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Are you giving too much away?

Today, I want to talk about… the dreaded “friend-zone.”

You’ve probably heard this term before in a romantic comedy flick or TV show.

It’s when you’ve got a crush on someone, and you ask them out on a date, but they decline because they only see you as a “friend,” nothing more. For whatever reason, in their eyes, you don’t fall into the hot, steamy, potential romantic suitor category. You’re stuck in the friend-zone. So sad. 🙁

The same thing can happen for business owners!

Let’s say you’ve been treating your community like royalty—doling out free samples of your work, churning out blog posts and podcasts up the wazoo, giving your fans lots of personalized attention, being totally generous and fabulous—and people are LOVING it.

But then when you actually have something to sell… crickets.

It’s like people are happy to gobble up your freebies forever, but when it comes to opening their wallets… suddenly their enthusiasm is gone.

It’s like you’ve been put into the “friend-zone”… or maybe the “freebie zone”? People love you… but they don’t want to actually pay you. Ugh! This can be so discouraging and make you feel really bitter!

Wondering whyyyy this keeps happening? Here are a couple things to consider…

— Are you overwhelming people with freebies?

Some business owners give away “too much,” or give away things that feel “too big” or “too complicated.” Maybe you’ve created an 8-week class plus a 180-page e-book—both totally free. While the generosity is appreciated, those big, dense, hefty freebies might feel overwhelming and exhausting to your fans—rather than irresistible and fun.

If you’re going to give away freebies, focus on things that are light, brief, and easily digestible with a quick “win” for your audience. Think: super helpful 1-page checklist, not 100-page e-book. Think: 3-day mini class, not epic 30-day challenge. Think: teensy cupcake bite, not 7-tiered wedding cake. Leave people salivating and wanting more!

— Is there any kind of urgency to what you’re selling?

If you’ve been friend-zoned, it might be because you’re not giving your fans a compelling reason to act NOW. The people in your audience need a firm enrollment deadline (like “Enrollment closes at midnight tonight!”), or a time-sensitive reason (like “Don’t you want the softest, smoothest skin of your life? Book a winter facial now!”), or some other type of motivation or incentive to get going asap.

Otherwise, they’ll procrastinate forever. We all do this—it’s just human nature! 😛

Not sure how to create a feeling of “urgency” without sounding pushy or aggressive? Check out this article for lots of tips.

— Are you creating… or listening?

Sometimes, we get so excited to create new things that we forget to LISTEN to the people in our audiences.

Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “OMG! I just discovered ‘tapping’ and I want to make an awesome video class all about this alternative healing technique!” You’re so excited that you don’t bother to pause, survey the people in your audience, or check and see if they need this type of class. You just charge forward and launch it… but then the peeps in your audience are like, “Uhhh… not interested. No thanks.”

The solution? LISTEN before you create. Send emails, send texts, send out online surveys, chat on the phone and face-to-face. Ask people, “What are you struggling with these days? What are your biggest goals? What’s something you wish existed that doesn’t? What would be an answer to your prayers?” and other questions like that. LISTEN. Gather information. THEN create new offerings that are 100% tailored to what the peeps in your audience actually want and need.

Obviously, it’s great to have a warm, fuzzy, friendly connection with your fans and subscribers—that’s a good thing!—but at the end of the day, you’ve gotta make a living.

If your sales have been sluggish or inconsistent, take a few steps to pull yourself out of the dreaded friend-zone. Then put yourself back out there and see if you notice a difference in how people respond to you. I bet you will!

Your goal: To become the “Idris Elba” or “Kerry Washington” of your industry—totally hot and desirable, a MUST-HAVE-NOW superstar—instead of the frumpy, forgettable guy who plays the “comic relief” best friend character. Awww. Sad face.

You can do it. Start by listening to your audience, figuring out what they actually want, and you’ll bump yourself out of the friend-zone really quickly. 🙂