Oh, No, She Didn’t!

The other week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Maruxa Murphy (pictured right) for the Social Media Marketing Masters Telesummit (at which I’m a guest speaker).

After the call we ranted a bit about our frustrations with modern marketing. You can read it here. I thought she was brilliant and so I asked her if she would share her thoughts on my blog.

Oh, No, She Didn’t!
by Maruxa Murphy, MA

What if (and when) someone comes to you or I and says, “(Your Name), I’m not fully in line with the products/services/coaching I purchased from you. I’d like us to talk about it or refund the remaining balance please.”

How would you react?

Would you choose to puff your chest and huff back a response, or take the road less traveled – and listen to the concerns of your clients?

Last week, a good friend of mine sent me an email asking me to look over a conversation she had with her business coach and asked my opinion.

It seemed harmless enough, so I started to read. And as I read, I started to feel warm, mmm, actually kinda hot. I realized in that moment, as I was reading this thread, the response from her business coach was pretty much messed up.

In a nutshell, my friend was treated as just another number  to this coach. It’s as if she was nameless, faceless without a dream, a desire or an opportunity to change the world for the better.

Her coach tried to change her branding approach completely and told her that her current message was garbage after meeting her for only 20 minutes and not fully knowing the true impact she’s already made in her industry. Not only did my friend who spent months crafting this message feel like a failure, but it broke the trust she had with this coach.

My friend then asked to pay her remaining balance and close this relationship. Instead of owning there may be an ill-fit in their relationship, this coach huffed in pride and couldn’t believe that someone would dare to question (this coach’s) knowledge?!

I was getting all hot and bothered by this email thread because the coach was basically shaming my friend for thinking for herself and trusting her inner wisdom.

Then, it hit me. In today’s day and age online, there are unfortunately more and more coaches, practioners, educators, and service providers who don’t know how to handle and wrestle with the idea that someone MAY NOT like what you offer or how you serve another client.

We are all told of the goodness, the richness, the yummy-ness of having an online presence for our businesses.

Some of us are even able to live the dream and completely give up the offline business to serve clients primarily through a virtual, information-based business, through online classes, e-books, audios, videos, etc.

We’re told that going online will allow us to live anywhere in the world, work from the beach, and drive the cool car we’ve always dreamed of driving (ah – thinking of that Yellow Old School Volkwagon Bug, convertible!)

And while YES, many of us who work with a primary online focus can live anywhere, work in our pajamas or bathing suits, and own the cars of our dreams, it’s not the full truth. To do that, you’ve got to be OK working a lot of hours, building quality relationships, and being your own version of you (i.e. Be completely OK being you) no matter how uncomfortable that may feel at the time. It’s all a process.

The other thing you’ve got to have, is the ability to work out the kinks, the bumps in the road that you can expect to have happen. And even more importantly than just working them out, you’ve got to handle obstacles with grace, kindness, and respect.

The people who are coming to you for your services are people. With dreams. With true passions. With God-given talents and abilities to make the world a better place in the best way they see that they are able to do on this earth.

If someone comes to you, and you huff and puff like our friend, the coach, in our post here, believe me, you’re not going to get a second chance from that customer, and easily hundreds of potential customers that customer is connected to.

However, let’s say you take the road less traveled, and you choose to listen, and hear what your client needs to share with you, you may end up with a client who knows you actually care, you actually want them to succeed. You SEE them. You leave them with an experience of you that let’s them know they matter.

It may be that they want to work with you again, but it also may mean that they don’t. And either way, it’s completely OK. But at least they feel heard, and their last interaction with you leaves a good taste in their mouth about you.

And if they run across someone who may be interested in your services, they may let them know how you treated them in the process.

I’m personally on a mission to help more businesses create experiences that impact their relationships, sales, and ultimately, give them more opportunities to enjoy what many describe is one of the hardest callings on earth – being a business that serves those around them.

I invite you to live and breathe in your business as you’d like to live and breathe outside of your business – treating all people (client or not) with grace, kindness and respect.

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About Tad

  • Great post, Maruxa (and Tad by proxy)!  

    The movement towards online “coaching” has started to erode the coaching relationship…one in which we are holding the client as totally capable and whole, but just needing a little help seeing it.  Teaching what we know and supporting them as they go through it is an art form that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle.  (Cause, who knew that truly being yourself would be so damned scary?!)

    The model of teacher vs student (which that lame coach obviously fully subscribes to…and not in the Montesorri way), creates a power shift.  How can the client have any original thoughts?  How can they possibly change the cookie cutter mold?

    As you suggest, the chance to really listen to an unhappy client can do wonders for your biz…humble you right up, get you focused on holes in your process, and remind you that true coaching=true listening, and YAY, you get a chance to practice with an unhappy client!  Not that I am looking for unhappy clients as a learning strategy or anything, but they can be great motivators and help you develop the best biz you can!

    C’mon coaches…our goal should be to help create conscious, go-getters who know their power and can trust in themselves to make their dream happen…not just spoon fed ninnies who need to go from one “guru” to the next. 

    Whew…you got me first thing in the morning!  Nothing like coffee fueled thoughts!

  •  Hi Julia! So nice to meet you! Glad you’ve gotten a lot from this post. Sometimes the most difficult thing to hear from your clients can be the BEST thing for you and your client’s next steps. We as coaches are here to facilitate the clients’ best interest. Having blueprints and systems of what has worked is great to have as a reference, but using what’s been proven along with our intuition, creativity, and being in the “present” with your client can help them truly create who they were/are meant to be.

    Again, thanks for the comment. Glad it supported you and got you fueled! Have a great week!

  • Awesome article – so important for us coaches to listen, listen, listen… and remember that sometimes we have as much to learn from our clients as they from us!

  •  amen monique! why do you think we don’t listen as much as we could?

  •  it’s so interesting to me because sometimes a client can give really useful feedback – but in a really shaming way. and then i usually let them go as a client. i might just remove them from my email list even AS I integrate their feedback. because some clients are able to give feedback in a beautiful and affirming way – and that’s who i want to be around. some days i’ve got more emotional space than others.

  • Right on – I think when we come from a space of being in “student” mode, no matter how much of an “expert” we are, we are able to fully grow in our ability to serve others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Monique!

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