Helping is the new selling

In this unusual world of lockdown/no lockdown, can’t go to the office/must go to the office, your customers are all a bit discombobulated. Insecurity is rife in all our businesses as we all worry about what is going to happen not only next year but next week – even tomorrow.

For this reason, it’s even more important at the moment that we show compassion and kindness to our customers. I’m not suggesting we suddenly stop invoicing and give everything away for free. Far from it in fact, it’s important to keep the economy moving and let’s face it, there are people who are still earning and who can pay. What I’m talking about here is how you can add a bit of extra value to your clients during this crisis.

It’s not really about the money either – it’s about showing that you care.

But how can helping others lead to more sales as Mark Ritson claimed at You Are The Media lunch club last Friday?

The psychology of reciprocity means that if you give something to someone, they feel obliged to return the favour. You know that feeling right? Someone has your kids for the weekend and you’re constantly thinking of a way you can ‘repay the favour’. Or someone goes out of their way to help you meet a deadline and you know that at some point you’ll be doing the same for them. The truth is that you actually don’t really feel comfortable until you can do something for them in return. The relationship feels a bit, well, unbalanced until you’ve repaid the ‘debt’.

So, let’s look at this in relation to your business. You reach out to a client and offer them something over and above your normal service. You are being genuinely helpful and you’re doing it because you know it’s the right thing to do. Doing good deeds makes the giver feel better too. You’re not just being nice to get more sales BUT the likelihood is that you will get more sales because that client will remember your good deed. Then, at some point in the future when they’re needing your goods or services again, it will be YOU they think of – not your competition.

Also, if you’ve done something really amazing for someone, chances are they’ll do some marketing for you and tell their friends all about it! More now than ever, a recommendation or a testimonial is worth so much more than a paid ad. If you’re offering a service people will want to talk about it – especially when you’ve gone the extra mile.

I’d be interested to hear if you’ve had any experience of this – either as a business owner or as a consumer – and how it affected either your business or your relationship with that company.

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