Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sharing or selling: What should be your priority?

Chase, in his latest blog posting,

Does giving away more then you expect to get back actually help you grow your business?

makes a vitally important point.
It is a great question and sometimes not very easy to answer. This past year my focus has been on marketing our company and increasing our "brand" awareness. This has meant sponsoring events, offering free editorial space and even free advertising to help promote the events we are sponsoring or associations we are part of. By doing this I getting the perception of me always trying to find a new contract advertiser or project to feature a little further away from someones first thoughts and them focusing on me as a person. This allows barriers to come down and people to open up with me and build relationships first and discuss business second.
Chase is absolutely correct in these observations and, furthermore, he observes that the giving should never stop.
The most important thing I have learned is that you still have to keep giving and offering your help. You still need to keep looking for new events to sponsor and committees to get involved with. The worst thing you can do is stop giving and get back to just taking.
In the past, I allowed -- in fact encouraged -- this company's salespeople to think transactionally. They were primarily measured and compensated for their results, not their relationships. But the approach had serious flaws, and I only discovered them as the business began a painful decline. The business began its recovery when we refocused on contributing and sharing. The fabricated, 'take what you can and run' relationships have given way to a more sensitive and respectful approach to the communities where we are participants.

Why is this attitude shift so important, especially in the current economy? Chase writes:
Something to remember with all of this is that the current economic environment forces people to look closer and decide where to spend (their) dollars or where to put their focus, they tend to look at existing relationships a lot more and want to help existing relationships first. Being involved with events and associations will and (has) given me a competitive edge when people decide on which publication to use for a feature article.
I think of these observations with increased intensity now, as we prepare to announce a return to one of our major markets, largely because I am working with one of our key former employees who conducted his business the 'old way'. Can he see that relationships and networks are not based on short-term transactions, or is he going to push for the 'close' and then want to move on to the next file, right away?

The answer, I hope, will be that we achieve sufficient balance here -- his natural hunter-gatherer traditional sales approach will be sufficiently compensated by this business's overall business practices, and his understanding that giving without worrying about return, of truly putting your best effort forward, is almost always the best way build lasting and respectful business relationships.

No comments: