Earlier this week, I read an online discussion about being asked to provide services within your business for free. The discussion led largely to managing unreasonable requests. I thought this was a good time to discuss this in more depth.
We constantly have requests from others: friends wanting to borrow things; employers wanting you to work late to meet a deadline; family wanting you to do things for them etc. It is particularly challenging for individuals, like myself, who run their own business. We are constantly asked to do things. But it is the ‘unreasonable requests’ that annoy most people.
I believe there is a lot we can learn from receiving unreasonable requests: not just how to manage them, but also about ourselves and how others perceive us. It is easy to get annoyed when we are asked to do something for free: where we feel we are being ripped off or undervalued, and where they are benefitting hugely. This could be delivering training for free, when the participants are paying to attend; demanding a significant amount of a product for free, which doesn’t benefit you at all but is a great offer for the asker, or even someone haggling over your product or service to a ridiculously low level.
Natalie Reynolds, in her excellent book, We have a deal, says that the first person to pitch a figure is at an advantage, because the other person will have an emotional reaction to it. So if it is a totally unrealistic demand, the other person will be annoyed but possibly be more amenable to agreeing a higher valued offering at the end of the negotiation. And there are some people that will GAMBLE the fact that their first demand won’t be agreed upon but they will get more from the agreement.
There are three ways we can actually learn from these situations rather than wasting time ranting on social media and getting angry.