At what point do you start paying attention?
After seeing the positive results that come from applying a principle over and over again, when do you start thinking about applying it to your own situation?
It’s understandable if it takes more than a couple of times for you to give it some serious thought. There’s all kinds of advice, and recommendations out there for how to grow your business. You can’t listen to every one. You can’t implement every one.
But success is hard to ignore.
So what if that time-tested principle held the key to keeping a steady stream of adoring customers coming back to you again and again? Would you make that the one you absolutely, hands down had to give a try in your business to see if you get the same results?
While you’re thinking, let’s dive into some theory a bit .
How to never want for customers
Have you heard of the song Magic Penny? I sang it at school talent show in sixth grade. In case you haven’t heard it, it goes a little something like this:
Love is something when you give it away
Give it away, give it away
Love is something when you give it away
You end up having more
It’s just like a magic penny
Hold it tight and you won’t have any
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They roll all over the floor
At twelve, I understood in theory what I was singing about. If you want more love, you’ve got to give love. If you’re a bit stingy, you don’t get anything new, and eventually you’ll lose what you have.
That lesson from that simple song transcends love. It’s universal. It even shows up in the Bible.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38
Same message. Give, and you get a whole lot in return. And when you’re not so free with your giving, others aren’t so free in giving back to you.
The principle shows up again in this Yoruba Proverb:
What you give you get, ten times over.
This concept has shown up in many forms across many different cultures, over thousands of years. But it all boils down to the same thing.
When you are generous, you don’t want.
Because it’s such a universal truth, you can absolutely apply it to your business. When you are generous to your customers, you don’t want for customers.
Some call this the Law of Reciprocity. Others call it common sense. Call it what you want, as long as you approach your customers with an attitude of abundance, rather than scarcity. And you can comfortably do that when you know that by generously giving to your customers, your well of customers will not run dry.
Just like the magic penny. And just in case you need it, here’s some additional proof.
Case Study: The philosophy of “Wow”
Zappos, the online shoe and clothing retailer, is super generous with their customers. They go the extra mile in serving the people who buy from them, which really makes them stand out among other online retailers.
They operate based on a culture of giving. Like providing free shipping and returns on orders in the U.S. Or having an epic 10-hour (yep, you read that right) service call with a customer. Their generosity isn’t always even directly related to their business. One time, they paid the tolls for all the drivers on a section of the Massachusetts turnpike.
And what do they get in return? All kinds of love. They’ve got testimonials out to wazzooo all over the internet. Their sales which are in the hundreds of millions are nothing to sneeze at either. That’s just one of the reasons why online retail behemoth Amazon.com bought them a few years back.
The Zappos philosophy on giving, doesn’t happen by accident. It’s all by design. Here’s an excerpt from their mission statement:
“Our philosophy at Zappos is to WOW with service and experience, not with anything that relates directly to monetary compensation.”
And they take great care to ensure everyone on their team embodies that philosophy in their daily work.
“WOW is such a short, simple word, but it really encompasses a lot of things. To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW.”
Zappos generously delivers WOW to their customers on a daily basis, because it works.
Case Study: Giving “One for One”
Fashion brand TOMS, makes giving to the community a part of their business model.
For every pair of shoes purchased at TOMS, they provide a pair of shoes to a child in need. For every pair of eyewear purchased, TOMS restores the sight of someone. And most recently, with the launch of TOMS Roasting, Co., for every bag of coffee purchased, they provide a week of clean water to a person in need. One for One. That’s their philosophy. That’s their business model. Since launching in 2006, TOMS has given more than 10 million pairs of shoes to children in need, and restored site to more than 200 thousand people. Makes me wanna go buy some TOMS.
But their not giving all those shoes away just to look good. They’re doing it as a part of their overarching mission.
We’re in the business to help improve lives.
While TOMS is busy making life better, they’ve also been pulling in some nice revenues. In 2013, they earned an estimated $250 million. Not too shabby.
Case Study: An abundance of useful information
Copyblogger teaches businesses how to grow their business using content. Since launching in 2006, the company has grown rapidly by practicing what they preach when it comes to building an audience. And so they give.
Day in and day out, Copyblogger delivers high quality articles and podcasts on topics ranging from how to be a better writer, to how to create a cool infographic. And all of that information is free. They’ve even got a ton of eBooks on the subjects they talk about most frequently. Those are free too!
Before they even had a product to sell, there was eighteen months of free educational content.
Why do they do it? Because they know that being generous with their audience works. It keeps them coming back again and again. Copyblogger is a multi-million business with well over 115,000 customers. All because giving freely to their customers is the foundation of their business.
Time for you to do what works
Your time is precious. And like most business owners, probably scarce. So when it comes to investing time and resources on things to grow your business, throw your efforts behind something that’s proven itself to work. Not just a few times, but over and over again through the years.
Make being generous to your customers a part of your strategy. Part of your philosophy. Part of what you do. Not only will you feel good, but you’ll have lots of fun along the way. You won’t regret it. Neither will your customers. In fact, I have a feeling they’ll be quite delighted.
If you need some ideas on how to be generous to your customers, I’ve got a few for you. Check them out here. With each, you’ll find examples, suggestions, and application questions to get you thinking about how to apply the tips in your business.
Then pick one, and let me know which one you’re going to use.