My friend, author and speaker Alan Proctor, says, "Many people insist on waiting for someone to do for them before they take a similar action for the benefit of the other person." Alan then teaches, "But wouldn't doing something for them first increase the chances of that goodwill being returned?"
Absolutely. In fact that's one of those immutable laws of life that successful people understand and embrace. And one of the most effective ways of working with this law is what I call the "Thank You In Advance." It may be the best insurance policy you can buy, and it doesn't cost even one cent to purchase.
Thank people "before" they do something for you.
"I really appreciate your taking the time to..." This is great insurance that they'll make the time to do whatever you want done. I learned years ago while listening to a tape by Zig Ziglar that a tip to a waitperson used to be paid "before" the meal was even served. The word "tip", t-i-p, actually meant "to insure promptness."
Insurance, right? Or extortion, depending upon how you look at it. :-). I prefer insurance.
An example of a proper time to thank someone is "before" they start on the assignment, task or whatever. "Thank you Mary – I know you're going to do your typically excellent job." Maybe, when talking to your prospect on the telephone, "before" you launch into your reason for calling. "Mr. Smith, thank you for taking a quick moment to speak with me - I realize you're very busy." Or, the hotel manager you need to inform about a particular challenge with the hotel: "Ms. Jackson, I appreciate your helping me with this unfortunate situation."
And, the mechanic who's about to work on your car: "Mr. Davis, thank you in advance for fixing this thing. Wow, do I depend on you to keep this car working right!"
Will thanking a person in advance ever not work? Of course, because people are people and not everyone will be responsive the first time. Then you might have to use some of the other WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION principles and strategies we discuss every week. The fact is, though, it works much more often than not, and over time you'll find this to be both a very pleasant and very effective way of working effectively with others.
One very important point: This must be done with sincerity. Otherwise, it'll come off as manipulative or overbearing. Just reflect for a moment about what you're most grateful for with this person, go with that feeling, and say "thank you"...in advance.
Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit www.YourSuccessStore.com or call 877-929-0439.