Dealing with Dislike: 3 Keys to Processing It

Gang, I'm still on my honeymoon, but I had this one scheduled for you and thought you'd like it! Please let me know how you deal with dislike in the comments. :)

I am definitely the kind of person who it took a long time to be okay with people not liking me... and really I'm never always okay with people who I admire or want to please not liking me. It's more just I understand how to process these things better.

When you are a small business owner and your work is so personal, it's pretty hard to not feel like people who don't like your business, your product or whatever also don't like you. But the more you really understand what's going on, the more you will be able to make decisions for your business from a place of strength rather than insecurity.

#1 Understand Who Doesn't Like You

Step one of dealing with dislike is to know who is actually doing the disliking. Sometimes it's hard because you have to really listen and look to pick up clues, but they are usually there.

Not Your Target Market

If the person is not your target customer then when they unsubscribe from your newsletter or give you a bad review, it's annoying, but often they are complaining about the the things everyone else loves and "gets" about you. They are not your people so they don't get that stuff.

And no matter how you try to be nice to them or defend your product, it will fall on deaf ears.

Troll or Hater

There are people who thrive on not liking everyone and everything. The easiest way to spot one of these people is that they use inflammatory language and say/do things to get a reaction. In these cases it's best to ignore or answer questions minimally. You don't owe these people responses and usually you'll find yourself locked in a very fruitless battle.

Target Customer but One of Those "I Like to Give Opinions About Everything" Types

You guys know who this is. There's always at least one somewhere. They kind of like you, but they also like pointing out your flaws. They will even point out mistakes publicly then buy from you again. You don't need to worry or indulge these people. You just need to not engage them or be rude. Don't try to make them more of a friend or more of an enemy. 

Genuinely Dissatisfied Target Customer

Okay, and this is when you should really perk up. If someone is your target customer AND they don't like your product/business then you might need to adjust what you're doing.

How will you know who this person is? It will be hard, but if they aren't obviously a hater or troll try to make your first moves as though they are your target market. Usually after the first initial exchange you can kind of tell what this person is about and if they really should be a raving fan but you just didn't deliver.

#2 Understand Why They Don't like You

Man, this will take some soul searching and being okay with answers that might reflect poorly on you, but it's worth it to really build a strong business.

High Expectations/Under Delivery

In some ways this is not an all bad problem to have. It actually means you are good at selling your product and connecting with people where they have need. The problem is your product not meeting these expectations. I will say that this doesn't mean your product is actually bad either (it might be, so make sure you really look at the quality on all fronts!), it might just be you've given the wrong message.

Bad Luck Lucys and Lous

There are people who will have really bad luck with you-- their emails get stuck in your spam, their products get mangled in the mail and they break out in a rash when they use your product when no one else ever does. These people will not like you for things you never really did to them. Somewhere the "system" failed them or they just had all the worst luck in the world.

These people deserve your sympathy, apologies and suitable means to rectify the situation but not anything much more. You don't control the universe. Sure there might be things you can learn from these freak-o-nature situations but they shouldn't make you feel like you are sucking as a business person.

Now if you notice that that this kind thing keeps happening, there are likely things in your process you could improve upon! So don't dismiss this offhand, but also don't internalize it.

Not Your Person/Will Never Like You

We discussed this above... don't change for these people. Unless you want them to be your target market instead of all the other happy people who love you and what you do. These people can shove off! Or at the very least you can very much take what they have to say with a grain or two of salt.

You Goofed

Yeah. It's actually you. You really did do something to make them not like you. But okay, so now what? Be kind and apologize... try to make it right before things escalate. Don't blame them.

BUT... listen there is always only so much you can do to get someone back to liking you. Everyone makes mistakes. Things don't go right. Some people will want to hold a grudge or have unreasonable expectations for what an apology looks like (they are the person who didn't like the taste of their meal and then expect free meals for life from the restaurant)... these people can also shove off. If you know you've done everything reasonable to make it right, then you can now safely go, "It's not me, it's you" and then pour yourself an adult beverage because you earned it!

#3 Understand It's Okay to Not Like Everything... in Fact This Can be Good for Business

What actually makes one person unfollow you makes a whole group of others like the shit out of your posts! So, I try to think more about the general direction or trend of something rather than worrying about one person's opinion.

It was very hard in the beginning of AHAS to find certain people who I loved and wanted as a supporter to have them be extremely "meh" on the idea or even hostile (who would be opposed to other people wanting to support makers? I know! Crazy business). But I knew it was a good idea. And other people knew it was a good idea. So, it was a hard realization that people who you love in other ways aren't necessarily the people who are going to be your fans and cheerleaders.

I think this happens a lot when you have an ideal customer in mind who you love but your product actually resonates with another group. What you have to do then is decide which you care more about-- the product or the person buying it. It's perfectly okay to put a product down because you don't like the person it's attracting.

Focus on building a business that you want to build for the people who will be enthusiastic about it. Keep those people happy and everyone else can just deal. :)

Alright, it's your turn. How do you deal with dislike?