Sorry. I can't do everything for free!

by 51 comments
Ok, gripe time. Maybe it will help some folks.

No real gratitude. And seriously, you want me to carve out even more of my time just for you?

I'll get back to that in a minute. Or two.

The lack of social graces these days is appalling. A seller from ebay, whom I bought something from, emailed me and told me to leave him positive feedback. I told him that I liked the product and I would be glad to give him good feedback, but I wanted him to give me feedback first. I was the customer, after all. He said, "No, I don't leave feedback first. You have to." I said, "Whatever happened to the days when the seller thanked the customer for doing business with them?" He never replied. He never left me feedback. Neither did I. This has happened not once, not twice, but multiple times with different sellers.

Or, even more common, you buy a product and they ship it to your house. Maybe you get a packing slip. More often than not, for me anyway, there is absolutely no indication that they appreciate the fact that you gave them some business. I guess they figure we shouldn't gripe too much if the product made it to my house in one piece, despite being drop-kicked by the UPS or Fed Ex guys, and if it worked as advertised. Well, give you a brownie point!

Too many sellers and marketers nowadays think they are doing us a favor and we are privileged to buy their product.

There are those of you who don't care about such things one way or the other. You just accept that people are like that sometimes and you move on. Good for you. I'm moving on also. After I get through.

Far too many marketers simply want to make money. They spend a lifetime and a boat load of money learning everything they can about copywriting and psychology and networking and technology just to learn how to most efficiently squeeze every dime out of their list, or their "target market" or their customers, or whatever they want to call them. I tell you what... express a little heart-felt gratitude and you will gain, and keep, more customers. It does not take split testing or a working knowledge of the 5 greatest copywriting books of all time to know that.

Now that I've rabbit-trailed a little, here's my soup du jour issue: A warrior got in touch with me and wanted some free consult time. She has made quite a lot of posts, the vast majority of which are questions that she asks. Many warriors have stepped up to help her. She never actually helps anybody else. That's ok, though. I am not complaining about that, per se. I've often asked for help myself.

But then she wanted to schedule some telephone time so I could give her some additional consulting advice. One-on-one. She spent the entire paragraph talking about herself, what she does, where she wants to go, the kind of business she wants to run. Maybe I am selfish, but I don't care! I don't care what you used to do for a living. I don't care what you want to do in the future. I don't care that you cannot make up your mind about which direction to go, or why you don't follow the advice that a hundred other warriors have already given you.

Eternity is not my free line limit.

I am not a lonely man. I am not waiting by the phone just for someone like you to give my life meaning. I have a life. And a wife. And grandchildren. And a business. Don't try to push my free line like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. I have helped you plenty already and without any show of appreciation. Time is money. $500 per hour (you pay up front) and THEN we'll talk. I will then feel appreciated. I will then feel like my advice actually means anything. We'll talk as long as you want.

I write this for the benefit of those who might be inclined to try to take advantage of those of us who are willing to help others: Don't take it for granted. At some point we close the doors. Start by showing some appreciation for what you already get, especially considering that we owe you nothing anyway.

So, boys and girls, if you want somebody to help you, here or anywhere else, do ask, but then be grateful. If you are a warrior and you like their comment or advice, hit the thanks button. I promise it won't take much out of you. Way less than one calorie and minimal effort. A neuron or two is all it takes. And it does mean something to most people. And then, don't try to track them down to squeeze even more help out of them without offering something to them in return. Don't be a parasite.

Ron
#internet marketing #free
  • Profile picture of the author Kate Smith
    It sounds like you did your did your good deed for the day.

    Hopefully she really appreciates it, and will show you in some way.

    I think common courtesy is not so common anymore.

    Kate
  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    Things have changed a lot since I was a kid, back in the sixties. People were more polite back then. It is cliche, but the world is going to hell. Sad but true.
    • Profile picture of the author TheRockstarWriter
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      Things have changed a lot since I was a kid, back in the sixties. People were more polite back then. It is cliche, but the world is going to hell. Sad but true.
      Funny, people your age were saying the same thing in the 60s, too. And every point in history before that.
    • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      Things have changed a lot since I was a kid, back in the sixties. People were more polite back then. It is cliche, but the world is going to hell. Sad but true.
      The parents of kids growing up in the 60s said the same about them. Every generation thinks the next generation is messing the world up. It's getting to be a tired argument.
  • Profile picture of the author entrepreneurjay
    Well said people think you owe them something im fine with helping someone but there's a limit go out there and take action and make things happen for yourself I did so can you.

    That's my philosophy I'll give you a few pointers and point you in the right direction but after that time is money your gonna have to make it happen for yourself.
    • Profile picture of the author digitalsapien
      Originally Posted by entrepreneurjay View Post

      Well said people think you owe them something im fine with helping someone but there's a limit go out there and take action and make things happen for yourself I did so can you.

      That's my philosophy I'll give you a few pointers and point you in the right direction but after that time is money your gonna have to make it happen for yourself.
      This is so true. There is always a limit for everything. It's okay to help them once and pay back what you owe to them but it is also important to let them stand on their own. Success is always about hard work.
  • Profile picture of the author pizzatherapy
    Point well taken rrm.

    I have a business that I have done some consulting with in the past. They had an incredible product, but their service was terrible. Ignoring customers, making customers wait which ultimately caused the customer to leave and never come back.

    My advice (which was ignored) was: treat every customer who comes in the door as gold. They are a king and queen, you need to to treat them that way...It doesn't matter how good your product is: if you do not respect your customers, they will never come back...

    Long story short, they closed their doors several months ago and went out of business.

    Lesson learned. You need to treat everyone who does business with you like the most important person on the planet...Learn that now or suffer in the future when they will no longer do business with you any more...

    And I think this is doubly true with on-line business. The fact that people don't see you, you do not have the ability to make a connection. You need to treat all of your customers like gold...

    I will say, though, I have dealt with a number of businesses (both on-line and off-line) who get it. They treat their customers with total respect...

    Those that do not treat you right...well they will pay the price...

    BTW: About Little Ms. Take-take-take....did she pay you the $500 per hour?

    Best of luck!
    • Profile picture of the author rrm
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      Things have changed a lot since I was a kid, back in the sixties. People were more polite back then. It is cliche, but the world is going to hell. Sad but true.
      You are right about all that. I grew up then as well.

      Still praying for you and your family...

      Originally Posted by pizzatherapy View Post

      BTW: About Little Ms. Take-take-take....did she pay you the $500 per hour?
      Not yet. But I'm applying a little scarcity. Tomorrow I am going to raise it to $600 per hour!
  • Profile picture of the author BradVert2013
    Sadly, eBay has created such an atmosphere of distrust between sellers and buyers, that this sort of thing happens all the time. As a seller, I can understand what your seller was trying to do (though I don't condone it & think it's kinda shady). We live and die by feedback. One negative review can ruin a seller on eBay. They have been kicking sellers off left and right for a while now. I've seen many good sellers, who have been on there since the 90s, get the boot for very arbitrary reasons.

    Sorry to play devil's advocate here, but eBay is a very, very different marketplace than anywhere else. It's nothing like Amazon or other large ecommerce sites.
    • Profile picture of the author rrm
      Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

      Sorry to play devil's advocate here, but eBay is a very, very different marketplace than anywhere else. It's nothing like Amazon or other large ecommerce sites.
      It's fine to play devil's advocate. I get that about eBay, and the fact that the way things are set up, crappy buyers can make things miserable for the seller. My sister does pretty well full-time on eBay, and she gets her share of buyers like that.

      But Frank Donovan is right. This should not stop sellers from somehow expressing some appreciation.

      The whole point, though, was not to indict eBay sellers, even the ones I was referring to earlier. It's just the whole ingratitude thing, which just seems so prevalent nowadays, especially manifested by some folks who want you to keep moving your free line. They are not even grateful about what you've done so far and they expect you to keep the spigot on.

      Or, they appreciate the help you give, but only so long as you keep up the giving. There are some people who literally seem to become unhinged when you start charging for a product or service, after you've given them a steady diet of free, or when you want to pull the plug after you realize that you are being drafted as a free mentor.

      And if you start explaining why you need to charge for something, all of a sudden, we become "like those other marketers" because we don't want to keep throwing out the entitlements like Santa does candy at a Christmas parade.

      As an aside, yes, I realize that people from every generation thinks the world is headed for the crapper. Human nature is what it is and it has not changed over the centuries. But the way the world is so technologically interconnected today, and the shear number of chances to meet up with people who are like I have described, yes, expectations and attitudes are crappier than when I was growing up. And nobody said that only younger people are behaving that way. I see it in lots of older people as well.

      Then again, that point had nothing to do with my original issue.

      Ron
    • Profile picture of the author IanGreenwood
      Originally Posted by BradVert2013 View Post

      Sadly, eBay has created such an atmosphere of distrust between sellers and buyers, that this sort of thing happens all the time. As a seller, I can understand what your seller was trying to do (though I don't condone it & think it's kinda shady). We live and die by feedback. One negative review can ruin a seller on eBay. They have been kicking sellers off left and right for a while now. I've seen many good sellers, who have been on there since the 90s, get the boot for very arbitrary reasons.

      Sorry to play devil's advocate here, but eBay is a very, very different marketplace than anywhere else. It's nothing like Amazon or other large ecommerce sites.
      I sell on eBay as well and I have a 100% positive feedback. I'm not bragging here, but it's getting to the place now where I'm getting paranoid about keeping it intact! I must say the tactic I have used over the years has been to over-deliver, to communicate above and beyond the call of duty, to package everything as if it were going through a war zone, and always say 'thanks' first. Even at that, there are those who just wont give any feedback - positive or otherwise! Even after you ask them directly to give feedback.

      Of course on eBay especially (and eBay has been quite open about this) the buyers are king. They will always (mostly) side with the buyers. Hence their draconian decision a few years ago to remove the negative feedback facility for sellers towards buyers.

      The problem is that people across the internet can hide behind an Avatar, a user name, an alternate ID. This gives them a nice buffer zone between reality and them! They can say what they like without any come back. Life would be so very different if those people had to face you in real life to make their complaint.

      On the other hand there are those marketers who just don't understand (and don't want to understand) what good customer service looks like! :-)
  • Profile picture of the author Newbie123
    I love your attitude rrm and loved your post!

    Money is important, but it isn't everything, a little gratitude goes a long way.
  • Profile picture of the author Sharpster
    Famous words - Give an inch... they'll take a mile!

    I feel you, not with the ebay thing but in general...

    In the past I've been a sucker for helping people out of my own good nature and left picking the dirt out of my teeth as a result.

    I used to think it a "karma" thing, you give... and when it goes full circle, you'll receive.

    In reality... I gave and gave and gave... result - little to no thanks and zero karma!

    I once had an Aussi newbie on skype sobbing her socks off how she was so desperate to make money and losing her home etc...

    ...she had no idea what to do, so for 6 weeks I held her hand, built her a site, put together her product and even launched her to my own list with no affiliate link.

    Days later POOOF she was gone!

    No thank you, no nothing, however, she found the titanium coconuts to come back several weeks later asking for a testimonial from me as she had a BIG name very interested in promoting her!

    Go figure...

    Same thing happened 2 years later, I took a complete naysayer and built him a 6 figure business from scratch to PROVE it could be done. His first paycheck was over $7k...

    ...then when paypal froze his account, he grew bored and lazy and let it die!

    Go figure!

    Another guy (newbie) I took under my wing I again created him a site, did all the donkey work, walked him through step by step how to create killer videos, took those videos and edited them etc myself so as to make him look amazing and built his product using my own unique spin that returned $21 EPC's.

    ...$21 EPCS!

    But get this, his first customer was a HUGE named Guru who was so blown away with his product and content, he employed him on the spot to be on his team, then just like before... POOOF I was dropped in a heartbeat, his product was left collecting dust even though it was a 6 figure in it's sleep earner and I was left picking dirt out my teeth again!

    Go figure!

    Don't get me wrong - I LOVE helping others, but boy oh boy did I learn my lesson the HARD way!

    What damages me the most is that the time I have sacrificed to help others for free... is time I will never get back, and this goes for all you too.

    Bottom Line: OUR time is valuable... it's the most precious thing we own - use it wisely, I know I do now!

    TS.
  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    Originally Posted by rrm View Post

    Ok, gripe time. Maybe it will help some folks.

    No real gratitude. And seriously, you want me to carve out even more of my time just for you?

    I'll get back to that in a minute. Or two.

    The lack of social graces these days is appalling. A seller from ebay, whom I bought something from, emailed me and told me to leave him positive feedback. I told him that I liked the product and I would be glad to give him good feedback, but I wanted him to give me feedback first. I was the customer, after all. He said, "No, I don't leave feedback first. You have to." I said, "Whatever happened to the days when the seller thanked the customer for doing business with them?" He never replied. He never left me feedback. Neither did I. This has happened not once, not twice, but multiple times with different sellers.

    Or, even more common, you buy a product and they ship it to your house. Maybe you get a packing slip. More often than not, for me anyway, there is absolutely no indication that they appreciate the fact that you gave them some business. I guess they figure we shouldn't gripe too much if the product made it to my house in one piece, despite being drop-kicked by the UPS or Fed Ex guys, and if it worked as advertised. Well, give you a brownie point!

    Too many sellers and marketers nowadays think they are doing us a favor and we are privileged to buy their product.

    There are those of you who don't care about such things one way or the other. You just accept that people are like that sometimes and you move on. Good for you. I'm moving on also. After I get through.

    Far too many marketers simply want to make money. They spend a lifetime and a boat load of money learning everything they can about copywriting and psychology and networking and technology just to learn how to most efficiently squeeze every dime out of their list, or their "target market" or their customers, or whatever they want to call them. I tell you what... express a little heart-felt gratitude and you will gain, and keep, more customers. It does not take split testing or a working knowledge of the 5 greatest copywriting books of all time to know that.

    Now that I've rabbit-trailed a little, here's my soup du jour issue: A warrior got in touch with me and wanted some free consult time. She has made quite a lot of posts, the vast majority of which are questions that she asks. Many warriors have stepped up to help her. She never actually helps anybody else. That's ok, though. I am not complaining about that, per se. I've often asked for help myself.

    But then she wanted to schedule some telephone time so I could give her some additional consulting advice. One-on-one. She spent the entire paragraph talking about herself, what she does, where she wants to go, the kind of business she wants to run. Maybe I am selfish, but I don't care! I don't care what you used to do for a living. I don't care what you want to do in the future. I don't care that you cannot make up your mind about which direction to go, or why you don't follow the advice that a hundred other warriors have already given you.

    Eternity is not my free line limit.

    I am not a lonely man. I am not waiting by the phone just for someone like you to give my life meaning. I have a life. And a wife. And grandchildren. And a business. Don't try to push my free line like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. I have helped you plenty already and without any show of appreciation. Time is money. $500 per hour (you pay up front) and THEN we'll talk. I will then feel appreciated. I will then feel like my advice actually means anything. We'll talk as long as you want.

    I write this for the benefit of those who might be inclined to try to take advantage of those of us who are willing to help others: Don't take it for granted. At some point we close the doors. Start by showing some appreciation for what you already get, especially considering that we owe you nothing anyway.

    So, boys and girls, if you want somebody to help you, here or anywhere else, do ask, but then be grateful. If you are a warrior and you like their comment or advice, hit the thanks button. I promise it won't take much out of you. Way less than one calorie and minimal effort. A neuron or two is all it takes. And it does mean something to most people. And then, don't try to track them down to squeeze even more help out of them without offering something to them in return. Don't be a parasite.

    Ron
    The comment in bold sits ironically.

    Originally Posted by rrm View Post

    Ok, gripe time.
    Give an inch and some people will take a mile, but if you give a mile in your complaint you might as well just give it to them...
    • Profile picture of the author rrm
      Originally Posted by Daniel Evans View Post

      The comment in bold sits ironically.



      Give an inch and some people will take a mile, but if you give a mile in your complaint you might as well just give it to them...
      I did. And there is that ever slight chance that somebody who tends to be a moocher might think twice. Whether or not that really happens, who knows? I do what I can. Yeah, it was wordy, but considering my lack of brevity in most conversations, this was a short one!

      I see your "ironical" point. Sometimes we trade our time and money for opportunities to help. It's payment of a different sort. Sometimes it just does not end well.

      Ron
  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    The take away here is...

    Treat your customers like gold!

    Treat your mentors like gold!

    Treat your friends like gold!

    Treat others the way you want to be treated!

    I truly agree with Ron in that as a seller we should take extra measures to show gratitude towards our customers. These are the folks that are literally putting food on our table - it's time to treat them as such. This goes for all aspects of life. It's karma!

    Cheers,
    Coby
    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      Originally Posted by Coby View Post

      The take away here is...

      Treat others the way you want to be treated!


      Coby
      bingo!
      it is so simple but people get this wrong all the time -

      I have found that some people can take advantage of helpful people - so I think a person has to be strong and love themselves enough to learn to say "no" sometimes too.
  • Profile picture of the author Devin X
    At first I thought this post was going to suck...like most rants. But this has some solid points that people here should pay attention to. Well done.

  • Profile picture of the author popstocks
    i think the whole internet/ email/soial sites (instead of face to face to face) is re-wiring many people's minds. Especially the "new"generation.
  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    What you have pointed out is a great opportunity for any business owner.

    There will always be businesses that let you down in some way. There will always be business owners that don't express gratitude or follow up with the prospect or customer.

    I see that opportunity, in every niche, as a great advantage for business owners that are willing to express appreciation and gratitude.

    It's just one simple way for you to make your business stand above other businesses in your space. It can set you apart and make your business distinctive.

    I believe customer service, for those that time the time to make theirs memorable, is just one more important advantage that can help propel your business to profitability and sometimes even wild success!

    The best to all,

    Steve
  • Profile picture of the author kayfrank
    Let's not let the minority change us though - and it is the minority. If we stop giving out to others then we become like those few parasites.
    As Sir Richard Branson says - you can always compete by improving your customer service. These poor experiences enable us to pin point areas that we can do better at!
  • Profile picture of the author rrm
    Originally Posted by wilks3y View Post

    Hi Ron, I'm in the age group that you're probably talking about here, late Teen here and I must say, even I am absolutely shocked at some of the things my age group does. The old gentlemen story is probably the best example, I have TONS of respect for my elders, but the things I've seen even friends do/say just disgust me. I too have had an experience where elderly people have thanked me, for simple things like asking how they are, or seeing if they need a little help with bags across the road etc.

    It doesn't take much, but hell it goes a long way !

    Also

    Whilst I probably fit into the category of what your deeming "Moochers", some of us here just don't feel like we have anything to offer the community. I myself don't, the amount of knowledge that flies around this forums, simply makes me feel dumb. However I do my upmost to make sure and thank the people that do help me, even if it's not the exact answer I was looking for.
    Unless you are a moocher, Wilks3y, you don't fit in that category. Needing help, as I often do myself, does not make you a moocher. I have so much that I need to learn and folks on this forum are invaluable.

    Originally, I never thought about age when I wrote my opening post. It was not about age. Being grateful or not as a seller when a customer buys from you, or as a buyer or seeker, when sellers and others are trying to help you, was the point of my piece.

    I know that this thread sort of morphed into one era vs another era, or young vs old. I never meant it to be about that. I am definitely not cracking on young people in particular, or anybody who merely needs help. My experiences with people who want and want and want and want without end and are never grateful for what they get, well, that was my main point. I won't keep helping people who want more and more without expressing any appreciation for what they've already gotten, then get miffed when you pull back. I have no idea whatsoever how old most of these people are. Their age is immaterial.

    Actually, I believe that a lot of younger people nowadays are better examples in life in many categories than many of their elders are, because they have seen how their middle aged parents and grandparents, like me, behave sometimes. We have not been the best of examples. I have seen sort of a religious awakening with lots of young people, and this might correlate with changes in attitude.

    We all might look back in the future and be wistful about certain things in the past. But believe me, I am not romanticizing the past. It might seem that way to younger people who automatically feel stepped on whenever this kind of subject gets brought up. But again, customer service, social graces, expressing gratitude, and backing off instead of freaking out when you've pushed the giver too far - whether age, or society, or changing mores, or anything else contributes to it or not, that's another matter. Like the title says: Sorry. I can't do everything for free!

    Ron
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I once heard Dan Kennedy give a detailed discourse on why he doesn't
    do things for free anymore. It comes down to people respecting
    your time when they have to pay for it versus taking you for granted.
    This seems to be a general rule of thumb. Value is still measured by
    the price you attach to it. People are likely to waste your time if
    you give them for free. This doesn't argue against helping those
    genuinely in need but may not be a good BUSINESS model.

    -Ray Edwards
  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    I don't think it’s wise to expect gratitude from anyone.








  • Profile picture of the author Wizardofwisdom
    That's a point well made and long overdue. I think it's a generational thing, but I miss what used to be common courtesy too.

    Thank you!
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      I have a date in Small Claims Court, tomorrow morning. First time in my life I have ever taken someone to Court. I'm doing this because after bending over backwards to do all I could to help someone get their business launched they tried every trick in the book not to pay my fees which I reduced for them by 35%.

      When I left the person's place of business I told them that without the benefit of my experience in their niche that they would be out of business within 90 days. In 45 days their doors were padlocked.

      I realize that I'm never going to see my money. I'm just using the opportunity to get him into court to be able to look this loser in the eye and tell him what a thief he turned-out to be and remind him of what I warned him when I walked out the door.

      I guess I'm not a very nice person, but since I won't get my money, I may as well get some satisfaction. I can't wait to pummel this clown.

      Somehow, the minute he made a comment that, "he'd pray for me," I knew I was not going to get paid. My mortgage company does not accept prayers as payment. Keep your prayers to yourself and give me my money. lol

      Cheers. - Frank

      P.S. The sad part is that people like that make it so you never want to do anything to help anyone, ever again. I'm done.
  • Profile picture of the author betabuddy
    Gotta say, agree 100% with OP!
  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    Here's what I wish would happen, but it never will...

    Those of us who are polite and courteous and say 'thank you' not because it's expected but because we really do feel the gratitude... we should call out the people who take it for granted.

    But see, therein lies the paradox. We don't do that because we don't want to appear to be impolite, discourteous, etc.

    And the world goes on turning.
  • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
    I heard that!

    However, I have a slightly different perspective:

    1. I currently have a day job as a tech support rep for a large company whose name you'd know. I've done this kind of call center work for over a decade and unfortunately, I have very little respect for customers left.

    Of course, I'm only getting a call because someone's upset, but people are unbelievably rude, arrogant and entitled. I've quite literally been screamed at, cussed out, talked down to, etc. I've had customers quite literally throw a temper tantrum because they couldn't watch TV because it wasn't working. (My most recent customer CAUSED the problem by changing her TV input which is NOT a provider issue. But she had no idea what she'd done and it didn't stop her fom being over-the-top rude and nasty, even afte she realized what she'd done.)

    "I'm the customer!" does NOT entitle you to be rude. Period.

    2. I've posted a particular post that provides some "missing link" info here over and over again in response to cries for help here. It's rarely acknowledged and I'm rarely thanked for it. I've also been challenged/attacked for some of what I've shared here

    I've learned why my coaches and mentors charge so much for their products and coaching: their help is ignored at best or derided and challenged at worst if the recipient hasn't had to invest in it.

    Bottom line: professionalism and gratitude go a LONG way on BOTH sides of the transaction.

    I was a billing supervisor at one company, with the power to go outside of policy sometimes. If you were rude to me, I did NOT waive or reduce your additional deposit, no matter how much you threatened or begged.

    And that's just one example. I get so many rude customers that I will bend over backwards if you're nice -- or at least decent to me in spite of your anger.

    Michelle

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