Giving, taking, selling, buying

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PCL Constructors employees (from left) Gracy Ragheb, Helene Savard, Emily Parent, Xue Chen support the United Way.

One lesson that took me a long time to learn is that you achieve the most success in business development by contributing and sharing unconditionally in the presence of people who are already wealthy.

If you reread the above sentence you’ll notice two apparently contradictory messages.  In one place, I say you succeed by giving unconditionally; and then I go on to say “in the presence of people who are already wealthy.”

But a little thinking will show you why this principle is so vital to business development success.

Say, for example, you give unconditionally to the people who may be poor and who need the community’s help the most.  You can certainly find satisfaction and reward in charitable deeds but any wealth you acquire in this community work will be in your mind and spirit and not in the material world.  (There is nothing wrong with this sort of achievement  but I don’t think you will be reading the “Construction Marketing Ideas blog” if that is your primary vision in life.)

Now re-frame the picture and see what happens if you behave charitably and with good spirit and generosity in a community of exceptionally wealthy people.

People with money certainly encounter their share of gold diggers, manipulators and inept sales representatives and financial planners.  Business and senior public sector executives and decision-makers build defensive walls around themselves to keep the selfish hordes away from their money and time.  But they open their minds — and relationships — when they sense you are not out for the quick buck and your spirit of generosity and sharing is unconditional.

Your generosity and community spirit, then, break down the walls and barriers and you gain the access and respect of the people with resources and who you wish to do business with.

Consider, for example, this story provided to me yesterday by the local United Way fundraising representative.  (Notably, in our publications, whenever anyone in our market area offers public service or charitable support we don’t even think of trying to sell advertising — granting free publicity instead.  This story will appear in Ottawa Construction News, unconditionally.)

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