Do you have friends or family members requesting your professional services for a reduced or complimentary rate? Do you feel awkward or taken advantage of? When you do commit to doing a job for them, do you leave them until last because after all “they’re family” or you are “doing them a favour”? You might want to change your attitude.
When I was in college I visited a restaurant in the neighbourhood that was owned by my cousin. I brought a few friends with me to have lunch. I hadn’t seen this particular cousin in many years and probably would have passed him on the street without recognizing him. When the meal was done, our bill was covered. He also came out and chatted to us for a while. My friends and I left with a really awesome feeling about our experience and for the next 3 years of school, we all talked it up. I have never forgotten that experience. I often wondered about it. What was his motive? Why would he do something so nice? He is now a very successful business owner and I know why.
1. Friends and family are walking sandwich boards
If their experince is positive one, they will recommend you to not only their friends, but everyone within their scope of influence. The majority of my clients in my first year of business have been family members, friends or recommended by family or friends. If I treat my family as second class clients, they are less likely to recommend me for fear that I may treat their friends in the same manner.
2. It’s their reputation as well as yours
Friends and family recommendations carry more weight than others because the recipents trust that the person doing the recommending is vouching for your character. They can sell your services authentically without sounding like a sales pitch. If they have a negative experience, they will be hesitant to recommend you to anyone. In fact, they may actually steer potential clients away to save the embarrassment.
3. Social Media is a reflection of the importance of Friends and Family
If you are a social media user, especially Facebook and Linked In, you will be aware of the connection between friends and family when it comes to business. Did you know that when companies advertise on Facebook the second market you can choose to target is your Facebook Fans and their friends. Linked In identifies your degrees of separation from a person when you first connect. Both are aware of the weight a personal relationship when it comes to business.
4. Friends and Family want to see you succeed
For the most part, your friends and family want to see you succeed. So be sure to show them your best work. Ensure that they can safely brag about you and feel proud of what you have accomplished.
5. The tables may turn
At the moment your friends and family may need your services. But one day it may be the reverse. So treat them how you would like to be treated should the tables turn.
The bottom line:
Make sure your family and friends not only have a great experience but an ‘above and beyond’ experience. It will pay off in the long run.