It’s natural is get stressed when you hit 3 red lights in a row. It’s natural to get upset when you have to wait at your house for 4 hours, waiting for the cable guy to show up. As human beings, we rarely appreciate boundaries…we see them as unnecessary hurdles. We see them as a pain.
So when it comes to selling your product or service, you may be inclined to remove as many boundaries as possible. After all, you want to be easy to work with, right? You don’t want to upset your customers with any unnecessary hoops to jump through, right? Well hold on there. Be careful.
Boundaries are not evil. They’re necessary.
The fact is that without red lights, a lot more of us would be dying in car crashes on the way to work. They upset us, but they also keep things running a lot more smoothly, wouldn’t you agree?
I see these things in my consulting work all the time:
- A salesperson gets a call, but they are not assertive in getting the persons name and phone number. They just give the prospect the information they asked for and hang up, losing the opportunity to help that prospect any further.
- A small business regularly lets their clients talk them down in price, instead of competently selling their value and only working with customers who see real value in what they do.
- A consultant allows clients to pay them 30,60,90 days after the work is complete, instead of getting paid up front.
- A new online marketer has great content but wants to give everything for free. They feel by making offers too soon, they’ll turn off their readers and not build a strong audience. Instead, they end up building a readership that expects everything to be free. How exactly do you monetize THAT?
- A new salesperson decides the best way to get business is to never say “no”. They answer their phone 24/7 and work with any client who can fog a mirror. Obviously this is unsustainable, but they’re afraid that setting boundaries will unnecessarily turn away business…which is something they cannot afford to do.
All of these are examples of business owners taking down boundaries. They’re making themselves more accessible. They’re giving their customers and clients what they want, so how could that possibly be a bad thing? It’s bad because it’s not sustainable, and it’s not a win-win.
We need boundaries because boundaries are what enable us to all work together and live with one another in a mutually beneficial way. That’s what we all want, and that’s why it’s WORTH it to put up boundaries. We need them.
For example, you’re not evil for requiring an email address first, before the customer can download the free report. You’re not evil for having your consulting clients to pay you in full, in advance. You’re not evil for turning off your phone at night and not taking calls from your clients or customers at 4 in the morning. Yes, they’ll call you then, and yes…it’s ok to call them back during reasonable hours.
Your business is NOT just about your customer. It’s about you too. Find what works for BOTH of you, and set up boundaries to ensure that balance is met.