “NO” really feels good when you say it because you mean it. It feels a LOT better than saying YES when you really WANT to say no. Practice it and don't worry about the outcome. It is them asking YOU for something not the opposite and if they don't like the answer and decided to cut you off, you are probably better off. After all, how often do you hear from them anyway?
Be Reasonable with your discount
Respect your business at all costs. You can only offer 10 or 20% as a discount. My mother is a sketch artist and I asked her to draw a picture for me. I paid her the FULL PRICE. If it didn't have the money I would not have asked her. She didn't even have a chance to tell me she would give me a break. I don't believe in taking advantage of people even if I am related to them. You should have respect for a person's business as they should have respect for yours.
Make Sure You Do the Same
A friend once told me that someone asked him to do something for them from his business and he gave them the full price and he stated they were insulted. He talked about this person like a dog and said: “Can you believe how cheap he is?” The VERY NEXT week, he needed a favor from another friend's business and he offered an INSULTING rate (less than 10% of the actual cost) the friend told him NO and now HE was insulted and told me, “Can you believe he wanted to charge me full price?” I brought up the first situation and he paused and said … well, I just can't afford to pay that much money (referring to the second situation) . I told him when it comes to favors, don't expect more than you are willing to give. You are no better than the first man who you attacked and you were disrespecting him.
BONUS: Who are you Keeping Company With?
If you find that you are dealing with these kinds of situations on a regular basis, you are surrounding yourself with the wrong people and that's the last thing your business needs. Seek those who have achieved MORE than you have to be in your circles otherwise y0u will ways be struggling. Feed and BE fed
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