Help people first; get business second
27th, Nov 2018
There’s the old adage that it’s better to give than to receive. Many people believe that in their personal life, but few seem to carry that idea into their business life. Helping people in a business setting is just as important and can reap substantial rewards personally and financially. It enables you to build stronger relationships with others which can make your work and personal life more fulfilling as well as eventually lead to business. The next time you are wondering why no one is sending you clients, consider some of these ways you can help them first:
1. Ask how you can help. How can you really assist someone if you don’t know what they need? Do they want to meet certain types of people or get an introduction to a specific person? Maybe they would like to spread the word about an event, find opportunities to speak to business groups or get an internship for their child.
2. Be a connector. When you talk with people ask them what types of individuals they would like to meet (profession, job title, industry, etc.). Then make a real effort to think about whether you could make an introduction that would benefit both parties. This isn’t about sending them business. It’s about connecting individuals who may have similar or complementary interests.
3. Give referrals. We wait around for others to refer us business but when was the last time we referred business to the other person? It doesn’t have to be quid pro quo but both sides should be making the effort.
4. Provide helpful information. The essence of “content marketing” is that when you provide people with useful content, they are more likely to remember you when they have a problem, see you as credible and knowledgeable, and trust you because you offered free information. Give genuinely helpful tips in a blog, newsletter, article or eBook. Speak at seminars (your own and for other organizations). Answer simple questions from contacts. Don’t be afraid of giving away too much information; that’s rarely the case.
5. Share information from or about your contacts. Content marketing isn’t just about giving people useful information written or spoken by you. In fact, sharing other people’s content is a great way to demonstrate that you do want to be helpful even when you aren’t touting your own abilities. You can post content to social media written by people you know or strangers. Of course, when it relates to people you know, they will be particularly grateful. When you share, like or comment on other people’s content on social media, your network will see it, so it gives the individual extra exposure which will be appreciated (and often reciprocated).
6. Volunteer. If there is a cause that is meaningful to you, get involved. It’s an opportunity to help others in need and you will also meet like-minded people. Some of the best relationships are built when you work together with others who share your commitment to something. People also prefer to do business with those they like and trust and volunteering together helps on both counts.
It’s the season of giving so give back to your contacts. The rewards will be worth it.