It’s inevitable that one of our friends and family will be hurt by our selections of those we choose to do business with. Pulling up in your new vehicle at your buddy the car salesman’s house, will likely always cause an awkward moment here and there, “Why didn’t you tell me what you were looking for? I could have gotten you a better deal etc.”, but friends and family usually move on and the relationship either sweetens or sours over time. Regardless of the service or situation it’s just bound to happen, so why not do it gracefully?
When friends and family are in a commission based industry or operating their own company, they are heavily reliant on their personal networks and the ability to foster long term relationships and repeat customers. Which is why when they are seemingly “rejected” by friends and family when the situation arises, it can cause an unnecessary angst and people feeling rejected. But what if you could utilize your personal relationships in a more effective way? Try this approach next time you need a plumber, painter, mechanic, realtor, cell phone service plan, insurance quote, contractors quote etc. etc.
Instead of forgetting those you trust when making certain purchases, what if you could try taking a different approach? Imagine making necessary purchases tactfully, utilizing your personal network and creating a habit that helps everyone involved feel supported and considered. If your still with me, let's dig in.
First things first, when making purchases take a moment to think about who you know in that specific industry. Reach out to them personally and remember that they are the expert in their field since they are active in that industry every day. If you trust them as a person, it would be beneficial for everyone if they had an opportunity to help consult or point you in the right direction. It can only help you to pick their brain and ask them the same questions you would ask a stranger if you were to call or stop in to a random business.
“I don’t mix business with friends and family” works nicely when it’s needed, but why be afraid of having a friend point you in the right direction? As an expert or knowledgeable in their field, they actually would know who has the best reputation within such industry. They may not specialize in your specific need or location but you can always allow them to give you a proper referral which can many times generate a small referral fee for putting you in the right hands. This is a great alternative if you care for them and their financial well-being but don’t necessarily want to engage in that form of relationship for privacy and confidentiality reasons. Either way you choose to go, it can’t hurt to allow them a chance to be a professional and respond appropriately with the information you need to make an informed decision.
This consideration is essential in helping the relationship grow vs. having them find out that they weren’t even considered or willfully rejected etc. thus allowing their imagination and feelings to have a field-day of wondering “What did I do to them? Do they think I’m incapable? Etc.” From their perspective, they are thinking why wouldn’t you want to help support me and my family favoring a stranger? This burns the worst when the trusted friend or family member really could have created the same results or better than the stranger who got the opportunity.
Ultimately your friends and family will completely understand and or respect your reasoning especially if you actually take the time to consider them when time permits. Anyone who’s a professional will be most thankful that you at least gave them an opportunity to share what they believe to be the best information for your specific situation. If you want to keep the peace at family gatherings and have better bonds with your friends, it’s pretty simple that unless they are complete douche bags… consider their services, and help them make a living, or you can just continue to have those awkward moments we all love so much.
I say all this to reinstate my desire to never lose a friendship over business. Some painful experiences have created the desire to never take it personal and a strong drive to help nurture healthy ways of interacting with others.