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  • hughjwade

It Takes Two to Tango. Or Is It Four? - August 2023

How many people does it take to make a transaction?

"2 Buyers, and 2 Sellers. But only two people.

There’s a riddle in there somewhere.

It’s not rocket science, and this has been discussed in better fashion, many times over, for centuries, by economists. But it is a mind twister and in some ways a mind opener and also a good insight in terms of understanding transactions and getting them done.

It goes like this:

Every transaction takes, in no order (they all have to be there at the same time):

  • A buyer

  • A seller

  • Something being sold

  • Something being exchanged for what’s being sold.

The rub or twist is that every buyer is a seller too, and every seller is likewise a buyer.

I view it in terms of the transaction that goes on between an employer and a job candidate, where the organization and the applicant come to terms on a work arrangement.

The employer is buying (paying for) an employee.

The employee is selling the his/her time, skills, and effort.

However, the employer, besides being a buyer, is ALSO a seller. The employer is selling the position to the highest bidder, also known as the “best fit”: the employee with the best skillset, experience, attitude, work ethic, etc. and an acceptable price (the wage package.) The so-called “best applicant” or “highest bidder”.

And, the employee is not only a seller of their talents, they are ALSO a buyer of the position and its wages, with said talents and the prospect of doing the job well, and better than the other applicants.

Both parties are buying, and both parties are selling.

To simplify it, there is an exchange of something for something. In the case of the above, money for work. And both parties are giving, and both parties are receiving.

This is all way more complicated than it needs to be, but, at it’s core, it’s about “what am I getting, and what do I have to give to get it.” Which leads to a fundamental approach from both sides:

“What do they really want (both in what they are saying and not saying too), and how do I give them some or all of what they want, so that I get what I want.”



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