Use It or Lose It, But Why Lose It?

Have you ever bought a restaurant meal you couldn’t finish? I think we all have.

Have you ever bought a clothing item you never wore after you got it home? Take a look in your closet now and see if you have any articles with the price tag still on. Yeah, me too.

Have you overbought at the grocery store only to throw it out a few days later? Guilty as charged.

So I guess business services are subject to the same waste. This is something I just don’t understand, nor do I like. Here’s my story.

I had a CPA who filled out his form for a free consult with me. He had some questions, and I knew I could save him $10K a year for sure. The problem is he never called. He never re-scheduled. He never took advantage of what was free. He didn’t hear from me how to save $10K.

I had a teleseminar recently where several of you may have been on it. The first 10 people got a free consult with me. Two people responded, set up their calls, and got their questions answered. Eight people had the chance and didn’t take it.

I have consulting clients who periodically prepay for blocks of time. I have 90-day expiration dates on these purchases, and often the client doesn’t finish their hours in time. (And believe me, we follow up on this one.)

I have clients who don’t complete their packages.

I have a free offer with one of my product where I custom-write a document for the client, and only three people have taken me up on it (and it’s a huge seller).

Believe it or not, this is NOT how I like to make my money. I don’t understand why people don’t take advantage of what they pay for. Not in this economy. With as much whining going on as to how tight money is, why are people throwing it away?

I believe there are a couple of possibilities, but I’d love your feedback on this one.

  1. They’ve lost interest and have gone on to the next bright and shiny object, throwing more money at something new, only to discard it later.
  2. They don’t see the value they are throwing away. Perhaps they’re too busy to notice, or I’m a little too soft spoken about my track record.
  3. They’re scared of me. I wouldn’t be surprised at this one. I really don’t bite, y’all.

I don’t know about you, but I hate loose ends.

Take a look in your business. Where could you be benefiting from money you’ve already spent? Here are some places to look:

  1. Club membership benefits you are paying for but not using fully.
  2. Unused equipment: extra phone lines you don’t need, extra computers, etc.
  3. Vendor features. That subscription you’re not using. (Oops for me it’s
  4. Package deals you could scale down.
  5. Software or web applications you’re no longer using.

It may be because I’ve spent so much time in third-world countries that I hate seeing such blatant waste in this country. Use it or lose it, but why lose it?

  1. Sandi, you have really hit the nail on the head with this article. I worked in Corporate America for 30 years and it seemed that no matter how much we focused on efficiency we were always able to find more waste. Waste in the form of performing activities with no payback, waste in spending 80% of our time with a difficult employee, co-worker, or even client while you only give 20% to those that are yielding results or revenue. Your question was why? In the business world it is easy to spent our time on things we are good at, even if they don’t yield the reward. With difficult relationships, we think we need to nurture difficult relationships in hopes we can turn it around (it is important to try but when it becomes a repeatable event we need to address it).

    As a consumer myself I have experienced the things you mentioned. I think there are several causes. Addiction: addiction to the BUY side of an opportunity or being part of something; fear of not being perfect; hope for a magical easy solution.

    I find that once you figure out an addition or wasteful behavior the first thing you need to do is forgive yourself for past actions, that negative energy can bring you right back to the behavior.

    Thanks putting these thoughts into words. Even today I am working at breaking a wasteful behavior.

  2. Thanks Sandi, It’s a great reminder to take a good look around. The time is ripe for re-evaluating and re- invention.
    I wish that I could clone myself and have three days in one… with a blend of double work and inspiration time. With that said, getting some assistant help and learning to delegate would probably be a big help.

    Sometimes I invest in technology for the potential place it is going to take me. Sometime I save that consultation that maybe I ought to use ASAP! What a great spark you are.

  3. Hi Sandi:

    Guilty as charged. I have purchased books, ebooks and infoproducts I haven’t gotten around to reading (much less the dozens and dozens of free reports!), signed up for affiliate programs I haven’t promoted, etc., etc. For me, it’s bright shiny object syndrome most of the time, coupled with frequent bouts of overwhelm. So many opportunities and programs to take advantage of, so much to learn, and so little time.

    It’s easy to buy, download or sign up for something. Taking action on everything you buy, download or sign up for is another thing altogether.