You scratch my back, I... hate everything you stand for?
March 25, 2012 5:04 PM   Subscribe

You have a business. One of your customers has a business. He wants to cross-promote, co-produce events, etc. He subscribes to the "there's a sucker born every minute" business model, charging way too much for crap. He could bring you lots of new customers, but you don't want to give him any more "marks." How do you proceed? Or do you?
posted by thrasher to Work & Money (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No. You do not get tarnished by this character or his business model. You can do better without this type of "help."
posted by jbenben at 5:09 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I suppose I must ask: do you charge too much for crap? Do you attract similar kinds of customers whether or not you do?

If not, I would say you're somehow the sucker too in this, so I don't think that you'll get any benefit out of giving him more 'marks.' Dilemma removed; pass on this deal.
posted by michaelh at 5:09 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is an ethical question, and there are going to be lots of support on both sides (work with him vs. don't work with him). What it comes down to is how you feel about it. Seeing as you are saying "charging way too much for crap", it seems as if you've already decided.

The only problem I see here is that the prospect of making loads more money for yourself is contrasted by you feeling as if you are going to sacrifice or compromise your ethics. Its a hard choice, but ultimately its for you to decide.

BUT, if I were in your situation, I'd rather be able to sleep easy knowing I don't compromise my beliefs for cold hard cash.
posted by karathrace at 5:10 PM on March 25, 2012

If you think he charges too much for crap, why would you want to be connected to that if it's not your business philosophy? Better to earn your customers on your own merit.
posted by yoga at 5:11 PM on March 25, 2012

Since you have two very different approaches to business, I would imagine you would conflict when it to comes to cross-promotion, too. That sounds like one big headache, and I'd look for a more compatible cross-promotion partner. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 5:20 PM on March 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think the post title gives you your answer here.
posted by salvia at 5:22 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is there a diplomatic way to say "HELL NO! ...but we appreciate your continued patronage and wouldn't mind if you wanted to tell your customers about us!"?

I should also add, this is how I *feel* about his business model, he hasn't ever said to me that this is his philosophy. For all I know he thinks he charges reasonable prices for quality products. And I don't know how successful he is.
posted by thrasher at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2012

Look at it this way. If you don't respect what they stand for before you've even done business with them why would you want to do business with them?
posted by zephyr_words at 5:29 PM on March 25, 2012

No way. Relationships either add value or subtract value, and that value can't always be measured on your profit & loss statements. Having a working relationship with someone who's values you don't agree with has the potential to create a tremendous amount of stress and headaches.

Find a partner you actually get along with. Life is too short.
posted by swngnmonk at 5:32 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just say No thanks and walk away quickly. Good to do it on the phone and give them a secondary e-mail, where they may e-mail you once that day and never again. If you really feel like putting him out of business, ask him for references.
posted by parmanparman at 5:33 PM on March 25, 2012

who's values whose values. Geez, senility is kicking in early tonight.
posted by swngnmonk at 5:33 PM on March 25, 2012

Ok I'm going to offer the minority opinion here. The value judgement about his ethics seem to be based on a whole lot of nothing. You haven't seen his books, right? You just suspect that he over-charges. Yet he has customers, and they are willing to pay him what he asks for his goods. I guess you feel like he's deceiving them somehow, rather than just charging what the market (obviously) will bear?

Also you say "we appreciate your continued patronage and wouldn't mind if you wanted to tell your customers about us!", which seems a little bit hypocritical to me. Like, you're not comfortable cross promoting, but you're comfortable with him promoting you? And you want him to do it even though you wouldn't do it in return?

Not everything is black and white, as the boundaries of your own comfort attest to.

I think you should base your decision on your aversion to working with this guy and leave it at that. You can just tell him that you've thought about his offer and appreciate his confidence in your business but based on reviewing your situation you don't think it's the right move for you at the moment.
posted by danny the boy at 6:18 PM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like he'd damage your reputation with your existing customers. This is an easy call: pass.

Just say, "no thanks, I'm not looking for a cross promotion partner."
posted by mikewas at 6:24 PM on March 25, 2012

One classic way to politely and indefinitely stall is to use a little jargon to get across that you're not looking to play the partnership game right now for totally sound business reasons. So, you're "evaluating capacity" (i.e. don't want to make promises you can't keep, and don't want to accept generosity that you don't have time to utilize) and you're "engaged in strategic planning" (i.e. examining priorities w/r/t your business goals.)
posted by desuetude at 7:54 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

He thinks you are a mark, do you understand that?

He thinks you are the sucker that's born every minute, and he intends to charge you way too much for crap.

He is teeheeing behind his hand at the thought that he told you straight out that he was going to do this, and you're such a rube that you didn't even pick up on that!!! Haha!!!

Please remember that guys like this think they are smarter and more clever than everyone they will ever do business with, especially you. Sooner or later they become so confident in their smarts vs your stupidity that they will tell you in words of one syllable exactly what they think of you. THEY WILL FALL FOR THIS EVERY. TIME. You can pull the rug out from under them at your leisure.
posted by tel3path at 3:42 AM on March 26, 2012

Oops. Your update totally escaped my notice. Is my face red.

Since you despise him, don't work with him and just say you've decided against it for the time being. You don't have to work with everyone who asks.
posted by tel3path at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2012

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