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Newman: Giving and supporting vs. expecting and getting

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 6:00 a.m. CDT
Luanne Triolo Newman

“I just need one more order ... and you owe me.”

“You’re a neighborhood business; you need to donate to our cause.”

How do you balance your sales needs with the buying needs of your clients or prospects? Does your nonprofit organization consistently reach out to the same businesses for donations?

There is a wonderful business fable, “The Go-Giver,” written by Bob Burg and John D. Mann, that shares the story of an ambitious salesman who is at the end of his quarter and has not yet made his quota. He desperately phones his purchasing contacts, using phrases like “need your order” and “you owe me.” Much to his good luck, someone overhears him and mentors the young professional by introducing him to individuals who help him put things in perspective.

He learns that being a “go-getter” – always pressuring his prospects – may be the wrong approach. A “go-giver” can give leads. Helping others and good things come back to him.

Perhaps that same model can be applied to our attitudes as customers as well. Yes, our local businesses are designed to be profitable for the owners, but many of them support the local economy by purchasing from local businesses and employing our neighbors. Forging a relationship with business owners and staff increases communication, understanding and community feeling.

We have all been in a neighborhood bank or hot dog place and we have seen the many plaques on the wall. This business believes in supporting the local baseball teams, soccer clubs, etc. Some have framed letters from the school PTA or a hand-scrawled note from a child, thanking that business for what they gave. And why not frame them? They are each a testimonial to something given: product, service, value.

In the book, the anxious salesman learns of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success. One of the laws suggests that “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

Opening ourselves up to the mindset of giving rather than always “What can I get?” can be powerful both in the world of sales and as customers to businesses in our communities.

Luanne Triolo Newman is the executive director of the Carol Stream Chamber of Commerce.

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