The other day (a couple of months ago actually) I was pleased and surprised to find that I was the subject of the feature segment on the 89th episode of Internet Business Mastery’s podcast. Those of you that have followed me for a long time recognize that I owe a lot of my internet business education to Jay and Sterling over at Internet Business Mastery.
I got started listening to their podcast and eventually was a founding member of the Internet Business Mastery Academy. So, imagine my surprise when I turned on my iPod last week early in the morning to find that I was the topic of their feature segment and they hadn’t even contacted me.
My Forum Post Blew Up!
Basically, Jay had seen a hot topic in the Internet Business Academy forums that I had started about a comment that I had received right here on MasonWorld.com. In that comment a reader of MasonWorld.com called me out for a post that I had made in the Internet Business Mastery Academy forums back in June of 2008, I think.
In that post I identified some income goals that I had set for myself and they were pretty lofty. The blog reader challenged me on my motivation. Basically, the reader was asking me if I was all about money and just trying to make money off of people trying to make money, or whether or not I really was the principal centered guy that I was advertising myself to be. It was a pretty threatening question. I answered it and then took the discussion over to the Internet Business Mastery Academy forums to get some feedback on my answer.
Jay identified the post for two reasons. One, he liked my answer in terms of lifestyle design and other things that are taught at the Internet Business Mastery Academy. The second reason he liked it was because he felt like I had done a good job not getting angry at the commenter. My answer was very professional and I didn’t come across as being threatened by the person who left the comment.
This is a very important principal that I want to highlight here that you need to understand. If you are going to have a public face in front of people where you’re presenting your opinions and ideas, you need to expect that people are going to disagree with you.
It’s just a fact of life. If 100 percent of the people that are reading your blog agree with you, you’re probably not saying anything very interesting. If that’s the case, that’s probably not very good for your business, so you need to expect criticism. In fact, you need to invite criticism, because if you’re not getting that level of engagement from your readers you’re not doing it right.
Brace Yourself — Not Everyone Agrees With You
Expect to be criticized. When people criticize you, you need to respond professionally. I have a very simple rule of thumb when someone is unprofessional to me, when they speak to me in an unprofessional way I get more and more polite. It has an amazing effect on people.
If someone gets angry with you, you should try to understand what’s making them angry. Maybe they have a legitimate reason. Maybe their dog just died that morning. For all you know, they could be dealing with some major tragedy. Getting in their face and taking yourself down to their level never helps.
It’s always important that you act professionally. In fact, my simple rule of thumb is, as I mentioned before, the more ugly they get the more professional I get. I’m not saying you should let people abuse you, in fact quite the contrary. If someone is being abusive you should terminate the conversation.
I always first seek to understand what is motivating the person’s comment. Second, I try and make sure to take the emotion out of the conversation so we can operate on facts and understand what the person is trying to say. I’ll give you a great example of where this has helped me recently in my business.
A Real Example
Periodically in my business I get unsubscribes from my mailing list. I know it’s hard for you to imagine that someone would want to unsubscribe from the fantastic mailing list that I offer here at MasonWorld.com, but it does happen occasionally.
On a few occasions someone will leave a comment about why they are unsubscribing. Overwhelmingly, the comment is that people are trying to reduce the amount of clutter in their inbox. I totally understand that, in fact I teach that people should go on an information diet. This is an idea that I got from Internet Business Mastery, Tim Ferris, and others.
The other day I got a crazy angry unsubscribe from a guy who was telling me that he didn’t have to deal with my unsubscribe procedures. He said some nasty things about how frustrated he was and so forth. He even filed a support ticket based on this unsubscribe.
My initial reaction was, “What an angry yucky person.” I wanted to send back a nasty reply, but I didn’t. I followed my own advice and I wrote back and said, “Thank you so much for your ticket. I’m happy to unsubscribe you. I’ve checked the records and you’re already unsubscribed. Do you mind if I ask why you’re filing a ticket?”
He went on to calm down and explain to me that he had filed the ticket because I had actually messed my autoresponder so that when he unsubscribed he got a subsequent email from my support desk. Now, this was a configuration error on my part, but it’s very important that I understand this. Had I just gotten angry at him there’s no doubt I wouldn’t have gotten that information.
That was a really good example of how instead of just responding to someone in an angry and escalating conflict, if you’ll just take a step back and be professional everybody benefits. It’s a win-win situation.
The bottom line for business, treat your business like a business, stay professional, value every customer, understand that people can have extenuating circumstances in their life that causes them to misbehave and treat their misbehavior with professionalism and kindness, you’ll love the results.
I’m Mark Mason from MasonWorld.com where we teach people how to build internet businesses one night at a time. I’d love to hear your comments in the comment section below.