aka how to build a win:win BD ‘system’
Pay-off: a reminder on getting balance in the world of BD/sales
Investment: 4 minutes
Meet the ‘takers’
No one likes a pushy person do they?
Our radar is always on for people who are out for themselves, or as Adam Grant refers to them in his excellent book ‘Give and Take’, ‘Takers’.
You’ll know the ’takers’ around you. You’ve done a few rounds with them in your time haven’t you? (We should have a minute’s silence for their ‘victims’). These self-serving people often seem to do ok taking care of number one – and Adam Grant’s research says they do often fall into a ‘successful’ category. But not the most successful category (and perhaps surprisingly neither do the ‘givers’ at the other end of the spectrum, so read on to find out who actually is the most ‘successful’!)
And besides, surely deep down it’s pretty lonely and miserable being a ‘taker’? (And, they always end up dying in disaster movies).
Takers take away trust
Let’s look at some of the downsides of being a taker. Adam Grant’s research points to the inevitable fact that ‘takers’ often have to work much harder as they chew through their network quickly, ripping people off, creating situations where they win, and you lose and eroding trust. And since people take such a disliking to such behaviour, it doesn’t take long for news of the taker’s distrust to go viral – at least locally.
And so they have to keep running on the permanently inclined treadmill finding new contacts to temporarily win over, then screw over, rather than leveraging any good efforts to pump trust through their network so it can work it’s magic.
These people are typically high on the materialism and low on the authentic social skills. (They have to make friends with shiny objects because other people won’t have them.)
You might think that ‘takers’ are usually dominant types, and many are. But I’ve met many quiet ‘takers’ too. And some transform from reserved to dominant (see ‘White, Walter’). (And then probably back to reserved again once they get caught out.)
Introverts, extroverts, it doesn’t matter, some people just aren’t wired up to ‘give’ and contribute more than they have to. But they love to take. It is what it is.
If you’re a taker, think about the ’system’ you’re creating.
How well is your ‘system’ working for you?
Or how much are you having to work for it? (is your system gradually and increasingly doing the work, or are you having to run like mad to get anywhere?)
You could choose to build a system based on trust, care for your chosen market, exceptional work, and positive emotions, and you’ll find that developing business becomes easier.
But what if you’re too far the other way? What if you keep giving too much?
Meet the ‘givers’
What about the ‘givers’ who hate to ‘take’ so much that they end up giving away too many freebies, too much time, and discounting too heavily? The professional service firms I work with have a fair few of these kind ‘givers’. They’re nice people of course. But unfortunately they often don’t realise that they’re giving away a sustainable relationship. They’re giving away a part of the very system they need to create. They’re giving away theirs and their clients longer term success!
By forcing a short term win:lose (or in their mind perhaps a “win:lose-for-now-but-hopefully-they’ll-buy-from-me-later”) they may feel good in the moment, but they instantly tip the scales to potentially put themselves out of the game not long after.
If you really care about giving and want to give long term to your clients, you have to build a sustainable system that keeps you strong enough to keep giving.
So don’t be afraid to help others understand that too. “I’m sure you’ll understand Mr client, that if I lean too much this way, both me, my business/career and any longer term value we could provide you with will probably all fall over before long..” is a statement you could say with a polite smile (to encourage their understanding) that a smart person should surely respond well to?
The only way you’re going to keep giving and maximising value, is if you can remain in a strong enough position to do so.
Meet the most successful
Now, I’ll wrap up in just a second but I promised to share Adam Grant’s findings on who is more successful than the takers. It’s not the givers, they are actually less ‘successful’ (keep in mind the likely criteria used for this). But he found that there’s a second type of giver who are more successful than the takers.
And yes, it’s the givers who create a situation where they give for a win:win. Rather than just giving for a win:lose. Not really ground breaking stuff, but my suggestion is to zoom out, and question your system. Are you creating formal arrangements where you can keep giving whilst also feeding the system to become stronger?
A win/lose = lose.
A lose/win = lose.
A lose/lose = lose.
The only real win in BD is a win/win.