The other day I posted about "harvesting" e-mail addresses off forwarded e-mails. It’s hard to to resist taking the short cuts sometimes. So let’s talk about how to ethically market our business to prosper the bottom line.
I’ve belonged to a Leads Club for several years now. We invite visitors to attend two of our meetings before being asked to make a decision to join. Why do we do this? We want to make sure you’re a good fit for our membership. So my question to you is, are you serious about joining our chapter (good ethics), or are you visiting as many structured networking groups for the maximum amount of times just for the contacts (unethical behavior)?
Collecting Business Cards
At any given networking event there will be a networking table for attendees to place their business cards and brochures. Do you peruse the table looking for people you’d like to meet (ethical)? Or do you just grab all the cards possible to load into your database (questionable)?
If you collect all the cards and incorporate them into your database, you shouldn’t be at all surprised if one of the contacts busts you on who you are and why are you sending your e-mails to them. According to the CanSpam act, they should have a reasonable expectation that they’ll receive info from you if they’ve had a conversation with you. Collecting all the business cards just for the contact info is the same as collecting e-mails off the forwarded e-mail, unethical.
Asking For Help
I’m the techno geek at my networking events. I’m the one who talks about blogging, podcasting, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, RSS, Syndicating Your Content, etc. I’ve been on the cutting edge for a couple of years now, blogging since 2005 and working hard to learn all I can about leveraging a business on the Internet. I can’t tell you how many times someone, out of the blue, comes to me to ask if they can buy me a cup of coffee and "pick my brains."
Do you have respect for your fellow business owners? Do you value their knowledge and what it’s taken them to gain the knowledge they have? And you want them to sit down with you and share it all?
Rather than ask to "pick my brain" (questionable ethics), why not ask me if I have info on my website that you could read and bone up on before asking me questions (ethical). That would show me that you were interested in furthering your knowledge by doing some of the leg work first, not just looking for the easy way to gain your info. I’d respect you more, if I were asked about a specific tool, task or strategy and not asked to share from A to Z.
Making An Introduction
Just last week I met a woman for the first time. It’s always been my practice to behave as a host. So I asked her who she was and what she did. She was happy to share everything about her business, including asking me if I could see how her business would benefit me. At the end of her conversation, she simply walked away, without asking me my name or what my business was. Do you think I’m interested in pursuing a business relationship with her? I’m betting she’s one of the "one hit wonders" that visits networking groups to the max before moving on to the next group.
Just How Long Can You Do That?
You may think your behavior goes unnoticed. I assure you, it doesn’t. Think about how you conduct yourself when you’re out in the business community. Do you really want to work at your networking relationships and building your business ethically, or are you out for the quick sale?
These are tough times. If you choose the short, unethical route it will only be a matter of time before you’ve destroyed any chance you have of prospering your business. I urge you to resist the shortcut, quick sale, and take the time to grow your business relationships. It’s more prosperous in the long run.
Blog Talk Radio is hosting a 12 hour talkathon.Blog Talk Radio’s Blog Action Day programming. You can follow the link and listen in right online while you work. Cool!!
So, how do you view ethics in the small business community? How has someone’s lack of, or example of ethical behavior affected you? Please feel free to share by commenting.