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Professional Favors: To Do or Not to Do

Tuesday Tree Talk with Joe Samnik

What about those professional favors? Do you see the value in those?

I enjoy reading posts from a few select authors on LinkedIn. One of those authors is Lisa Stambaugh, a content writer, who has a legion of informed and intelligent posters.  She is like Susan Rooks, the Grammar Goddess, in that both remind me how very much I do not know.  It’s worse than that. I read their posts and subsequent comments from a veiled position in my library so that no one can see me.

Recently Lisa posted a question regarding favors. She asked her readers how they conduct themselves when asked for personal or professional advice. There were a great many responses, although mine was not one of them.

But it’s a great question. And being in the plant business, I get requests from important and powerful people, such as attorneys or high-profile developers in the marketplace regarding, principally, why their flowers or their spouse’s flowers are not blooming.

The answer typically goes down many rabbit holes. But the question du jour seems to be: What type of client is asking for the favor?  And that, it seems to me, helps me give the appropriate response.

And when a client asks me to solve a plant problem, I go full-in with the answer.

I take soil and tissue tests of the subject plant. I go to their homes and take pictures. I carefully analyze laboratory results.  I provide them with a full-blown report complete with the analysis and the answer to their problems.

What an incredible marketing opportunity we all have when asked to render a favor regarding our area of expertise! You cannot buy that type of marketing exposure.

The most memorable result I obtained from providing a diagnosis as to why an attorney’s fruit trees would not bloom was evidenced at a seminar for attorneys that I attended.  Midway through the presentation, with no warning or segue, the speaker, who had asked a favor of me, gave a testimonial that could have been printed in a marketing magazine. It ended with something like, “If you ever have a plant problem or an issue with trees, be sure to see Joe.”  There’s no way I could’ve paid for that endorsement. The limbs of his fruit trees were cracking from the weight of the new produce hanging thereon, which he learned after my involvement and advice at no charge.  A favor.

For me, in my little niche of the marketplace, being asked for advice is a red-letter day. I have just been given an opportunity to market myself in a way that money could not buy. And I perform as if it were the most important assignment of my career. It may well be just that.

Susan Rooks and Lisa Stambaugh provide examples of free favors in their posts as well. I have this perspicacious notion that they do very well in their chosen professions.

The articles presented here do not make any legal recommendations or representations, as the author is not qualified to do so. These articles are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Seek the advice of a qualified attorney regarding questions of law.

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