In my previous article I mentioned how important it is to act professional because you never know where your next big opportunity may come from. In this article I wanted to dig a little deeper into that statement because it is about more than just being professional.
Don’t ever kid yourself, you are always on stage and you are always being judged, as I pointed out in two previous articles “First Impressions” and “Stage Right”. In those articles I expressed the importance of always acting professional because of the fact that you are always being watched and judged. However, another key reason is; that you never know what circumstances may lead to winning the trust of your next customer.
I have developed many lifelong relationships with customers. However, I never knew where I was going to meet them or where the next one may come from. In many cases they were referrals from relationships I had made, but one outstanding customer that comes to mind, came from an unexpected source.
I have always loved my job and for one specific reason. I am in the business of helping people. Whether it is helping internal team members accomplish their career goals, or helping customers by providing them with solutions to their problems, I have always loved helping others.
The one area most people over look when it comes to helping others, is other businesses. I have always made it a point to do what I can to help other businesses succeed. Not just businesses where I can gain a benefit, but anyone I can help, in anyway. This held true with a salesperson I met who was with Stanley Steamer Carpet Cleaning. Now in most cases, an electrical services provider would just grin, nod and move on when they met a carpet cleaning company sales person. However, staying true to my personal commitment to try to help everyone, we connected, and I was actually able to really help him out by sending him a lot of work when I had customers that needed those services. (Let me clearly state, this was only after we had a serious talk about how important my network is and how I will not jeopardize the trust of my network by recommending someone that doesn't follow the same guiding principles to which I strictly adhere.)
Once he had earned my trust I was able to freely recommend his services knowing that he would do what he promised and provide an excellent, quality service. I did that in an effort to help him and the company he worked for, not ever expecting that there would be any return on my efforts. However, as it turned out, nearly a year later, this particular sales person ended up having a relative that received a job managing two 40 story towers in the downtown area. He recommended us to his relative and it has now turned into a great relationship where we provide electrical and systems services to both buildings. I have many examples of similar circumstances where I received a recommendation from an unexpected source, yet I am always pleasantly surprised when it happens.
I have attended more networking functions than I care to admit, and I always see the Feeders working the rooms. However, I believe, that you must give four times as much as you take if you want to build a meaningful relationship. So if you stop “selling” and start helping you may just find an unlimited amount of true partners within your network, singing your praises. If not, at least you helped others, and there is no better feeling. So stay honest and try to help others every chance you get, because you never know where your next customer may come from.