Is it better to give than to receive in sales? Wait, isn’t sales all about making money? Well, yes and no. The core function of a salesperson is to generate revenue for their employer. But as we discussed in When Self-Interest is Good, how you go about achieving it will determine your long-term success. Here are three ways having a giving attitude will increase your sales:
Why it’s Better to Give than to Receive #1: Giving always precedes receiving
Have you ever been in a one-sided friendship? Chances are that if you have, it didn’t last. The same principle applies to business relationships, and every customer that buys from you is in a relationship with you and your company. If you ever hope to create a lasting sales career, you must understand that you must give in order to receive. On the first phone call, you offer to provide information (not about your products, but industry trends that will affect their business). In the first meeting, you buy them lunch/coffee. You give them your full attention and compliments for their career accomplishments. When they buy, your company gives them more value than they paid in price.
Why it’s Better to Give than to Receive #2: A sale only occurs when value is greater than price
When making a purchase decision, the key consideration people and businesses make is the Return On Investment (ROI). If there isn’t a strong case that they will make more money (sometimes in saved time or lower risk), there will be no sale. When I sold online marketing services, I would demonstrate to some of my prospects that a $2,000 investment would bring in around $20,000 of revenue. Was this an unfair exchange? Of course not! I profited from the transaction, but they profited more!
Why it’s Better to Give than to Receive #3: Giving obliges giving back
We’ve all encountered desperate salespeople. Nothing is more off-putting than self-interest, where all they can think about is their next sale. Successful salespeople on the other hand, are not thinking about their commissions, but the value their clients will receive from solving their problems. When we bring value to others, they feel obliged to give back. Note that there is a subtle but significant difference between being obliged and being obligated. Being obligated is giving under compulsion (usually by an external influence such as the law). Being obliged is giving out of free will and gratitude.
There is a caveat to this rule: as the giver we must give without expectation of return. Buying a prospect coffee does not obligate them to buy from you. The reality is that many will not reciprocate, but some most definitely will.
Being an Integrity Salesperson requires a giving mindset, and it is assuring to know that it’s not just the right thing to do morally, but that it is the path to long-term success in sales. Let’s remember that giving precedes receiving, a sale only occurs when value is greater than price, and giving obliges giving back.
For more information on this topic, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.
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