The Secret to Getting is…

The Secret to Getting…giving first.

Don’t think December and the holidays have overrun the desire for profit.

But there’s a phenomenon in business about getting after giving. I’m trying to figure it out, beyond altruism and feeling good.

Yes, this phenomenon is the reason permission based marketing exists. But opting-in doesn’t fully explain the reciprocal behavior.

Maybe the idea of giving first to get something has some anthropological connection. That deep in our DNA we’re programmed to recognize worthiness in one another.

What if those who are strong enough, wealthy enough, or willing enough to give first, are the most worthy to receive in return? (strong, wealthy and willing can mean many things, they’re not limited to material wealth.)

What if we unconsciously recognize this in our herd mentality? Give first and you’ll be recognized as worthy when it’s time to receive the candy canes.

Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive anything. But this phenomenon definitely occurs in business, as it does in life.

And in business, isn’t this what salespeople and marketers are fighting for? To have customers and prospects give their attention, interest and commitment. Which is why permission based marketing is so powerful.

How it Works in the Real World

Imagine this, you’re trying to sell something, or get a peer to do something for you. In the course of trying to reach very busy people, you leave emails and voice mails.

In some cases (most?)  you don’t get a return call or email. And these may be friends or customers you’ve known for years.

But still, no return contact.

You can understand.

Their Blackberries are bloated. Their voice mail box is maxed. They’ll never use all their frequent flyer miles.

You don’t take it personally, you just keep trying to reach them. And this can go on for weeks.

Then out goes one of your articles or blog posts. Not asking for anything. Just giving something valuable.

Your busy people receive them.

And surprise. The phenomenon occurs.

You get a return email from them.

Attached to the article or blog, they’re saying good things about the article and “by the way, when can you start our project?”, or “yes, will definitely commit to your program”.

Exactly what you were trying to achieve through normal communications. But those vmails and emails didn’t advance your cause.

You were stuck in the mud. Until this strange, but true, anthropological behavior of giving first plays out.

What’s this mean for you and your business?

Chris Arlen
President, Service Performance

Technorati: permission based marketing, opt-in

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