Thursday, January 26, 2012

Marketing Tip: Branding Yourself through Helping Others

Throughout my life, I've accidentally discovered a technique that is extremely effective.

I help people before they might be in a position to help me.

When I say help, I mean things like

  • helping them understand something they thought was "difficult"
  • doing something for them that they need do not know how to do -- or do very well
  • doing something for them that needs to get done but truly do not have time to do it
  • giving them advice through something you know how to handle better than them (Careful here!)
  • providing emotional support after they messed up something that feel devastating to them
  • putting them in a position to make more money, gain more exposure, or get more experience
I might have missed some things, but doing this regularly with people who cannot help you today is part of digging your well for tomorrow.

It's true that only a few people you help will ever repay you in any way, shape, or form.  That's a fact!

You need to be okay with that; otherwise, you sort of have an attitude of "non-thanks" coming since you were trying to manipulate them into helping you.

However, the people who truly are grateful will often repay you many times over.
  • They will find ways to make YOUR life easier.
  • They will feel more eager to share knowledge that they have - and you don't!
  • They will brag about you to other people.
In other words, you will not get support, until you build support.

You need to be careful, though.

This method does attract "takers."  You have many people who will grab everything from you without contributing anything of their own.

Truthfully, I can tolerate this, as I see this as the "price of doing business" with kindness.

However, there are many people who are LESS than grateful.  They become perpetual leaches.  These are people who only contact you when they need something, and no matter how many times that you helped them previously, they are ready to damn you if you don't help them THIS time.

Some of them might even say, "Thank you," when you help them.  When they don't get their way with you THIS time, however, they try to make you feel bad.

As recently as last night, I had someone call me, who I have helped a lot, but she never tries to help herself.  I had my own things to do, and the only time she thanks me for my help is when she calls me to ask for another favor.  She is thanking me--for the first time--for the last favor when she is calling for the first favor.

Remember: Their problem is not your problem, even if you are capable of solving it.

Helping people is great when they NEED it--not when they EXPECT or DEMAND it.

You just need to recognize this when it is happening, and you need to draw your boundary line.  "I'm glad that I helped you before this, but I am not in position to help you now.  Here are some things that you can do to help yourself..."

Either, they will stop taking you for granted, or they will stop contacting you, altogether.  One way or another, they will stop using you.

Helping People Builds a Great Brand

Luckily, most people will not abuse your generosity.

In fact, you will be amazed at how many places welcome you when you have a reputation for helping so many people.

Now, just be sure to be ready for people to help you, too.  That can sometimes be the part that is unexpectedly tough--when you're used to helping everyone else.

Brand yourself as "The Helper," and your brand will grow quickly.

People like to do business and spend time with people who REDUCE stress from their lives--NOT ADD stress to it.

Like this post?  Other posts you might like are

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