Adding Value: Does It Mean Giving Away My Stuff For FREE?

by Sabrina Risley

You may have a large network.  You may know a lot of people.  They may know a lot of people.  It seems that this alone would be the perfect formula for creating a networking goldmine, but as you may have noticed, a network alone won’t necessarily bring you endless referrals and a steady stream of new clients.  But there is one thing that will…

Adding VALUE and helping those within your network!

A concentration on adding value and service as an important facet of your business growth strategy will have a tremendous effect on what you attract.

So what does adding value and helping others really mean?  It’s like paying it forward.  It’s doing good for the sake of doing good, not for the sake of what you think you might receive in return.  It’s about serving without attachment to an outcome or expectation.  One of my favorite quotes from Bob Burg‘s Go-Givers Sell More reads “The task here is not to create value in order to create a sale or “in order to” anything.  It’s to create value, period.”

Adding value could look like any number of things:

  • Making a phone call instead of sending an email
  • Sending a handwritten note or thank you card
  • Remembering birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates
  • Making an introduction or connecting someone to another person of high-value to them
  • Recommending valuable resources and sharing information
  • Offering a free report, success tips, or valuable information that solves your target market’s problems
  • Following up with a client, contact or prospect to be sure they are satisfied
  • Thinking ahead to what your client might need, suggesting other products and services
  • Sending referrals
  • Saving a client money… and the list can go on and on.

Here are a few specific examples that might help you translate things for your own business:

  • A massage therapist or hair stylist might call their client a few days after delivering service to see how they are doing.
  • An insurance agent might call their client to let them know about new changes in their policy, how that will impact them, and offer suggestions.
  • Thinking outside the box… a professional on the networking circuit might focus on connecting at least two people from every event with someone who could be a good strategic alliance or power partner.
“The essence of the Go-Giver philosophy is this: the more you give, the more you have.”

With this quote in mind, you’ll notice what did not make my list of what adding value looks like…

  • Giving away your services and products for free
  • Discounting your services and products
  • Over-giving to a paying customer because they demand it

These are not examples of adding value.  In fact, much of the time, free or discounting decreases its perceived value. Think of what you treasure more… something for which you paid full price or the item you found on sale?  Well, happening upon a great sale can be exhilarating, however consider an article of clothing costing $100. When the item goes on sale for $50, doesn’t it make you wonder whether the item was ever worth the original $100?

To really be of service and to add value to your network and clients, your giving must contribute in some manner.  Here are a few questions to consider when determining how to add greater value in your business.

  • Is this something that will directly impact the other person?
  • Would this help them solve a problem or overcome an obstacle?
  • Could this support them in learning something new?
  • Am I giving this without being attached to getting something back in return? (giving from the heart versus giving to buy approval)
  • Can I freely give this, without it taking away from my energy, causing resentment, or it being a disservice to myself or other clients?

These are all for your consideration when looking for ways to add value.  Remember, it’s about being of service and giving, but it’s not about giving away your services and products for free, offering discounts, depleting your energy, and devaluing your time and worth.

Focus on adding value for others and you’ll soon see your business grow in value.

“Right now, your total job is to focus on one thing and one thing only; providing value to other people. If you do that well, sales – and money – will find you.” ~Go-Givers Sell More

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information for Sabrina Risley below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.

Death By Coffee: Seven Effective Networking Strategies for the New Year

By Sabrina Risley, extrapolated with permission from an article by Alecia Huck, Maverick & Company.

It’s the start of a brand new year and you know what that means.  That’s right, it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions!  At the very least, this means the crowd at the gym will quadruple.  Traditionally, it also means the number of professionals who get out and network more than triples.  But just as the gym crowd eventually wanes, so too can the crowd at networking events.  I attribute this waning to ineffective networking which causes wheel-spinning, something for which professionals rightly have little tolerance and therefore let up on networking.

If you intend to do any amount of networking this year, you will want to do so strategically so as to make networking a useful and sustainable marketing activity. Networking without an effective strategy is what Alecia Huck (the sassy CEO & Founder of Maverick & Company) refers to as “Death By Coffee.”  She outlines some incredible strategies for effective networking in her article, The Seven Most Common, Most Surprising Networking Mistakes & How to Do It Better.

START WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT – One of the biggest missed opportunities is to actually connect, reconnect and interconnect the network you already have. Leverage the work you’ve already done and the relationships you’ve already got before you start spending time and energy trying to build new ones. Identify Strategic Partners, Candidates and Contacts and then focus your time on Strategic Partners and that small group of Candidates that are most likely to become Strategic partners and sources of referrals.

LOOK FOR GREAT STRATEGIC PARTNERS – If you focus on finding clients, you’re focused on finding one person to write you one check.  Alternately, a single Strategic Partner is worth 10-100 clients and can connect you with multiple opportunities on an ongoing basis. Looking for Strategic Partners will get you further, faster, than just looking for your next client.

INVEST STRATEGICALLY, NOT EVENLY – Spending time with bad candidates means you have less time to spend with good ones.  Not all potential connections are a good fit for your business. Not all connections are created equal. Understand who is a good fit and who is not, act accordingly and spend your time wisely.

SEE GOOD PEOPLE 3x’sOne coffee meeting is just the beginning of something, not the completion of it and if the person IS a good partner, one coffee will not be enough. Relationships are built primarily through shared experiences and shared connections. As a general rule for new connections, you want to see good people 3 times in 3 months in order to build a real relationship. As the relationship progresses, follow up accordingly, based on whether or not they end up as a good Strategic Partner.

PRE-PLAN EVENTS FOR EASY RECONNECTING – Each month, look for and put events in your calendar to give yourself multiple options for inviting Candidates to and staying connected or reconnecting with good people. This also makes it infinitely easier to hit your 3 meetings in 3 months goal with good new contacts. Think beyond coffee meetings… power lunches, large open events and educational events. Pre-planning allows you to have events you can mention during a good first meeting AND reasons to call and reconnect after.

BRING A BUDDY – Time is a precious commodity and when you go to an event alone, you miss a golden opportunity to make your investment of time and energy do double duty.  Even if the person cannot attend with you, the simple act of calling allows you to reconnect and they are sure to be flattered to have been invited.  Carpool to get some good one-to-one time or make a plan to meet several people at an event, allowing you to make multiple re-connections at the same event.  Just don’t go alone.

CONNECT TO NETWORKS, NOT INDIVIDUALS – It takes time to build relationships and credibility with new people. It also takes time to stay connected. When you INTERCONNECT your network, you leverage all your past investments.  So connect to existing networks and connect your contacts to your other contacts to build networks around you.  Your old connections will share about other projects results with your new connections. Your people will talk to each other about you. They’ll often do business together, like each other, and build relationships of their own. It’s far easier to stay connected to a web of connected people than it is to stay in touch with a bunch of individuals.

As with most things in life, success is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. Knowing a few simple secrets and following a few simple rules can make a HUGE difference in how effective your networking efforts will be. While all seven strategies are important and useful, applying even ONE will make a positive difference. Often the source of a major breakthrough is a relatively minor shift in strategy.

Cheers to you and effective networking in the New Year!

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

~~~~~~~~

Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include the Bio information for Sabrina Risley below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success at http://www.behindthemooninc.com/index.php/free-report.


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