I just came back from a 7-day cruise in Alaska. It was a breathtaking (and chilly!) experience for sure, but what stood out most for me was the service I received. Or, more importantly, the Exchange in Abundance the cruise ship company provided. I’ll give you one example right here:
Every time the staff made my room, they also created towel animals; a huge hit with my two-year-old. No that's not weird laundary hanging in the corner, that's a hand-folded oranatang.
Here are the Four Levels of Exchange. If you own any type of business, the follow few paragraphs will change the way you do things forever:
1 – Criminal Exchange
I take something from you without giving you something in return.
Makes sense, right? I’m essentially taking what is not mine or “stealing”. But, here’s the thing:
Giving something undeservedly to someone else without asking for anything in return makes both the giver and the receiver a ‘criminal’. No I don’t mean ‘criminal’ according to State or Federal Law. I mean criminal in terms of the Laws of the Universe. Life’s all about balance; you can’t give without receiving. If you do, there is a buildup of energy looking to be released in one way or another.
Now notice that giving to the proper charity is not the same thing as criminal exchange. One of the charities I support is Habitat for Humanity which allows underprivileged individuals move into their first home. H4H does not just give these homes away, they allow people who are interested (and eligible) for the program provide a down payment in the form of volunteer hours rather than money, and they still have to make mortgage payments (albeit reduced payments).
2 – Partial Exchange
I give you something, you give me a part (not all) of what you agreed to give me in return.
I agree to sell you a car for $20,000, and you only give me $15,000.
Sounds unfair, right? Unfortunately, this happens much more often than you’d like. I’ll give you an example of a Fortune 500 company doing this all the time.
When you enter a McDonalds (if you’ve never been in a McDonalds, just pretend) and you look up at the menu, you’ll notice photos of the burgers they sell. They look thick, plump, and juicy. But, when you go to order one, you notice the burger in your hand looks nothing like the photo.
And most people don’t care.
Most people are OK with something that looks kind of similar to the photo, but a much crappier version of it.
The sad part is that most large companies strive for this level of exchange. And succeed.
3 – Fair Exchange
Just like the name. I spend $3 for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you give me a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
4 – Exchange in Abundance
Fair exchange, but in addition I give you something not agreed to in the original contract or agreement. For example, I buy a one-hour massage from you, and in addition to massaging me for one hour, you give me a dvd on how to stretch better. Or a bottle of lotion or bath salts.
The condition is that I do not know about the additional items beforehand and that the additional items are useful. Giving me a bunch of flyers to hand out (or your business card!) is NOT Exchange in Abundance.
When I bought the cruise, I didn’t ask the company to instruct the staff to fold towels in the shapes of animals because I have a child. They just did it.
Now, if instead of giving me something, you just threw in an additional 5 or 10 minutes of massaging. That is NOT an Exchange in Abundance. That’s just “more of the same”. It has to be something else of value in addition to what was agreed upon.
One last point – Exchange in Abundance is not Partial Exchange because the terms of the original contract or agreement have been fulfilled.
Now, take a look at what you do on a regular basis. What level of exchange are you providing? Partial? Fair? Criminal?
What can you do to start providing Exchange in Abundance. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Booklets (with information not marketing) and DVDs are very inexpensive.
Okay, let me test you. Take a look at this photo (the elevator mat which was changed out every day) and see if you can think of what makes this an Exchange in Abundance.