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ImageI sat opposite a fellow in a local restaurant recently. He said, “Robin, I don’t have any money to pay you for your coaching services, so how can you help me?” No relationship had been established, and he had only managed to get a face to face meeting with me because I had had a cancellation and he was prepared to come to the place I was at. Four words could have changed the results he experienced.

Instead of the usual, run-of-the-mill approach, which is “sell, sell, sell” or “try to get stuff for free,” a reciprocal, collaborative approach can work, even when there is no previous relationship or track record in place. Even if you have never met the person before or have not been referred to him or her, these for words have opened more doors that any other magic key.

First, think about human nature. No matter how sophisticated we may think we are, whether you’re driving a smart car, use a smart phone, or you’re just a smart Alec, nothing really changes about basic human drives and needs. We’re all interested in what WE want and what WE need and what will solve OUR problems, more than anything else. People really don’t care about you or your troubles as much as they do about themselves. So use that!

We’re hard wired, unless were sociopaths, and there are a good few of those clots about, for reciprocity. That means that if you give me what I want first, or at least offer to do so, then I may consider giving you want you want. And if you take the time to set things up the way I teach my clients to do, you can get pretty good at locking the reciprocation in.

Second, remember that people want to do easy things, they want things done for them, they want to exert the least possible effort, they want to pay as little as possible, they look for the lowest barrier, and they want to see quick results.

Then, know what you want. Do you want people to promote your product or service or do something else for you like introduce you to someone? Be specific about what you want. Know how you think things can roll out, but remain flexible, because the person you’re talking may have better ideas and suggestions.

Then use these four magic words: “What will it take?” Imagine if that fellow in the restaurant, instead of approaching me hat in hand like a desperate, parasitic beggar in the gutter, had said, “Robin, I need you help. I want you to… and…. What will it take for you to do that for me?” See, he’s offering me value. And if he had taken the time to learn more about me and ask me some probing, open ended questions first, he would have known better what I could have done for him.

He would have had my full cooperation and attention. We could have put a joint venture in place. It could have been a win/win collaboration.

To learn more, see LeverageAdvantage.com