#1 Business Lesson From the Holidays

giving

The holiday season is upon us, especially here in the United States. I have been seeing Christmas decorations since October, which is crazy!

But one thing that I do really appreciate about this time of year is the spirit of Giving.

Whenever the holidays roll around, everyone starts getting more generous, giving gifts, buying small trinkets for a friend or coworker, giving out candy.

I’ve always been a big believer in being generous, because you have to think big in everything you do. You can’t pinch pennies if you want to make money. This extends to your business, your employees, and your clients as well. Something as simple as a hand-written card telling a client how much you appreciate them and their hard work can really go a long way.

Let me explain why being generous will make your business even more successful.

Give to Get

There’s this really great story I remember reading from Robert Cialdini’s The Psychology of Influence about this group of people who would use an interesting tactic to get money for their group.

Every day, they would send representatives out to crowded areas (think train stations and malls) to get donations. They would do this with free flowers.

You’re probably wondering how someone can make money off of giving something away for free, but it worked, and here’s why:

The group members would give a flower to people walking by, as a gift, and then out of obligation the receiver would listen to what they had to say. Oftentimes, because of our instinct for reciprocity, they would donate money.

All because they had been given something first.

The psychology of this is astounding. The receivers of the flowers have no obligation to listen to what the giver has to say, but they do anyways.

Nowhere is there some law that when someone gives you an item for free you need to give money back. After all, the flower was a free gift!

But we as humans function this way, so there are ways to take advantage of this, especially as an entrepreneur.

Giving Will Grow Your Business

Now, are you trying to strong-arm clients into giving you free money? Of course not.

You’re still there to sell results. The point of this story is that when you give something first without expecting anything back, you’ll get something anyways.

Here’s how you could apply the flower technique to any business:

Say you want to show a particular client how much you appreciate them. So you buy them a gift card to their favorite restaurant. You don’t pitch, you don’t do anything but give them the gift card and praise them.

Now here’s what happens: your client will post pictures and statuses about how generous your company is, they’ll let everyone know when they go out to dinner, and they’ll give thanks to your generosity.

Now all of their friends are seeing this, and they’re interested.

While you’re not a member of a group asking for donations, you’ve still benefited from being selfless. That happy client’s friends and family will now have you in mind, and will come to you when they need the service you provide.

If for instance you run a gym, like me, people will see those posts and say, “My gym doesn’t do stuff like that! What am I doing over here?”

Being generous and not pinching your pennies has opened you up to receiving new clients and good exposure for your business. You give, you get back.

Give With No Expectations

There is something extremely important that you need to keep in mind with this whole process. While you give with abundance, you need to have no expectations that you will get anything in return.

Here’s why: when you give with the mindset of getting something back, you’re going to fail.

When you give it needs to be because you actually care, and because you want someone to know how much you appreciate them and their work. Make it personal; make it something that will make that person genuinely happy.

The second that you start giving just to give, that’s when you really start seeing benefits. Your employees will work harder and be happier. Your clients will put in even more effort and want to brag about how great they’re doing — because the real benefit comes in those ways.

Your employees and clients will see that, yes, you really do care and appreciate, and they’ll give back in ways that benefit your business. And not because they feel obligated, exactly, but because they have a sense of pride in what they do now, and you’ll help them feel more loyal to you and your cause.

You truly have to give to get — and you’ve got to give from the heart.

When people ask me how I’m so fortunate, and how I’ve found the success I have, that is my answer. You need to give.

It’s not an advanced marketing hack — it’s not a sneaky sales tip. But it’s the truth. You just need to give and care about the people in your life — and when you do, you’ll find fortune as well.

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