An often-asked question during corporate presentations of The Go-Giver is, “Bob, all of this is fine and well if you’re dealing with another Go-Giver, but what if you’re not?” In other words, maybe this customer is the type who will try and take advantage of you. Or, they are not respectful in the way they communicate. Or even – dare I say – they are less than honest with you.
I believe this question is based on the false premise that a Go-Giver is so nice (and giving) that he or she can easily be taken advantage of by anyone who does not come from the same mind-set.
Nothing could be further from the truth.*
A Go-Giver is simply one who understands that shifting their focus from getting to giving (meaning constantly and consistently adding value to people’s lives) is not only a nice way to live life…but a very financially profitable way, as well. And, they do this by following the Five Laws John David Mann and I discuss in the book.
Nowhere is it ever suggested that one should allow themselves to be taken advantage of.
So, to answer the question: What if they themselves don’t follow this philosophy? One might advise, “just don’t do business with that person or company.” That’s fine in theory. And, perhaps one day it will be fine in practice. But, for most, and for a variety of reasons, working within these situations is a necessity. It’s also good for personal growth. While there are many Go-Givers in this world, there are many who are not. Or, as I like to rather annoyingly say, 🙂 “it is what it is.” So, let’s learn and grow from these people.
Here are three suggestions you might find helpful:
1. Maintain Your Class. Continue to operate from a high-level of thought, action and integrity. Stay polite and scrupulously honest. And, as Dr. Stephen Covey says, “Win/Win or no deal.” That’s right; even if that’s not a high value for them, it is still for you.
2. Refuse That Which Could Harm You. Say “no” with politeness and tact when what is being proposed or offered is not in your best and highest interest. Do this, not with anger, but with tact and skill.
3. Stay alert. If, for whatever reason, you feel they cannot be trusted, then don’t trust them. While typically I would say not to let on, there are certain situations in which you must tactfully (tactfully!) communicate this. You’ll need to be the judge of that.
Hint A: Typically, this is not done by saying “I don’t trust you.” Rather, in responding to a request or call for inappropriate action you might say, “I’m not comfortable with…” or other phrases that communicate the point without causing a confrontation.
Hint B: At times, you will need to verbally (though still tactfully) communicate the lack of trust you feel. For example, “John, unfortunately, as much as I enjoy the idea that we can do business together, I don’t get the feeling that you are as interested in a win/win for both of us.” He’ll get the picture but cannot be offended because of the way you said it.
Life is life and we need to know how to deal with all types. So long as you understand what being a Go-Giver really means and are willing to set the frame for the relationship, you’ll find that you – at best – pull them up to your level and – at worst – can protect yourself while providing the exceptional value you always provide.
* If you’re interested, feel free to read my two-part article on John David Mann’s and my “The Go-Giver” blog entitled, “Beware of False Go-Giver Premises.”
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Bob, Thank you for this real-world advice. It’s not always gum drops and oreos out there. Most people are *not* Go-Givers, and to no fault of their own, as they simply are not aware of this concept.
Or chocolate coconut donuts. Mmmmm, donutzzzzz 🙂 Thank you, Sabrina. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. What’s great is that there are Go-Givers like you out there who are setting such a great example for those who, like you said, are simply not yet aware. Thank you, my friend!
As always, great information and spot on when you say that for most, simply not doing business with these folks is not an option.
Thank you, Jason. I appreciate that. And, really, not being a “Go-Giver” (as defined in the article) doesn’t mean they are not good people or honest people or don’t provide a great product; it just means they don’t – at this time – live their lives/conduct business via these principles. So, unless the person really is a truly dishonest person (in that case, avoid like the plague) there is no reason not to do business with them. The tips are meant to help navigate through the process so that you still come out a winner…and hopefully, so do they, and they learn some good lessons at the same time. Thanks so much again for being part of our Go-Giver Community!
Thanks Bob, this is very timely for me since I need to respond to two situations today. Based on comments the clients made I was internally annoyed now I know how to deal with it and bring it all into perspective.
Sharon, thank you. I’m glad the timeliness worked for you, as I believe this is such an important aspect of doing business. Please let us know the results (if you’d like) and keep being the Go-Giver you are, my friend!
Bob, thank you for this post. I especially like when you give hinters/examples, of ways to do it. I am often taught “what not to do”, without a hint of a correct way, so I find your blogs most helpful. Thank you!
Thanks Bob, my brother-in-law asked this very question, “what if you get taken advantage of” so I am grateful for the Bob Burg official answer!
Thank you for sharing that, Lisa. It’s a very common question based on a very common premise, so not surprising. Thank you for passing along the response and for being one of our Go-Giver Ambassadors!
Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we could just convert everyone to Go-Givers? It really is a shame that more business owners haven’t read your book and adopted the philosophy. Eventually we’ll get to them all. 🙂
Thanks again, Bob. More great wisdom, beautifully articulated. I’m glad I stopped by for a couple minutes this morning.
Amy, thank you. I appreciate your sharing that you find the hints to be helpful. I continue to follow all the great successes you are having and so grateful to have you out there as one of our Ambassadors!
Chris, thank you. All we can do is our best to spread the word and help people to see the benefits of doing business in this way. As I said about Amy, I’m just grateful that you are one of our Ambassadors of the message!
Jim, thank you. That means a lot to me. And, the same about you as I said about Chris, Amy and Sabrina. Thank you, my friend!
Hi Folks, thank you for all your kind feedback and great thoughts. I realized that I’m answering some of these out of sequence because of the way they came in so, my apologies if some of the acknowledgments to you seem out of place or sequence. And, I thank all of you for embodying the message and spirit of The Go-Giver philosophy even if I don’t mention that specifically in my responses.
They aren’t a Go-Giver b/c they haven’t been introduced to the philosophy….YET! Once they have seen how powerful & empowering it is through the examples we live….they will convert! And if not…..we still have the cookie (or 😉 donuts )!
Your suggestions are perfect, especially #1. (Prob #1 for a reason right?) I heard a great definition yesterday concerning posture, which is vital when facing people unlearned in the art of being a G-G. Posture: Your belief is higher than their unbelief. When you are introduced to non G-Gs, believe YOU possess the greatest influence known & never lower the bar.
We are responsible to lead by example & you exemplify that!
I appreciate your wisdom!
Hi Geneva, and some won’t ever open themselves up to that mindset. And, while, we’d like them to, what’s important I think – in answer to the question that begins the article – is how to best handle those people and situations. It bothers me a bit that people would naturally assume that acting in accordance with the Five Laws of The Go-Giver would in some way equate to being naive or at a disadvantage when dealing with some others, but, unfortunately, that appears to be an ongoing concern that I constantly find myself having to answer. Well, again…it is what it is. 🙂 I like a LOT, your thought about your belief vs. their unbelief in this context. Great way to look at it! Thank you, again, and as always!
Thanks for a great article. I particularly liked “Hint B” in responding to someone. I believe it is very effective.
Just yesterday, I gave a workshop to a group of Master’s level students at Clemson University in South Carolina about networking and used some of the principles from “Go-Giver”. Specifically, I emphasized the point that “When you place the other person’s needs first, your interests will always be taken care of.” And of course, I gave appropriate credit to your book.
Thanks again for all you do!
Bill, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the article and found “Hint B” to be helpful. Awesome that you taught a group at Clemson. That’s my Brother-in-Law, Steve’s alma mater. I know he’ll get a kick out of seeing that. Thanks again!
thanks for the timely article. I really appreciate the tips on dealing with people who I’m not super keen to do business with. thank you.
I pride myself on giving referrals to my trusted alliances… my mission is to always give the first referral, in many cases I’ve given two referrals first… 9 times out of 10, my alliances are very thankful and make a solid effort to learn more about my business and reciprocate.
I’ve felt “taken advantage of” with only one of my many alliance partners. I like this person, I trust him and refer him… however, as much as I’ve done business with him & referred him a few times, he’s never referred me and continually asks me for advice and testimonials (written & video). He called today asking me to do a photo shoot. Normally I would be happy to do this but I somehow can’t shake the feeling that he’s just using me… (funny thing… I don’t even know how how to write this note without sounding selfish)
I would like to think the answer is staring at me in the mirror…
At any rate, I’ve always find great value in your books and blogs. Thank you for your continued leadership and example.
Hi Vince, I appreciate your very kind words about the article and glad you have found value in it. I’m a bit concerned where you say: “(funny thing… I don’t even know how how to write this note without sounding selfish)”. My question to you is, why do you feel selfish for not wanting to provide value to someone whom you feel has perhaps abused your friendship/alliance? Again, go back to the very premise of being a Go-Giver. Now, let’s take it from another position: what about seeing if perhaps some of the lack of referrals is based on a misunderstanding. Does he understand your desire for referrals? Does he know what kind of people make your best prospects? I don’t know your situation so I can’t answer that. Based on the fact that he seems to believe the two of you are friends and alliance partners, could you sit down with him and – using an “I Message” explain that you are a bit confused by the fact that in the time you’ve known him, and having provided him with a lot of value and referrals, you’ve never received one from him. And, while that in and of itself is okay, you’re wondering if there is a reason he has chosen not to do so. Until you ask, Vince, you just don’t know. But, assuming it really is as you suspect and that he is simply using you, I can’t imagine your feeling “selfish” for not wanting to take part in an “alliance” like that. Again, just my thoughts based on the information in your note.
Ah, great post, Bob! I like the concept of staying true or “authentic” to yourself, values and business practices. I am a firm believer in relating to others in integrity, respect and honesty. Who knows, maybe a person’s actions can convert others into a “Go-Giver”! Definitely a retro-read for the weekend. You and John David Mann-keep up the superb work.
Thank you, Chi Chi. Greatly appreciate your comments, my friend. Yes, much better to stay on a higher level. Hopefully it will bring the other person up. Regardless, at least you don’t sink down. And, I like your term, “retro-read.” Very cool!! 🙂
I found this blog posting to be a perfect opportunity to give you a heartfelt thank you. If I may have a moment of your time – I would like to share my thoughts with you.
I was reading my young children a bedtime story the other night and it happened to be one of my all time favorite stories – The Quiltmaker’s Gift (by Jeff Brumbeau) and it made me think of you. The story is about a selfish king who has everything. He finds out about an old lady in his kingdom who makes the most beautiful quilts and he demands she make one for him. She agrees only on the condition that he give away his possessions. Throughout the book she has him give away what he owns, and as he gives away his treasures he is filled with a joy that he’s never experienced before. It isn’t until he has given away everything that she makes him his quilt and he is the happiest king in the world not because of the quilt, but because he has learned that giving is the best gift he could ever receive. Who knew you were a little old lady that made quilts??!! 🙂
I love that your passion is to guide individuals to this way of thinking in the business world. Throughout ones life the average amount of people a person meets is 10,000. There is quite a variation of impact that these people have on a person’s life. I want you to know that you are one of the select few that has forever impacted me. Your lesson of giving has spilled over into every aspect of my life, and it is because of you and your teachings that I am continuously filled with the best kind of joy – the selfless joy of giving to others. As I have affectionately called you the “Grand Poo-Bah” of lessons (or should I say, silly?), I thought you would like to know that your teachings are making a difference to people not only in becoming successful in business, but in all areas of life. I felt it was past-due to give a big thank YOU for giving me the gift of how to give.
Hi Diane. First, and above all else, thank you for your very kind words. Please know how much I appreciate them and appreciate you. I’m not sure that the story your referring to, however, is something I would relate to. It seems as though the main lesson of the story isn’t so much about the king learning to provide value to others (as opposed to simply taking from others) but that it’s “good to give everything away and have nothing to show for it.” This, of course, isn’t the message of “The Go-Giver” book, at all. We don’t see it as giving OR receiving, but as giving AND receiving. Again, though, I very, very much appreciate you and your friendship, and am honored by your kind words. (P.S. Please let me know if I missed the whole point. It’s certainly happened before) 🙂
I may have not portrayed the book well enough – its not about giving away everything you have but about being kind and having a relationship of giving and receiving 🙂
Ahhhh, now me got it. That makes sense! 🙂