Who is the kindest person you know? – How do they display their kindness?
I bet it’s not the big gestures that they go in for, but lots of tiny little things. Often the kindest actions are the smallest and they may even seem to go unnoticed, but they are the ones that make the biggest difference in the long run. All those little acts add up to give the recipients of such kindnesses, the feelings of warmth and appreciation that you know well.
It’s difficult not to think highly of someone who is very kindand there is a general desire to be able to reciprocate from time to time as means of saying thank you.
In business this tendency towards reciprocity can be used in a manipulative way. There is an example of measuring the tips left by visitors to a restaurant. If the waiter gave a sweet as an extra with the bill, the tip was higher than with no sweet. Two sweets resulted in a increase in the size of tip again. The clients read the sweet giving as a kindness and reciprocated in what way they could, i.e. with a larger tip.
You’ll also read lots of advice that you should do ‘a bit extra’ for your clients and make yourself valuable to them, so that they will want to use your services rather than anyone else’s.
Put like this, it seems to reduce any act of kindness down to a calculated business decision. Yuk!
It reeks of insincerity and manipulation – not good tools for a successful business to use.
But it doesn’t have to be so!
Try thinking of the opposite. Would you want to be unkind? Would you not want to offer as much as you can afford to do? Would you want to be unhelpful? Of course not!
I’m sure that you, like most people, derive more pleasure from giving than from receiving, so it’s a natural step from there to giving within a business context. All you need to concentrate on is how to make your offers to your clients something that will genuinely make them feel happier and work to help them decide to buy your products or services.
If you make a decision that looks like a kind act from a place of genuine personal generosity as well as being good business sense, then you are not being manipulative; you’re being kind. And everyone likes kind people.
What little act of kindness can you do now that will help your business?
Give someone a call to say hello or send out a cheery email with a funny comment. Offer a special bonus for a limited time, just to your best clients. If you mean to be kind, it’s not manipulation.
If you still feel uncomfortable about thinking and acting in this way, you may be harboring deeper beliefs about the nature of business and business people. In this case it may be better to get help from someone to eliminate such beliefs that will undermine your best efforts.