Business is not always about money, although for most people the bottom line influences a lot of their decisions. In business, profits are always a consideration; they are the measuring rod. But sometimes the best way to get noticed is by forgoing some profits, charging a bit less, giving a little more—balancing it out. While I was working on a consulting project with an old client, she was having severe money issues. Since she had to keep her expenses down, she asked to borrow my media list for a promotion for her business. Bear in mind that I never lend my media list. That list is crucial to my business; I’ve been compiling and refining it for years.
It’s tightly organized, contains contact and other information for thousands of sources, and is irreplaceable to me. I decided to lend my list to that client, but I told her when I needed it back, stressed its importance to me, and crossed my fingers. I went out on a limb because I liked her and knew she really needed my help. It might not have been a good risk, and it may never pay off for me, but when I examined all the considerations, I decided that it was the right thing for me to do. It all ended well. My client returned the list and told me that it really helped her. Best of all, she realized that I went out on a limb for her and was truly grateful. That gave me a great sense of satisfaction and helped cement our relationship.
I believe in giving; it’s a central part of my life. Helping others is re- warding and makes me feel good. Few things are as satisfying to me as the looks of gratitude I receive when I help. Giving is a way to say thanks for my good fortune and all that I’ve received. It’s a way to pass the torch. For me, giving is good business. It’s helped me forge close relationships with many wonderful people. Friendships are important to me. I want my clients to think of me as someone who really wants to help, someone who cares, not just a hired gun.
I don’t give to be noticed, but it sure has done the trick. The people I’ve helped always express their appreciation and have gone out of their way to help me. Also, they continually refer new business to me. With some of these individuals, I’ve built lifelong bonds and they’ve become dear friends.
When I give, I try to give generously, fully, and without expecting anything in return. I try to incorporate giving in both my business and my personal life. When I give in my business, I consider many factors: who I’m dealing with, their needs and circumstances, our relationship, and how much I can and want to give at that time.
Most of my giving is small, but I do it frequently, and it cumulatively mounts up. When my schedule allows, I’m happy to give my time. If I have a 30-MINUTE telephone consultation and we cover everything in half that time, I may charge only half my fee or not charge at all. If a caller needs additional time, I often throw it in. I also give when I think it will help someone succeed.