May 06, 2010
Over the course of my career one thing's certain: Favors are the currency of success.
The favor economy is a business environment where we give to others to promote their success without expectations. Often, the Norm Of Reciprocity kicks in and they return favors to us or parties connected to us -- with compound interest. Such is the nature of love, compassion and decency.
If you don't find yourself constantly doing favors for other bizmates, you aren't filling up your funnel for long term success. In sales, the funnel reference has to do with making enough contacts to creates enough prospects to end up with the targeted amount of paying customers. In the favor economy the funnel is about helping people, getting out of the way, and acting on favors that come back to you over time (many are proactive, not asked for).
For example, this week I'm on track to do six favors for people, investments in our long term relationship. I'm about to dash out the door to meet with a good friend who is trying to break into the speaking business. This AM I did a 45 minutes phone interview with a UK writer working on a book. This Saturday, I'll mentor a new friend on the ins and outs of writing a business advice book. In every case, I expect nothing but attention and follow up on their part. What's the ROI?
Satisfaction, Synergy and Significance. Over the course of the last decade, I've learned that smart favors move mountains. I got my start because of favors: A literary agent decided to educate me and develop me, a friend of hers brought her to one of my presentations as a favor. Tom Peters and Seth Godin endorsed my first book as a favor. A TV booker did a favor for a publicist and I appeared on the Today Show. Even my last call was a solid consulting lead from a fellow author who did me a favor, and recommended me for a job he wasn't up to. Favors are the fuel in my funnel.
Here are a few tips for playing in the favor economy:
1. Nice smart people succeed - This mantra from Love is The Killer App is about being selective in the favors you agree to and the people you contract with to do them. Make sure the favor makes a difference and the target of your give is ready to receive.
2. Account for favors in your time management. Never consider them extra-curricular as they often take business time.
3. Never complain as you deliver the favor. If you agree to meet with someone to give advice, don't grouse about traffic and your harried schedule as you arrive. You are ruining the mood and invalidating the favor to begin with. If you are overextending yourself, cut back on favors (or internet goofing off time) - don't be a giving jerk.
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