This has been one of my Guiding Principles for a while now, mainly because I’ve experienced it too many times to ignore it. This week alone I had two former clients reach out to me directly looking for training after switching to a new company. I also had one prospect who I never did business with reach out because they were in a new role. They all commented on how helpful I had been to them in their previous positions. One of them was referred to me by a partner who I had helped start his own consulting career. He could have taken the business himself but wanted to repay me for helping him.
The best example I have of “what goes around comes around” leads to one of the most interesting experiences in my career. I got an in-mail one day from a recruiter telling me that he had an opportunity for me to work for one of the leading CEOs in the world. I didn’t recognize the name and given that I get multiple recruiting requests a week, I ignored it. He sent me another in-mail telling me that the CEO he was referring to was Jack Welch. Jack Welch just happens to be one of my all-time business idols. Fortune Magazine named him Manager of the Century a while back. His book Winning is one of my favorite business books. Needless to say, that in-mail got my attention and I replied even though I still thought it was a scam and there was no way it was actually Jack Welch.
I got on the phone with the recruiter who explained that Jack had started an online MBA program and he was looking for a VP of Sales to lead the sales efforts. I asked the recruiter why he thought I would be a good fit. He told me that six years earlier I had apparently taken time out of my hectic schedule to speak with him about his career and gave him some advice that made a significant impact. He wanted to repay the favor with this opportunity. The opportunity ended up being real and I went down to Florida for two months to consult with Jack and Suzy Welch. I helped build the foundation for their sales approach. It only lasted two months and wasn’t really a great fit for either of us but it was one of the coolest experiences of my entire career.
You never know when something is going to come around but it almost always eventually does. Business Networking International (BNI) taught me this with networking. They have a philosophy of “givers gain.” Gary Vaynerchuck talks about this all the time. I can give you example after example of people who have treated others poorly and then had something negative happen to them or, on the flip side, of people who have done something positive or selfless and had it come back around in their favor. The problem today is that we continue to move further into a world where immediate satisfaction and short-term results is all that is desired. We have to realize that our careers are long, that people have good memories, and that they talk.
Try to focus on doing something completely selfless each day to make someone else’s day better. I promise you it will make you feel good in the short term and will come back to you in the long term.
Make it happen!
You never know when something is going to come around but it almost always eventually does.
P.S. If you’re looking for a great place to give back, join the Make It Happen community to network with other B2B sales professionals. I promise you that the more you give, the more you’ll get out of the community.