Online Sellers: 10 Ways to Respond to Unsolicited Business Advice

Online Sellers: 10 Ways to Respond to Unsolicited Business Advice

Posted by Big Brand on 17th Nov 2020

Yesterday we discussed the 50 Most Annoying Questions for Online Sellers - stuff that people do and say that drive us utterly insane.  But today we are going to dive deeper;  If you’re an online seller you have probably gotten plenty of “tips” and “pointers” from friends, family and even strangers that discover you’re an online seller. How many times have you heard “You should…”, “You would make a lot of money if you….”, “I know someone who sold online and they….” or “Here’s some advice for you….” - and yes, this also does drive you crazy! So here’s how to deal with it:

There’s two important things to remember:

  1. The (unwanted) advice-giver is likely genuinely trying to be helpful, even though they likely have absolutely not the slightest clue what they are talking about. Regardless, their intention is usually good, even though their suggestion is usually useless (and possibly even offensive!)
  1. I once heard this one on Dr. Phil and it has always stuck with me: “People who rush to give advice are the people WHO DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ADVICE.” - that’s quite interesting, eh? Think about it!  The advice-giver who is telling you that you should buy a drone to deliver your orders faster has absolutely no idea what that entails! 

So, here’s some great ways to politely respond to good-intentioned unwanted advice and hopefully end the conversation (on the other hand if the advice is mean-intentioned we have a wonderful list of comebacks you can use!)

IMPORTANT TIP: After each of these replies, you MUST immediately change the conversation, ok? We will discuss this more in a minute. But here’s the list of 10 super-fast replies:

  1. Thanks so much!
  2. Wow. I will look into that!
  3. Hmmmmm, I've never considered that. Thank you!
  4. Great idea!
  5. I appreciate you telling me about that.
  6. What an interesting idea!
  7. I’ve never heard that one before. Thanks so much!
  8. Maybe that will work! I will do some research.
  9. That's fascinating!
  10. I will definitely check it out!

Now, as mentioned above, you absolutely have to CHANGE THE CONVERSATION, so for example:

Advice-Giver: “Online sellers don’t really make any money. I have a friend who tried selling online and she barely made $100 in an entire month!  You really should consider getting a *real job*!”

Your Reply: “Oh that sounds awful for her! Speaking of online things, have you ever tried ordering through Uber Eats? Isn’t it the best thing ever?!”

Advice-Giver: “You really should sell those old models of cell phone cases. My phone is from 2005 and it’s so hard to find a case for it! You would make so much money!”

Your Reply: “Wow, I never considered that! Thanks! Isn’t this weather amazing?”

Advice-Giver: “You should open a day care service out of your home since you already work from home!”

Your Reply: “What an interesting idea! Speaking of home, how did your kitchen remodel turn out?”

Advice-Giver: “I heard Amazon is going out of business. You really shouldn’t sell on there!”

Your Reply: “Wow! I will look into that! Thanks! How has your work been going?”

KEEP IN MIND: You will see a lot of stupid advice blog posts online that tell you to say stuff like this:

Although being rude, abrasive and snarky might make you feel better at the time, it isn’t productive whatsoever.

Equally, there is no point in attempting to reason-with or explain anything to the unsolicited advice giver. The advice-giver clearly is not interested in what truly makes the most financial sense for you or your business. With that in mind, do not invest time into trying to explain why opening a daycare in your home won’t work and do not invest energy into explaining that there is very little market for outdated electronic accessories. It is so much EASIER just to thank the person giving the suggestion and move on with life by changing the topic. 

***If your problem is specifically with Friends and Family telling you to "Stop online selling", we have a wonderful blog post about Dealing with Negativity from Friends and Family about Online Selling

Or, if you want to laugh, check out:

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