If you take but one concept from this reading, this one alone will serve you well in achieving your goal of becoming a hero in the eyes of all you serve. It is the understanding of the differences between two related, but often misunderstood, words: give and earn.
I promise that if you can master this principle and leverage its power, you will succeed in virtually every facet of every relationship in your life, beyond your wildest imagination.
Wisdom: Throughout my career, I have tracked and calculated that the amount of success you will earn in any relationship is usually a minimum multiple of 10 times the amount you give away.
In other words, the more you give away, the more you will earn, at an ever-increasing rate.
Having spent my entire career in sales, I only wish someone would have clued me in to this fact thirty-five years ago. It is the closest thing I have found to approximate the natural law of relationships, akin to the laws of physics or nature.
The problem is that most people, including myself, really don’t take the time to consider the differences between the words earn and give, let alone the words give and take. We think about it even less when using them in the form of actions — earning vs. giving vs. taking.
Wisdom: We must be willing to fearlessly give to earn without considering what’s in it for us.
Stop! Re-read that sentence and let it sink in for a minute. I can hear you now. “Oh boy, is this guy nuts! If I give my product or services away, I will rapidly be out of business, with no clothes on my back or food on my table. You gotta be kidding me!”
Please don’t consider me Pollyanna-ish, naive or stupid. Test me. Where do you think the concept of the “free sample” is rooted, and why? Marketers and salesmen have recognized this principle since the dawn of time. It’s in everything from the car test drive and the new product sample in the grocery store, to the sign-up for the free 30-day trial with your credit card. The key is in what you choose to give away.
Let me share with you a true story of this principle in practice. I had been working unsuccessfully for several weeks to schedule a meeting with the VP of Sales of the largest professional employer organization (PEO) in the U.S. We’ll call him Marty.
Through chance, I received an email invitation from a client/friend (I view all clients as friends) and saw that Marty was scheduled to speak at a breakfast forum hosted by the Houston Technology Center on selling professional services. I registered, attended, and at the conclusion, made my way forward to introduce myself to Marty and exchange business cards. I kept our talk short and to-the-point, as there’s nothing worse than the post-session conversation monopolist — please don’t ever be one. I told Marty I would like to visit with him further, as I felt our thoughts were aligned in that selling is about helping other people get what they want, not just what they need. This entire initial meeting took no longer than one minute.
Marty gave me an hour on his calendar; we’d meet in two weeks. The purpose of this meeting was what most would call an initial “meet and greet.” I prefer to call them “show up and serve,” as I went to see if there were any areas where I could be of service, and to determine if Marty and his company’s services would be a good fit as a client.
Now, here’s where the power of always giving value first to earn more comes into play. I came prepared, as I do for all meetings, with the names of four of my clients I felt would be good candidates for Marty’s organization and had a need for their services. We had a great visit, as both of us were masters of consultative questioning skills.
In the last fifteen minutes of our scheduled hour, I shared with Marty my belief in the first pillar of heroic service, and that I had come prepared with the names of four clients. I asked for the name of his local salesperson with whom I could share this information. Guess what? Our hour expanded by thirty minutes.
First, Marty, again being a sales pro, asked me qualifying questions about the client companies — size, location, industry, ownership, etc. Then he whirled in his chair to his computer and gave me not just one name, but the names and contact numbers for four of his field sales representatives. I thanked him for his time and told him that as a next step, I would create some ideas about how I might be of service to his firm in light of their rapid growth, resource constraints and performance objectives.
After the meeting, I contacted Marty’s four sales reps and tracked my experiences and results in dealing with each sales rep as they questioned me and began to contact, qualify and meet with my clients.
I tracked and logged everything from timeliness and quality of responsiveness to follow-through with my clients. It took about three weeks for all four of the reps to make it through the process. During this time, I did not call Marty or his Executive Assistant to schedule our next meeting. Again, it is important toearn the opportunity to demonstrate value and not ask for it to be given. I would earn the next appointment with Marty through tangible results and findings.
Rather than calling or emailing to schedule a meeting, I prepared a brief but comprehensive email outlining the experiences of my interactions and follow-throughs with the four sales reps, along with a high-level assessment of their strengths to build upon and weaknesses to improve. In closing, I asked if he might have some time on his calendar to discuss some ideas I had formulated not only from this experience, but also from our first meeting.
Do you think I got the meeting? Oddly enough, I didn’t receive an email back from Marty! But I was copied on an email from him forwarding my note to his Executive Assistant, requesting that she coordinate calendars for me to meet with Marty as his guest at Redstone Country Club for lunch and golf, and then to attend the Houston Astros game that evening in the company box to meet some of his clients and sales team members.
The happy ending to this story is that two of the four referrals I’d provided in that initial “show up and serve” meeting actually became clients of Marty’s PEO. They have been thrilled with the value and the service, and I moved up another notch on the always-trying-to-help hero scale. At the same time, Marty and I forged a rewarding and mutually beneficial professional relationship and friendship.
Most people I have observed floundering and continuously failing in life and relationships are unwilling to give to earn, and are instead focused on someone giving them something, or worse, on taking business from a “sucker.” These people struggle in misery with a life’s-not-fair mindset as they desperately grovel in the pit of the relationship-challenged.
Whenever you want to establish a new relationship or deepen an existing one, do so intentionally with the heart of a proactive giver trusting in the power of the first pillar. Over time, you will earn more than you give. Don’t worry about the “takers.” The takers take care of themselves, and we’ll address how to discover them early on a little later.
Wisdom: Give a little to earn a lot.
Summary of First Pillar: Always Give First to Earn More
This is an excerpt from the first book “BREAKAWAY – The Secret of Limitless Selling Success: Heroic Service“.