The healthy exchange between two businesspeople is for one to offer value and the other to offer commitment. If one of these is missing, it’s a bad deal.
It’s often hard to read a buyer’s motives. If they are receiving value during the sales process or initial discussions, they are more than happy to siphon off as much as they can without an expectation of a commitment. There is no cost or skin in the game.
This interplay between value and commitment is especially important today where knowledge and intangibles are exchanged as currency. What you know and how you package and deliver it is monetized as service fees in a knowledge economy.
So here are some guidelines to help you manage this often confusing interchange:
- The seller is responsible for managing how much value is given before a commitment is required.
- Give value first as the seller
- It is ok to require a commitment when you have offered more value
- Design your commitments to be easy to understand and say, “yes,” to
- As the seller, ask your buyer whether they would commit if you could help them
The tragedy is when too much value is delivered without commitment. That puts you in the not-profitable world. It’s not good business. And by the way, hope is not a good business strategy.
Now, I realize this is more of a strong point around specific value. If you are dealing socially or not expecting anything back, then give and expect karma to recompense you.
For those areas where you need to get explicit around value exchange, don’t forget the commitment. A proposal, small purchase, deposit or anything that leads to some kind of emotional or monetary cost is a good way to further the relationship and make good deals.
What are your thoughts and experiences?