One might think that the most effective approach to being a successful salesperson is to demonstrate expertise, act with confidence, and push people to make the buying decision. In fact, this power-ful approach turns out to be far less effective than a power-less one.
In his book Give and Take, Wharton professor Adam Grant argues (rather exhaustively) that a "giver" mindset and pattern of behavior actually produces far better results, both economically and interpersonally. In making this point, he reveals the weaknesses of "matchers" and "takers", approaches that look for quid pro quo or selfish acquisition, respectively. While both of these approaches could logically seem to create a powerful position and produce better results, a deeper analysis reveals that, over time, those that give of themselves, their time, their resources, and relinquish power come out ahead in the long run.
As a commercial real estate business, we have always prided ourselves on relationships over transactions and valuing our collective humanity as much as doing business. We have learned through experience that understanding the motivations and acting in the best interest of our clients brings about a mutual benefit. That is the foundation of our business.
A study Grant quotes in Give and Take really stood out to me as a reinforcement of these values:
In one experiment, researcher Katie Liljenquist had people negotiate the possible sale of commercial property. When the sellers focused on their goal of getting the highest possible price, only 8 percent reached a successful agreement. When the sellers asked the buyers for advice on how to meet their goals, 42 percent reached a successful agreement. (150)
While it is intuitive to us that this is not only the right way to do things, it supports our bottom lines of satisfied clients, happy employees, and company sustainability and profit.