Back when Erik co-owned a bakery with his wife, a lot of people that they knew would ask for a freebie or for a discount. At first they complied. But they realized they were doing just as much work as for anyone other customer, but were doing it at no cost.
They gave the discount because of the social pressure of being asked for a discount from someone they knew. They tried saying no to some requests, but the social pressure was very difficult to overcome – saying no caused a lot of conflict they’d rather avoid.
They came up with the concept of the Friends and Family discount. Once in place, Erik and his wife could say yes to the friends and family that asked for a discount, but they were able to control the amount they discounted by establishing their own policy in advance. Their policy was to discount 10 – 15%, but that’s it.
The same circumstance, when people ask for something for free or at a discount, happens at Array Digital. Often they get asked for a free website by someone who they really want to help. But each website costs the company thousands of dollars in labor and fees that the company has to pay for, and they can only give away so much.
To control how much free work they do, they’ve established a policy for what services they’ll give away, and how and when they’ll do that.
As an example, the company will give away one free website per year. But only to a nonprofit and only under other circumstances. Not everyone who asks get a free website – they are given away under the company policy that’s been established.
This policy at Array Digital is a clear lesson learned from Erik’s bakery days when he and his wife established the Friends and Family discount policy. Saying no to discount requests is hard to do when you know the person making the request. Find a way to say yes, but under your terms.