I often hear business owners complain about having to market their business because it takes time away from what they love most: serving their clients.
What if I told you that the thing you love to do most is what brings clients to you? What if you could get more clients by doing exactly what you love, namely serving others?
You’d be game, right?
Now, what if I told you this was the best marketing strategy I knew? Even better!
Leveraging your deep desire to serve will help you grow your business and serve more clients… if you do it the right way.
Two Dimensions of Service
We all know what it means to serve a paying client or customer. It involves using your gifts and knowledge to help an individual reach a better place in their lives, whether spiritually, career-wise, health-wise, or in some other arena. When we’re serving our people, we’re helping them do things they may not have otherwise done. That’s an amazing feeling!
Today, I want to talk about a second dimension to this whole “serving others” thing that a lot of people don’t talk about.
Specifically, I want to talk about how we serve people who aren’t paying customers, why this can help us stand out in the online world, and how it can help bring in more clients.
Serving Others to Get More Clients
Picture this: you’re at a networking event, either in-person or online.
You’re mingling, making connections, schmoozing, and suddenly, a total stranger comes out of nowhere and starts cold pitching their services.
“Hey there! Do you know that I can help you blah, blah, blah? I’ve got this fancy $5,000 SEO package you would totally love.”
Whoa! What?! Slow down, partner. Who are you?
Being approached like this is an instant turn-off. It’s the real-life equivalent of a pop-up ad: uncomfortable, in your face, and absolutely cringe-worthy. And nobody – I mean nobody – likes pop-up ads.
This is the antithesis of “being of service.” It’s a completely self-serving act on the pitcher’s part, because there’s no assistance being offered to the pitchee whatsoever.
Now, let’s imagine a totally different scenario.
Let’s say you’re discussing your leaky roof with a colleague at the same networking event. A few minutes later, someone walks up and says, “Hey! I overheard you talking about an issue with your roof. Just figured I’d let you know I have a construction business, my business partner and I specialize in roofs. If you haven’t found someone to solve your problem yet, I’d be happy to come and take a look at it. We offer no-charge estimates.”
How much better does that sound? While it’s still a lead-in to selling you on their services, it came with the attitude of helpfulness.
This approach is exactly how you serve others and benefit your bottom line.
Cold pitching – no. Helpfulness – all the way, baby!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Being of Service
Here’s a brief rundown of best practices for growing your business effortlessly and authentically by being of service.
DON’T: Pitch your services over and over in the same space in the same way
I’m sure you’ve seen this one: There’s that person who is overly active in Facebook groups, posting daily to say, “Hire me! These are my services! Sign up for this call! Read my blog!” It’s off-putting and tends to make people want to back away instead of clicking the “buy now” button.
Don’t be that person. Please!
DON’T: Overload your audience
Let me be clear. I’m not saying “Don’t ever pitch your services or post a free call on social media.“ You absolutely should do that. Mentioning your services and free offers on social media is a great way to be of service. But I want you to do it in reasonable doses.
If your entire Twitter feed consists of things like “Sign up for my XYZ program NOW”, it looks a bit desperate (meaning, not so hot to potential customers and clients). You absolutely want to let people know how you can help them, but no one likes to listen to a broken record!
My personal recommendation for you: The Reason You’re Not Getting Clients on Social Media & How to Change It Immediately.
DO: Answer questions and offer specific advice for free
Let’s go back to the SEO example. When someone posts a question about SEO, the expert who replies with some tidbit of useful information, offering their knowledge in a public form, is likely to build trust among others who are watching.
By simply sharing something as simple as, “Here are some tips to think about in this blog post I wrote,” or “Hey, I heard so and so talk about that…” the energy shifts instantly. That expert is being of service and showing that she knows what’s she’s talking about!
Onlookers immediately think, “Wow! That was really helpful! She must be good at that.” And the next time they’re looking for SEO help, who do you think they’re going to call?
I’m not suggesting you offer your services for free or give up your best stuff at a moment’s notice. However, by offering free, helpful tips over email, Facebook, or Twitter, you’re setting yourself up to be well-known in your area as a helpful, knowledgeable expert…. someone that people want to hire!
DO: Facilitate connection
Even if you’re not the one who is an expert in the area of inquiry, you can still be of service. Build your reputation as a helper by directing others to specialists outside your realm of expertise. You may not be the one offering a service like roof repair, but you may know someone who does. Pass along that person’s name; make the connection for the person in need of roof repair. Both the person with the leaky roof and the roof repairman will be really grateful that you helped make that connection happen.
Sure, this doesn’t immediately bring in new clients or help you sell your products. But if you’re in business for the long haul, this will absolutely pay dividends in time. When you serve selflessly in these bite-sized doses, you’re establishing yourself as a generous, kind, un-pushy presence. That’s the kind of reputation you want to create out in the world. This also pulls people toward you.
My personal recommendation for you: Steal This! A 3-Step Plan for Putting Yourself Out There.
DO: Be truly willing to give and demonstrate it
A few months ago, I got an email I almost never get. A reader wrote to ask, “I love your stuff. Is there anything I could do to help you right now to promote your free call?”
I was taken aback. Nobody ever asks if they can help. They simply ask if they can take. That’s what it means to genuinely be of service: offering assistance for little to nothing in return, simply because you want to help.
Tip: To be of service in a super killer way, specifically say what you can do for them, such as promote their call, run an SEO check-up, or something very specific. When someone offers a very general, “Can I help in any way?” it actually isn’t very helpful because it makes the person you’re offering to help have to work harder to figure out if they need you, and they may not even know what you’re good at! So to be of service in the best way, offer something very specific.
As you show up in the world giving and being of service, people notice. Tweet that!
The Final Word
When you’re looking to stand out over the din of social media, proving that you’re helpful, knowledgeable, and kind is the absolute simplest way to attract more people to you.
Being of service is so much more than being paid to help a person change their life. It’s a multi-dimensional way of life that must be embodied, not only for clients, but also for the rest of the world.
Now I want to hear from you! Tell me…
What are a few of your favorite ways to be of service?
How has it helped your business?
Have you had any experiences with the do’s or don’ts listed here?
I’d love to hear about them! Please share your stories in the comments below!
My personal recommendation for you: Want More Clients? Make Sure You Do This.