When To Kick ’em To The Curb
When's the last time you wanted to fire someone in your life?
Maybe it was a client, a friend or even an employee. Having to release people from your life can be hard for everyone involved. However, there are certain people that will take advantage and you've just got to kick em to the curb.
You might already have some ideas of which people fall into this category. Here's a category of people you shouldn't feel bad about kicking out of your life. It's the people who try to shame (also known as manipulate) you into hiring/buying from them. These people are especially detrimental when their shaming comments cause you to want to hide. This is at the cost of you growing your business.
A few months ago I was approached by a woman who had a burning sales question. Her question had to do with how people were reacting to her in the sales process. Since I love questions and anything related to selling, I was excited to hear what she wanted to know.
She (let's call her Laney to make the story easier to follow) felt it was important to share some context before she asked her question. A woman approached Laney and gave her some “feedback” on why she might be losing business. Laney makes handmade items that she sells at vendor events as well as online. The woman pulled Laney aside to let her know that people might not want to buy from Laney because of her weight. Laney is a full-figured woman.
Laney wanted to know if I felt that her weight was causing people to not buy from her. She wondered if her weight was hurting her business. As I stood there listening to her heartfelt story I could feel my temperature rising. My response to her legitimate question was to ask her a question in return. My question was, “Laney, was the woman who offered you this feedback someone who makes her money by helping people lose weight?”
You might not be surprised to learn that in fact this woman who felt it important to give sweet Laney feedback did make her money by helping people lose weight. I assured Laney that it's not in her best interest to make decisions about her business based on someone's agenda filled feedback. We talked about the type of customers she gets and how she interacts with them. My hope is she left our interaction feeling some relief as well as having some useful tips on where to focus her attention to grow her business.
Run From These People
As someone who wants feedback and is always looking to improve, I often open myself up to what can be hard to hear criticism. However, I've gotten way more clear on who is allowed to give me feedback and who isn't. People who haven't been granted permission yet decide to offer their criticism are people who get kicked to the curb. This might show up as removing them from my mailing list, unfriending them on social media and/or not giving them time with me when they request it.
The truth is in order to put yourself out in the world and to grow a business, you have to be vulnerable. It's part of being authentic. People are going to see your flaws and some people are going to act as if you being vulnerable means they have the right to tear you down.
They may have the opportunity to tear you down, that doesn't mean they have the right too. It also doesn't mean you shouldn't take steps to limit their access to you. Protecting your own internal state of mind is something you should take seriously.
Who Is It For
Most entrepreneurs have a desire to be of service. We want to make a positive impact on the world around us. There will always be someone who has some snarky comment for you. Unfortunately, there will also always be people who use their expertise to shame people into hiring them. Please don't buy into this. When someone is an expert in something and they use it as a weapon to tear people down like with Laney, it's a disgusting sales tactic. Then you kick em to the curb!
Keep your ideal client in mind. This should be your driving force in continuing to put yourself out there. If I stopped writing my newsletter, offering free training, going on podcasts because of the people who take it upon themselves to send their rude and unsolicited “feedback” chances are someone would miss out on growing their business by implementing what I teach.
For anyone reading this and wondering if you should have kept your opinion to yourself, the answer is probably yes (unless you were granted permission).
If you're the person who has to point out someone's spelling errors in their emails, consider unsubscribing if it bothers you that much. One or two spelling errors is nothing compared to the amazing work people are doing in the world.
If you're the person who decides to give someone “coaching” on a proposal when you're not being paid to coach this person, keep your coaching to yourself.
If you're the stylist who decides to send a comp-u-sult (an insult wrapped in a compliment – a word my sister-in-law made up) about someone's outfit on camera after benefiting from a free training, just don't. The fact that you did it even after the training touched on not shaming people makes it even more offensive. (Ok, this example is based on my own experience – the other examples are from friends and clients)
When you get paid to do something, be very careful in the way you approach prospects. It's actually your job to earn someone's business, not shame them into hiring you.
In case you're wondering how to approach someone who you know needs your product/services without being offensive, start by being curious. Ask questions and check to see if the person is open to engaging in a conversation with you. Anything other than that may result in you being kicked to the curb. You may never have the opportunity to earn back rapport.