“I hate selling.”
It’s especially common among entrepreneurs: You start a business because you’re passionate about your product or service and want to make a difference. But you’d prefer clients just find you, because selling, in its traditional sense, can feel cheesy, manipulative, and inauthentic.
But what if you didn’t worry about the sale? What if you focused solely on adding value instead?
Such is the premise of Bob Burg & John David Mann’s bestselling book, The Go-Giver, and its follow-up, Go-Givers Sell More. In the first book, the authors share a story about a true go-getter: Joe works crazy hours and holds a “whatever it takes” attitude to make the sale. He hits a wall, however, and – with ulterior motives in mind – schedules a meeting with a hugely successful bigwig, Pindar.
Pindar volunteers to share his sales secrets with Joe over the course of a week. Instead of focusing on topics like how to close a deal, however, Pindar offers five Laws of Stratospheric Success:
- The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
- The Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
- The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
- The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
- The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
In a nutshell: Focus on giving.
The follow-up book takes these five laws and provides real-life examples, best practices, and solid ways to implement them into your own work.
Most of us know that success in life comes when we serve graciously, give generously, and focus on making the world a better place. The authors have done a great job reminding us that these same principles lead to success in business, too – in terms of satisfaction, morale, and revenue.
So how does one become a go-giver?
Listen more than speak.
Add value more than promote your product – which sometimes means saying, “I know someone else who can better help you.”
Above all, remember: It’s not about you. It’s not even about your product or service. When you make it about you, you’ll struggle.
Then what is it about? According to Burg & Mann:
"It’s about adding value to the other person’s life. Your product may be one vehicle for doing that, one among dozens. Yet a person may never actually buy your product and still have his life changed by meeting you and getting to know you. And that person – even though he never actually becomes a 'customer' – will refer many others to you."
I first read The Go-Giver several years ago and implemented a practice that I encourage you to adopt: Do a go-giver activity first thing each morning. Send a card to someone, just to let her know you’re thinking of her. Leave a voicemail for a colleague wishing him a great day. Mail a newspaper clipping to a local businessperson recently highlighted. Write an unexpected testimonial.
There are so many meaningful ways to become a go-giver, and it’s a great opportunity for each of us to change the world for the better. Read these two books for additional inspiration, then put your go-giver actions to work!
Dr. Christi Hegstad develops strong, confident leaders who make a meaningful difference. Learn more about her coaching work at www.meaning-and-purpose.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MAPIncFan, and via Twitter at www.twitter.com/DrChristiCoach.
The Go-Giver (2007) and Go-Givers Sell More (2010) were published by The Penguin Group.
In addition to those that I offered, what other simple actions might make someone’s day? Share your ideas below!