From Client Wisdom Blog published by MBT More Business TodAY LLC
More than once lately, I have opened my screen door at home and found a bag of bras tucked between it and the door. Each occurrence caused me to laugh out loud and say, “aw, how sweet,” to myself and no one else in particular. The cause is the bra drive I am running for the month of August to benefit all the organizations who receive the products from The Bra Recyclers. The people who leave the bras for me are friends and business contacts who also believe in helping women with this simple donation.
You may have heard, “you have to give to get,” in sales or in life. Some of my clients find that phrase insincere or even predatory. They strive to be authentic in everything they do whether at work or in their home life. Authenticity will shine through when you are giving because you care about the cause. People will react to how you behave and determine your intent from your actions.
One former client told me they grew numerous lasting client relationships by working with the clients to volunteer for non-profit organizations. “It’s a win win win!” the client said. “I get to spend more time with the client doing something I enjoy for a favorite cause. The client gets the extra help working at the food drive to benefit a cause that is important to them. While we are working on this project, we are building a stronger relationship by sharing something we have in common. And the food bank gets more volunteers gathering resources for them!”
Authenticity and commitment are vital to the success of this relationship building method. For my client in the example, they are passionate about helping people who experience food insecurity. Their passion for the cause is evident in how they behave. When they recruit additional volunteers, they say, “We are so excited about the number of organizations that are donating this year! We will be able to feed more families than ever. Want to be a part of it and help put together the packages?”
Someone who was not passionate about giving their time may say, “We have to be there at 9 a.m. On a Sunday! Do you think you can do it?” The “have to” tells you the volunteer is not excited. Maybe they should find a different cause to combine with building a client relationship.
This relationship-building technique works well in strengthening a team. Ask your team members about themselves. If they were to volunteer, where would they put their time? Gather consensus and take on a project that benefits a non-profit business together.
If you ask people why they are passionate about a specific cause, you will often find there is a personal connection. In the case above, it could be the enthusiastic person was homeless as a child. Someone may volunteer to raise money through the Alzheimers Walk, because a parent possesses the diagnosis. And, so on.
Here are some tips for adding this winning strategy to your relationship building plan:
- Think about your own life. What has impacted you? Is there a cause or organization that receives your support?
- Look at your calendar. How much time do you have each month to give to a volunteer effort?
- Look at your prospects and clients. Do you know which causes are important to them? If you do not know, ask them? Have they asked you to volunteer?
- Spend an hour or so determining where to spend your time. Is it possible to work side-by-side with a client? Co-chair a committee? Look for sponsors?
- Talk with a few prospects about how you can collaborate and help an organization.
- Decide where you will volunteer your time and how.
- Promote the project/organization/event through social media.
- Do it!