Paying It Forward


Wowing prospective clients with products and services that go above and beyond

Every business—big or small—has competitors. That means to attract new clients and make them repeat customers, we need to offer them something special. A discount may not do the trick though—anyone can do that—it needs to be something more personal, that elusive je ne sais quoi. What is that ‘certain something’?

In the movie “Pay it Forward”, 11-year old Trevor turns a school assignment into a movement of good deeds. After helping a stranger or a friend, he asks them to “pay the favour forward” to someone else; starting off a positive ‘what goes around, comes around’.

The same can be said for our potential customers. Make yourself noticed, impress them but be genuine instead of grandstanding. Be nice to people, whether they plan to use your service or not. You never know when they might come around or whom they know, and then you will be rewarded with loyal customers.

The “certain something” you offer varies from business to businessbut there are common factors that are generally effective.

  • Be truthful. Diplomacy, politeness and honesty are valued traits. Do not over-embellish on something you cannot offer [yet]; stick to the facts. If you are unable to provide a particular product or service, say so, then offer a possible solution; either one you can devise or refer someone you know can do it. Both the prospect and the other business will be grateful.
  • Show passion. Sure, you enjoy what you do, that’s why you’re doing this, isn’t it? But does your passion come across? Show your excitement about your product or service, emphasise what you can offer and most importantly how it can benefit your prospect; customers want to know their “what’s in it for me”. Passion is contagious as long as it is not creepy (like Tom-Cruise-jumping-on-the-couch about his then new lady Katie Holmes) and people will “want some of what she’s having”.
  • Know your stuff. Really well. Impress the pants off your prospects by showing just how much you know about your product/service, and how it can help them. Relevant examples help, e.g. how much time, hassle or money they can save by using your gadget or service.
  • Be compassionate. Avoid the hard-sell; instead, allow your prospect to tell you how you can help them. A-larger-than-life presenter I heard, reminded his audience of the simple opening phrase: “How can I help you?” What is it your prospect needs? What are they having trouble with? Relate directly to their needs and how you can help fill or fix their needs or challenges.

Be true to yourself; honesty and compassion usually win and if you are faking it, the truth will come out in the end. Just ask Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong.

“Pay it Forward” – the movie,
“In praise of the Purple Cow”,
“4 Ways To Wow Your Customers With Excellent Customer Service”,
“12 Ways to wow your customers”,
“Customer Service guide – How to impress your clients”,

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE coworking space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new startups.  Contact her at:, on Facebook and on Twitter

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