Derek Sivers

from the book “Anything You Want”:

You can afford to be generous

2014-07-04

Your business is secure. Even if it’s not, you have to feel that it is.

Money is coming your way. You are doing well. You are one of the lucky ones.

Most are not so fortunate. You can afford to be generous.

All great service comes from this feeling of generosity and abundance.

Think of all the examples of great service you’ve encountered: free refills of coffee, letting you use the toilets even if you’re not a customer, extra milk and sugar if you need it, and an employee that spends a whole hour with you to answer all your questions.

Contrast those with all of the bad experiences you’ve had: not letting you use the toilets without making a purchase, charging an additional 25 cents for extra sauce, and salespeople who don’t give you a minute of their time because you don’t look like big money.

All bad service comes from a mindset of scarcity. They act like they’ll go out of business if they don’t fiercely guard their bottom line. The short-term thinking of desperate survival blocks the long-term thinking of smart strategy.

If you really feel secure and abundant — that you have plenty to share — then this feeling of generosity will flow down into all of your interactions with customers.

Give refunds. Give them attention. Take a little loss. You can afford it.

Of course it’s also just smart business. Losing 25 cents on extra sauce can mean winning the loyalty of a customer who will spend $1000 with you over the next ten years, and tell twenty friends that you’re awesome.