Sunday, March 25, 2018

Givers or takers - who wins in life?

Givers or takers – who wins in life?

Tim Connor

At first glance you might assume that takers do better in life, get more and achieve greater success and even wealth than givers.  However, depending on how you want to define these four outcomes consider; givers live longer, are healthier, impact others in a more positive and lasting way, get sick less and have greater inner peace and happiness and takers have the opposites of all of these.

So, let me ask you – if you could choose which of the above group you would be in as you go through your life and its years and circumstances – what’s your decision?

Well, maybe you need a little more information before you decide – OK consider the following.  Let’s look at three major life areas – careers, relationships and longevity.  Sorry I’m not including money as I have learned that most of you know or have learned that money can buy travel, stuff, position, power, influence and convenience but it can’t buy longer life happiness, health and spiritual contentment.  I know, we could argue these points for hours, but let’s save that for another time, for now - I just want to stick with the title - who over time wins in life – givers or takers?

First let’s define each of these two groups;

Takers – it’s all about them – what they have, what they get, what you owe them, what they deserve, their position in line, they shouldn’t have to wait for anything, they were put on this earth for you to serve them, they are always right, their time and agendas are more important than yours – had enough or should I go on?  OK, they don’t have to say thank you or show appreciation, their goals, needs and desires are all that matters.  Before I leave this group – one thing I have learned is that takers don’t see themselves as takers – they actually see themselves as givers because their self-definition is – I am – kind-hearted, caring and thoughtful – sorry folks that ain’t you and not even close.

OK, how about givers – they tend to put others first, they sacrifice time, effort and even possessions when others are in need.  They don’t judge who deserves what, when, where or how – they give of their time, their effort, their care and their compassion even to strangers.  They don’t judge, blame or get even.  They don’t keep score and they always show appreciation even in the smallest ways.  These folks according to research get sick less, live longer, are happier and have greater inner peace.  You might ask – can givers be wealthy?  The difference between givers and takers is not money.  There are poor takers and extremely wealthy givers.  Money is not the measuring stick between these two groups.  The one thing that separates them is their life outlook.

For givers life is about service, sacrifice, sharing and leaving a legacy of love.  For takers it’s what I have, what I deserve, what you owe me (again not talking here about money) and what I can control.

Takers in business tend over time to lose respect, loyalty and even staying power.  Takers in relationships tend to over time spend more time alone.  Conversely givers tend to have more real friends, not just acquaintances, better and happier relationships and more satisfying careers.  Takers tend to have more conflict and tension in their lives while givers enjoy greater peace and contentment, even solitude.

During my life and global travels I have known many people in both camps including clients, friends, relatives, customers, employees and neighbors.  Recently I decided to consider who of all of these people I have known have had the greatest influence on my life and its circumstances and outcomes – the givers I have known or the takers.  Got a guess who have had the greatest positive influence and the greatest negative influence?

Well, if you’re not sure – the givers have helped me the most and the takers have taught me who to avoid – a lot more but it’s kinda personal.

How about you – first of all do you see yourself as a giver or a taker?  If you asked several people who would be honest with you which group they would put you in – what would most of them or even all of them say?

Which group do you tend to have in your inner circle?  Which group do you tend to get along best with? Which group have helped you the most or taught you the most? Which group do you tend to spend the most time with? Which group have you tended to attract into your life?

Enough with the questions – let me close with a recommendation.  Years ago, I read a great book by Evatt called – Givers and Takers.  Let me summarize one of the key premises.

Givers tend to attract takers into their life because they need people to give to.  Takers tend to attract givers because they need people who will give to them.  The worst relationships are two takers, a taker working for a taker, a taker buying from a taker and/or a taker married to a taker - got it?  Why – because they never get what they want no matter how hard they keep trying. The best relationships are two givers – two spouses that are givers, two friends that are givers, a giver employee working for a giver boss and why?  Because they both get what they want or need but it’s not because they ask for it, deserve it or want it but because they both give to give not to get.

So – are you a giver or a taker?  No – not what you think you are because it’s how you want others to define you – what are you really?  If you are a taker – got the courage to admit it?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Selling and The Four Agreements

Selling and the four agreements.

Tim Connor

Before I get started, if you have never read the best-selling book, The Four Agreements by M. Ruiz, I urge you to buy it today and spend the next few days devouring his very wise counsel.  Off all the books I have read during my life this is still one of my all-time favorites.  So, what do the four agreements have to do with selling?  First the four agreements are;

-Be impeccable with your word.

-Make no assumptions.

-Take nothing personal.

-Always do your best.

Let’s look at what these simple concepts (they may be simple, but they can have a profound impact on the quality of your life) have to do with selling as a career.

-Be impeccable with your word. Essentially this agreement deals with the integrity of your word or what you say, how you say it and when you say it.  When you lack this integrity, you will tend to say what you feel is in the best interests of your ego or your need to succeed, look good to others or even be accepted by others.  Selling is not about words but building and maintaining trust and when your words lack integrity or authenticity you will tend to send mixed and even wrong messages to others. Not a great way to succeed in any profession – especially sales.

It is often difficult to always be impeccable with your word as we all have a variety of agendas, needs and desires we want satisfied or filled. There are also numerous situations and circumstances that can be totally out of our control, like; distribution, finance department, customer service, product quality etc.  But if you want to maintain relationships grounded in trust this agreement is the foundation of all four agreements.

-Make no assumptions.  We all make assumptions.  We make them to satisfy our own fears, needs, objectives or agendas.  An assumption is nothing more than an expectation of what you feel will happen, should happen, you need to happen, is happening or happened from your own very personal and yes prejudiced perspectives.

When you make an assumption and you act accordingly you will set yourself and your client and customer up for frustration, disappointment and often regret and even disloyalty.

When you assume your prospect likes your product or service because they said so and you don’t follow-up with affirming questions you are assuming they are telling you the truth or the whole story.  When you assume that someone is not interested in your product or service because they are difficult to connect with, again you are assuming something that may be true but is not grounded in evidence but a guess on your part.  If you assume a client is happy with their purchase because they don’t tell you otherwise, this is a setup for disaster. Making assumptions in selling are a recipe for personal failure.

-Take nothing personal. We all have egos and we all have needs and expectations about how others should treat us, respond to us or communicate with us.  It’s common for someone to take a simple comment, email or even text message from another person in the wrong way or even be hurt by something that was communicated that was not meant or given with a hurtful intention but was interpreted in that way.  We take things personal because we want and yes, many people even crave, acceptance by others.  As a result, we tend to avoid people who we feel do not respect or honor us and our experience, knowledge or even our just being alive.

In sales taking things that others do, personally, will cause you to spend a great deal of personal time reflecting on your weaknesses, failures, problems or inadequacies.  Everyone has a right to their own opinions, interpretations or assumptions about you but keep in mind just because they have them doesn’t mean they are right or even a close description of us.  One of the major areas where these impacts salespeople is in the area of rejection.  When you are rejected the general first response is to take it personal.  This is a mistake.  Yes, the person may be rejecting you, but the point is, this rejection is coming from their frame of reference or their reality or impression about you and not the reality – who you really are.  To take others actions or words personally is to give them power over you - who you are, what you believe, how you behave etc.   

-Always do your best. Doing your best is often a function of a variety of factors.  If you are tired, stressed out, living in discouragement or are fearful of some situation - these mindsets will influence your ability to do your best.  If you feel insecure or you have low self-esteem you will tend to not do your best.  If you have a need to please others more than please yourself – you will tend not to do your best.  Doing your best doesn’t mean perfection or even doing it right or according to someone’s else’s expectations, needs or agendas - it means simply doing the best you can with what you have, know or believe.  Doing your best today doesn’t mean you won’t do it better tomorrow and doing your best doesn’t mean that what you do will always please others but doing your best allows you to look in the mirror and smile and say to yourself – I did my best - and mean it.

Doing your best in sales simply means that you always perform as well as you can regardless of how new you are to the profession, how much disappointment or previous failure you have experienced and always giving the best you can to every prospect and client.  If you haven’t read it - read it.