The Surprising Secret to Growing a Business Through Self-Control

Around 1970, psychologist Walter Mischel launched the ground-breaking “Marshmallow Experiment.”

Mischel left a group of preschoolers inside a room with a bell and one marshmallow on a plate. His instructions: Wait 20 minutes and you’ll get a second marshmallow. If the child couldn’t wait 20 minutes, ring the bell and he could eat the one marshmallow–but not get another one.

Videos of the preschoolers show children squirming in their seats, hiding their eyes and kicking their legs. Some children couldn’t wait one minute. Others bailed at 15 minutes. And some waited the 20 minutes and got a second marshmallow.

What Mischel Did Next

Then Mischel tracked these children as they grew up. What he found was astounding–and could have a big impact on your real estate business.

According to Mischel, those children who waited 20 minutes ended up getting higher SAT scores, entering better colleges, learning more, earning more money and having a better social life.

Those who couldn’t wait the 20 minutes ended up becoming bullies, failing parental and teacher evaluations and using drugs.

What does this tell us? It tells us that self-control is essential. And here’s how you can use self-control to grow your business.

The Curious Secret to Self-Control

Do you know what the most popular alternative medicine website is? It’s Mercola.

Several years ago Dr. Mercola started his website and did nothing but give away great, free content–on his website and in his e-newsletter.

Over a period of three years he built his subscriber base  to 1.2 million people. So, when he started offering books and other information products, his subscribers bought them in droves.

The same thing happened to David DeAngelo.

DeAngelo is the founder of DoubleYourDating. It’s a website that helps men learn how to pick up beautiful women and get as many dates as they want. DeAngelo started the website in his basement six years ago. And in less than six years, he makes $20 million dollars a year.

How did he do it? The same way as Dr. Mercola. He gave away free, useful, unique, urgent and specific information. Information people could use. The moment he started offering products, his subscribers bought like mad.

Why Does This Work So Well?

I’ll tell you why. Reciprocity.

What is reciprocity? Reciprocity is the principle–noted by Dr. Cialdini–of returning a favor. In a nutshell, if I give you something, you have a sense to give something back to me.

Reciprocity was one of the reasons the Hari Krishnas were so successful back in the 80s. They gave flowers to people who then felt obligated to hand over a dollar or two.

What Does Self-Control Have to Do with Growing a Business?

Here’s the self-control part: Stop bulldozing people with requests for work, leads or money. Stop harassing people at parties, on the street or in church.

Instead, learn how to give–and give enormously–before you ask for anything in return

For example, give of your time. Volunteer your time at a soup line, homeless shelter or city hall.

Or, if you like to write, create substantial newsletters or articles. Give away free, useful information. Or pay someone to do it. Think valuable stuff that people can actually use–like breaking news on the mortgage crisis, secrets to avoiding foreclosure or insider tips on short selling.

Or, give up two hours of your week to consult with clients on a variety of issues like financial planning, gardening, do-it-yourself home repair or elderly care.

Find out what people want and enjoy–and give it to them.

Why You’ll Never Have to Ask for Business Again

Here’s the point: Avoid demanding people for work, leads or money before you give anything away. Delay your immediate gratification.

Like Dr. Bernie Siegal said, “If you spend two hours a week giving your time to people who aren’t your family, you’ll never run out of family.”

The same goes for your business.

If you invest just a small amount of time, money or effort–without strings attached–in other people you won’t have to ask for business. You can simply make an offer and people will respond immediately.

So, what are you giving away? Let me know in the comments. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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You have provided very useful information and I am interested to be in the group. Thanks.


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