Tip in Business – Give Before You Ask

While out doing some street shooting, two friends reminded me of my most valuable lesson in business–“Give Before You Ask.” I’m sure you’ve been approached by the same type of people that I have. These people contact you about how great their idea or company is and want your help promoting it. The only problem? You’ve never heard of these people, they’ve never championed your business or your product and now out of the blue they want your help with their product. Sometimes, they even have a win-win scenario that they’ll now promote your business. This never works in the long run. Even if we agree to help, our heart is never in it. Why? Because they didn’t invest in us first, it was all about them.

What Happened In This Photo?

My favorite form of photography is street photography. As my luck would have it, it’s also the least profitable form of photography. But, it’s fun and it’s what I love. I was out shooting with a friend and as I passed these two, the woman asked me for some change. Instead of some change I pulled out a dollar bill. My plan was to hand it over and keep walking. I don’t like “stealing” photos from homeless/street people. I feel like it steals a little bit of dignity. But when I handed over the dollar, when they were expecting change, their faces lit up and they started laughing–probably because they were drunk at noon on a Sunday. But still, they were happy. The guy held out his fist for a fist bump. It was fun, we had a moment of joy together. So, I simply asked, “can I take a picture?” “Sure man!” was their answer.

So, I took a few photos and showed them to the man and woman. She asked, so I handed over a couple bucks in thanks, because I knew that I just got a great photo. Now I could have taken a different photo. I could have easily bent down and taken a couple of photos and quickly walked off. They were drunk and sitting on the sidewalk, they probably would have just yelled a bit and let me go. But since I gave a little before I asked, I got something greater. I got a moment of joy, which many photographers don’t get in a similar situation. I didn’t get it because I just gave them a dollar. I got it because I also gave them human respect with a simple fist bump, a smile and some friendly banter.

What We’ve Been Doing For Years

Here’s what we’ve been doing for years at Fundy Software, Inc. It’s simple, it’s honest and it creates lasting relationships. We see companies and products that we like. We see people running companies that we respect. I’ll usually email them and ask, “hey, could we do a review on your product and stick it in our newsletter?”

We don’t ask for an “exchange.” We just offer. We do what we say when they send us their product or service. We give them a review and get their product in front of tens of thousands of photographers. Why do we do this? Because we like helping people who we like and respect. I think that’s a natural human trait.

What’s the result? More often than not, they offer to do the same for us. Or if a couple months later, we are promoting a product, they are quick to share that product with their customers. It’s human nature.

The Lesson?

The lesson is simple. The next time you see that awesome venue that you want to become a preferred vendor for, don’t just call up or visit and say, “how can I get on your preferred list?” Ask them, instead, “can I come take some photos for a review on my wedding blog of your venue, so I can show it off to my potential brides?” And when they say yes, you’ve most likely started a lasting relationship.