January 30, 2011

Giving to Others - Reality or Fantasy?

Giving to others sounds like a great slogan, but is it a real method of doing business, a real way of living, a valid method of operation from day to day?  Does it actually make sense; does it produce changes in lives, your life, and the lives of other people?

Perhaps you just don’t believe that there really are people who give of themselves to help others better their lives.  Perhaps you don’t see the benefit of helping others and how it can enrich your own life.  Perhaps you don’t believe that this method of living is what the person doing the giving really wants.

The reaction that some people have is “Yeah, right, that’s not what this is all about.  What do you really want?”  Some of these people will never believe that giving to others will produce great results because they have never tried or seen this type of living for themselves.  Some will not believe that giving to others will benefit them because they do not see the results directly themselves.

Make no mistake; we are discussing a way of living, not just a way of doing business.  Giving to others will benefit your business or work life, but it will also benefit your own personal life.  This benefit to your business and personal life may not be evident to you immediately or directly from those that you “touch”, but it will produce results.

We have discussed previously how business referrals can return to you through indirect routes, not directly from those that you first “touch”.  Personal actions can also produce indirect results.  Reach out and help someone outside your business life, and results will come back to you through a route that may amaze you and might not be immediately evident to you.

Recently I had the occasion to speak to someone who was in a work situation that might have been uncomfortable for her.  I said that I was just checking in with her to see if there was anything that I could do.  She reassured me that she was fine and wanted me to know how she appreciated my concern.

I attended a meeting later that day where I announced that she and her colleagues were still in their business location, doing fine, and working toward the same fine service that they always had.  I also encouraged her to write about her change in business ownership in a newsletter, reporting the stable situation of her company.

Some time later, she informed me that she was doing something for my wife and me that was indirectly related to either of our businesses.  This act of kindness was totally voluntary on her part and touched me deeply.  It literally “made my day” and proved to me the meaning of the mantra “Give, get, repeat”.  Thank you, Liz; you are wonderful.

There are those of us who are givers, and there are those of us who are takers.  I never wanted to be known as a taker.  However, for every giver, there must be a taker.  Without the two halves of the relationship, there is no relationship.  This is the subject that we will explore next time.

Have a comment?  Leave it here, and I will read it.  Want to speak to me directly and share your stories, thoughts, or suggestions, call me at 360-314-8691.  You can also email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com.  Please let me hear from you so we can build a networking relationship and help each other, along with anyone else we can include.

January 23, 2011

Looking into the Future – What Would You Want It to Be?

What would you say if someone asked you to describe your business situation a year into the future?  What would you want your business to resemble 12 months from now?  This is not about goals, but it certainly can affect your goals if you do it right.

What type of business relationships do you want one year from now?  What would you say to an acquaintance when the other person asks you to describe your mutual relationship a year from first meeting?

Interesting question isn’t it?  How do you describe the relationships that you would want?  Would they be just business relationships where one of you is the customer of the other; would they be where both of you are just customers of each other?  Or would they be more than that?

I believe that I have never attended a networking meeting where I do not learn something from the group of people that attended the meeting.  I also believe that I never meet anyone one-on-one and not learned something from the other person.  However, what do I want from any relationship a year into the future?

I look to establish working business relationships with everyone that I meet.  I look for others that are professional in their business dealings, that are passionate about their business and its workings, and that are personable toward those that their business touches.

A working business relationship includes the possibility of being mutual customers of each other.  However, if you are not mutual customers of each other, or even if neither of you is a customer of the other, the business relationship can still be a success.

A working business relationship may include the following:
  • There is a mutual respect for each other’s business, ethics, principles, and method.
  • That mutual respect allows each partner to refer prospects to each other with no hesitation.
  • Referrals do not always include customer prospects, but may include those who might assist the recipient increase their possibilities of success.
  • There is a mutual honesty that allows the partners to be honest and supportive of each other when asked for assistance.
  • The partners in the relationship do not hesitate to offer assistance when asked and do not hesitate to ask for assistance when needed.

When you are in networking meetings, look for these types of people with whom you might establish business relationships.  Look at each person you meet one-on-one for a get acquainted chat (You do meet others in this type of setting, don’t you?), and see how you may establish a mutually rewarding relationship.  It is amazing what you can accomplish when you look for the possibilities.

Do not, and we must repeat, do not prejudge anyone.  The person that you believe is not worth having a chat with may be your next networking partner, you next business relationship that may drive you to success.  Or perhaps, this person may be someone that you can help with your insight, experience, knowledge, and counsel.  If so, you have the opportunity of a lifetime to make someone’s life better.

So, as you go about your business life in this New Year, try to make your entire future brighter and better.  What do you want your business relationships to be a year from now?  Ask yourself this question about each and every person you meet since every one of them is a potential business relation.

Look for the great possibilities and you will find them.  Look for the opportunities and you will find them.  If you don’t look, you may be stumbling around in the dark a year from now.  If you do recognize these opportunities, and follow up with them, you are practicing Appreciation Marketing.

Have an opinion or comments?  Leave it here.  Better yet, call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, and we can discuss your views.  I love to chat with anyone who wants to offer constructive information.

January 16, 2011

Relationships – What Do They Really Mean?

Previously, we have discussed networking relationships.  What do networking relationships really mean to us in our business lives as well as in our personal lives?  Do the relationships that impact our business lives also impact our personal lives?

What is a networking relationship?  As stated before, a networking relationship is established when you meet someone at some business function and follow-up to meet them one-on-one for a “get acquainted” chat, getting to know them better.  At that point you have established a networking relationship, but what does it really mean?

In this relationship, you should be able to determine if you know and trust the other person enough to refer business to them and they should be able to determine the same about you.  We have already discussed referrals, and you should review that information from a previous blog.

However, there is something else about networking relationship besides referrals.  The other person should be someone to whom you can go for information, for advice, and for assistance in business.  Of course, the relationship should be reciprocal.  In addition, the two parties in the relationship should be willing to provide information and advice even when it may not be what the other party wants to hear.

We are all in business to succeed.  However, we have a vested interest in making our networking partners succeed.  That interest means that we sometimes tell our partners something that they do not wish to hear.  We may offer a better way of doing some project, a better way of writing a brochure, or a better manner to pursue some particular business.

We need our networking partners; we also need to be networking partners.  If we are to be successful, we need to help our partners to be successful.  Only through actively being partners can we reap the success that giving to others can bring.  Putting forth assistance to others will reap that assistance for our business.

Our partners need to be aware of our other partners.  They need to be able to tap into the information and support available through this extended network.  It is your responsibility to enable this networking function.  Introduce various partners to each other; encourage others to introduce their partners to yours; follow-up with anyone and everyone to insure that this networking takes place.

As you go about your business, you are networking each and every day.  Everyone that you meet can be added to your network of trusted partners.  Make sure that they are really a part of your network; be on the lookout for people who you can connect with each other.  Tell them about each other, put them in touch with each other, and encourage them to do the same.

Of course, there may be a time when someone does not want to be a partner.  Some business people just want to look out for themselves and do not want to be a member of your partnership network.  It is your responsibility to attempt to educate them; it is up to you to enlighten them, if you can.  Everyone that you can educate to this way of thinking will thank you for your efforts later.

Don’t forget that you yourself must show your appreciation for others and their assistance to you.  Don’t forget that you must show appreciation to others for their assistance to the other members of your network.  This feedback may be the best way of demonstrating the way that the network should work, enabling others to see what they themselves should do for others.

So, go about your business days, meeting people and enlarging your network.  Bring others into your network and find out how you can help them to succeed.  They will thank you in the future, and you will reap the benefits in your own business.  Then see if there is an impact on your personal life also.

I would appreciate your sharing your opinions and your stories about appreciation marketing and networking relationships.  Please call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, and let me hear from you.  I promise that I will answer your calls and emails and add you to my network and offer my assistance if possible to make your business, and life, better.

January 9, 2011

Vendors – Can You Appreciate Them Also?

 As we go about our day, who else can we show appreciation to, someone that we don’t normally include in our efforts to appreciate others?

How about our vendors, those people from whom we purchase supplies, raw materials, the products and services that we use each and every day.  Why not show some appreciation for them also?  Why not, indeed?

What do you purchase for your businesses, what products or services?  It ranges from paper, ink, your telephone service, your gasoline, to your groceries, meals, coffee, etc.  Each and every day we purchase products and services that impact our lives.  The purchase of those items, and how we act toward those vendors, impacts the lives of those from whom we buy everything.

Let’s take the example of the waitress or waiter from whom we purchase a meal.  Perhaps you are very practiced at tipping the appropriate amount for good service.  Why not thank them for their service in another manner in addition to the tip?  Why not thank them with a verbal compliment for their service?  Even better, why not express your compliment to their manager or superior?  Telling their boss may impact their salary or their status at the establishment more than telling them directly how you feel.

Perhaps the vendors that sell you paper, ink, pens, pencils, file folders, whatever have others to whom they sell similar products.  Perhaps these other customers of your vendors would like to hear about opportunities to purchase your products or services.  Perhaps the same vendors from whom you purchase may be good leads for your customers.

Do you see the networking possibilities here?  Some appreciation marketing on your part might open up several lines of opportunity for you and for others.  That’s what appreciation marketing is, showing a level of thankfulness and kindness to others, resulting in feedback that benefits all.  Putting people in touch with others whom they may help, and who may help them, is what appreciation marketing is.

We have discussed appreciation for our customers, our prospects, our friends, and our family.  Now add the vendors from whom we purchase items to this list.  Then add the vendors that you know from whom others purchase anything.  All these people need, and deserve, our kindness and appreciation for their efforts as well as anyone else, as well as our prospects and clients.

When you provide compliments to strangers you never know where it may lead.  It may lead to a direct result in good will expressed toward you.  On the other hand, it may lead to good will expressed toward you indirectly, from someone that is not connected to the good will you expressed toward someone.

Think of this as you go about your day.  Thank the waiter or waitress that serves you coffee, thank the clerk at the grocery, thank the person who holds the door for you exiting or entering a building, or thank the person who gives you directions when you are lost.

When you are expressing these thanks or compliments, be sincere.  Don’t do it as a throwaway gesture.  Mean it; show sincere effort and measure your words toward making someone feel very good about themselves and their efforts in life.  Make them smile and make them feel good inside.

Have you got some good stories about this type of situation?  Please let me hear them, either over the telephone or by email.  I would love to hear your opinion and your tales of good will.

You may email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com or even better, you can call me at 360-314-8691.  I answer my phone, and return voice and emails.

January 2, 2011

Mentors – One of the Basics of Appreciation Marketing

 One of the best examples of appreciation marketing is mentoring.  A mentor is an experienced advisor, a trainer, a counselor, or supporter.  It is someone who shares some amount of wisdom with a person who needs guidance in any venture, their path in business or life, or just a sounding board for an idea.

One of the best aspects of a mentor is that they do not expect anything back from the person that they are mentoring, except that the subject person listen and try to follow the advice.  It does not mean that the mentor has all the answers; the mentor just has the experience that comes from being on the same or a similar path before.  What worked for the mentor may lean the recipient of the advice to succeed or just be able to start toward success.

Some people may ask: “What is in this for the mentor?  No one does anything for nothing.”  I really feel sorry for these people since they just do not understand the principles of appreciation marketing.  Remember that appreciation marketing is based on giving to others without expecting anything in return, giving to give, not to get.

So what does the mentor get for their efforts?  When we form networking or business relationships with others we agree to contribute to their success.  When they are successful, we feel good for them, we enjoy their joy, and we may even laugh with them.  We know that we contributed to their success, and we feel good about that.  In addition, sometime, somewhere, the help that we gave to them will return to us multi-fold.

Mentors actually enjoy that they can contribute to the success of others.  Maybe it is allowing others to bypass the failures that the mentors experienced; maybe it is the feeling that they get when someone takes what they did and actually improves upon it, making it even more powerful.  It just is good to pass on tips that make someone else’s life better.

The majority of mentors have had mentors of their own.  Did you think that they invented what they are passing on to others?  They themselves were the recipients of advice, support, guidance, or whatever, from someone who was their mentor.  Teachers teaching teachers is a snowball of experience, rolling downhill, picking up more and more learners who become teachers.  It is a wonderful thing.

Others may ask: “But why should I teach someone else all my secrets; won’t they just steal my customers and prospects from me?”  Do you actually believe that you invented anything?  I didn’t, and you didn’t.  Everything that all of us have came from someone else; this includes all of our presentations, fliers, marketing materials, our tag lines and elevator speeches, our slogans, and even our attitudes and best practices.

Everything that we have is a combination of what we have learned, heard, read, and, in some cases, had pounded into our heads through the efforts of others, our own failures, and our begging for assistance from someone else.  Whether we want to admit this to anyone else, or even to ourselves, we ask for help all the time, and we use whatever we can from others, even those that we do not consider to be successful.

Sometime today look at your business and your life for those who have helped you, guided you, or from whom you have borrowed or stolen.  Take the time to thank someone whose advice, wisdom, or even failures have been beneficial to you.  Then go out and find someone to whom you can be a mentor.  When that person succeeds, smile with them and enjoy their joy.  Those of you, who are the recipients of that mentoring, thank the mentors and pass it on to others.  Keep the snowball rolling.

Once again, I offer you the opportunity to post your comments and stories for others.  Better yet, share them with others who may also become mentors to others.  I also offer an open invitation to chat, either in person, by telephone, 360-314-8691, or through email, Jim@SOC4Now.com.  I answer my phone, and return voice and emails.