We are givers in Sales.
We give and give and give in the hopes that at the end of the sales process, we get what we want – which is the sign contract and commission. The problem is we tend to give a bunch of stuff away without really getting much in return along the way. When this happens, we’re actually conditioning the prospect to treat us like a doormat. We’re conditioning them to think they can get whatever they want without having to do anything for it. This is why at the end of the sales process they sometimes don’t even give us the courtesy of a call back.
This conditioning and resulting actions by the prospects are, to a certain degree, based on respect and what one of my mentors (Jeff Hoffman) calls your Social Value. Think about the relationships you have in your personal lives. The ones that are more equal are the ones you’re closer to and you have more respect for, which usually dictates how to interact with them. It’s the same way with clients. If there is a significant inequality to the relationship, they don’t respect us and they will treat us accordingly.
There is a human condition that helps us understand and address this and is described by some as the “Rule of Reciprocity.”
This rule effectively states that as humans we are all bound, even driven, to repay debts. Most of us don’t like owing anyone anything, regardless of how small. However, the longer we wait to repay that debt the less likely it is to happen. On the other hand, the longer we wait to ask for something in return for what we’re giving away, the harder it is to get.
There is a direct relationship to the length of time it takes to get something in return for what you’re giving away and the likelihood of us getting it. This is why when we give a bunch of stuff away throughout the sales process and wait until the end to get something in return, the client doesn’t remember all the stuff we did or what they “owe” us.
How do we fix this and create more of an equal relationship with our prospects throughout the sales process?
Just make sure you never give something away without getting something in return for it, no matter how small it might seem. Get a scheduled meeting, direct dial or cell phone number for giving away information. Get an NDA for giving a demo. Get a testimonial in return for a discount.
There are tons of things we can and should be asking for throughout the sales process. List them out and ask for them early and often to build up your Social Value.
Make it happen!