We talked last week about how getting clear on your values means some people won’t like you. This is SUPER important to remember when someone, in fact, doesn’t like you. Many of us live and die by our social media reviews - which makes sense because we all want to be the 5* business, so all the people will come and see us.
But the reality is that when you are running a values-based business, you don’t want All The People - you want YOUR PEOPLE.
In a span of only a few days, on 3 separate occasions, I was out with friends and listened to a business owner complain about a recent “negative” review on Google. In both instances, they were sharing, with anyone who would listen, about how unfair it was that someone would say that on a page as public as Google.
Both times I went to look at the review and immediately saw how the person who left it was really only saying the following: “My expectations weren’t met when I used your service.”
Which is totally and completely 100% okay. You cannot be everything to everyone. If someone is looking for something that is not in alignment with what you are providing, they are not your customer! But, you can use your values to be really clear on what you ARE providing and attract exactly the people who are looking for the experience you provide. This means the customers you have will bring less headaches and more joy.
In the situations I was in recently, because both of the business owners were so offended by was written, they responded from that place of gut instinct. This is a completely normal reaction. These businesses we are running - they are not just a business to us. They are our babies. We have built them with our blood, sweat and tears - and they are the literal manifestation of our dreams. But, this is one of those times where responding from your gut can come off as defensive and unprofessional. And doing it in a forum as public as Google could turn off a potential customer who is your dream customer.
In each of these instances (and many others I can think of), the response that immediately came to my mind (which I shared with them) was more like this: “Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m sorry that you didn’t have the experience you were looking for, but it is exactly the experience we were trying to provide…” and then explain why.
As I said last week, “This is one of the best parts of leading with your values. When someone isn’t a good fit, you will know. And you will learn to trust your instincts and let them walk away.”"
Anytime I reach out to someone to partner with them or feature them on my site and they respond that they don’t think it’s a good fit, I am actually grateful for the clarity in my messaging that allowed them to know that right away.
And the good news is that it definitely works both ways.
I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that my company name might be off-putting to people. I always explain (hopefully) that it will not be off-putting to the people I want to work with. Just this week, I had a new client meeting, and he told me that the #1 reason he called me (from a generic site that lists business consultants) was because of my company name, Champagne Hippies! He said that he instantly knew that I was the right consultant for him because he instantly new that I was his people.
And so I encourage you - when you lose a client, get a less than 5* review, or hear your 700th “no” for the month - take a moment to stop and think about the WHY behind the words. Then think about your values. Were you being true to your values in this situation? Was the person looking for something that would be outside of your values to provide?
If so, your response can be easy and simple. “Thank you for letting me know. One of my business values is XXX and that’s why we don’t YYYY. I hope you find exactly the right fit for you in the future!” If this exchange happens over email, I even send them a couple of names - to people I know and trust - who are providing the thing that I am not.
This is also one of the reasons I encourage people to work with consultants! I started my Ask the Guru program so that business owners can have someone on retainer who they can reach out to in situations like this. Imagine if you could just email me and say, “I got this 2* review and I’m super hurt by it. Can you help me write a response that is professional and protects the image of my company?”
Yes. Yes I can! For more information on this option, check out this page: Ask the Guru.