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When “Give to Get” Just Gets Annoying

“Give to Get” gives your prospects an excuse to get lost! Why? Read on –

I can’t credit one single source for teaching me about Give to Get. Google it and you’ll see 3.7 billion results (I’m not joking). Every manager I’ve ever had taught me to use it. Every sales book has some form of it too. And scroll the LinkedIn thought leaders and you’ll inevitably find the give-to-get logic permeating ‘how we do it.’

What is it?

Give to get is a simple concept. My favorite summary comes from Robert Cialdini when he talks about the basic law of reciprocity. Imagine you’re walking into a big building with a huge set of glass doors out front. Someone in front of you reaches the door first and holds it open for you with a smile. “Thank you,” you proclaim, as you suddenly reach a second set of doors.. Double Doors!

Now, you just breezed through the first set of doors on the help of this fine stranger – this door-holding saint. But you’re face to face with another glass wall of doors. What do you do? Crack it enough to slip through, leaving your new friend in the lurch? No, of course not.. You hold the door and return the favor. Reciprocity! It’s like, hard-wired in our behavior.

The Old Give to Get Model

So, sales logic is to tap into this instinctive and deep-seated behavior (and others) to create a selling process that feels like a buying process. We literally create tables to explain what to get anytime a prospect wants you to give them anything.

Before you give: Make sure to get:
The demo A discovery call
A quote Insight into buying process
A trial Access to power
Concessions Guarantees

Sounds good to the sales pros out there, right? But on calls, it plays out more like horse-trading than reciprocity. “Oh, you clicked that demo button on our website? Can’t do that until you set up a discovery call that you don’t want!” It just annoys everyone – the prospect and the sales rep alike.

They feel like you’re dangling what they really want just out of reach, and you feel like you’re needlessly inserting yourself along the way, and the outcome is that you and your customers start having less enjoyable interactions. Period.

This is incredibly annoying to the prospect.

They’re trying to figure out if they should give you money, and you’re making them jump through what feels like needless hoops so they can actually see what you offer? Not a good experience (just ask Evan, and he’s never said a bad word about anyone!).

And sure, you can offer the prospect, or yourself, all the excuses you want for going along with this process.

  • You wouldn’t understand the tech without a discovery call!
  • I just want to tailor my demo, and I can’t do that without discovery!
  • This is how we’ve always done it!

But it’s time to stop with the excuses. Think about the sophisticated technology we’re all used to in our daily lives – we hop in an Uber to get around, scroll Airbnb to find a new apartment for our next vacation, and use Amazon to order anything we want right to our front door in two days.

We’re increasingly accustomed to dropping ourselves right into the technology we want to use, no barriers to entry or training required. So why is your product so special? Just let me get my hands on it!

That’s what most of your prospects are thinking. If you’re trying to hold off on giving them a demo so you can get a disco call, all they’re seeing is another barrier to becoming a customer that you’ve put in front of them.

It stops feeling reciprocal and starts feeling like jumping through hoops at a circus. That’s not the buying experience they want to have.

The Competition is Closing In

Your competition is upstreaming you by making it easier to buy, while you’re making your prospects jump over those same tired barriers again and again. And you’re wondering why your demos don’t close the deal most of the time.

How are your newer competitors changing the game? They’re building their tech to solve the onboarding issue from the start. It’s easier to onboard, so they can be more buyer-centric and not waste time on a complex trial or demo set-up. They just get right to the good stuff. Other organizations are investing in their marketing and product budget to help ease the same problem.

If your sales team is instead doubling down on legacy “sales stays in control” mindset… that’s a big mistake. You have value, but if sales has become a chokepoint or barrier instead of an enabler, then you’re standing in between the prospect and what they want – the opposite of what sales is supposed to do. Get out of your own damn way!

What Does Your Prospect Want?

It comes down to giving your prospect something they actually value in today’s market. They can get a demo or a free trial with just a few clicks from your competitors – so why are you still offering that like it’s a rare and precious object? It’s becoming the bare minimum.

So if your idea of “give to get” is to hold your prospect at arm’s length when they ask for a demo until they give you a discovery call, you’re not playing it smart. You’re giving them an excuse to get lost instead.

Now they’re off to find another vendor who not only gives them an immediate demo, but throws in a quick trial too. And they don’t have to sit through yet another discovery call. (Again, just read about Evan and his Tale of the Three Demos!)

What are you offering of value instead? It’s time to think differently about what you can give your prospects. That’s why at Reprise, we’re committed to rethinking demos completely. The old way isn’t working anymore – it’s time for a new approach.

So what’s your plan now?

Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash