Marketing Genius Seth Godin presented two very interesting thoughts regarding favor and gifts. His last two blog posts have dealt with each respectively and I’ve been puzzled every since I’ve read them. For upon further reflection, both are extremely complex in how you use them in business. They also say much about the personality of your company and brand.
FAVOR VS. GIFTS
So let me ask you a few questions about this issue.
Do you provide favors? And if so, do you expect something in return?
And if you answer no, that you don’t normally expect anything in return, then is that a gift?
These questions are perplexing for I believe that one good deed does deserve another. I also am a woman of deep faith and believe that doing good things in the world is what I should always try and do. For instance, last year I provided resume writing services to homeless individuals. I did this service as a volunteer fully knowing that I wouldn’t get anything in return. In fact, I didn’t want anything in return. It was a personal gift to them and an honor that they let me help them.
That instance was an easy one for me. It gets personally harder when I decide to help a professional, who has money, and provide a service as a favor. To be honest, my motives for those favors is the hope that they would recommend me for future business. But, that’s not a solid guarantee. So as I’m writing this, I’m asking myself – should I provide less business favors and only do so if I can ask for a tangible favor back? My business side says yes. My Christian heart says no.
THE PRESSURES OF FAVORS
The problem with favors is the fact that they do “one up you” to the recipient. Although, the words are never stated, the sentiment is there that I’m helping you with this, but at a later date, I’m going to ask you for a favor. That sentiment is understood without words and is what Seth calls the “social contract.”
I personally do not ask for many favors – I probably should ask for more. So I think I will be a bit wiser now regarding each instance. If a business associate is asking me for a business favor, I might be a bit bolder and ask them how they could provide me with some extra help. I’ve never done that.
I will treat each instance separately and decide whether or not I am willing to provide a gift or favor.
I am so thankful for these timely blog posts by Mr. Godin. If he never penned this idea, I don’t think I would have ever changed my business tactics.
THE ANSWER COULD BE NO
And again, sometimes, the best answer to a favor is “no.”
Therefore, in conclusion, you control when you give a gift or not. And when you bestow favor.
How do you dole out favor?
Please comment, I’d love to hear how you handle this sensitive subject. LOL – You’d be doing me a favor by sharing your thoughts on this business approach.