Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's really quite simple: Just help people

I've only just recently realized a couple of important things that I wish someone had pointed out sooner - at least in a specific enough manner that I could have understood them.

The first (and probably less important of the two) is this: Professional growth can only come from personal growth. Period. No matter how great you are in your role, if you're not growing and becoming more inspired in your own personal life, then the professional bar, quite simply, isn't going to move up very much - at least not relative to the goals and aspirations most of us have.

The second thing - which I've learned in my personal life, but which is (not coincidentally) having a tremendous impact in my professional life is this: The goal in life is to help as many people as much as you can. And the more you do that, the more successful you will be.

The bottom line is that in both our lives and our professions, we value help above most all else. It's why marketing is awash with terms like "pain points", "problem statements", "empathy", and "challenges". And it's also why business people allocate or influence the allocation of substantial portions of their companies' budgets to solutions that will make their jobs (and lives) easier.

So once you recognize that the individuals you are marketing to are people, and not "just businesses", consider what they really need help with - and here's a hint - it likely goes far beyond the solution you're selling to include things like best practices, peer networking, complimentary education, a good night's rest...the list goes on and on.

But if you can identify what those things are, and give them away freely, you will ultimately find that you are highly valued in your space, and success won't be far behind.

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  1. I know this is coming from one of the greatest in sales, but I do believe the last statement rings true and can lead to personal and professional success the same if done with integrity and genuine interest.

    Zig Ziglar - "If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

  2. What a great post. When I have personal happiness and balance, my professional life always seems to "come along for the ride". There is a direct correlation. A lot of people can't seem to grasp the concept of freely giving, especially in business. People feel like if they share what is in their heads, then they are giving away their assets and trade secrets. I was guilty of this at one time and still have to work on it as we speak. Giving is always more difficult than receiving for most of us. I think a lot of us were raised with an independent, take care of yourself, self-sufficient, "you" can do it mentality. What nobody drove home for me was this is a lot easier if you selflessly help others along the way.

  3. I completely agree with this mentality and way of living. My question is, so you just help and help and wait until someone offers to pay you? I know this may be the wrong way to thing already, but bottom line is, businesses need money. So the money will just come?

  4. Great question Matt. Obviously, from a business perspective, you can't just "wait for somebody to pay you." The key in business is to a) work to truly empathize and understand the needs of the market place and to develop and deliver a solution that actually helps to make people's lives easier and b) don't limit the help you offer them to that solution alone. Back it up by going above and beyond by offering a level of service and support that makes a real difference (think Chick Fil A vs Taco Bell). If you can do these things - then you'll find people lined up waiting to pay you.