Aside from any religious meaning, it seems most of us believe in a sense of karma. The concept that good things happen to good people, and that bad people get what they deserve is compelling. It seems fair and just.
I will leave the workings of the universe aside for a moment, and focus this discussion solely on the world of business and marketing. Whether you are dealing with professional colleagues or your customers directly, the decisions you make and the manner in which you conduct yourself can have a powerful impact on your success.
Spreading the love in your industry
A common piece of networking and job search advice is to connect with others and help them out when times are good, so that they are more willing to help should you need something down the road. Even if that day never comes, these good deeds will give you a reputation for helping others and for being a “good guy” (or gal). People appreciate when others look out for them and will go out of their way to find an opportunity to return the favor. It will also keep you on the top of their minds as new opportunities arise.
It’s important that you treat everyone with respect and do what you can to dole out favors and help out when you can. It is not always obvious who is in a position to reciprocate. Roles are always shifting and changing. That intern in your office may switch jobs and become your customer. The boss you have been working to align yourself with may decide to drop it all and spend his days sailing around the world. Treating everyone with a basic sense of respect will ensure you are always taken care of.
Caring about customers
Of course, this isn’t a new idea. In the classic film Miracle on 34th Street, we see Macy’s employee Kris Kringle send customers to the competition, Gimbel’s, when Macy’s doesn’t have a specific item in stock. Ultimately, this makes customers more loyal to Macy’s (and we all know how it ended for Gimbel’s.) This may be just a movie, but it makes an important point. When customers believe you care more about making them happy than just collecting their money, they will value your relationship with them. You will always be the first one they turn to when they need something.
You will also be banking that karma for a rainy day. Eventually, you will slip up. An order will vanish, or a product will fail to meet a customer’s expectations. A sense of goodwill towards you will cushion the blow and will likely provide an opportunity for you to make things right without harming the relationship and losing the customer.
It’s not easy to do this. It requires a lot of time and effort. But planting seeds of goodwill is an effective way to grow your business and your career. It is probably one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies you can employ.
So go out there and spread the love. You’ll be surprised how quickly it will come right back.
One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.