The single most important thing that I have learned in my business career is that you need to help others unconditionally.
This means that when someone calls for help it is in your own best interest to help them. This might be giving a reference for a job seeker or it might be acting as a sounding board for a new business concept dreamed up by an entrepreneur. A colleague might need someone to talk to while in a personal crisis. My advice to you is to help them and expect nothing in return.
Yes, I am a capitalist. As a veteran peddler, the natural reaction is to consider a request for help as an indicator of a need to buy from the prospect. While it might be true, the real opportunity is in helping the other person and not selling your services. Focus your energies on the other party’s needs and not on your own.
While listening may be all the other person needs, I recommend doing more. That could include doing an email introduction, critiquing a business plan, or calling the other person back in a week or two to see how the project is going. That follow up call may be the most significant thing that you do since so few people care enough to take the time to do so.
My bet is that your colleague will be stunned and grateful by your generosity. It is my experience that they will give back to you in a variety of ways. It is reasonable that they will continue the relationship with you. Or, they may refer you or your business to others. If you have a product or service that they need, they will buy from you.
Your reward may not come right away. It might come much later or not at all. Some might argue the true gift is in the giving itself. I will leave that for you to decide.
My recommendation is to return every phone call. Answer every email. Make yourself available. Help others. Opportunity awaits you.
John Bradley Jackson
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