I wrote this post as a result of reading the article “10 Ways To Help Others That Will Lead You To Success” which was published at Forbes.com and written by John Hall
In the article Mr Hall notes that he realized most of his best clients, partners and relationships have come from him helping someone. He then provides 10 thoughts. I have listed the titles of his thoughts, but added my own supporting comments.
1. Sharing knowledge.
If I give you a coin, now you have the coin and I don’t. Knowledge is not like that. If I give you some of my knowledge, now we both have the knowledge. I might have lost the advantage which that knowledge gives me, but I have gained something as well. I have gained in our relationship, perhaps the exchange will reinforce your view of me being an expert. The next time you (or one of your friends) need some knowledge perhaps you will come back to me again. This is especially true if I apply item 2.
2. Find out what is valuable to them.
There are many ways in which I might be of value to you, knowledge is just one. But if I only tell you things you already know or try and provide you things you already have (or worse, things you don’t want) then you will see me as wasting your time. However, if I find out what you value and provide you with that, then your perception of my value will increase significantly. Find out what is valuable to your customers, it may be as simple as just asking them. Don’t assume!
3. Sharing your resources.
Your business knowledge might not the only resource you can give away which your customer will see as valuable. Following item 2 can uncover possibilities you might never have otherwise known. It could be storing a Christmas turkey in your big freezer, keeping their partners expensive present in your safe before a birthday or lending some props for their amateur dramatics performance. Start a conversation with them and see what you have which they might value. What they need might not be something you have, but something you see, an opportunity.
4. Make them aware of an opportunity.
Part of finding new ideas is being aware of opportunities. However some opportunities you see might not be right for you. Think who could benefit from what you have observed and then make the effort to share it with them. When the opportunity comes up in a conversation see if there is a way to apply item 5.
5. Give introductions.
Making introductions personally is an effective way to remind both parties that you were the conduit through which they met by. Follow up with each side to see how things went, take responsibility for making the introduction, but not the relationship which forms between the two parties. If things go well and you are thanked, make sure you say to each side “no problem, I’m sure you would do the same for me.”
6. Recognizing them.
Don’t hesitate to recognize the people who deserve it. My comment here is to set the recognition bar as low as you dare. Recognising others is all too rare and when you do the people who receive your recognition tend to appreciate it and remember it. BUT only when it is deserved, if you give recognition when it is not appropriate it can appear to be sarcastic. Others can also feel uncomfortable by receiving false praise.
7. Giving transparent feedback.
I agree with this, but I would add two critical components. First, only give feedback when it is invited. Second, give feedback which others can work with. Don’t say your product is rubbish, be clear what it was that didn’t work for you e.g. “I found that the finger holes were too small, I couldn’t use it with gloves on.” Or “if you made the screws all the same length it could simplify your production process.”
I don’t feel that the remaining points listed in the original article are especially helpful, but for completeness here they are;
8. Being a brand advocate. Don’t hesitate to recommend the brands you love.
9. Volunteering your time. Give your time to help others.
10. Giving gifts. I don’t agree with giving gifts. Donating prizes, yes. Charitable giving, yes. Giving gifts, no.
Consider adopting a mindset of establishing a sale to build a relationship not building a relationship to establish a sale.