Four reasons to be *cautious* when people say they love your work!

Written by  //  August 12, 2015  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×

Oh I like praise, really I do! But as James Chartrand said “Praise doesn’t pay the bills”. Here’s why we should be a little cautious when people say good things about our work!

four reasons to be cautious

Goodness, I don’t mean to sound gloomy. It’s actually very fabulous and motivating and energising and inspiring when someone compliments our work! But if they praise without buying, it can also be a bit misleading.

So why would someone praise but not buy? We’ll as I’ll explain in a minute, there are four very good reasons why people say they like what we’re selling, but don’t buy. And really it’s fine that they do. But we shouldn’t design our business (our products and marketing) around  what people say. We need to design it around what people buy.

And, while we’re on the subject,  let’s also not get frustrated with people who praise our work but don’t buy it: they are doing it for the right reasons! As you’ll see!

what people say rather than what they buy

The Four types of people who praise your work but don’t buy:

1. The people who praise your work to avoid awkwardness

Oh look, most of us are a bit embarrassed to say we just don’t want to buy something so we tell nice little white lies about how fabulous the thing we’re not buying is!

“That picture is beautiful, I’ll go away and have a think about it”

“Your interior design work looks brilliant but I haven’t got the budget right now”

Given this, it’s important to not get too excited when someone says they like something but doesn’t buy! It’s quite possible the compliment is just to save our feelings!

I recently read this story about a craftsy shop in Devon that has plenty of browsers but no buyers. In it the owner said:

People love our shop. Every day they tell us what a beautiful space we have created, that they feel inspired to make things when they come in…..While writing this a customer has just told me: “I’m just browsing thanks, I’m in heaven here – I love knitting and crochet.”

But she didn’t spend any money…”

And recounted this from a Gallery owner who’d had to shut up shop:

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

Gawd it makes me feel bad as I’ve totally complimented stuff and not bought it. But that’s the point. I didn’t want it. I was praising because I felt awkward not buying!


1.The best measure of whether someone actually really likes your stuff is that they buy it. Don’t pin your hopes on compliments

2.When someone says your stuff is too expensive, they might actually mean they just don’t want it!

2. The people who praise your work because they like it but will never be your customer

“I have nice stuff, is it just me? I get lots of likes but not one sale”

“I know when I like stuff it doesn’t mean I’ll buy it, it just means I like it”

People can like your work, for what it is, but not, never, ever, be a potential customer. A common example of this is  “likes” on a Facebook. I might “like” the picture of a cake decorated by someone in the USA but I live in Sydney so am never going to be a customer.

And this isn’t just a Facebook thing. Lots of people visit art galleries but don’t buy art, browse holidays overseas but take a break up the road, walk round garden centres and live in a flat …..There are plenty of people who like you’re stuff but aren’t (probably ever) going to be your customer.


1 Here’s some good advice on turning Facebook likes into customers.

2 Sometimes people who praise your work but will never be your customer DO tell their friends  – and maybe the friend could be a customer. So you may want to suggest to people (who like your work but aren’t ever going to buy) that they tell their friends. For example you could say something as simple as: “If you like our cakes but don’t live in Miami, please could you tell your friends who do live here, all about us”

3. People who praise your work to be supportive and encouraging

Sometimes people, especially our friends (and Mums!) praise our work because they want to be supportive or because they don’t want to hurt our feelings.

It’s a bit like this:

Friend: What do you think of these shoes?

You: They are absolutely hideous and I would never wear them.

[That’s what you wish you could say in a situation like that. But you know you can’t.] (Found here!)

It’s super- dangerous to use friends as a barometer of whether customers will buy your product as mostly they will just tell you “it’s lovely”.


If your friends don’t say much about your product that could give you a clue that they don’t really like it: most friends would rather say nothing than be critical

4. People who praise your work because they like it, but not enough to buy it.

There are two types of people who like your work but (gah!) not enough to buy it.

1. There are the ones who just can’t afford it (I might like – really like –  a Prada handbag – but not be able to afford it);

2. and the ones who like it, just not that much ( I might like your painting, but I don’t want it in my house)

This happens when we sell a service too! People say they like the idea a LOT, and they really do like it, but when it comes down to, say, spending money on a personal chef, versus the weekly shop: well the weekly shop just has to win.


Make sure you are showcasing your work to the right people. So if you’re advertising on Facebook, dropping leaflets, whatever – make sure you are doing it to groups of people who can afford and want your product.

Final tips!

Praise is nice but it doesn't pay the bills

Praise doesn’t pay the bills! Selling stuff does so:

1 Direct your marketing towards people who are similar to your customers (people who actually BUY your stuff) not the people who just say they like your stuff.

2 If you have lots of people saying they like your work, but not buying it, have an honest chat with yourself about whether you are selling the right product.

3 Think about whether you’re selling something that anyone actually wants to buy. Here’s what makes people buy. Can you turn what you’re selling into one of these?!

4 Don’t just listen to the people who say what you want to hear (and try and surround yourself with some honest friends!)

5 Be thankful for the honest folk who give you criticism!

martin luther flattery

♡ YOU! ♡

What do YOU think about getting praise but no sales?


If you enjoyed this you might like our weekly Snacks! It’s a lovely email newsy thing with bits and bobs and sweet stuff for your small business. It’s FREE and you can get it here!

♡ Coming Up! ♡

You might like these!

1. On 1 September we start the 100 Day Goal again. If you’d like to join us register here (it’s free!)

2. On 7 September we start the Healthy Income Program again. If you’d like to reserve a spot pop your name down here.

3. For this week only we’re running the FREE Healthy Income Class! Details here!



new snacks2

Fancy getting a weekly Snack of sweet stuff for your small business? Just pop your details in below.



Leave a Comment

comm comm comm

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×