There are things we should be doing in life and business. Sometimes you can try too hard to get someone to do something; even if you know it is good for them.

Eat Your Liver

Boy refusing to eat food, customers choose what they want

When I was young, I remember my mother cooking up liver for us. Fortunately, it was not often.  

She would put a seemingly gigantic piece on each of our plates and tell us how good it was for us. After making a few attempts to stomach the tiniest pieces, we would break out the ketchup.

I know, how yummy is that?

By now the liver is stone cold and whatever you call that flavour, is getting stronger.

My sister and I were still sitting at the table staring at our plates well after mom and dad finished theirs.

Then the warning, "You can't leave the table until you finish your supper."

After a few more half-hearted attempts to swallow a fork full of ketchup with a tiny morsel of liver in it we would just sit and stare at the plates. Poke, poke at the liver. Then stare at each other with that look of "why is she doing this to us?". Then stare at the wall or ceiling.

Mom always caved after about 2 hours. 

We walked away hungry and without the benefits of eating something good for us. She walked away frustrated. 

The liver just walked away.

After several years of hoping we would "acquire" a taste for liver she started cooking the kids something else when she had a craving for "something good for you".

Later in life I learned what livers and kidneys do. I have never looked back on my stomach's decision as a child with any regret.

Lessons for Business

Some of the lessons you can apply to your business, marketing and sales:

  • You can put ketchup on it but underneath it is still liver.
  • What tastes good to you might not taste good to someone else (or anyone).
  • What can you do to make "good for you" be more palatable for your customers?
  • There is a time to realize your approach is not working and change it.
  • There is more than one way to raise a well nourished and healthy child (or customer).
  • Can you get the same benefit with steak and a few vitamin pills?
  • People can take a lot of long-term or potential misery in their current situation to avoid what they perceive as making them uncomfortable over the short or mid-term.

If you can master getting people the benefits without as much or any discomfort you might have a winner.

Remember that most of your customers will have the choice to leave the table or stay. (Does it even work with kids?)

How can you apply these lessons to your coaching, consulting or other "good for you" service business?