The toxicity of buddy deals

How often do you try to get ‘buddy deals’? People have approached me, saying a ‘buddy deal’ went south and didn’t turn out how they wanted. So they came to me, saying they wanted to do it the right way, saying they didn’t want to skimp on budget, telling themselves (and me too) they were entering into the relationship with completely different intentions.

Funny thing is, each time this has happened, the businessperson tried to negotiate on price (bigly, like 50% or more discount big), then wound up going with another buddy deal after I refused to give them one.

Could I give them a deal? Sure, I could (not 50%), but that would only serve to set us both up to fail, and I have no interest in failure. They shouldn’t either (but they often do). After all, they came to me because they found out that ‘getting a deal’ netted them less than what they wanted.

I’m rarely given the opportunity to ask people if they are being honest with themselves when they go for the next buddy deal. Then again, I already know the answer and they probably do too, deep down inside.

Buddy deals are great when it’s a long-time friends equation, but when it’s that person you met at a networking party once and exchanged cards with, there’s no ‘buddy’ in the deal. Seeking a deal there is essentially trying to put one over on the person being asked. Perhaps worse, however, is the fact that the person doing the asking isn’t being honest with themselves, which undermines the foundations of both their marketing and their brand.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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