Giving for a Living

Have you ever received an unexpected Christmas gift and felt awkward that you had not bought the other person a gift in return? Welcome to the world of deep psychology and something the docs call the “reciprocity principle.”  Psychologists have long known that the act of giving triggers a very powerful response from the person who receives the gift, that is, a natural impulse to level the emotional playing field by giving something in return. And this principle sits at the heart of all business relationships.

As salespeople, it is incumbent upon us to make the first “giving” move, by offering up something of value to the prospective buyer. We offer a product or service, the buyer pays for it, and the reciprocity cycle is completed. If only life were so simple.

In reality, before a transaction takes place, a relationship often needs to be developed, including countless opportunities to “give and take.” Savvy salespeople leverage the power of the reciprocity principle by giving all sorts of things . . . information, counseling, lunch or a drink . . . not only building rapport, but making sure that when the time comes for the buyer to make a transaction choice, the bank of good will the salesperson has built up is deep and rich.

We need to be alert for any and all opportunities, big and small, to give, give, give. It’s a natural part of the buyer/seller relationship, it’s fun, and it pays off, over time, as the reciprocity principle works its quiet magic. To be known in life as a “giver” is about as good as it gets.

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