Who knew Reddit would be a business lesson in disguise?
A while back I stumbled onto a subreddit called choosy beggars. It’s always an interesting read, sometimes an infuriating one. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of stories filled with folks who received something for free, only to demand more. Often these are products, restaurants, hotel stays, etc. But “choosy beggars” can be found everywhere – including in your business.
Take, for example, one of my previous students in the De•Coaching program, who brought up a situation that occurred in her business. She’d held a completely free webinar which over 100 people attended, and as the webinar came to a close, person after person sent her praise on the value they’d received. But then, buried in all the praise was a single email from someone who called her webinar “useless” and demanded “payment for the time they’d spent attending,” saying “you should pay me for being there”.
Ouch! We think “who would do this?” and “I’ll never allow that”…
But, what do you do when that person comes knocking on the door to your business and you’re faced with a decision? How do we handle the critics who will never be buyers?
Because that’s what it comes down to – these individuals are rarely going to be buyers, yet we give so much of our time and energy to them, and we feel completely defeated when we’re hit with that type of critical feedback.
We create freebie after freebie, host tons of free webinars, and offer discounts on top of discounts… but the moment you send that promotional email or start talking about your offer at the end of a free webinar, you’re greeted by the critics. The ones who call your hard work useless, who complain that you’re selling, who send you emails that they’re unsubscribing or tell you on social they’re unfollowing.
So let’s get down to it, because I’ve been faced with many of these over the last 15+ years of business, and while I really want to respond to these messages with “there’s the door, don’t let it hit your a** on the way out”, I also recognize that… well… isn’t always the best solution. And with an email list of over 16k, it happens regularly when I send an email. Here’s how I’ve learned to handle the critics:
I delete the email if it’s rude. The fact is, if there’s nothing actually helpful in the message, then it’s not worth my time to respond. It’s like having an argument with someone that keeps talking in circles – you know it’s never going to end unless you put a stop to it. You’re not here to change your audience’s minds, you’re here to provide a solution that enhances their life the way it is right now. And some of those people just aren’t the right people for you and that’s okay.
While this is easier said than done, if you’re not actually doing this then it’s time to start. Throw that type of negativity immediately in the trash.
I accept the feedback ONLY IF it’s helpful. If the message is not outright rude and rather is coming from a place of constructive criticism, I’ll take this advice into account going forward with my programs and content. When you find the lesson in these messages, you’ll be able to grow from them rather than sulk and self-destruct.
Blogger, Anastasia’s Words, has a super valuable article on How to Handle Criticism in a Healthy Way. If you tend to take things personally or aren’t sure how to approach and manage your feelings in these situations, this is a good read. How you react to criticism can ultimately make you a better person and a better business owner.
Step3️⃣ – I recognize that my buyers won’t know they can make a purchase if I never talk about what I’m selling. The entire reason for doing a live or webinar is to build connections with people who might really be in need of what you have to offer. But, if you only provide free value all the time without saying “hey, I’ve actually got more of this when you join my program”, they’re never going to know where to look.
Step 4️⃣ – I limit my freebies. Back in the day, I used to generate a new freebie almost every week. The marketing advice out there will tell you to keep creating these freebies in order to attract sales, to build funnel after funnel to go along with these freebies. What I’ve learned is the complete opposite tends to be true – it’s a helluva lot easier to convert someone into a bigger ticket offer when they’ve already paid you, and it’s a crapshoot whether or not someone who downloaded a freebie will turn into a buyer. Now, I have two freebies (my Content Calendar and the Mini Course that goes with it), and that’s it. Period.
Step 5️⃣ – I keep selling. Point blank. Don’t become the choosy beggar yourself just because something in your business isn’t working (yes, this can happen too. Here’s a good example of that in the subreddit). You can’t rely on just family and friends to support your business. You have to find the right audience and speak to them in a way that makes THEM feel heard, not you.
My business is my business! And I’m proud of it. It didn’t grow overnight by me offering free shit every time someone didn’t like what I had to say. It grew because I believed wholeheartedly in what I had to offer my clients.
And I’m going to talk about that offer right here, right now. Because I know how hard it can be to keep pushing forward when these situations arise. But, having the right support and system for growing your business – whether you want to build relationships, get better at selling, or just gain more confidence in yourself – can really transform the way you show up for your audience and for yourself.
I’ve got 5 spots left on my calendar for an introduction call for those coaches and service providers who are looking for the clarity and confidence to achieve success, no matter what criticisms may be thrown their way. If you’re ready to get consistent and finally sell your business in a way that feels aligned and not forced, click the link to secure your spot on a call with me now!
From group programs to working one-on-one with me, I’ve got a service tailored to your unique needs so that you can feel the most emboldened in this space. Check out my services on my website here!
And remember, don’t let the choosy beggars hold you back from having the business of your dreams!