Teach a man to fish – Guest article by Daniel McHugh

You don’t need us to tell you that business can be hard to find in the current economic climate. More so when your potential clients have no reason to engage with you, they don’t even know who you are!

In order to turn your contacts into customers you need to build trust, or at the very least be known. And this trusting process must start with you. If you are generous with your time and your service; giving ‘something for you’, customers will be more inclined to engage with you and your business.

So does this mean giving it all away?

Many businesses aim to pick up new customers and clients with incentives and free services offered. How many business ‘heath checks’,’ I.T audits’, and ‘website reviews’ does your business actually need?

The reality is that incentives and discounts cost you money and don’t necessarily encourage sales. Giving someone something for free doesn’t always earn you trust. It buys you a little bit of short term confidence.

One of the best ways to gain trust with someone is to engage regularly, and to give them something that will benefit their business. Through past experience we have learned that the best and easiest way to do this is through sharing knowledge and ideas.

Let’s illustrate this with the purchase of a new laptop. I have used HP for a long time and need a new updated model. When I start searching or visit my store I see the new HP laptop but also a comparable Dell with a 25% discount.

Which do I buy? Well naturally I still maintain my loyalty to HP but now I might question this. If I look around and the Dell turns out to be a well reviewed and recommended buy, I might be persuaded.

Ultimately, the only way I might purchase the Dell is if they build trust with me and trust can’t always be bought.

Share Knowledge to get more business

It doesn’t matter whether you supply a product or a service, most firms have great opinions and knowledge to share.

Most businesses are keen to find out how to engage with their customers and get more business. By sharing knowledge, you are providing your potential customers with much more than a free gift. You are giving them something they can use profitably or to control costs.

A proverb says:

‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you give him a fishing rod, you feed him for a lifetime’
How about a new perspective:
‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, you can help supply his fishing equipment!’