A good friend and I met last week. He wanted my feedback on a training program that he was planning to join.
This friend works in outsourcing industry. For quite some time now he has been interested in emerging media and wants to make a career in that space.
Since last year I have been helping him learn. He is a keen learner. Thanks to his exploration and my guidance — more because of his efforts – he has been making good progress.
Off late he wanted me to create a structured learning program for him. I mailed him a module as a road-map for his learning. I felt that 1-on-1 training will work best for him — so we meet as it is convenient for both of us.
About feedback, I told him what I felt about the program. Frankly I did not find the program credible enough. I also shared another training program that I thought was worth his money and time. But he was keener on joining the one he shared with me.
Keeping his interest (primary) and my interest in mind, I made this friend an offer to train him professionally. In return he pays the same fees.
Here is why I did it. Because I firmly believe that I have something of value to share. I know his learning style well now. It would have given me an opportunity to organize my thoughts around an idea and I like the process.
Why I asked for money? Because getting money in return of your time is good practice.
This was also my attempt to lay the foundation of a new venture. I thoroughly believe that a venture should make money from day 1 or better even before you launch; and there is no harm tapping your network which for me includes my friends.
He declined, politely. If we would have agreed some rearrangements were required in my schedule and I was fine with it. Alas that opportunity never came.
This was probably the first time I asked a friend to buy something from me and I could not sell it despite having what he wanted. May be the problem was with the technique or attitude. Later that week I tried it with another friend and I managed it slightly better.
1. Be straight forward in asking something.
2. People find it hard to pay to somebody they know – a friend or a family member. They may pay more for a similar product or service to somebody they do not know. Strange it may sound but that is how it is?
3. I need to learn more about selling, negotiating and closing. Not that I have to start at the ground. I have some success doing it for years. Back in 2003, I sold a person on a concept over phone. He sent a cheque for around $5000 couple of days later. Interesting I never met this person before or after the sale. Around same time I closed a deal worth $50,000 with a major media house. I continue to do it to this day — in different settings. But I sure need more practice and need to go back to basics.
4. Do not stop being good to the person, even after the person rejects your offer. In my book friendship is more valuable than money any day. So my offer and his rejection do not mean that I’ll stop loving this friend. I will keep sharing ideas with him as always. In fact, as I write this we have already started collaborating on a project.
Lesson learned in writing this post — it is hard to write a post like this. Not in terms of writing but in terms of baring it all. But that is the way I want to take my writing forward. What do you think about it? Do you like it better?