Why some people say ‘no’ – to money

I often have reps tell me in a perplexed state, about a kind of customer they have who actively promotes the product to her friends, sometimes referring several customers per week.

But, when the rep suggests she sign up and so she can earn something for her referrals, this gal is adamant: “NO, THANKS.” She then adds that she’d stop referring customers if she got paid for it.

She prefers being a connecter or maven for the fun and satisfaction of it, the way Malcolm Gladwell described such people in his best selling book, The Tipping Point. Have you come across anyone like that in your business?

In their super book, Freakonomics, the authors report a research study done some years ago that pitted a moral incentive against an economic one. They wanted to learn about the motivation behind blood donations. Here’s what they found:

“When people are given a small stipend for donating blood rather than simply being praised for their altruism, they tend to donate less blood. The stipend turned a noble act of charity into a painful way to make a few dollars, and it wasn’t worth it.”

The money ruined it. Giving for free and getting the charitable deed rush felt much better.

About 7 years ago when I set up my affiliate program for my books and CD programs, I received emails from old customers who said they’d rather not become an affiliate, because they didn’t want their recommendations tainted by the fact that they were getting paid for them.

Moral: Don’t push people like that to sign up for the business. Getting paid for their recommendations will ruin it for them, and they’ll stop making them. Remember, that’s their worldview. Be grateful and accepting. There are more people like that out there than you may think.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • All seems to start with totally dropping any agenda to sell or recruit – love the product(s) and/or business but give folks the same break I think we all want, to not be sold or hyped, nor denied the opportunity to make a wise decision for ourselves.

    I’ve talked with some people in the past who just wanted to buy and use the product, but were unwittingly signed up as a distributor. There’s more than one reason for skepticism out there! On the other side of that, I’ve had people tell me they think they might want to sell the product cause they have friends they want to share it with. They’ve been grateful when I suggest they remain a customer and we give them some free product credits if they refer a friend.

  • I agree 100% on this issue. A good customer should remain a customer.

    The referrals they can generate will far outweigh the benefits of signing them up.

    I have had several retail customers tell me up-front they had no interest in the business opportunity.

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