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A Client Becomes a Friend Before a Friend Becomes a Client?

I’ve seen this saying recently in several social media posts: “A client will become a friend quicker than a friend will become a client.” Many who read this will automatically think about the “why” of this statement, meaning, ‘why do clients become friends faster than friends become clients?’ However, I chose to think about it from a different angle... what should we do about it?

To address the ‘why’ first though, there are a few likely reasons. First, assuming that our friends have known us for a longer period of time, then they have far more factors to consider when deciding to do business with us. They’ve seen us at our best, and sometimes at our worst. They’ve seen our good decisions, and unfortunately a few of our bad decisions as well. All this information colors their judgement when deciding if we are the right person for the job, and that hinders their decision. A ‘client first’ individual doesn’t have all that additional information.

Secondly, for some reason many of us have a mental block regarding paying our friends for a service even though we would pay a stranger that we deem qualified handsomely for the exact same thing. It’s an odd situation, and irrational on the surface, but it is a fact of human nature for a large percentage of the population, and something that doesn’t change easily. Interestingly enough, even with a ‘client-first’ individual, some of the same payment mental blocks can occur as a deeper friendship forms.

But what are we to do about this? I have two thoughts.

When attempting to do business with someone that you have been friends with for a while, you must help them see you as the professional that you are. Allowing them to see your professional credentials through a resume, reference letters, prior work, or even your LinkedIn profile is a start. If they can ‘see’ you through the same lens as the client-first individuals we talked about, then they are more likely to be comfortable doing business with you.

More importantly though, you need to ask yourself a very important question. That question is: Do you really want to do business with your friends? It’s one thing to become friends with your clients, but it’s quite another thing to try to convert your friends to clients. As much as we think we want all our friends to become customers, many of us end up realizing that it complicates life, and it can be easier just to keep the two separate sometimes. If you can help your friends by providing them with the service that you professionally perform, that’s wonderful. However, if you pursue your friends as a method of increasing your livelihood, it frequently works the opposite way and removes some of the joy from life.

For some reason, I’m thinking all of us need to pause a second and reflect on that...

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If there is anything I can help you with, please reach out on our Contact Page. As always, I wish you the best in your business.

Mark Goldman


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