Why do mates ask for mates rates?

When you are first starting out, some of your first clients will come from your circle of friends.

Simply because you haven’t had a chance yet to build up your list of purely business contacts, so telling all your pals about what you are doing now, and asking them to tell their friends is an easy win to get your first customers.

Or it should be.

But then people start asking for a discount. They want “mates rates”.

I don’t understand why people do this

They are your friends, they should want to support you and help you. And respect you. Which means putting money in your pocket and helping you to get your business off the ground.

Now, they shouldn’t feel obliged to buy from you – if you’re selling cat food, and they’ve got a rabbit, not a cat, they shouldn’t buy your cat food just because they are your friend.

But if they do want to buy what you are offering, shouldn’t they pay the same as anyone else – why do they want a special price?

Here’s what to say when friends ask for a discount or mates rates.

Look them in the eye and say kindly:

“No, I don’t do discounts because I need to reinvest the money into the business”


“I don’t do mates rates because I need to charge everyone the same”


“I don’t do mates rates because my business adviser would tell me off”

This is a version one of my clients successfully used.

Why the “because” is important

While the important part of this is to be assertive, using the magic word “because” helps you to be assertive, and for people to accept what you’re saying. You’re not just saying no, you’re saying no for a reason.

It helps if you have a good reason for this. Which is why the first two versions are better, because reinvesting in the business or having to charge everyone the same are more compelling reasons, but it doesn’t matter too much that you have a good reason.

The word “because” is important because it helps people to accept that you’re not just being a stubborn mule in not agreeing to what they’ve asked for, you’re a perfectly reasonable explanation for what you’re saying.

Here are some other ideas for using the magic word “because”…


Photo credit to Omar Lopez, photo from Unsplash

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The Joy of Business
Secrets of Business Success
Julia Chanteray