I went into a cafe once to sit down and deflate. I didn’t immediately order something, and within a few minutes someone walked over and asked if I was planning on buying anything. I said “probably” and the person said “well you have to buy something to stay here”. I wasn’t reeking or annoying guests – I was just taking a break, but the manager could only see that I was taking up space without purchasing.
Contrast this experience with Pret a Manger, a chain cafe in New York City and elsewhere. There are times I visit but don’t buy anything. Those occasions are rare, but I see Pret as a stopping off place, a meeting place, and sometimes a place for a good, quick bite that is less random than street fare. No matter which location I hit, no one asks me to purchase anything I don’t want just to be comfortable for a few minutes.
Consequently, I’ve come to rely on Pret, as have many people I know, as a kind of clean, fresh community center and hitching post. I keep going back, I stay as long as I want, and I usually get something and so does my guest. We say “hey let’s just meet at Pret – it’s easy” and it is. Starbucks is like this for some people. With multiple meetings lined up, I’ll sometimes rack up a bill for breakfast and lunch in one sitting.
NETWORKING ISN’T JUST A TO B
The takeaway, for me, is that it’s a mistake to only see A to B and only think hand to mouth. When we say “givers gain”, we mean we share a conviction that what we do comes back to us even and especially when it’s a few steps removed. One company gets consistent business by being generous and open, and another gets less by acting only on what they can see in the moment.
Building loyalty for existing clients and growing with referrals is about trusting people to see value and then providing it consistently. That’s why we ask our colleagues to spell out the unique value they provide, be consistent in partnering with us and our referrals, and trust the process. The soul of referral marketing is trust and be trustworthy – which we express as “givers gain”.
To grow your business, partner with and emulate people that are passionate about giving and convinced that their trust is well placed and brings many rewards. Give with an open hand, believing it will come back around. You reap what you sow, but also more than you sow. We would like to be those people for you, and a means for you to reap great rewards. Visit us one morning to find out more.
Originally published at BNI 45 NYC.