I had a discussion recently with a group of seasoned entrepreneurs in the online business space about refunds — should you offer them? What if a client wants one? How do you tell somebody you aren’t going to give them their money back?
I was surprised by how many of those entrepreneurs had solid policies and written agreements in place, and yet still felt bad about enforcing them. They felt like they were “being mean” if they enforced their agreements. They felt like they had no choice but to give refunds even when requested way outside of their agreed to refund policy. They were giving refunds even in situations where it seriously hurt their business and created serious consequences for them personally.
And if you’re running a six or seven-figure business, I’m guessing you’ve seen one of these situations firsthand:
- A client signs up for a program and then asks to pay less because “they can’t afford it”
- A client wants their money back…two days after the refund period has ended
- A client is having a personal issue and therefore no longer can pay / wants their money back, wants to be let out of an agreement, etc.
Any of these sound familiar? Alright, let’s talk about how to handle it:
This is often about women not valuing other women.
In my experience, women are much more suspicious of other women’s value, more willing to ask for their money back from other women, and more likely to try to make it about being “nice” or “friends” instead of treating it like business.
And of course that's the case, look at the patriarchal society we've all been raised in that values men's work over women's.
Let’s talk about my business for example. I’m running a business that teaches how to run a business. So when a client asks me for their money back and I say yes because I’m uncomfortable, I feel awkward or I’m afraid of being seen as “mean,” what kind of example am I showing to that client? Would I recommend they turn around and give their clients refunds so they don’t “look mean”?? HELLLLLLLLLLL NO.
Niceness is not a business model.
So I lead by example: I work with clear written agreements and I follow them to the letter…and that’s exactly what I encourage my clients to do.
Think about that the next time you give somebody their money back or adjust their payment because you want to be “nice.” Think about the example you’re setting for that woman. And think about the example you're setting for yourself. Value your own work and worth.
Follow the agreement (yours and other people’s).
For one thing, it makes it SO. DAMN. SIMPLE.
It takes the sting out of it. If the agreement says you have 30 days to get your money back, you won’t get your money back on day 31. If the agreement says you need to pay $1500, you need to pay…you guessed it…$1500. Even if your cat went missing. Even if you changed your mind. Even if <insert any excuse here>.
Recently, I had to cancel a business retreat because of my pregnancy. I had paid a fair amount of money for this trip and I was so disappointed that I couldn't go. I reached out to the host and let her know that I wouldn’t be able to attend and asked what the cancellation policy was. Then I followed it to the letter. I didn’t try to get my money back. I didn’t give her a sob story about my health. I just asked what the policy was and respected it because I had agreed to it. And because I valued the work that the woman who had been busy creating an amazing experience for me had done and I valued my relationship with her.
So, if you really want to be nice, follow agreements. Follow the agreements that you make with your clients (ie, deliver every bit of the paid for products and services). Follow the agreements that you make when you enter into partnerships. Follow the agreements that you make with your staff. When somebody has a question about payment or refunds or issues, point them towards the agreement.
Here’s the thing—being nice doesn’t make you a nice person.
A nice person values other people…ABOVE MONEY.
And because they value other people, a nice person values the agreements made with said people and follows them to the letter…ABOVE MONEY.
A nice person values their own integrity…ABOVE MONEY.
So do you want to act nice to avoid discomfort, or do you want to be a nice person?
Think about it.
PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are one way my team and I can help you grow your business this year:
Join the Hello Seven Group and connect with women entrepreneurs who are scaling too.
This is our new Facebook community where badass women learn to get more income, impact, and independence. Click Here