Giving as a business strategy is not a kumbaya circle. It’s smart.
As a byproduct of being smart, it’s also an enjoyable way of doing business.
Seth Godin recently mentioned in his post “Do you love your customers”
There are two ways people think about this:
We love our customers because they pay us money. (Inherent here is customers = money = love.)
We love our customers, and sometimes there’s a transaction.
The second is very different indeed from the first.
In the first case, customers are the means to an end, profit. In the second, the organization exists to serve customers, and profit is both an enabler and a possible side effect.
It’s easy to argue that without compensation, there can be no service. Taking that to an extreme, though, working to maximize the short-term value of each transaction rarely scales. If you hoard information, for example, today your prospects will simply click and find it somewhere else. If you seek to charge above average prices for below average products, your customers will discover this, and let the world know. In a free market with plenty of information, it’s very hard to succeed merely by loving the money your customers pay you.
I think it’s fascinating to note that some of the most successful organizations of our time got there by focusing obsessively on service, viewing compensation as an afterthought or a side effect. As marketing gets more and more expensive, it turns out that caring for people is a useful shortcut to trust, which leads to all the other things that a growing organization seeks.
Your customers can tell.
I believe the difference between these two is your stance.
The power of “stance”
A stance is the inner attitude of an individual or business.
If a business holds a stance that their focus is closing deals and making money, no matter how much they may say the right things and appear to love their clients, their tone of voice, body language, and even the words they use will reflect this stance to their clients.
If they hold a stance that their focus is about serving their clients unconditionally, the client or prospect will “feel” this stance and have a very different experience.
The difference between the two is significant and as as Seth Godin writes, your clients can tell.
thegivegive stance: my job is to genuinely give unconditionally to my clients and partners without expecting anything in return (within the context of our professional relationship).
This is the secret to building successful business relationships and deriving value from your network as fast as possible. As I shared above, it’s not a kumbaya circle. It’s a smart business strategy.
By holding this stance your clients and partners feel your commitment to their best interests through your body language, tone of voice, and even the words you subconsciously choose to use. The impact of this “feeling” on your clients is a development of much deeper and faster trust, which is fundamental to turning prospects into clients and generating referrals from clients and partners.
Imagine sitting with a business and you feel they truly have your best interests in mind. Now imagine sitting with a business that you feel wants to “close” the deal and make money.
We’ve all experienced both of these and the first business wins our affection AND our dollars every time.
To that point, this stance is also not suggesting that you give away your services for free. You’ll notice that thegivegive stance says give unconditionally “within the context of our professional relationship.”
This means that if you’re an attorney sitting down with a prospect or client, the context of that relationship is such that they’re paying you for your services. Your job then is to build the deepest relationship you can by putting aside thinking about the transaction and holding thegivegive stance.
Yes, it’s a paradox. You must make money to have a viable business, but in order to do so, you have to put that out of your mind and focus on serving your clients unconditionally and genuinely. But the impact on your relationships is significant.
Try this. Hold a meeting with this stance and see how things change.
This tiny adjustment is the difference between businesses that do OK and those that thrive.