Recently, someone I know offered 2 hours of her time for free, to help a varied group of individuals with their own business plans.

She arrived promptly at all manner of chosen locations and disseminated 2 hours’ worth of her own valuable experience and skills to help these people in growing their own businesses. A couple of them bought her a coffee; a couple didn’t even offer a glass of water. At the end of each session, she agreed objectives and suggested next steps.

This friend of mine is highly experienced in her sector. She is also running her own, fairly new Consultancy in this sector and as you would imagine, part of her thinking in offering her services was to create new potential opportunities of referral for example, for her own growing business.

To date, she has received 2 LinkedIn recommendations but no other follow up, not even a cursory ‘Thank you’ email.

What does this tell us?

You may think my friend was foolish or you may believe that it was a generous offer that could work for both parties.

What it does tell us is how we can and should value our own services. I was at a Networking breakfast yesterday where it was unequivocally agreed that creating and maintaining customer loyalty is about ‘added value’ and not offering random discounts, nor your services ‘free of charge’. It’s about creating and sticking to your own boundaries and asking your customers to respect that your time, just like theirs, is money.

As a Recruiter, my ‘added value’ menu includes the following:

  • helping candidates to re-write their CV
  • sitting in on first interviews with a client
  • putting together an employment contract
  • doing an interview skills session with a candidate

These are my value propositions and are fundamental to increasing my own brand loyalty and spreading the word about ‘The Bijou Difference’.