No matter what your views on life may be, it’s probable that you’ve heard a lot of stories about how people who spend their lives helping others tend to get a lot of positive things happen in return.
It’s a favourite subject of viral e-mails – you read about the man who worked as a surgeon saving lives for his whole career, only for one of his patients to rescue him from some sort of catastrophe years later, or a teacher who ended up needing help with something, only for an inspired pupil to solve the problem when they reached adulthood.
Love them or loathe them, these types of stories hold a huge amount of truth in terms of their underlying message.
If you are helpful, supportive and principled in life, you’ll find that when you need help and support for yourself, others are much more likely to step in and offer it in your time of need.
Our business dealings are no different – often, people can spend years supporting their customers and going ‘beyond the extra mile’, and may seem as if it is a thankless task, but when they need this help to be reciprocated, they usually don’t have to wait for very long before they get the support that they need.
Here are some of the things that I have learned about the power of reciprocity…
You need to have the right attitude
Altruism in its purest form is hard to quantify.
When we give money to charity, it’s arguable that we’re doing it as much to make ourselves feel good as to help the people we’re donating to.
However, it’s important to go in to reciprocal acts with the right mindset.
If you only help people because you hope that they will help you in return, then you won’t be acting from a positive motivation, and this will become clear to your customers.
For example, setting up a free helpline from between 8 and 9 each evening is great, but if you cut your customer off at 9.01 because they are taking too much of your time, it’s probable that your helpful actions won’t be appreciated as much as they could be!
Expect nothing, then everything is a bonus
When you help people, the worst thing you can do is expect something in return.
This is like giving your unwanted items to a charity shop, and then asking them to give you a discount when you see something that you would like to buy!
Your customers will soon be a little fed up if they see that every time you help them out, you’re keeping tally and expect to call in favours.
The best support is given without any agenda, which leads to a feeling of mutual trust and respect – the ideal breeding-ground for future, unsolicited, favours.
Push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of
Do you ever watch charity sporting events like marathons or sponsored walks?
The people who inspire us the most are those who have really taken on the challenge and decided to give all that they have in the pursuit of succeeding in their goal.
When we help others or provide support, sometimes it can feel as if we don’t have the time, energy or inclination to really make a difference.
However, simply by pushing ourselves and spurring ourselves in to achieve our goals, we’ll find a huge amount of untapped reserve energy that will truly make a difference when we use it to provide support and assistance to other people.
Being a proactive, positive and helpful blogger will involve taking the time to answer issues that your customers may have, supporting other colleagues through guest posts or free plugs for their service, or simply being the best possible service provider you can be.
No matter what your industry niche is, you’ll know instinctively what needs to be done for your customers and colleagues to help them out.
As long as you leave yourself time to focus upon your core business too, you’ll soon find yourself being rewarded by happy loyal customers, and a fantastic community of fellow service providers.
How far do you go to help your customers?
Please share your stories in the comments below.