Should Friends Sell to Friends?

by | Apr 12, 2007

This week I received an email from a dear friend objecting to the reminders about the Authentic Wealth Tele-retreat that I’ve been sending readers of my e-zine.

For what it’s worth, I would have to cast my “vote” on the side of the person who felt that the reminders were too many and too often…. The change in tone that I have noticed in the recent mailings on this workshop feels a little more to me like a Harv Ecker or Jack Canfield approach. It’s honest, direct, and open, but to me it seems less personal, less intimate, and less inviting.

My inner people-pleaser and my inner-autocrat took battle positions, the people-pleaser terrified that she hadn’t been sufficiently nice and the autocrat pissed off at being criticized. You’ll notice that neither or them had a rational basis for going to war, but since when has war been rational?
Here’s an excerpt from the email I wrote back to my friend after time, self-examination, and sunshine restored me to a semblance of sanity.

With each passing day – as I regain enthusiasm and heart for my work – I am clearer and clearer that by training readers to relate to me as a friend, I did them and me a disservice.
The disservice to readers was making an unsustainable offer. I am not able to authentically befriend 10,000 (or even 500 or 5) people to whom I extend limited opportunities to give back to me. The energy in and out simple don’t balance. With every passing year I became more depleted and anxious, less energized and grateful.
This is not a new pattern for me. I’ve made a lifetime project of creating dependencies in exchange for what I thought was autonomy. Oddly, the result of befriending instead of selling to my readers has been anything but friendly.
I intend to continue selling to my list, and I intend to continue giving generously. The newsletter exists as a means for my just-right customers and my company to come together in the service of common interests for the good of all. Yes, some people who love to read my work but who are not “just-right” customers may be annoyed or turned off by the reminders that make it possible for me to keep giving and for people who need my work to receive it. (The reminders for the most recent retreats brought in 10 people who I fully expect will be transformed as a result as well as bringing in revenue that will enable me to keep creating and doing, I hope, a better job all the time.
I am not open, at this point, to reducing or stopping the reminders. I am wide open to suggestions as to how my sincere intent to serve might be communicated through those reminders. Selling is a stretch for me – a big one – and there’s bound to be a period when I am less graceful – even clumsy. If you have ideas or resources that might shorten my learning curve, I’m all for them.

I extend the same invitation to you. Learning happens, and it happens a lot faster when you get help. (More fun, too.)