“Shifting your focus from getting to giving is not only a nice way to live life and conduct business, but a very profitable way as well.”
~ Bob Burg
In this blog, I want to share with you a story about generosity in business. Generosity is one of the fundamental elements of my approach to business success and I want to share the experience of one of my clients to demonstrate how it can work.
When this client came to me, he hadn’t been doing anything to proactively grow his business in some time, so one of the first things we did was to create a content schedule. In fact not long after we started working together, I ran my first 30 Day Content Challenge and of all the people who took part he produced the highest number of posts, writing an incredible 29 long form posts in 30 days. He went on to consistently send weekly newsletters and published meaningful weekly content on Facebook. The response to his content was phenomenal. To give you a sense, one article he wrote was picked up by another Facebook page and was liked 1.2K times and shared a staggering 746 times.
Alongside his content creation, I also encouraged him to start practicing outreach by being of service, offering support freely and where appropriate gifting people complimentary coaching sessions. The response to this, however was somewhat muted. Despite him making several offers in the early days of us working together, people just weren’t biting. (To read more about why I advocate that coaches and other service providers offer complimentary sessions to grow their business – head here).
In a session we uncovered why this might be.
Shifting from a mindset of getting to giving or, as I also put it, being of service rather than selling, takes some practice. Even if we know in our hearts that generosity and service are the way we want do business (and life), we also have needs, we want (or need) to make money and we’re so used to trying to get something from people to make our business work, that even when we are offering a no strings, complimentary session, there is a part of us that doesn’t quite believe it ourselves.
We either can’t see the gift in what we’re offering (we don’t yet believe in our skills and abilities) or we still harbour on some level a hope that when we give it will ultimately translate into getting the sale.
This matters. The intention with which we give to our audience can be felt. So even when we say this is a gift, if there is a part of us that doesn’t feel fully aligned with that truth, people won’t take us up on it.
As well as this, because so many people these days are using “giving” as a rouse for selling, people are understandably suspicious of “free” things. They don’t necessarily trust a person who is seemingly giving something valuable away for free. They don’t believe that there are no strings attached because they’ve been burned so many times already. Think now about how many free trainings or PDFs you’ve signed up for only to find that what’s actually being provided is a thinly veiled sales pitch amongst a whole lot of fluff. What a royal waste of time!
Now the reason I’m sharing this story, is because my client saw a huge shift in this area. After several months of being of service to his people, showing up and connecting with an intention to support and offering meaningful content, free from sales pitches, things finally started to shift.
Sometime after adopting these strategies he hit the 100 subscribers mark for his relatively new newsletter and as a way to celebrate and give back, he offered his audience 10 complimentary sessions. Unlike previous offers, which were met with the sound of crickets, these sessions were snapped up over the course of a day. Not surprisingly, by the very people who had been enjoying his content.
There are a few lessons I want to pull out here.
1. As the quote at the top of this email states: Shifting your focus from getting to giving is not only a nice way to live life and conduct business, but a very profitable way as well.
2. People can be mistrustful of generosity initially. Trust has to be earned over time.
3. The best way I’ve seen to earn that trust is to consistently create and share valuable and meaningful content, combined with consistent efforts to connect with and to be of service to our audience.
4. Adopting generosity as a fundamental element of your business approach isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes time to settle fully into that intention, to both believe that what you are offering is of value to others and also to learn how to give, free from expectation. Believe it or not, giving takes practice.
5. Because people buy from people they know, like and trust, the deeper your relationships get, the more profitable you become. Offering complimentary sessions is the primary way I enrol new coaching clients, not because I sell on the back of them (I don’t) but because people find value in the gift and naturally want more.
With time, my client started to appreciate that what he was offering to people was not only welcomed but deeply valued by many. This allowed him to give with even greater purity of intention and the results spoke for themselves. It also feels important to note that all of this happened before he even got his website live!
It’s been wonderful for me to witness how a combined approach of consistent content creation and meaningful outreach can move a business forward immeasurably.
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