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.