Caring too much about something can put you at a distinct disadvantage.
And when people take advantage of you, it’s even more of a disadvantage for you.
Let me explain:
I was recently asked to be involved, and chair a local community group who were planning an activity to raise funds.
Now my plate is already overflowing with work after hours, why I even agreed to be the chair was beyond me, or my wife. But I did it out of a sense of guilt, and pride.
Anyway, I decided to ask a friend to come and join me on the committee.
Their response floored me. “I really appreciate the fact that you thought of me, and what I could bring to help you and the community out. Unfortunatley I hope that you understand when I say that I will support the event on the day, but cannot support it now. Good luck, and I hope it is a fantastic event and rasies the target amount of money.” I turned to my wife and said to her – “Wow, I wish I had said that”
Salespeople know this when they detect even the slightest interest or sense any desperation on your part.
Savvy negotiators sniff out this weakness when working their magic at the final hour.
Kids know this when they look up at you and ask for something you wouldn’t normally allow but hope that they can tug at your heart strings with that special look.
Caring is good — caring too much, is dangerous.
And I can’t help but think about how this is reflected in our every day business relationships with clients.
Client relationships should be profitable, have impact and (maybe) they should be fun.
But, they should most definatley be in that order.
If a client relationship isn’t profitable, it really isn’t a “client” relationship at all but more like a friendship.
Profit, impact, and fun are the things you should care about in a client relationship.
So where does saying “NO” enter this picture in which you and the client are standing?
While, I am suggesting that you can decline any business opportunity that does not allow you to make a profit, there is also a fall back position that you need to think about.
By saying “YES” all the time to clients, all you do is work for longer hours, have less impact in the quality of what it is you are supplying, and of course, you have less money.
So how can you get to the point where you can say “NO” more often, if that’s what will lead to a better business relationship with your clients (or profit, impact, and fun with your clients)?
There’s really only one answer, and that’s to ensure that your opportunities are greater than what your capacity is.
The reason is because that gap — the difference between what your clients want you to do, and what you are capable of doing - while maintaining profit, impact, and fun—represents your ability to say “NO.”
The more you say it, the easier it is to see the reason behind why you should do so.
And by the way, I withdrew myself from the committee, and handed it to someone else who had the time, opportunities, and skills to make their goal happen.