Are You a Resource?

March 17, 2011

I met my friends Melissa and Frannie at the gym. Last night while we were at dinner, they shared with me that when they first met me, they wanted to be my friend because I was resourceful. I told them that they could buy boxing gloves on Amazon, where to find the best treats at Costco and where they could find frozen yogurt (which is much harder to find than one would think). Whenever they needed to know something, they just asked me. Because I am resourceful.

Are you a resource?

I don’t know everything, but I’m really good at finding the answers to things. I try to read and learn something new every day. Many times, I simply Google. But, beyond that, I know who to go to find the right questions to. Sometimes I ask Twitter. Sometimes I ask my Facebook friends.  Yesterday, I needed to know about herbal supplements and asked a friend from middle school who specializes in alternative medicine. She gave me the answer right away.

Midori owns an Audio Visual Company. Her philosophy is that, while she wants to provide her clients with the best AV solution, she also wants to be the first person that they call when they need to know where to buy tires. She wants to be a resource to them.

One of the key steps in becoming a resource (beyond knowing how to Google) is to know a lot of people and to get to know who they are and what they know. This involves listening and then tucking the information that you learn away for a rainy day.  It’s also important to help people without ever expecting anything in return. When you start to think about how you can provide solutions to people, you expand your thinking and discover resources that aren’t always obvious. As you build relationships, people start to see that you are helpful and come to you for advice. Eventually they will refer other people to you and hopefully, one day, they refer people that want to buy your product or service.

I never set out to be a resource. It happened because I learned early in my career that helping people is the best sales tool out there. It’s not hard to become a resource, but it does take a certain mindset. You have to be willing to do things for others without any personal gain.

So I ask, are you a resource? Would your clients agree?