The Role of Giving in Negotiation
The Role of Giving in Negotiation
Bob Burg would define giving as “Being focused on providing immense value to others.” Doing so is a more pleasant way of living life and conducting business—and the most financially profitable. But does giving truly have a place in the negotiation process? Can it help you reach your objectives? Listen to this episode of Negotiations Ninja to hear Bob’s thoughts.
Bob Burg has been writing and speaking for 30 years on the topics of sales, marketing, communication, and persuasion skills. He co-wrote a series called “Go-Getter” with John David Mann about the power of giving.
Outline of This Episode
- [2:19] Is the concept of giving naive?
- [8:16] Think strategically about giving
- [12:08] Value is in the eye of the beholder
- [14:27] The constructs of happiness and pleasure
- [18:40] Detachment from the outcome
- [23:40] How to change perceived value
- [26:58] Learn more about Bob Burg
Resources & People Mentioned
- Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes Jr.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Connect with Bob Burg
Connect With Mark
- Follow Negotiations Ninja on Twitter: @NegotiationPod
- Connect with Mark on LinkedIn
- Follow Negotiations Ninja on LinkedIn
- Connect on Instagram: @NegotiationPod
Mark: Welcome to The Negotiations Ninja Podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people, and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work, and how we can improve our negotiation skills. What's going on, everyone? You got Mark here. Thank you so much for joining me. Our amazing and incredible guest today is Mr. Bob Burg. He is the very, very wise man who co- wrote the book, The Go- Giver, and that whole series. I really, really, really like Bob. He is very smart, and today, we talk all about the role of giving in negotiation. Does it have a role? Doesn't it have a role? It's a good question, and Bob dishes out all the goods in today's episode with Bob Burg. Bob Burg, welcome to the show.
Bob Burg: Hey, it's so great to be with you, Mark. Great to be back.
Mark: I'm excited for you to be here, man.
Bob Burg: Yeah. Thank you. Likewise.
Mark: Yeah, it's so great to see you again, and you've been doing some amazing things online. I've been watching all the cool things that you've been doing on LinkedIn inaudible. So thank you for sharing that. For the listeners, can you tell our listeners just who you are, what you do, and what potentially giving is all about? Why give?
Bob Burg: Yeah. Well, so I've been speaking and writing for about 30 years or so now, and on the topics of basically sales and marketing, and positive communication, persuasion skills. In terms of The Go- Giver, which is the main book, which is a series written by John David Mann and myself, we would define giving in this case as being focused on providing immense value to others, understanding that doing so is not only a more pleasant way of living life and conducting business, it's actually the most financially profitable way as well.
Mark: Right. I think a lot of people who would listen to that as potential negotiators, salespeople, procurement people, B2B style businesspeople would say to you," Bob, isn't that a bit naive to give and not expect anything in return?" Or should we be expecting something in return?
Bob Burg: Well, I don't call it not expecting anything in return. People say that's what I say, but I've never actually said that. What I do say is that we want to give value without attachment to the result, which is actually significantly different. I always have positive expectation. Why would we do anything without positive expectation? I think really, that's what they mean though, and think it really comes down to understanding human nature, okay? And as I always say when I speak to a sales audience, one of the first things I'll say is," Nobody's going to buy from you because you have a quota to meet. Okay? They're not going to buy from you because you need the money, and they're not going to buy from you even because you're a really nice person who means well. They're going to buy from you because they believe they will be better off by doing so, than by not doing so." So when you say," Well, isn't it naive in a negotiation to give?" Well, why is that person going to do business with you? You're going to have to give them something. In fact, you're going to have to give them something that makes them feel really glad that they did this with you. Now, if you want to do a win- lose negotiation where your goal is to get as much as you can and give the least, well, good luck, because if they're trying to do the same thing, you're both not going to have what you want, okay? And it's going to be lose- lose. But even if you have a quick win, for whatever reason it happens to be, you're probably not going to have that person's commitment to the idea, they're not going to want to negotiate with you again, word's going to spread about you that that's how you do it. It's not a sustainable way of doing business, and it kind of feels yucky as well. So when we talk about giving, again, we're talking about bringing value to someone else, but remember, the value we give to someone else doesn't need to cost us. And so, what we want to do is give in a way, give and receive in a way that both parties come away significantly better off afterwards than they were beforehand.
Mark: I want to dwell on that for a little bit, because I think this is where a lot of people get confused. When you say giving doesn't necessarily mean that it has to cost us something, what do you mean by that?
Bob Burg: Well, you take the old story, which I have no doubt is not true, it just made a good story, but it does provide a good example, of the two kids who were fighting over the single orange, and they both complained to their dad that they needed the orange more than the other person, and they wanted it more than the other. So the father said," Well, just split it into," and they compromised, and neither of them were happy. By the way, John David Mann and I talk about in The Go- Giver Influencer, that compromise comes from a Greek word meaning," Nobody actually gets what they want, and both sides are miserable afterwards." Now, that's not really what it means, but it might as well, because by the very nature of compromise, what are you doing? You're giving something up that you want, in order to get a certain result. Now, is compromise ever necessary? Of course it is, but that should not be our first goal. Our first goal should be collaboration. Okay? Now how could, and this is when you give something without it costing you, but it helps the other person while helping you. Let's take the reason why each of the kids wanted that entire orange, wanted the meat and the juice of the orange to enjoy as a snack. The other one needed the peel because of its chemical properties that they wanted to use in a science experiment. So had they, instead of splitting orange, where neither of them really got everything they wanted, had they determined why each of them wanted the orange in the first place, they could've come to a true win- win agreement. Now, that's obviously a very simple story, and again, I'm not saying it ever happened, but I think it's a good principle upon which we should be basing our negotiation, and part of that is, and as you know, because you teach this, find out as much as you can about what the other side wants, right? Now you're coming from a position of strength, and yeah, it might be asking them and that's fine, but you may not be dealing with a totally honest person, and that's the real world, and we've got to operate from that standpoint, that may be the case. But we can do a lot of research and we can find out, and we can do our best to come to the table so prepared beforehand, knowing both ourselves and the other side, the other person or whatever the case may be, that we're operating from a position of strength, and we know what value we can give to them that they will find to be of value. Remember, value is always in the eyes of the beholder, while not giving up something that we truly want.
Mark: I love this example. I think a lot of people, I think they get stuck on the price argument, for example, right? Like" You want this, I want that," but they don't necessarily think of all of the multiple factors that may end up contributing to the potential value of the deal. And so, one of the examples that I usually get around this is, if you're buying something, and let's just say you have standard payment terms of net 60 days, for you to give up 15 days on those standard payment terms may not necessarily be a big deal, but for the person that's selling to you, that 15 days potentially might be the difference between meeting payroll and not meeting payroll. Right?
Bob Burg: Right.
Mark: So that low value to you doesn't really cost you anything in the long run, but super high value in the mind of the person that you're negotiating with, and so often we get stuck on these like," I want this, you want that," and we're just negotiating over one aspect of a negotiation, and we should be considering the multitude of variables that we could start trading on.
Bob Burg: Exactly. That's why the more we know in advance, obviously, the stronger position we come in.
Mark: Yes, exactly. When we think about the concept of giving and providing value in negotiations, whether it's on the procurement side of the table or the sales side of the table, whatever side of the table that you're in, is there a way that you would think about your giving strategically prior to going into the conversation?
Bob Burg: I would always be thinking about it strategically going into the conversation. I'm a big one who I always believe in that old lawyer's axiom about," Never ask a question when you don't know the answer to," and while that can't always be the case, you can do as much as you can in advance so that you know that, and I'm a big believer of taking that a step further and going into a flowchart. In other words, if you ask this question or you propose this, okay, they might say this, they might say this, they might say this. Okay, what if they say this? Well, then you are going to then, you suggest this, okay, well, if you do, what if... Right? And so again, is that work? Well yeah, but as you know, negotiation is work, if you do it correctly, but the more work you do beforehand, the more prepared you are and the easier it's going to be to get the results you want.
Mark: I agree with that entirely. I love it. You sort of helped the listeners visualize a flowchart. And I think for the listeners, just so that when you're listening to this, this is a critical point that I want you to key in on, is when you're planning your questions, when you're planning your conversation, when you're planning your giving in a negotiation, you should be thinking about when you ask something or when you offer something, what are all the different things that may come up from the counterparty, the things that they say, the body language, and then you should be planning what are the things that you're going to do as a result of that? And actually physically map it out in a flowchart, as Bob was saying.
Bob Burg: Absolutely. Sure, sure.
Mark: It's so important, it helps you to think through the process visually, right? Instead of just talking it out, at least now you've got a plan of where you could go, because you think you're going to remember prior to the negotiation, but you're probably not. So actually writing it out is very, very helpful.
Bob Burg: Yeah. And of course, if you have a team that you're doing that with, you can each play off each other and look at," Okay, what is that person most likely going to, or what might they say, or what's the most uncomfortable thing they could say that puts us on inaudible?" And have your responses, not just the response itself, but how you're tactfully and diplomatically going to respond to it.
Mark: Hey, listeners, I want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Callout. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now, what does that mean? It means that we take you, as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or medium sized business, and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand and we amp up to 11, so that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand, and recognize your business because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media, through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted, and you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that, we appreciate it. Now back to your show. When you are planning your giving in your conversation, the value provision that you would show in a negotiation, are you prioritizing any of those things against other things, and ranking them at all?
Bob Burg: It's always a matter of prioritizing, because what matters, and remember when we talk about value and we talk about giving value, value is defined as, and I think we discussed this briefly last time we spoke, value is the relative worth. Price is a dollar figure, right? Price is finite. Value is the relative worth or desirability of a thing, of something to the end user or beholder. In other words, what is it about this thing, this product, service, concept, idea, point, whatever, that brings so much value to this person that they will willingly exchange their, now again, money, time, terms, energy, lost opportunity cost, aggravation cost, whatever it happens to be, in exchange for this value, and again, be happy that they did, be glad that they did? Now, we always have to keep in mind then with that definition, value is always in the eyes of the beholder. It's not what we think is of value or what we think-
Mark: Perception based.
Bob Burg: ...they should think is of value, it's up to them. And because of this, this is why we need to ask the questions, and of course, again, the more research we can do, because some things you can find out beforehand, you know a company's culture, you know their values, or you can find out about this particular person through someone else who maybe has negotiated with them. There's lots of things we can do, but even within the conversation, we need to be able to draw out what that person really wants, what they really value. And at that point, yes, we rank what they inaudible goes back to what you said about price versus terms, in terms of payment days. Okay? And so, you've got to be able to rank them. What's important to you? What do you have to have? What's a hill you're willing to die on, and what aren't you? What can you give up? And it has high value to that other person, which is great, and you congratulate them for being such a good negotiator, because then you make them feel genuinely good about what they were able to. So, yeah. Yeah, I think it's all a matter of ranking, because value is relative.
Mark: Yeah, I love that. Now, what a lot of people may not understand is that when you give value, that does something to the person who's receiving the value. It changes something in their brain and the way that they respond to you and future discussions. What is that process, and how does that work?
Bob Burg: I think, again, it goes right back to human nature. People want to ultimately be happy, right? Carrie Brown, one of my great mentors used to say," Everyone seeks happiness." That's an unconscious thing, of course, and happiness, being the mental feeling of well- being, and everyone seeks happiness. So that is what they're aiming for. Now, we need to understand this though, this goes back to something we just mentioned. Happiness is relative. People understand happiness differently. This goes back to what they value, as opposed to what we value, and we need to understand that what would make them happy, might be meaningless to us or even make us unhappy, right? In other words, so everyone seeks happiness. Happiness is relative, and then the third aspect is that resources are limited. Now, please don't confuse that with lack thinking, no, or scarcity thinking, not at all. We live in an abundant universe, but we all, as human beings, have a limited amount of time, a limited amount of money, a limited amount of energy, a limited amount of resources, what have you. And so, because of this, we must constantly, and that person must constantly make choices, okay? Often unconscious choices, sometimes conscious choices, but every decision this person makes is going to be based on whether they believe it is more likely to bring them closer to happiness, as they understand happiness, again, what they value, and in terms of the limited choices they believe they have. And so, when we give value to someone, that causes them to feel good about themselves, obviously, that makes them feel good about us.
Mark: Yeah. Very much similar to sort of like the pain- pleasure type conversation that you would have with a psychologist that's studied Freud or something like that, right? People are, in my mind, and I feel like this is well- documented enough to be able to say confidently, people try to avoid pain and seek pleasure, right?
Bob Burg: Yeah.
Mark: So they seek happiness, they seek that pleasure, and try to avoid the pain of the decision.
Bob Burg: Yes, exactly. The only differential I have there is I think sometimes we conflate pleasure with happiness. Pleasure is having that piece of chocolate cake, happiness is losing the 10 pounds. Okay? Now, the person you are dealing with, but even when you just go for the pleasure, rather than the long- term happiness, you're taking that option because you believe in that moment, it's going to bring you closer to happiness. Now, it may not. It may ultimately make you feel bad because you had some momentary pleasure in exchange for the pain of putting on weight, rather than losing weight. Okay? But we need to understand, again, this person and their value systems, is there value for happiness higher than their value for pleasure? And by the way, it's not an all or nothing thing. Sometimes I have that piece of cake, even though I may want to lose five pounds, you know what I'm saying? So it just depends. But so, I get the pain and pleasure thing and I think, yes, that is a thing, okay? But if we take it a little step further and we kind of look at overall happiness, then we know that that person may not make the decision we think they're going to make, and let me go back to this for a second. We may think," Wow, yeah. If I was him, I would take that piece of chocolate cake," but that person, while they may want the pleasure of that chocolate cake, they may be the type of person who says," No, wanting to lose five pounds or 10 pounds, I am going to forego that momentary pleasure for my long- term happiness." Again, people make their own decisions based on their own desires.
Mark: Yeah, and all of this comes through the discussion that you would have with them to determine where they separate.
Bob Burg: Exactly, exactly. Exactly right. Yup.
Mark: I think it's fascinating when we think about the concept of giving, there's a lot of people that I speak to, and I'm certainly a repeat offender of this, that we give with the contingency of getting something in return, right?
Bob Burg: Uh-huh(affirmative). Uh-huh(affirmative).
Mark: So we've got that attachment, and I want to tie back to that, because I feel like this is a very important concept to be able to discuss, because it's almost philosophical in nature, and I think it changes how your mindset approaches negotiation or sales in general. The Buddhist philosophy of detachment, where you detach yourself from material things, I find that to be very similar to what you are proposing here, because then there's less attachment to an outcome, and then you're not necessarily incented to push for unethical ways to be able to do something.
Bob Burg: Well, sure. Now, detachment from the outcome doesn't mean you don't prefer a certain outcome. I remember reading a book by Ken Keyes, Jr. called the something of Higher Consciousness, not The Art of Higher Consciousness, and son of a gun, one of my favorite books, and I just can't remember the... The Handbook to Higher Consciousness. I probably read it 20, 25 years ago, a wonderful book, and he talked about desiring an ice cream cone. Okay? And you really, really desire that ice cream cone. Now, if you are attached, he calls it addicted, but you can use either term, I say attached. If you're attached to having that ice cream cone, you're in a state of sadness, regardless of the result, because if you don't get the ice cream cone, you're distressed and sad because you didn't get the ice cream cone that you are attached to. But even if you do get the ice cream cone, you're still in a state of sadness because the entire time you're eating that ice cream cone, which you're attached to, you're worried the entire time," What if somebody stops me from eating it? What's going to happen after I'm almost finished with this ice cream cone, it's almost over, and I'm going to still want that ice cream? How long is it going to be until I can have another ice cream cone?" Right? When you're in a state of attachment or addiction, you can never be happy. Okay? On the other hand, if you prefer that ice cream cone, well, this is great. Now if you have it, fantastic, it's what you preferred, but if you don't have it, well, it's okay. It was just a preference. Again, that doesn't mean you don't make the effort to get the ice cream cone. Just like in this negotiation, it doesn't mean you don't prepare, it doesn't mean you don't negotiate, it doesn't mean you don't do what you need to do, it just means that you're not attached to the outcome. In other words, your emotional happiness will not be affected by any certain points or any sort of... You know what I'm saying? That you receive, or whatever in the negotiation. So I don't want people listening to this to think that I'm saying," Oh, don't care about the result, just throw caution to the wind," and no, of course not. What I'm saying is prefer the result and be willing to do everything, legal, ethical, moral, of course, in order to do that, but don't be so attached to it that your sense of happiness and peace of mind is dependent upon the result.
Mark: I find that attachment to outcome in a lot of activities around sales negotiation, procurement, whatever it might be, is a big part of why many of those sales fail, because I generally find that people who care, or maybe care is the wrong word, but desire the outcome of winning the most, are the people generally you put themselves into the lower leverage position, because the person who comes in desiring it less, who's just like," Ah, I can take it or leave it," they now build psychological leverage in that conversation.
Bob Burg: Well, one of the basic principles of negotiation for those of you who study it, is that he or she who can walk away has the advantage, right? He or she who can walk away from the deal has the advantage, right? The other one's attached to the outcome, you're not, so you negotiate from a whole different point of energy. So yeah, absolutely.
Mark: One of the things that I've tried to coach people on when they're planning the value that they would provide within a conversation, within a sales process, within a negotiation, whatever it might be, is we're going to try our best to rank our value provision from least cost to us, to most cost to us, and then once you're done determining cost, and I try and get people to determine hard dollar value of the thing that they're given, and then determine what would the perceived value of that be in the mind of the other party? And then we start talking about, now that we've got those three columns, what's the thing that we're giving away? What's the cost, what's the perceived value? How do we increase the perceived value of that thing in the mind of the person that we're having a discussion with? So how do we psychologically get them to think about that value differently? So easy example would be just through scarcity, right? So when something is more scarce, when I give that thing up, then the value of that thing goes up, right? Are there other ways that you might want to potentially change the value, or at least change the perceived value of the thing that you're giving?
Bob Burg: That's a great question, and I think when you talked about scarcity as a way of making something more valuable, when that's genuinely the case, obviously that's a great way. If you look at Robert Cialdini's great book, Influence: Science and Practice, and you look at the ways that he makes things more valuable, we can take some of those and we can apply it. So I think again, it's always coming from why would that person think it's more valuable? It's all about their perception of the thing, what they hold to be of value.
Mark: Yeah. And I also, I mean, speaking of Cialdini, if we speak about sort of authority, scarcity, and all that kind of stuff that comes into it, I feel like the more that you can model that kind of stuff in your giving, the higher value that those things are going to be in the mind of the person that you're giving, because for example, if you give something up, versus someone who's maybe at the beginning of their career gives something up, the value of those things are very different, because of the authority that you have, and the scarcity of your time and all the rest of it. So for the listeners, just so that when you're listening to this right now, what Bob and I are sort of going back and forth on is if you ever read Influence by Cialdini, he goes through all of these different things that you can use to create influence in a conversation, and many of those things can be used to change the perceived value of the thing that you're negotiating in the conversation, thus making the perception of the counterparty think that the thing that you're giving them is of higher value than it actually is.
Bob Burg: Well yeah, and it is, and it needs to be legitimate that it is obviously of value to them, and again, it is, because value is in the eyes of the beholder.
Bob Burg: Now, even if you insist that they give something to you in exchange for this concession, and it's something that really doesn't hold necessarily high value to you, but it kind of holds higher value to them, if they're having to give that up in order to get this thing, that automatically places higher value on it. So again, there's all these things, we just want to make sure that we're doing it ethically and in a way that we're really delivering something to them that truly is of value.
Mark: Yeah. Well said. Bob, as we wrap up, is there anything that you'd like to leave the listeners with today on the role of giving in negotiation sales procurement?
Bob Burg: I think it's really just a matter of understanding that if you're seeing giving, and again, when we say giving, we're talking about giving value, we're not saying giving yourself away, we're not saying being self- sacrificial, we're not saying being a martyr, we're not saying being a doormat, okay? So we always need to go with what the definition really is, so that again, that you're giving value to them because that is what is going to cause them to do business with you, because they're not doing it for your reason, they're doing it for their reasons. So as Dale Carnegie said in How to Win Friends and Influence People, you need to make your reason their reason, or at least give them enough value for what they're giving you, that everyone comes away better off afterwards, and feeling better off afterwards than they were beforehand.
Mark: Well said, well said. For the listeners, just so that you know, we're going to make sure that we link out to a lot of the books that we spoke about today. But if people want to find out more about you and what you do, and buy your books, where do they go to do that?
Bob Burg: Best place just Burg, B- U- R- G. com, and they can scroll down and take a look at the various books that are there that they can read a chapter of first before deciding if they'd like to purchase, and there's a blog, and mini courses, and things like that. So there's a bunch of resources there if you come and hang around. So burg. com.
Mark: Fantastic. Bob, thank you so much for being on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Always a pleasure, my friend.
Bob Burg: Nah, the pleasure is mine. Thank you for having me.
Mark: Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja Podcast worthy, please go on to iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get, because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening, and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation, influence, or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media, or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.