Not long ago, I received a question from a reader that is definitely something valid to discuss.
The reader wondered if it would be wise to make a charitable contribution to a charity that a prospective client was heavily involved with.
Would this be viewed as a thinly-veiled attempt to gain favor with the client?
The question made me think back to my days of selling in New York City, where there are many charities and non-profit organizations that are always in need of additional contributions.
I would get asked to contribute sometimes, and other times I would just notice that a client was involved in a particular charity.
My two-fold answer really is quite simple:
Ask yourself if the cause or organization is one you would have supported regardless of whether you ever knew about the prospective client. In other words, does the charity’s mission align with your values and beliefs and does it stir in you a genuine desire to give? This is key, because it brings to the forefront the motive of your heart.
Ask yourself if the amount you are looking to contribute is reasonable considering your own financial situation. If you are considering making a contribution that is beyond what your personal budget can really handle, then you possibly are doing it more so to try to catch the attention of the prospective client — rather than simply to give to help the cause.
If you can in good integrity hold yourself up against these two barometers and feel secure that your motive is pure, then I see no reason why you couldn’t contribute to the charity or non-profit.
More often than not, you know your heart better than anyone else — and you know if you are considering a donation for the right reasons.
And if you arrive at a place where you decide not to donate, don’t waste time second guessing yourself on this. Yes, it might take longer to close business with the prospect, but in the end, they will respect you far more.
The flip side, of course, is that if they discover you will give just to try to win the business, they may hit you up for a lot more money!
You can see why if you compromise on your integrity, it could cost you in multiple ways!
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.