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There's something that really fires me up. Let me tell you a story to give you background first.
One time we were talking with a prospect and things were going really well. They were very interested in our business development training and how we might be able to help them grow their business. We gave them three different options that they could choose from. They were really excited about the most expensive option, but as we dug into a little more detail, asked more questions, and figured out what they really needed, I felt like the least expensive option was the way to go. I highly recommended it to them. That is what they ended up choosing. They were really excited. They appreciated the candor and the honesty.
After we hung up the phone, I had a debrief call with my partner.
She immediately said, "I couldn't believe you did that. It was amazing. Who does that? Who recommends something that isn't the best for themselves?"
It stunned me a little bit because I do that all the time. We also recommend that our clients do this with their clients. I was really interested to know if others do this, so I called a friend of mine that is an expert in this exact thing. His name is David Nygren. David is one of the top board consultants in the world. He has handled some of the hairiest, most public, most difficult board issues for public companies of all time, the kind of stuff that is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. David has four master’s degrees and a Ph.D. One master’s degree is in systematic theology, another in social ethics, and a Ph.D. in brain sciences. David was the perfect person to call and talk to about this exact issue.
His answer? Yes. When David works with high performing individuals, he said that he can see a mile away when somebody has a lot of self-interest or they're a bit selfish versus somebody else that is not. He says the less selfish people are the ones who succeed the most. We are talking about CEOs, presidents of organizations, C-suite folks, board members. The kind of people that are always worried about others and always looking to be helpful are the ones who win in the end.
We see the same thing in business development. What you want to do is you want to play the long game. You want to be focused on your client's best interests, even if they do not immediately benefit you. We see this show up in two ways.
One is when somebody comes to you, they need help, and you are not a good fit. You want to immediately tell them that you're not the right fit for them. Now, if they need X later, which is what you do, you would love to work with them. But what they really need right now is somebody else. Work really hard to introduce them to that somebody else. Make the transition seamless and go out of your way to help them. People will remember your help their entire lives.
The second way that we see this come up is when you are proposing options, just like in the story earlier. The client needs something less expensive than they might buy. Always, always, always recommend the thing that they need, not the thing that helps your pocketbook the most. When you play the long game and you are always looking to be helpful, you are always looking to help the client in a way that they need, not in what helps you. People will remember that.
Do not play the short game. Play the long game. If you do that, you will see your business grow by leaps and bounds.
As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.