The High Price of the Free Lunch
Hear the podcast below or read the text below
Ahh the air is cleaner, you feel much better and you can get on with your life when you pay for your own lunch. I’ll tell you why when we come back.
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When someone asks you to lunch or dinner, make no mistake there is always a reason and for the most part, it’s not a problem. Depending on the person.
There are three kinds of “Free Lunch”
- When someone wants to maintain
- When someone wants to pick your brain
- When someone wants to pick you pain then use it against you.
I have no problem with the first two.
But who are you having lunch with?
When someone wants to maintain
it’s most likely a great client or someone that truly believes in you and wants to see you do well. They give a lot of support and ask for very little in return. They see the value in what you do and how it benefits them and they just want to do straight business. These are the BEST clients and customers.
Pick your brain …
These are the people that need something from you, it might be information on how to do something or mentoring and advice. This is fine as long as they are paying for lunch and you are willing to do it.
Pick your pain… then use it against you
These are the people you should avoid. They want to have lunch with you to see where you are weak or need help but they are not there to help you as much as they are there to help themselves. These are the people this podcast is about. Here are some of the typical traits you should be keenly aware of.
- Are they someone who is always looking for discounts or information for their benefit?
- Do they make themselves the middleman between you and a potential client?
- Do they make themselves the middleman between you and your current connections?
- Do they ask you to do things that make you uncomfortable that benefit them and can hurt your business?
- Do they play you against people you have good relationships with?
- Are they the kind of person who makes suggestions to you about how to run your business or your career.
- Are they consistent name-droppers and self-credit takers who consistently suggest they can make a call for you or reach out to someone on your behalf.
- Do they act like you’re stupid and disconnected and that you need them to succeed?
- Do they make YOU the bad guy when you don’t give them what they want?
- Do you get an uneasy feeling around them?
- You may not find this out until it’s too late … but are they the kind of person that does something for you with or WITHOUT you asking then they come back to ask you for something worth 10 times more?
- Do they throw things they have done for you in your face when they pressure you to do something you don’t want to do for them?
- Are they super hard sell people who no matter how many times you say no to they ignore it and keep pushing.
- Are they the kind of person that if you ask for a reference, instead of giving one they say “What do you need it for?”
- Are they carrot danglers who ask you to do something up front that you are usually paid for with a BS promise of “if it works I’ll pay you later?” Later will never come, you are being used.
We have all run into these kinds of people and I can honestly tell you it took me a long time to learn life is so much better when you cut them off. Not put them on the back burner because any space for contact means room for negotiation and since you KNOW what to expect from these people, there should be no room for negotiation. CLOSE THE DOOR OF COMMUNICATION COMPLETELY. Don’t say anything bad about them when their name comes up. If there is one thing I have learned it’s knowing when to leave the playground. The less or more kind things you say about someone who talks about you in a negative way, the least trustworthy they look. We are our own walking resumes.
Look out for these cues and know that business is business and friends are friends but in business, while you may have great contacts it’s NOT about friendship. Make business and keep friends as friends.
Don’t have lunch, dinner, breakfast a snack or even a damn candy bar with people like this because they will come back and ask you for a downpayment on a home as a repayment. Cut them completely off. If you see them in the future, be cordial but never sit at the same table with them at an event and never allow the door to be opened again for communication. Life is too short, especially when you get older to keep making the same mistakes. Why settle for shit when you can have peace and harmony in your life.
There is an added bonus when you get rid of them, the door will open for 10 more legitimate people who are about genuine business, genuine support, and a genuine lunch.
While we may seek understanding and compassion, I’ve never met a person who was looking to be used. Know it when you see it, then get rid of it because some lunches are not free, they are credit cards with extremely high interest rates that will be charged to you for years down the road.
If you notice any of these sings that I mentioned, you can save yourself by monitoring your conversations with people like then paying for your own damn lunch.
This is pennies from Kevin … My best in business and life.