Be Surprisingly Helpful

I believe that the ultimate goal of networking as a Go-Giver is to give so freely, thoughtfully and effectively to others that they decide to fully engage their minds and hearts on your behalf.  You want to get to the point where they are thinking about how to help you as they are driving down the road and have nothing else to think about.  You want to be top-of-their-mind whenever they meet one of your ideal clients.

To get to that point with someone requires something more than a smile, a handshake and a business card.

I’ve found that the best way, bar none, to achieve this level of engagement in others is to be “surprisingly helpful.”

When you help someone in a surprisingly meaningful manner, you activate two powerful, innate laws of human persuasion:

– LAW #1, The Law of Reciprocity: This law states that most people feel obligated to repay in kind what another person has provided for them. People naturally give back the kind of treatment they have received from others.  In fact, if they don’t, they feel a nagging sense of indebtedness.

The most obvious examples of this are Christmas cards and birthday gifts.  If someone gives you one of those, you feel obligated to give them one in return.  Don’t you?

In the book Les Miserables (my favorite work of fiction), Bishop Myriel’s giving to the convict Jean Valjean is so surprisingly generous that it changes Jean Valjean’s life forever.  I LOVE this!

People who consistently don’t give back in kind soon develop a reputation they’d prefer they didn’t have.

This rule is so powerful and pervasive, you could call it a “Golden Rule.”

– Law #2, The Law of WOW!: When you live the Law of Wow!, you consistently exceed the expectations of others. When someone expects X from you but you deliver X plus Y instead, they say “Wow, that was pretty cool.”  Then they feel obligated to compensate you for that extra mile.  They can’t help it!

I owned a window cleaning company.  At the end of our jobs we were receiving tips about 20% of the time.  We wanted to increase that percentage.  We started cleaning the mirrors in the bathrooms and any glass patio furniture … at no additional cost … and pointed that fact out at the end of the job.  What happened when we exceeded our customer’s expectations is by this little fraction?  Our tip-rate went to over 80% AND the amount of our tips more than tripled!

Don’t you do this for the waitress or hair stylist who does something extra for you?

These laws are just as powerful when you are networking, if not even more powerful.

So … what are some specific things you can do to be “surprisingly helpful” to your networking partners to draw on the powers of the Law of Reciprocity and the Law of Wow! and earn the right to have them engage their hearts and minds on your behalf.

Let’s say you have a one-on-one meeting with someone.  Here are three things you could do to be surprisingly helpful to the other person:

– Do some preparation before the meeting.

– Look at their LinkedIn profile

– Think of people you know to whom you could introduce them; make those introductions during or immediately after the meeting

– Think of things you know that might help them

– Spend real, quality time with them, completely engaging your mind and heart on their behalf. Don’t be distracted.  Listen intently and really help.

– Give away some of your best stuff. Don’t hide your best ideas behind a paywall.

Bottom Line: Your networking partners should walk away from meetings with you thinking, “Geeze, that was amazingly helpful!  I wonder what I can do to help him/her out?”

Bread cast on the water like this truly does come back to you tenfold.  I guarantee it 😉

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