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Friends. Faux Friends. Gougers and Moochers.

Good & Evil - Friend or Faux Friend

Friends Are Good

Does simply saying I’m your “Friend” make me your “Friend”?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”  I agree with Ralph, a friend is someone sincerely interested in your well being and acts like it.

 Words don’t make us friends, actions do.

Faux Friends Are Not So Good

Let’s say I’m a small business owner and service provider.  I could be a Nail Technician, an Attorney, an A/C Repair Guy, a Wonder Woman Real Estate Agent a Botox Dealer or any other service provider you’re likely to call on.

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In this story, I’m a Nail Technician and you’ve booked a Queen Of The Nile Mani/Pedi Special.  I’m excited, appreciative and  I do a fabulous job.   You feel Cleopatra Pampered and we had fun chit-chatting.  Yea!  So far so good.

You thank me.  I hand you the bill.  Your smile falls off your face.  Through clenched teeth you hiss, “Why so much Ken?”  I smile reply, “Well. . . you’re my friend.  My going rate is 65 bucks, but because you’re my friend, and I need the money, I charged you $85.  You understand. . . we’re friends, right?”

In other versions of this sad story, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I responsibly repair your failed A/C unit.   As your whip smart Attorney friend I help you craft a Living Will.   Or perhaps I injected your  forehead with Botox.  In all cases, I hand you a bill for 25% more than I charge strangers. 

How’d you like those horse apples?  Is this friendly behavior?  Hell NO!  You’d be outraged. We wouldn’t be friends anymore.  In fact, we never were friends, I was a Faux Friend.  Agreed or am I delusional?

There’s more. . .

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Is the following story any different?

She’s a service provider and empress of her own small business fempire.  She’s a Wonder Woman Real Estate agent. 

Her iPhone rings.  She picks up.  She hears, “Hi Lisa, this is Mary calling for The Donald, he’d like you to stop by his at 2:57pm . . . bring your listing papers.  He asked me to tell you he want’s to list his sprawling bajillion dollar estate with you”.  Lisa smiles smudging the screen, “I’ll be there.”  Click.

She’s excited, appreciative and on time.  

57 minutes in, her appreciation deflates into disgust when she hears The Donald say,  “So Lisa, I called you because we’re such good friends.  We were wondering how much of a discount you’d give me. . . I  knew you wouldn’t charge me full price, we’re friends right?”

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Tell me.  What’s the difference between a Faux Friend price gouging  and a Faux Friend demanding a steal, deal or discount in the name of “friendship”?  My friends, there is NO difference.  The “gouger” and the “moocher” are Faux Friends.  Period.

I’m sure you would never gouge a friend.   Please tell me you don’t mooch your friends for steals, deals and discounts.  If you do, it could be that’s why Faux Friends always ask YOU for steals, deals and discounts. . .karma, laws of attraction and all that.

Steals, Deals and Discounts

Whoa!  Before you get your tighty whities in a twist, I’m not judging fee schedules or business models.  Nobody wants to overpay and they shouldn’t.  Everyone deserves and desires value.  Asking for the best possible value/price is expected and understood.  Expressed concerns, objections, comparisons, evaluations and expectations are all welcome.  A pro can only ask for an opportunity to share their story, winning or losing based on merit.  

Here’s what I am judging.  Steals, deals and discount demands cloaked in the passive-aggressive guise of friendship is completely uncool and fauxney.  It’s equally uncool to expect a friend to employ you simply because you’re friends.   Guilting friends into choosing you is unsavory and demeaning too.  Friendships get you invited to the dance.  Impressing gets you invited TO dance.

If you don’t cave and discount, you might lose an opportunity.  When Faux Friends aren’t chosen for this or other reasons, they whine, anger and bemoan.  Pro’s and Real Friends respond to disappointment with poise, pride and grace.  Be a Pro not a Faux.

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Bottom Line – We have to earn business.   It’s not an Friendship Entitlement, it’s a Friendship Fringe Benefit.

Friendship Fringe Benefits

I employ my friends because I like them and I want to benefit their finances, their family and their business.  Fringe benefits of friendship include trust, fair and honest treatment, kept promises, confidentiality and comfortable communication.

Let me ask you, why do you employ friends?  If you have more than one friend who provides a needed service, how do you choose between the two or three?

How To Be Chosen – 8 Tips 

  1. Keep secrets.  Don’t gossip about other friends.  Don’t criticize, mock or belittle other friends.
  2. Be a leader.  Be responsive.  Be Appreciative. Be responsible.
  3. Deliver more of what they want and need than your competitors.
  4. Demonstrate professionalism and performance.
  5. Don’t take your friendships and de-facto selection for granted.
  6. Express gratitude.  Share.  Encourage.  Be positive and realistic.
  7. Always move from friendship mode to professional mode when conducting business or discussing business.
  8. If you dress up and show up for strangers, dress up and show up for your friends too.

Do you have some tips or pointers on how to blend a killer cocktail of friendship and business?   Share it with us in the comments.  We all thank you.

Authentic Friendship

Don’t gouge, guilt or mooch. Shine with appreciation.  Compete hard and over deliver.  Celebrate and appreciate real friends, forget Faux Friends. Win and lose with equal grace.

Thanks for reading.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Photo Credit:  Evil VS Good by ~hiramatsuwil on deviantART

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jayson

    March 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    That’s a great way to look at it – thanks for the post and the new perspective 🙂

  2. Ken Brand

    March 31, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for the thanks Jayson, rock on. Clink-cheers.

  3. Heather Lawson

    April 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I had a friend pit me against her brother in law to see who would give her the better deal. There was no way I could compete against her brother in law for many reasons. Needless to say, I was very hurt. I didn’t think a friend would do that to me. I would never do that to a friend. I support my friends and treat them with respect.

    Great post!

  4. Pingback: Friends are in the business world: How to tell if they're true and genuine

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