Would you think it rational travel to an all-day non-profit association board meeting event at your own expense, paying a couple of hundred dollars for a train ride and $300 for a night at a hotel -- without even expecting the tiniest amount of business now or in the foreseeable future?
One couldn't make it -- but said a colleague in another division of the organization wanted to advertise. The order for several thousand dollars in additional sales arrived on Friday, as I attended the director's meeting.
This experience reminds me that the greatest business often arises when you least expect it, but usually correlates with positive community spirit, initiative, sharing, and generosity.
In case you are wondering, there is a reason this approach works so well for a sales and marketing perspective.
If you are thoughtful, you can demonstrate your competence in a non-intrusive manner. You can also demonstrate that you care about your community, industry and your clients' (and potential clients) real needs. In essence, you build trust -- and with trust, you achieve persona branding success -- and that translates to comfortable business.
As a bonus, it is much easier to plan a couple of days of community service volunteering than hard-rock selling. I mean, what is more enjoyable: Working with other like-minded volunteers on a higher cause, or pounding the phone, trying to get someone, anyone, to return your call where you rattle off a sales pitch your victims have no interest in hearing.
The advice here is simple: Spend much more time giving and much less selling; market your causes and support the interests of your clients' organizations, and you'll end up selling a whole lot more than by pushing where you are not wanted.
(That is why I mandate that our company's sales reps spend at least 25 per cent of their time on community service. If they want to spend more, I won't mind. It pays.)
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