Are You a Selfless Giver?

Are You A Selfless Giver?

In the book Give and Take, Adam Grant takes on the fallacy that generosity is to be feared and discouraged in the work place.

He posits that being a Giver is a natural lubricant to business and connections.

In his book he sets about testing some theories about Givers, Takers, and Matchers. Givers are generous and like to give, Takers like to receive, and Matchers like to make sure they're getting an equal exchange.

What Grant found in his own research and that of others is that, across the board, Givers outperform Takers and Matchers in performance at work, in sales, and in influence.

Givers also underperformed Takers and Matchers. It worked out this way:

1 - Givers 2 - Matchers 3 - Takers 4 - Givers

Yes, Givers are there twice. And why?

The bottom performers were SELFLESS GIVERS. The top performers were Givers who took their own self-interest into account when interacting with others. Grant calls these folks "OTHER-ISH" Givers. They care about helping others, and they care about helping themselves.

These high performing Givers are "Both ... And" kind of people. They consistently look for solutions that are a win for everyone involved. As effective problem-solvers, they become sought after as colleagues, referral partners, and employees.

So what does being an "OTHER-ISH" Giver have to do with Selling?

According to Grant's research, "Other-ish" Givers look for solutions that work for all parties involved. They use their head AND their heart. They maintain a balance of interest and don't exhaust themselves by giving too much and receiving nothing in return.

In sales, these Other-ish Givers naturally do consultative selling. They ask questions, they are curious, they always look for ways to help. And they are willing to be rewarded for their efforts and abilities.

My charge to you this week is to look at where you are being exclusively focused on the benefits to the other person in a sales conversation. Look to see whether you are giving away too much.

Ask yourself,

"If I could create a win-win situation for everyone involved in this conversation, what would that look like?"

"Am I resisting being rewarded in this situation?"

"Am I afraid that I'll be a low-performing Taker if I include my interests in the sales conversation?"

I hope you can tell that I'm not advocating at all that you become a manipulative dominator when you are talking to someone about working with you.

Instead, I ask that you take your own interests into account when you're sharing your work with someone.  Ask yourself,

"Would I like to have this person as my client/customer?"

"Have I found out if s/he has an urgent want for my product or services?"

"Does s/he have the financial resources to invest in working with me?" (Hint: If s/he can't pay her rent this month, the answer is "no". If s/he has the basics covered, and investing might be a stretch, talk about how your work can help her/him make changes s/he wants to make. You're talking to the right person.)

Let your mind return to these questions over the next few weeks:

"Am I in the picture when I offer my products or services to others?"

"Can I let myself receive in this transaction?"

"If I refuse to receive, what is the cost to me, my energy, my life, and ultimately, my clients/customers?"

Yes, dear Reader, you now have permission to consider yourself and your needs in the process of enrolling clients. If you’re a Giver, I know it’s a stretch, but remember, that stretch can take you to your best performance and help you fulfill your desire to be of service to others.

Let me know what you find out and whether knowing about being an "Other-ish" Giver makes a difference in how your sales go.