Manage with the Force of Facts

Yesterday I stood my ground with a client, by managing with the force of facts. It was for his benefit.

Some of you might have caught my blog in February of 2018, about why we are enforcing SSL certificates across all our websites, which we host on premium Amazon Web Services. We're not GoDaddy. We maintain 175 websites for serious clients, who want to serve their customers in the best way possible.

The client in question (who of course will remain nameless) debated whether an SSL is necessary. I contended that it is, for several big, important reasons:

  1. It protects your customer's information. If they send anything to the website (contact form, credit card info, anything), an SSL keeps that information much, much safer, by creating a secure pipeline connection.
  2. Google is penalizing websites that don't have an SSL, in their search engine rankings.
  3. All browsers (Chrome, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer) will show that a site is insecure, if it doesn't have an SSL certificate installed.

The client kept acting like I was trying to put one over on him. So, suddenly - I decided to get all Bobby Axelrod on him, and stated very clearly that he's basically screwing over his customers if he doesn't do this - somewhere, somehow, he's gonna need an SSL certificate. While I wasn't yelling or swearing, I was 100% tired of being put over the rails, trying to explain myself.

I've been reading the book Business @ the Speed of Thought, by Bill Gates. In his first chapter, "Manage with the Force of Facts", I learned that there is nothing wrong with being assertive with what you are stating, so long as the facts are accurate, and you believe in the point you are making. (Also, my Mom told me that you can say anything you want as long as you don't curse.)

So back to the story. I went Bobby Axelrod on the client, and said that he's not serving his clients, and if that is the case, then I'm gonna send him his website, his files, his database, and he can go to another web host. We're done.

The client was shocked. He said "Why are you acting like this? This is not good business...this is not how you make money."

Then came my question: "Did you read the article I sent you, about why it's important to have an SSL certificate?"

"Um...yeah sure I did."

"Then answer me in one sentence...what is an SSL?"


"I'm waiting."

"...ok, I didn't read the article."

"Exactly. And you know what? I knew that. All you're looking at is cost. Not value, not protection, not performance. Cost. Which is understandable. You're a businessperson. You gotta keep costs in line, and I respect that. What I don't respect is when someone acts like I'm trying to put one over on them, when clearly I'm trying to help them. You asked me about making money? I spend more time explaining things like SSL certificates and other technical things in laymen's terms for free, than any web developer in the Hudson Valley. And I'm happy to do it for 99% of the people I talk with. But the way you've been treating me, guess what - you're now in the 1%. Because here's the thing: In contrast to some people, I didn't get in business just to be rich. I got into business to be right. And I am 100% right about this. Get an SSL certificate. I don't care where you get it from, but you need to protect your customers. So, best of luck in your future endeavors. We're done here."

And I walked out.

10 years ago, I might not have been as assertive in my stance, because sometimes back then it came down to paying the bills. 

But as that concern eases up on a day to day basis (I still don't give a hoot about being rich - lol), it clears the way for better decisions to be made, for our customers, our business, and ourselves.

When someone's is trying to take advantage of you --- manage with the force of facts.

PS: We landed three new customers this week. I look forward to working with each and every one of them.

Have a great year! =)



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