Your Need to Be Liked can Bankrupt You

She really wants to use your services, but she says there’s just no way she can afford that kind of money right now. So you automatically whip out a discount and she’s thrilled!  She feels good and you feel even better because you’ve been able to help someone.  Until you discover that she can afford more that she claimed; she just has a habit of asking for markdowns, and you have a habit of undercharging.

They’re late again, it seems like this client can’t be on time.  It’s either another unexpected expense with their ______ (car, kids, ex, house, etc.) and they’re going to be late paying you AND/OR someone is _______ (sick, not showing up, needing something last minute) and they are going to be late meeting you (if they show at all).  You understand their story, you’ve even experienced some of these things yourself, and so what do you do?  Keep quiet, keep waiting and keep making it OK…

She wanted a bit more than your original agreement.  It seemed ok to say yes to that first request. But it is never enough and now she expects the extra service. You feel bad that you agreed to it in the beginning but she keeps taking and you keep giving.

There are a lot of rules you have to follow when you’re in business for yourself; always ask for the sale but don’t push. Send emails but don’t spam. Network to connect but don’t sell (at least to start).

But no one’s talking about the unspoken rule and if you follow it, this rule will bankrupt your energy and possibly bankrupt your business. The rule: it is better to be liked than respected. When you are liked, your client has a perception that you can be friends and friends don’t fuss about money owed, being late, and asking for extra. So why should you?

When you are respected, you are seen as the Expert and Specialist; someone who will give them support, yet hold them accountable for their actions. You are seen as someone who knows exactly what your clients can achieve through you and their success should never be cheapened by a cut rate price.

Then why would you seek out situations where you would choose being liked over being respected?  First, know that it happens subconsciously which means you are not even aware of it. Second, ALL of us have done it at some point, in some area of our life. Third, it’s because you are using your business to heal an emotional wound of not being good enough.  

What would you think of someone who said they were really lonely but instead of going out to meet people, they picked up a bag of chips? Or a friend said they were angry with their husband because he forgot their anniversary so she’s not going to speak to him until he figures it out? The way they are coping isn’t going to get them the end result they want, is it? Well, you are not going to get the end result of a viable, bankable business if you keep trying to use it to feel good enough.

Keep in mind, every obstacle is really an opportunity for you to move up a level in your growth. Here are 3 simple steps that you can start with to move from liked into respected:

Tip #1 – Know the Difference Between Giving a Hand Up and a Hand Out.

A hand up requires YOU to be at a level higher than your client and now you are going to show them the way they can take to reach those higher levels of success. A hand out requires you to be at the same level and you are giving a temporary fix to a long term problem.

Tip #2 – Set Accountability Expectations as Soon as Possible.

Clearly define what your client can expect from you AND what/when/how you expect from them. What if they fail to follow through on their end? A great way to handle this from the beginning is to ask your client what they want you to do if they start to backslide into unhealthy actions. Then follow the actions they’ve requested from you. Remember, it is never too late to ask a client what action you can take to keep them accountable.

Tip #3 – Value Added is not Enabling.

At times all of us need a little extra care and it can be a blessing when someone adds a bonus to our life. Personally, I look for ways to add value to my relationships with my clients.  But I make sure that I am doing it because I want to, not because I am trying to score likability points.

If you have a client who continually asks for more, remember it is about them and their challenges, not you. Sometimes they do not understand boundaries because they don’t have any themselves, sometimes they don’t know how to get attention in a healthy way so they try to take it through extras, sometimes they are just Freakin’ Energy Vampires who will suck the Life Right Out of You!

A great way to answer this is: I want to honor you and your request. But I also need to honor my clients who have invested in this level of extra service. Is this investment something we should discuss?

An expensive hobby or a bankable business; liked or respected, friend or trusted adviser. Your choice. 

Dawn crop 500Supporting Your Success,


Want to stop using your business as a band aid over not feeling like you’re good enough? Then join our 10K in 90 Days Training; full details HERE