Social responsibility: Doing good is good for business

Sales are always driven by the person as well as the product. Successful brokers and agents have the ability to connect with clients in a way that fosters trust, confidence and security. They also understand that building a business requires more than sales skills – it involves a commitment to networking and to building a first-class reputation.  

Today, consumers are increasingly inclined to do business with companies and individuals who share their values. Enter a new way of networking – social responsibility – which does not involve shaking hands at city council meetings or joining local clubs. Instead, it involves bonding with your community and demonstrating a sustained spirit of caring through giving back in ways that reflect your company’s overall business.

If you feel you are too busy at the moment building your business and do not have time to become involved in your community, please think again. It might help to know that doing good can contribute to a reputational – and financial – return. Social responsibility is an enormous differentiator for today’s consumers when it comes to deciding if they want to do business with you. Consider these statistics:

  • 87 percent of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about.
  • More than half of consumers are willing to drive somewhat farther and pay slightly more to shop at a store viewed as socially responsible.
  • 92 percent of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company when the company supports a social or environmental issue.
  • 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
  • 52 percent of consumers say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company.

So, how does one get started with giving back? The good news is that there is something for every comfort zone:

  • Are sports an interest? Try influencing up-and-coming athletes through coaching or mentoring.
  • Do you share an affinity for the elderly? Visit a senior center to help with the facility’s needs.
  • Is the health of the environment a passion? Volunteer with a group organizing community cleanup – or even coordinate your own.
  • And most all, charities and causes can use financial support.

As a pioneer in cancer insurance, for example, Aflac is passionate about the treatment and cure of childhood cancer, which has become our primary philanthropic cause. In fact, sales agents licensed to sell Aflac products have joined in this movement to the tune of donating more than $500,000 each month from their commission checks. It is a natural fit that enables them to help the community while being able to relate that goodwill in a way that is relevant to the business. Since Aflac has been involved with this effort for more than 20 years, it is sustainable.

In the case of social responsibility, however, it is important to note that patience is indeed a virtue. It is not a “quick win” strategy and must be authentic to have any chance of influencing business in a meaningful way. Certainly, attracting consumers and potential investors is a priority, but giving back must be grounded in an honest attempt at solving a societal challenge for it to have a chance to succeed. More likely, you will experience gradual results, but the rewards you reap personally and professionally along the way will make the initiative worthwhile for you, your business and your community.

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