“I’m not sure Winalytics is a fit for us, but I’m glad to talk if you feel there is a fit,” emailed a VP of Sales whose CEO has expressed interest in partnering with us.

My response: “If you can share the top two or three areas you’d like to see your team improve, I can tell you if we are likely to be a fit or not.”

I was asking for reciprocity. I was not interested in starting a one-sided relationship.

Reciprocity in a business relationship exists when:

  • Two parties agree on a shared goal or purpose
  • Both parties commit to actions to achieve their shared goal

A focus on reciprocity powerfully changes any business relationships for the better.

It removes hierarchy so rather than one party serving the other, both parties serve each other.  

It removes ambiguity by making explicit whether shared goals and commitments exist or not.

Sales and customer success teams that focus on reciprocity drive more revenue faster.


They don’t pitch their products before understanding the buyer’s or customer’s goals.

Also, they don’t just “jump” when the buyer or customer says “jump,” which helps avoid wasting time on unqualified discussions where there is a lukewarm commitment on the other side.

Leaders and managers who focus on reciprocity have much more productive teams.


They get buy-in around goals and purpose, rather than just assuming everyone is on board, which makes their teams more motivated and engaged.

They also eliminate ambiguity on connecting team goals to team members’ individual actions.

The VP of Sales who emailed me was hoping I’d jump at the chance for a call to pitch my product and hope for fit.

That would have allowed him to show up, listen politely, tell me, “yeah, we are all set,” and then go back to his CEO saying he’d followed up as requested.  

By asking him to share his goals to set up a productive conversation, I threw him for a loop.

He emailed back “that he’d think about and get back to me,” And, then never did.

The focus on reciprocity meant I could respectfully decline an unqualified conversation.

It freed up time on both sides to pursue activities we each deemed more important.

It was a win all around.