How Giving Actually Works

To be successful in sales, it’s important to understand how giving actually works. The essence of the Go-Giver philosophy is this: the more you give, the more you have. How can that possibly be true? Sounds illogical right. But it isn't, it just follows a different sort of logic.

Arlin Sorenson is CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions, an information technology company based in Harlan, Iowa. After reading The Go-Giver, written by our founder Bob Burg and his co-author John David Mann, Arlin organised a Go-Giver-themed summer retreat for his 220-company peer-group organisation, Heartland Tech Group (HTG), and found a dozen other creative ways to inculcate the idea of living with generosity into his business.

In the summer of 2008, as the economy began spiraling downward, Arlin’s organisation found perhaps its most inspired application of go-giving. Here’s how Arlin described it:

“This weekend, two of our members took time out from leading their own companies and flew to another state to help a fellow member company who was considering massive layoffs or even closure. After performing a detailed assessment, they were able to provide guidance on immediate action steps to deal with the issues at hand.
I just received their findings-and-feedback report this morning: things for that owner have gone from futile and overwhelming to manageable and possible, and the two members who did the assessment are exploding with additional ideas and suggestions.”

Looking back nine months later, Arlin reported on how the situation worked out long-term.

“During the fourth quarter, the struggling member was able to regain control of the business, paid off most of their debt and had enough cash in hand to pay the rest. First quarter ’09 was a banner season for sales and profits.
But here is the really interesting thing: the two people who flew out to help the other member’s business say they have discovered that they have been forever changed by the investment of time, effort and dollars they made. Not only did they feel personally enriched by the experience, but they also learned much in terms of business acumen, critical thinking skills and leadership, ideas and processes they were then able to bring back and incorporate into growing their own companies."

In the economics of human interaction, spending doesn't deplete: it multiplies. The more knowledge you give, the more you have. The same with appreciation, acknowledgement, wisdom, attention, care. When you keep it to yourself it doesn't build interest; it withers. In fact, the only way you can get more of it is to continuously give it away.

If that sounds familiar, it should: that’s not only how giving works, it’s also howlove works. That is the economics of all genuine relationships, and therefore, the dynamic that lies at the heart of sales: The more you give away, the more you have.

Ian J Lowe is the CEO of Go-Givers Australia, a sales transformation, coaching and consulting organisation offering a unique culture-defining philosophy and framework that makes giving value the cornerstone of a refreshingly open and authentic approach to selling.