The most financially profitable way to do business is to shift your focus from getting to giving, and by developing a Go-Giver strategy, you’ll constantly provide value and good things will begin to happen.
Bob Burg is a salesman who has written a series of books about the Go-Giver, a parable about the principles behind the kind of success most sellers are hoping to achieve. Through encounters with a series of different people, the main character, Joe, discovers that his focus has been in the wrong place.
Giving too much
Giving means providing value to others. Though it’s typically not possible to provide too much value, begin by determining whether your focus on providing value will set you up to be taken advantage of. There are plenty of people who are takers and who focus only on themselves. They feel entitled to take without giving anything back.
If you’re providing value to someone like that, there’s a good chance things won’t work out. Realize, though, that there’s no natural connection between being a go-giver and being taken advantage of. Understand, too, that if you’re being taken advantage of, it isn’t because you’re too nice; it’s because you’re allowing it to happen.
Being a go-giver doesn’t mean being a martyr or a doormat. It simply means your focus is on bringing value to the marketplace and to others.
No one will buy from you because you need the money or you have a quota to meet. They’ll buy because they will be better off buying from you.
Focus on value
The only reason people should buy from you is because they’ll be better off after they do. That truth allows the salesperson or entrepreneur to focus on bringing immense value to the marketplace and to the prospect’s life. When that happens, the prospect will prosper greatly.
Money is simply an echo of value. Focus on the value rather than the money. Value comes first and the money you receive is a natural result of the value you provided.
Human nature is self-interested. It allows us to create more human beings.
Successful people deal in truth. They don’t deny inconvenient things, but rather they acknowledge truth and then work within it to make things better.
Start by acknowledging and understanding self-interest. Then put it aside with the understanding that we’re better off dealing with others when we suspend our self-interest. The other person is only going to buy because of their own needs.
Value without attachment
Although people often suggest you should give without expecting anything in return, Bob doesn’t exactly agree with that. Instead, give value without attachment to the result. We want people to expect good things. If you’re in business serving other people, you should expect to profit greatly because you’re bringing value to the marketplace. Just don’t be attached to that result.
Give value because it’s who you are and what you do. When that happens you create a benevolent context for success. You develop great relationships with people who feel good about you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you, and they want to be part of your business.
Develop an army of personal walking ambassadors who will refer business to you.
Imagine you decide at this point to change your ways. Start by asking who the people are in your network and what you can provide to them that will help them by bringing value to their lives. Then make a plan for meeting other people that you can develop know-like-and-trust relationships with.
We’re human beings and we’re different types of people. The reason the Go-Giver took off is because it allows you to be yourself. You can be the person who wants to bring value to the marketplace.
Most people choose a certain line of work because they believe in the mission. They believe in what they’re doing. We’re happy when we’re living congruently with our values.
Bob recalls his parents working to make people’s lives better. Then, when he started in sales, he found himself selling a product that offered great value, but he was focused largely on the sales process. Like Joe in the book, he was a seller who wasn’t living up to his potential.
He returned from a non-selling appointment one day to hear advice from a guy in his organization. The typically-silent guy told him that if he wanted to make a lot of money in business, he should establish a target outside of making money.
Target serving others, so that when you hit your target, you’ll get a reward in the form of money. Great salesmanship is about the other person and how he’ll benefit from your product or service.
Bob heard from a roofer during an economic crisis who recognized that his approach had been wrong. He was trying to save money during the downturn, but he realized that instead of trying to give the least he could for the money, he needed to focus on giving more value.
It didn’t necessarily mean spending more, but rather creating a better experience. His business took off as a result.
Technology has leveled off the playing field. We live in a commodity-based society which isn’t necessarily bad. It does mean that you must distinguish yourself. If you sell a widget that your customer can’t distinguish one from the other, it will always come down to price. If you sell on low price, you’re a commodity. If you sell on high value, you’re a resource.
There are likely hundreds of way to communicate value, but Bob boils it down to five elements of value.
To the degree that you can communicate these things to your customer, that’s the degree to which you take price and competition out of the picture.
Begin with leadership, and with a leader who is totally committed to making this part of the culture. Anyone can lead from anywhere but culture trickles down from the top. If the leader invests in this and gets buy-in from other leaders, it becomes part of the culture.
Bob Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller wrote a book called Everybody Matters in which he recalls running a profit-focused company. Though there is nothing wrong with profit, it must be sustainable, so it must be the result of the value you provide. Bob attended the wedding of his best friend’s daughter, and the father of the bride made a toast. He acknowledged that the groom was marrying a treasured daughter. Bob took that same concept to his business.
Barry-Wehmiller has thousands of employees, all of whom are someone’s treasured sons and daughters. When the economic downturn emerged, rather than lay off any one employee, they came together as a company and traded work days. They stopped putting into the company savings account until the crisis was over. The corporate family came together in a crunch.
Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines understood the concept and he restructured the organization to focus first on allowing employees to thrive, learn, grow, and have fun. His team had a higher sense of purpose in their jobs.
As a result, the team takes care of the customers and the customers take care of the shareholders.
Until you know there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, you’ll never take the steps to address it.
Be willing to shift your focus.
When Bob’s business partner sends a sales letter, he makes an effort to take the “I,” “me,” and “we,” out of the letter. We’re self-interested human beings and we write in terms of how great we are and how great the product is.
We aren’t denying self-interest. We’re acknowledging that you have to work at placing your focus on others.
“Developing A Go-Giver Strategy” episode resources
You can find Bob’s podcast, The Go-Giver Podcast, at his website. You can also grab samples chapters of his books before you buy them. Consider subscribing to his list to get a copy of a written resource called Endless Prospects.
The Go-Giver way teaches you to build relationships with solid step-by-step information.
Connect with me at email@example.com.
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