Is your brand one of a giver?
As I was growing up, my parents modeled giving and serving others. That often involved giving of their time, when they would volunteer to help people in various ways. So, I grew up understanding the importance of not just giving value and doing more than expected but also looking for ways to be generous. In fact, that’s one of the things I shared in my tribute to my dad at his funeral—that he had modeled for me how to be super generous; that was his brand. Generosity can be a very powerful part of a leader’s brand.
How giving are you? And how about your organization? Is it looking for ways to contribute back to the world?
A year or so ago, I came across a gentleman, John Ruhlin, who was really into the world of gifting. We ended up co-authoring a very powerful little book together called Strategic Gifting. In the book, we discussed several valuable ideas about giving that we will be unpacking in this article.
One concept is to be both intentional and strategic with your giving. When generosity becomes a matter of the heart, there will generally be reciprocation in one form or another. Then, radical generosity becomes a strategic weapon that allows you to grow your brand, grow your business, and perhaps take it to the next level. As generosity truly becomes part of your brand, it often boosts referrals, retention rates, access, and growth like few other strategies. It unlocks what we call “active loyalty”—when your clients, customers, employees, and centers of influence start going out of their way to send you deals, referrals, prospects and business opportunities.
Gifting is actually a delivery vehicle for love, appreciation, and gratitude.
You’ll see astonishing results when you start proactively loving on your clients, customers, employees, and even your suppliers.
My co-author John and I discovered that we often treat our suppliers better than most people treat their best clients. And because of that, our partners—our suppliers—actually refer deals to us constantly. They often give us better pricing than some of the bigger companies they work with, and they give priority response time, shipping, etc. A giving brand matters!
Another concept is that sometimes you can give in ways that your gift keeps on giving with multiple wins, such as giving to an endowment. And your gift doesn’t always have to be large. Giving even a small thing of value can help people win on an ongoing basis. For example, I often will give coaching cards as a gift—a collection of cards that contain the best quotes and ideas that people have liked from my books over the years. The gift includes a cardholder so they can put the cards on their desks to continually motivate themselves and their team members.
Another idea we talked about in the book is giving to someone’s inner circle. A secret many people miss is that the real back door into relationships is not just taking care of the person who’s cutting the checks or the influencer—it’s taking care of the people around them. While you may be treating clients or centers of influence with all this love, for example, you’re often taking them away from their families in the evenings or for trips, and the assistants and spouses are left with juggling schedules and changing priorities. Spouses especially often get the raw end of the deal when the wage earner of the family is given these kinds of gifts because they are left to deal with all the challenges on the home front. If you give something of value to the kids or spouse—or even to a beloved pet—you can create massive impact.
One of my clients came into my RESULTS Center Studio on a Saturday a few weeks ago to give me advice on a few supplements, and he bought his three-year-old son in with him. His son got excited when he saw a yoga ball that I had in my office. So, I took a magic marker and wrote his name on the ball and gave it to him to take home. His dad was quite impressed with that very small gesture. I was not being disingenuous; that’s just the way I live my life. I look for ways to give, and I encourage others to do the same thing. I created multiple wins by giving away a $20 yoga ball. It was nothing for me to go out and buy another one, and yet this little kid was able to walk away with something that likely caused him to say, “Wow, Dad, that was really fun!” Also, it probably expanded the relationship I had with my client because I connected with his inner circle.
Many of the network marketing companies I advise and work with choose organizations to support that give back to the community. We have partnered with a company called Envision, one of the largest employers of the blind and visually impaired in America. They manufacture things like trash bags, magic markers, and face masks, and they also have a powerful call center. Eighty-two percent of the people in their factories are blind, and Envision helps them live a more normal life by being able to support themselves.
It just so happens that the CEO and I go way back, prior to his association with Envision. Because he understood and valued our methodology of clarity, focus, and execution and our practices of meeting effectiveness and streamlining organizations, he brought us in, and we ended up building a relationship where we could help his people in many different ways.
We put up a giant Envision plaque in my office, so anyone coming into our space sees it, and we are able to talk to them about the good the company is doing.
In fact, we just produced and sent out to all my contacts a virtual tour of their facilities, in which we encourage people to help us spread the word and find companies that will employ blind or visually impaired individuals and donate to help in the work.
I encourage you to find something you feel good about that you can support, either with your time, effort, or dollars. Giving is a big deal, and I encourage you to be more intentional and become a strategic giver. DSN