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“Just in my second year in business, I'm on track to do over a MILLION DOLLARS in commissions!”

~ Cal Faber, Agent, RE/MAX - Victoria, BC

Don’t Confuse Receptivity With Passivity

December 11th, 2012 by Bob Burg

Don't Confuse Receptivity With PassivityOn a recent interview I stated that one cannot “make” a sale.

This because — in a market-based economy — you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. You certainly can’t make them buy from you.

What you can do is create the environment where that person makes the decision (based on their self-interest) to buy. And, when that happens, you are there to receive the sale.

In response, a listener wrote:

“I especially enjoyed your idea that you can’t “make” sales, only receive them.”

Thank you. Remember, though, that this receiving does not occur in a vacuum. We must first provide the value which creates the environment where the person chooses to buy. And, continue to magnify that value through the excellence, education, attention, empathy and other elements involved. This is not passive, but active; very active.

In other words, action is key! (And, it’s why we should be both Go-Givers AND Go-Getters…just not go-takers!) ;-)

Yes, in the interview I said the key is to focus on the giving (of value) and allow the receiving.

But, please don’t confuse receptivity with passivity. The receiving is earned; through action; through providing value.

In this case, the correct focus leads to the correct action, and that’s what creates the proper environment.

Have you found this to be true? How do you provide value in the sales process in order to create that environment? Please feel free to share?

20 Responses to “Don’t Confuse Receptivity With Passivity”
  1. Great reminder to people that it is all about taking action and giving value first and foremost, showcasing yourself in a way that is delivering value not pushing for a sale and allowing others to choose to work with you and buy
    Thanks Bob :)

  2. Bob Burg said at 8:57 am on

    Carol: Very well said. Terrific!

  3. GREAT BLOG. AGAIN! You remind us to focus on what we can control and influence – VALUE! If we will just focus on the value, results will take care of themselves. Brilliant. Reminds me of a time management application of the Pareto Principle: 80% of your results are likely coming from 20% of your high-impact activities. Those are VALUE-PACKED activities. Find them and do MORE of them. Thank you Bob for another great article.

  4. Bob Burg said at 9:07 am on

    Dondi: WOW – thank you for that awesome teaching. I just read that three times over in order to take it all in. Those are points we would all do well to remember!

  5. Skip Prichard said at 10:27 am on

    Love this, Bob. “Making” a sale strikes me as a short-term win and a long-term loss. Receiving them because of value creation leads to multiple, and repetitive sales relationships.

  6. Radu said at 10:35 am on

    Hey Bob,
    Your post is a real eye-opener! More, we can take these pearls of wisdom and apply in other areas of life, not only business. Wanting to take means that one is not in control. When we give our full attention to create and give value, we create the space for receiving. Focusing only on taking creates a heavy energy that is repulsive to people.
    I believe that the easiest way to create the good environment for receiving more sales is to share relevant information to people’s needs, to train and support them as much as possible. This is what builds trust and only the trust factor brings the sale.

    Thanks very much for reminding us all to focus on giving value! I appreciate you:)
    All the best,

  7. Bob Burg said at 11:17 am on

    Skip: Great way to look at it. I also see it as “making the sale” is about the salesperson whereas “creating value” is about the customer. Thank you for sharing with us!

  8. Bob Burg said at 11:18 am on

    Radu: Awesome! I certainly agree with all you wrote. And, indeed, the principle applies to all areas of life, doesn’t it?!

  9. Lene Jytte Hansen said at 11:20 am on

    LOVE this “receive the sale” And the sale does not even have to come from one promoting or telleing about your business – it can come from “just giving advice” or helping in some other way!!!!! Simply LOVE The Go-Giver Way . Thank’s for providing us/me with such outstanding wisdom Bob :)

  10. Kumar Gauraw said at 11:29 am on

    Nice post Bob! I think there is an absolute truth in the statement. We really can’t make anybody buy anything. We can only provide the value proposition and create an environment. Especially today, it’s even more true where the buyer is much more empowered and independent.


  11. Sean said at 11:49 am on

    Great post Bob! This concept of simply focusing on the sharing of value before, during, and after the sale has been our marketing/sales model from the start (lucky for me that start coincided with when I started reading your books!). And yes, it is anything but a passive gig! We used the Pareto principle (awesome comment from Dondi!) to determine what vehicles were conveying our value best and connecting/serving our community most. (We experimented with different platforms and approaches to see which had the greatest imact) I say community instead of customers because much of what we have done is share valuable free instructional content in blog, FB posts, and video form with a community of dog owners, many who are far beyond our reach geographically, but regardless we support, coach, teach, and help from afar. We know that even if you can’t hire us, our helping you will firstly make someones life better, and secondly it will ultimately create sales for us from someone else. This has positioned us as a business worth knowing, worth liking, and worth trusting! :) And in great news, we’ve just about doubled our sales from last year! :) Our motto is that even if you don’t or can’t hire us, we still want to help you and your dog to be successful.

    Thanks as always Bob for the good stuff!!


  12. Bob Burg said at 11:53 am on

    Lene: Thank you. Indeed, sales can come from many avenues, and sometimes from way out of “left field.” :-)

  13. Bob Burg said at 11:56 am on

    Kumar: I agree. Great point. And, that’s awesome that today’s buyer is generally so much more empowered and independent. It means that the value from the seller must be *upped* tremendously. This happens only to the degree that the free-market exists, and competition is allowed to flourish! Thank you for sharing with us!

  14. Bob Burg said at 11:57 am on

    Sean: You continue to amaze me, my friend. I’ve very much enjoyed following your career and progress and seeing your business greatly thrive. Can’t wait until you write *your* book!

  15. Action like you said is Vital and VALUE is Key…
    And too many like you said confuse being Passivity and Receptivity…
    The Actual act of Receiving in an Action as well as when Giving Value both ACTIONS that require action…

  16. Bob Burg said at 4:08 pm on

    Carly: Thank you. Great points!

  17. I’ve seen this in the new thoughts about sales. It’s about giving and sharing for free. Eventually sales will begin to come to you. You’re not making sales, you’re building relationships. Which then lead to others WANTing to buy from you.

  18. Bob Burg said at 8:28 am on

    Joseph: I appreciate your thought. However, I’d have to take respectful issue with the part about your use of the word “free.” While there is a time and place for everything, that is not the focus of creating value and the proper environment for the sale to occur. Thank you for being part of our blog community.

  19. Thanks for sharing, Bob. This post helps bring additional clarity to the Law of Receptivity. The difference between “make” and “receive” represents a significant shift in the way one thinks. Receiving a sale comes from a place of gratitude.

    I also love the concept of receiving being tied to Action and Delivering Value.

  20. Bob Burg said at 6:49 am on

    Stephen: Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful feedback! And, once again, please know how very greatly I appreciate your kind recent blog post/review about “The Go-Giver.” Huge gratitude to and for you, my friend!

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