At a recent expo, I had a great opportunity to give something away. It wasn’t a shirt or a pen or a donut sample (those guys were down the aisle and the smell was maddening). I gave away website maintenance, one of our core services. I did this for two reasons:
- The unselfish reason: We like to make people happy, and this guy was unhappy.
- The selfish reason: Giving it away might lead to paying business later.
I was manning our booth and offering website and documentation services to the attendees when another exhibitor walked across the aisle and asked if we work with existing websites in addition to creating new ones.
We do, I assured him.
He and I talked about his site’s issues, the most urgent being incorrect contact information and an absent developer. Of course, the site was set up to require the developer to update the contact information.
Job security for the developer, pure frustration and lost business for an unhappy client.
We talked a bit more and he agreed to send me the site’s access information. I don’t recommend this in general, but we were right across the aisle from each other. If I started doing anything shady he could have walked across and flipped my table over, so we were both comfortable with the situation.
I had a laptop in the booth, and it took about twenty minutes to log into the site, edit the contact info, and get everything up to date.
A frustrated fellow exhibitor became a happy new client. Those free twenty minutes led to a contract to redo several websites and a delighted customer who recommends us every chance he gets.
If you have an opportunity to make a difference by giving something away, do it.
You can’t afford not to.