📄 Don't subsidise your buyer's business

Saw an interesting tweet the other day:

You are not in the business of subsidising your client's business.

If they cannot afford to pay someone to solve their problems in relation to the size of the problem, it is not your problem. Problem solved.

Couldn’t have said it better.

And it's an important notion, especially for the kind of people that I tend to work with: Good people, who are in business with a mission and have values and who want to operate with integrity.

Because people like that - people like us - we very often are too generous with our time.

Very often, we don't put on our oxygen mask first, before taking care of someone else.

And so we give and we give, and we spend another hour and get on another call, and give more free consulting, an just churn away so much time, trying to get a buyer to finally say "Yes".

What, your buyer is going to endear themselves to you, and take pity, and finally be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of generosity, and reward you for the terrific person that you are, by giving you money? Well no, they won't. You've been playing the nice-guy game, or nice-gal game, which means people-pleasing (hence the difference between nice guys & gals, and nice people in the context of Sales for Nice People.)

In fact, exactly the opposite of a sale is what will happen when you give too much without a limit.

If you’re too generous with your time (remember, that’s your scarcest asset), people aren't going to take you seriously.

Because if you don’t value your time, it's not very likely that they will value your time - and then why should they pay for it? I mean... if you give it away for free anyway...?

When you run your sales process in a sloppy manner, and you don't have any boundaries on your time, your hard work effectively means you're subsidising your buyer's business. (And because they'll end up buying from somebody else who does ask for the sale, you're handing money to your competitors).

How to fix this problem, and still be a nice person who isn’t salesy?

Decide for yourself how much generosity you can apply and deploy, and put a hard limit on it.

This many hours, that many meetings, whatever works for you.

And when you reach that limit, you tell your buyer:

“Say, there’s only so much I can do for free. Should we talk about working together?”

You’ll either get a “Yes”, or “Later”, or “Don’t have the money”.

And while it might sound harsh, a buyer who doesn’t have the money is in the end not a buyer, and not your problem - but it becomes your problem if you keep trying to enroll them by giving more of your time away for free. You just can't afford to waste time on people who you should actually not engage with.

Don't subsidise your buyer's business, but focus instead on the people who are able to hire you, so that you can do the great work you're in business for.

So you're nice people, and you just want people to buy your work.

But how do you make that happen without having to be salesy or pushy?

How do you convert buyers into customers, how do you stop getting ghosted, how do you get paid the money you deserve?

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