Added Value: Are you a bird dog or an old dog?

By Chuck Sink | October 18, 2012

By Chuck Sink

referralLet’s shatter some conventional wisdom. Go ahead and take business personally because it is personal!

Are there people in your business network to whom you can’t wait to send referrals or do business with because they’ve impressed you so much? Are you fortunate to have strong personal relationships prevalent in your market? Do you consider many of your business associates your friends? Answering yes to these questions means you’re on a success track.

When your business connections are willing to open some of their personal lives to you in conversation, you’ve cultivated a fertile garden. You’ve earned their trust and beyond that, a feeling of obligation toward you and your business. Here’s the thing though. If you think you can just set out to get people to trust and confide in you, be prepared for disappointment. This isn’t about tactics. It’s about a way of life.

Dale Carnegie was brilliant to point out the difference between sincere appreciation and flattery. One is real and the other is fabricated. One wins heartfelt appreciation and gratitude while the other increases in stench the more it’s piled on. Becoming genuinely interested in other people is a high calling if you don’t already possess the trait. Developing a real eagerness for helping others to the subordination of your immediate wants is not something you decide to do. It’s something you pray for. In the meantime, practicing certain actions will help you discover the fruits of being others-focused.

Are you alert for opportunities your clients may not be aware of? Do you spot leads and make networkingreferrals to your clients? Are you in essence an extension of their sales force? Talk about adding value!  New business is gold. What makes your day better, a long-time customer placing their usual order or a referred prospect calling you with new business?

What do you feel about someone who brings you a new customer? Gratitude, right? You feel obliged to return the favor. How powerful is it to be viewed as a bird dog by your prospective client? I’ll answer. Very! Let the old dogs show up asking for another order while you’re demonstrating your marketing and sales value on their behalf.

Develop the habit of doing unconditional favors for your customers and prospects. Open your eyes and ears to them as human beings and welcome deeper relationships. Always seek ways to identify rather than compare yourself with people in your network. Continually doing these things will tend to grow your business and also bring more fellowship and enjoyment into your work days.

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