I recently was watching, “60 Minutes” the other night and saw a segment about Adam Grant, the Wharton professor who recently wrote a book called, “Give and Take – A Revolutionary Approach to Success.” College students at Wharton are on waiting lists to get into his classes. He is the youngest professor (under 40), as well as professional magician, which is an advantage in entertaining and educating his students during his classes.
What he is teaching college students is a very simple and fundamental theory: Give a little, and you’ll get a lot back.
I truly believe and live by this philosophy. Although I am a small business owner of my own website and online marketing firm, I have always taken into consideration a few things when dealing with my clients:
1. I want my clients to walk away with their experience of working with me, knowing that they have a solid working relationship for life. They can trust my expertise in what I’ve taught them and I will continue to mentor them if they have questions in the future.
2. I don’t nickel and dime my clients. I give a little in hoping to get a lot back in the form of a referral.
3. If my client is in a jam with a certain situation, I often put myself in their shoes and will try to find a working solution, even it takes some time without payment.
At the end of the day, after I do these things, my reward is seeing my client’s face light up. Sometimes they don’t realize that I’m helping them, but either way I’m much happier in knowing that I’m helping another small business attain a goal that I know is hard to achieve with a very competitive online environment.
A lot of web designers will charge their clients a monthly fee for simply adding a few lines of text to their website each month. I don’t do that. In my opinion, it would take more administrative time on my part to generate and email out an invoice than it would to update a page of simple text. Most of my clients don’t receive a maintenance fee from me unless it involves more work than simple text changes. So, in the hopes of giving a little to my clients for free, I’m hoping that they remember this and give me a referral or additional business in the future.
I’m a happier person for this simple task. I don’t feel like I’m ripping someone off. Why would I charge $50.00 a month for maintenance when it takes me ten minutes to update a website page with a few lines of text? It’s unethical in my opinion.
Secondly, I recently ran into a situation with a client who had an existing website. The site was not designed by me, but he felt that the designer who did the work was not savvy enough in SEO to increase his page ranking. He has three daughters getting married within the next year and a half, and needed to increase his business to pay for these weddings! He also wanted me to teach him about social media: How to use it, which one was best for his business, what to post, when to post – ya know, all that good stuff. Lastly, he wanted a blog and for me to help generate e-newsletters to his existing customers.
Some web designers are very territorial when it comes to their website creations. When I updated my client’s website, I only had to change the font size to adjust to the web content I was writing in the design provided, and I added some H1 headers to some of the pages, (as long as the design permitted), for accessibility purposes. The web designer was not happy with the minor changes to her design and said she would no longer update my client’s website!
As you can imagine, this put my client in a very precarious situation. He often added images to his portfolio to which I really had no idea on how his current web designer did this. And, I would venture to guess that if he had asked her for instructions on how to do this so I could handle the task, she would have not provided the information.
My client now had an optimized website, but no way to update it. So, I did what I thought was the right thing to do: I offered him a free redesign of his website. The only thing I asked for in return was referrals.
He was speechless and very thankful for the generous offer. I was happy to do it. Why? Because I know this is a trustworthy client. He was put in a very bad position by his now previous web designer, and he needed help.
At the end of the day, I did what I thought was the right thing to do. Adam Grant has a good message. Success isn’t about money, hard work and talent. It’s becoming more about the dependency on how we interact with others.
You can be a Taker who strives to get as much as possible from others.
You can be a Matcher who aims to trade evenly.
You can be a Giver, which is a rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
Adam Grant’s research has shown that CEO’s who are Givers have more success in their lives, professionally and personally than those who are Takers or Matchers.
So, which one will you be? I’m a Giver, and I’m going to keep on giving!