Building Client Relationships Through Volunteerism
The role volunteering has on improved well being is common knowledge, but we often limit our audience to just our own employees. Engaged employees are vital to the success of every company and so are your clients, vendors and prospects. Why have we been leaving them out of our volunteer activities?
Hopefully, your company is regularly giving back to the community through volunteer opportunities and support of events. Most non-profits I know are always looking for more volunteers, so you inviting additional people will be most welcome. The benefits to your business are powerful and the formula is simple.
Choose a cause that is genuinely important to you. Call and ask to volunteer. Focus on the Who, What, When, Where, How, lock it down and invite your clients, vendors and prospects to join you.
Even if they say no…
You made a contact that wasn’t work related. You asked them to do something that wouldn’t benefit you or would lead to an exchange of money. Their perception of you will shift ever so slightly and they will be more likely to pick up your next call.
Showing what causes you care about will make you a more complete person to them. This will open the door to countless conversations about the cause and how it has impacted you. Maybe someone in your client’s circle has been impacted by that same cause or is already involved with the non-profit. You will be sharing something personal and becoming more likable, shattering that all business all the time image.
Invite their colleagues and family too. It takes time and effort to set up a volunteer experience. It might be something that their family or company have been meaning to do, but can’t find the time. You will be doing them a favor by taking care of all the details. Now you can expand your circle of influence even further while also making a bigger impact in the community.
Or do the exact opposite. It takes time and effort to set up a volunteer experience. You can open doors to new companies by offering to support a cause that they might already be passionate about. Introduce yourself and ask about how their company likes to give back – offer your support and join them. They might have the logistics already taken care of.
If they say yes…
Jackpot! You get all of the above benefits and a relationship building experience that can’t be replicated.
Volunteer activities can last 2-3 hours. You will get their dedicated time and will be working together towards a common goal. You will be building communication skills and sharing a memorable experience. If you end up connecting them with a cause that they fall in love with, you will not only never be forgotten by your client, but also the organization you volunteered for.
So many relationship and business development experiences revolve around alcohol… at the golf course, at a sports game, at a restaurant. Sure, having a drink is a good time, but how lasting is that? Think about being remembered for a hangover versus their improved health, lower stress and deeper connection to the community, all proven benefits of volunteering.
You can even leverage an invitation to join Care2Act in lieu of a volunteer opportunity. “I’m a part of this networking and training community for professionals who help their companies give back. There are some great people and resources that I think you and your company would benefit from. We would also love to get your ideas to help us improve. Will you join us?”
Word is going to get out that you care, because you are acting.