When Business and Summit Strategies Make Someone Question Your Ethics

confidence values Feb 20, 2024

No matter how careful you are, you're going to get negative feedback at some point in your business journey. Hear how I keep it from derailing me - usually!

A while back I asked members of our Summit Host Hangout Facebook group what questions they wanted me to answer on the podcast, and when I saw this question it was an instant addition to my list! Abigail asked, "What do you do when someone questions your ethics?" 

I'm so excited to dive into this one, because I've dealt with this plenty over the years in varying capacities, and I would guess that anyone who has reached a certain level of success in their business has too. So if you've had this happen to you, maybe I'll start my answer by saying, "Congratulations!" 

Here’s Abigail’s question:

What do you do when someone questions your ethics? Someone said that doing 48 hours free access and then having to pay for access feels like a trick, and makes them feel uncomfortable about my tactics. I don't agree because I hope I make it very clear from the start about it... I'm happy that I'm not being a trickster. But when you feel like you are an ethical, transparent business person and people say you're not, how do you deal?

The thing about summits is that they’re an extremely effective way to get you in front of a lot of people in your audience. And when you get exposed to a lot of people there are always going to be a few of “those” people. For real, nothing brings them out more than a free summit.

That’s not to say that I believe that summits attract “low quality” leads, but they are accessible to people that paid offers aren’t accessible for. I’ve found that people have all kinds of pricing and strategy mindsets when they’re not in a place where they’re willing to invest a little to get the help they’re looking for. That’s not like a blanket statement, but that’s when the types of people who have issues with everything tend to stand out most.

So I’m going to start by giving my high-level answer to Abigail’s question and then I’ll talk through some examples of where I’ve run into this and where you might run into it too in business or when you host a summit.

Listen to the episode

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How do you deal with negative comments and perceptions? 

To be fully transparent, I've handled this better at some times than others. But I'll start by giving you a couple steps.

First: Stay true to yourself, your ethics, your integrity, and what feels good to you. 

This is the MOST important thing. If you stray from that and someone calls you out for it, that’s going to hurt - been there, done that. If something feels off, take the time to think through it or find someone to talk through it with, rather than force it. Feel confident in what you’re doing so when the comments come, you feel grounded in what your decision was.

Second: Have someone else deal with them as much as possible.

Kate is my first line of defense and she doesn’t let much get through to me. If there’s an actual constructive piece of feedback I need to consider or if there is ever a theme with several people taking issue with the same thing, she’ll pass it along in a gentle way, but I’m not seeing and reacting to those things myself which so important for me.

But when she doesn’t catch it…

This might happen in places I check before she does or places I manage like Ad comments, social media comments, DMs, or survey responses. I do tend to have a strong reaction at first. I'm hurt and trying to reason my way out of it. I go back to my original decision and why I felt good about it. I think about what that person could have experienced to make them think/feel what they do.

Thanks to my coach, I've learned that I can’t control other people’s experiences and perceptions.

Think about it: the only way to make everyone happy would be to do literally everything you do in your business for free…and that’s not how the world works. And if you did everything for free, people would take what you do way less seriously and you wouldn’t make as big of an impact as you’re making.

Summit-Specific Examples

1. Free Vs Paid Access

The first one that comes to mind, thanks to Abigail's question, is free vs paid access.

But here's why I feel good about this: A summit is something of high enough value that you could easily charge for it…people charge for things of far lesser value!

I feel great about offering free access to summits for a limited amount of time because they can serve and help everybody, no matter where they’re at in life, business, or the world!
Sit in that feeling and energy! I never hide the fact that access is limited, and Abigail, I know you don’t either. So it’s not a bait and switch. We’re telling them several times on the page that access is limited and they can pay for ongoing access.

So how do I handle the negative feedback?

  • This one doesn’t bring me down. I so firmly believe that I’m serving these people so well through the free event and through the all-access pass that I just don’t get shaken here.
  • I realize that this person didn’t read the page and that’s not my fault.
  • I realize if they didn’t read the page, it would feel like a bait and switch to them. That’s also not my fault, but I can be empathetic and see where they’re coming from.

A kind response is all that’s needed. You don’t have to give them any type of long response. Sometimes it will actually just trigger people more than a short one.

But if you want a longer response, you can let them know that it was made clear on the page and you’re sorry if they missed it. Express that your intention with the free event is that something with enough value to be paid has the opportunity to reach everyone. And that it’s totally okay if they don’t want to upgrade for the ongoing access and that you hope they can enjoy the presentations most relevant to them within the 24 or 48-hour window.

2. A Fast-Action Offer

The next example that comes to mind is the idea of a fast-action offer. I’d say this is the biggest place you’ll get a reaction from people in your summit for those of you in the B2C space. It’s very common practice for us in the business world, but it can be surprising for someone who hasn’t seen it before. And again, their thoughts, experiences, and perceptions are going to decide how they think about it and react.

For this one specifically, I do want you to keep your audience in mind when making this decision.

  • For example, we have a couple of clients who host summits for people who do have a traumatic background and the summit is about that. They don’t do the fast action offer.
  • If you have an audience of older people who will have to go out to their car, get their purse, grab their credit card, and get back to their computer, maybe you give them a longer timer.

So this decision goes back to checking in with your ethics, integrity, and values before you make the decision.

So why do I decide to do fast action offers?

I think if someone is willing to grab this offer before they’ve even seen the summit, they deserve a discount. And if they’re not ready right away, that is totally okay, and they’ll have additional opportunities to grab it. This one is hard for me because I know some people have strong feelings about it, but I just am very unphased by it, both as a business owner and as a consumer. 

Overall, if you think your audience needs a little more time to make the decision, increase the timer. If you think your audience will have a trauma response from it, remove the timer. But if you think some people might just have ruffled features from having to make a decision, I’m okay with letting that be okay because they’ll have more opportunities to join later on.

Again, a canned response is a life-saver here and for those of you with Summit in a Box or the Accelerator, you have our response for that.

3. Making Your Offer After The Summit

The next one that might give you negative feedback is when you make your offer after the summit is over. I’ve actually never had an issue here and if you’re in our Launch with a Summit Accelerator program, I’m confident that you won’t either. I’ve never heard of a client getting negative feedback from an attendee or speaker about their launch. But I think if you go about it the wrong way, it could definitely happen.

So for this one, I don’t have experience to speak from, but again make sure you’re thinking through things ahead of time so you feel good about them. If you truly believe you’re serving your attendees better through your offer, make the offer.

But also be mindful of how you make it so it doesn’t feel like a bait and switch or they’re getting hit over the head with it when they originally just signed up for the summit.

Non-Summit Specific Examples

There are a few non-summit-specific examples that I think you might come across at some time in your business experiences, too. 

1. Sending Too Many Emails 

I have gotten this feedback, especially during launches, and have become more conscious of this. Now I almost always have an opt-out link in launch emails. But other than that, I stay very unphased by this feedback. I hit the unsubscribe button for them and move along. If you don’t want to hear from me, you don’t need to be on the list.

2. Claims of Client Results

I get people telling me to "prove it", saying I’m cherry-picking, saying I’m making up the numbers. This one just annoys me more than anything because those things aren’t true. Honestly, I feel bad for the people who think this because they can’t even imagine success for themselves. So much that they think I’m lying about the results I show my clients. And that just makes me sad more than anything.

When it happens, I either don’t respond or I’ll send a link to our testimonials page which has mostly screenshots of client testimonials and results. If someone wants to claim that I made those in Photoshop or something, I can’t help them.

3. You Sell Too Much

I would guess that Kate has protected me from some of this over the years, but I got this one last year at a workshop I ran. I've shared about my experience and response to this particular situation, but this one did get me. 

I was told that I was a "bro marketer", and that my offers were too good to sell the way I was selling them, and I literally got a list of where I was and wasn’t allowed to sell in my business.

Due to the type of person it came from, it did sting. It was a Summit in a Box student who had joined a workshop and I think because they pointed out the exact things that I never want to be perceived as in business, my reaction wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of hurt and self-doubt.

But that’s what I have a coach for and she turned me right on back around here and if I had to go back I’d do the same thing that I did. Just because someone else had a negative perception of how I was selling and they were triggered because of a past experience they’ve had, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have sold.

That particular offer that I made, brought a handful of new clients into our Accelerator program who are so grateful and glad to be there and that’s why I made the offer and why I’ll keep making my offers. 

I’m sure there are people listening to this podcast who get their feathers ruffled when I talk about my offers or when an episode is angled more toward encouraging you to join one of our programs instead of just practical step-by-step advice.

But I know that I can serve every single one of you so much better through our programs…SO much better…that I will never stop making the invite. I want you in there and to experience what a summit can really be like.

And I want you to stand in that confidence with your offers, too!

Overall, see where people are coming from, empathize, see if anything actually needs to be done, and change if you need to, but otherwise feel confident in the decisions you’re making. You cannot let other people tell you how to run your business…especially when they don’t know a darn thing about running a business.



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No matter how careful you are, you're going to get negative feedback at some point in your business journey. Hear how I keep it from derailing me - usually!No matter how careful you are, you're going to get negative feedback at some point in your business journey. Hear how I keep it from derailing me - usually!

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