The essence of the Go-Giver philosophy is this: the more you give, the more you have. Spend a few minutes to get to know Bob Burg, the co-author of The Go-Giver, a national bestseller that has gained worldwide attention. With a philosophy that has changed both personal lives and businesses, Bob talks about the journey that led him to co-write this book and incorporating characters like Deborah Davenport. He also walks us through some steps on how to be an efficient entrepreneur, including how to bring in more market value to your business and to people around you. Know more about Bob’s works as he shares more interesting things like the Ninja Selling Organization, Endless Referral programs, and The Go-Giver Principle.
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A Few Minutes With Bob Burg
Chadwin Barley & Bob Burg, Author Of The Go-Giver
This is like Christmas for me because I have the awesome gift to have a conversation with one of my absolute favorite people on this planet. One of the things that I’ve learned in my own professional development is that we’re not limited to the resources and the relationships that we have within our own small network or family or even our own community. In this world we have access to books, podcasts, the internet and so many resources. The world has become so small that we can even be in a relationship with authors and people who inspire us that live across the nation or even in another part of the world. Bob Burg is a person that is that for me.
He has become a virtual father because I read his books over and over again when I want to implement systems in my business that do the right thing. The books that I read, The Go-Giver, Endless Referrals and he has a series of others. When I first was introduced to them, they changed my life and they gave me permission to bring love back into the business. Our guest is Bob Burg. I want to introduce him properly so that you know a little bit about his history aside from the books that he authors. He’s a sought-after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences, sharing the platform with everyone from business leaders and broadcast personalities to even a former US president. His topics are sales, marketing and influence with total book sales of well-over one million copies. His book, The Go-Giver, co-authored with John David Mann itself has sold over 850,000 copies and it’s been translated into 28 languages. Bob, I cannot wait to talk to you.
Thank you, Chadwin. You’re one of my favorite people. Thank you for the introduction. I love what you do. I love who you are and I love your heart for serving others. It comes right through and everything you do.
Bob, I want to know from you before we get into the meat and potatoes of the books. This is me being selfish. I want to learn about your history a little bit because I know that all of the thought-provoking words and information that you share with us, they come from a journey. Tell us about the journey that led you to the epiphanies that you share in your books.
I was very fortunate and blessed to have great parents, I still have. They imbued me with basic principles and values that are effective in life in terms of being able to live a productive and happy life. Although a tough thing for me was having an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, which I always had, but back then when I was a kid, you didn’t know what that was. They didn’t have a name for that. It’s a very debilitating chemical imbalance in the brain. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I realized I had it, but without going into detail on that, it’s very debilitating and depressing. It makes it difficult but I do think that one thing it gave me was a sense of empathy for others.
It made it so I could easily identify with other people’s issues so I can understand when they were a bit off on certain things. I’m not saying I’m glad I have OCD for that. It’s always been a tough battle. In business, it gave me that insight into people that I think a lot of people don’t have. In sales, one of the empathy is such an important skill because typically when we’re working with somebody and you’ve heard me say that my golden rule of business is that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust. The product or service is generally not what it’s about.
It’s important that someone is looking for a home or someone wants to successfully sell their home. You need to be able to be competent and communicate competency in terms of doing that. They’re not buying that because that’s a commodity and it’s nothing that any of the other realtors or real estate sales professionals that they don’t have as well. It typically comes down to who they have that relationship with. Trust is a big part. When you can communicate empathy, you’re nine steps ahead of the game in a ten-step game. I started out as a broadcaster. I graduated into sales and I did well once I learned how to sell.If you're an entrepreneur, you're in sales. Click To Tweet
I went into selling like most of us not knowing how to do it. I got books on it and I listened to cassette tapes. That’s how long ago this was almost 40 years ago. I went to seminars and I learned how to sell. I was pretty good at it. After a couple of years in sales, I was definitely not at the point where I should have been. I couldn’t figure out why. If that sounds familiar to you because isn’t that where Joe was, the protege in The Go-Giver where he had the good guy. He meant well. He had potential. He was a hustler. He went out there and he worked hard, but he wasn’t where he should’ve been. It turns out I was a lot like Joe.
This answers the question about the epiphany. I remember coming back to the office one day after a non-selling appointment. I was selling product to homeowners. It was a high-ticket item. I came back disgusted at myself because the sale didn’t take place. I knew it was on me. One of the older guys at the office, he wasn’t even in sales. He was in the engineering department. He was a nice guy. One of these guys, he didn’t say much but whenever he did say something, it always tended to be profound.
When he said to me, “Burg, can I give you some advice?” I right away said, “Yes, absolutely, please do.” He said, “If you want to make a lot of money in sales, you don’t have to make money as your target. Your target is serving others. When you hit the target, you’ll get a reward and that reward will come in the form of money. Never forget the money is simply the reward for hitting the target. It isn’t the target itself. Your target is serving others.” That was the epiphany right there. I realized sales were not about me. It wasn’t even about the product or service. It was about the other person and how they would benefit what it would mean to them.
Let’s talk about how The Go-Giver series came about because it wasn’t your first book.
I had a book out for many years. It’s still out called Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales. It was for people in all kinds of fields who were in sales or they were entrepreneurs. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in sales. People who knew they had a great product or service and they felt good about that. They knew they could bring immense value to others, but they didn’t feel comfortable in the process of going out, meeting people, establishing, developing and creating relationships that would lead to business and referrals. Once they add customers or clients, they wouldn’t ask or they couldn’t ask for referrals. It was a how-to book. The underlying premise was all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.
It was a pretty big selling book. It sold about 300,000 copies. Back in 2005, we released a third revised edition. Starting around maybe 2003, 2004, I had the idea of taking the basic premise of Endless Referrals and putting it into a business parable, a short story, a fictional story with real-world principles. The reason why was because I personally love reading parables and felt that they were so relatable. Why? Because they’re stories and stories connect on a heart-to-heart level. I always enjoy reading these parables that you can read on a plane or you can read in an afternoon. It was fun and there was good information. I thought, “What if we could take the basic premise of Endless Referrals and put that into that short parable?”
The first thing I did was ask the question, “What is the basic characteristic of a salesperson or entrepreneur who is able to establish quickly and sustainably those know, like and trust relationships?” I thought, “The biggest commonality is that their focus is on giving or providing value to others.” We came up with the name, The Go-Giver. I asked John David Mann, who was the editor-in-chief of a magazine I used to write for. Back then, very few people outside of a very specific niche knew of John. Those of us who knew him knew how brilliant a writer he was and is. When I say I asked John to be the lead writer and coauthor, I pleaded with John to be the lead writer and coauthor because I knew he could take this story and make something magical out of it. Fortunately, he said yes. We came up with The Go-Giver at the very tailend of 2007. It hit the bookstores in 2008. It’s been going since then. That’s been the book that started that Go-Giver movement.
I always think of The Go-Giver. What it gave me was an inspiration and Endless Referrals has become a how-to guide. What I love about The Go-Giver is it’s not a long-term investment to sit down and read that book so you can sit down on a lazy Sunday with an easy read. It’s an enjoyable read. It will inspire you to think about your business in a totally different way. If you want the how-to guide and you’re a person like me that likes to follow proven systems, the Endless Referrals book can definitely create that for you. A step by step checklist type system that you can implement in your business and in your day-to-day life for prospecting and follow up. We all know that follow-up is the key to business, sales especially in real estate when we have so many balls up in the air.
Bob, let’s talk about Deborah Davenport, the real estate agent in The Go-Giver because that story is going to resonate with the audience, especially those who haven’t read the book in a while or have never picked up the book. The reason why I bring her up is because when I read that chapter of your book, it was like I was reading about myself. I am a go-getter and have evolved into a go-giver thanks to you. The reason why at some point in my business I became so frustrated was because I love proven systems. I was following all the models that I was told to work for other agents. It was not working for me. I’m not to say that those systems don’t work because they absolutely do. I know a lot of people that make them work. I don’t know how. It never worked for me until I read your book and started implementing your systems. My business doubled and tripled year after year. It’s been awesome. I’m sure that you can summarize that story better than I can.
Deborah was the realtor and Joe the protégé met her in this case, although in the story he typically met the various mentors in person through his main mentor Pindar. In this case, he and Pindar attended a symposium where she was the keynote speaker. As she was giving her speech, she seemed to be speaking right to Joe. She summed it up by saying that all the skills in the world, the sales skills, technical skills, people skills, as important as they are and please, let’s understand they are all important. What she also said, Chadwin, is that they’re also all for not if you don’t come at it from your true, authentic core. That’s so key.
When you show up as yourself, day after day, week after week, month after month, people feel good about you. They feel comfortable with you. They feel safe with you. They know who you are, is who you are. They know what they’re getting. They begin to know you. They love you. They trust you. They want to see you succeed. They want to help you find new business. They want to be a part of your business. They want to be a part of your life. The question is if being authentic is such a good life strategy and business strategy, why do sometimes people show up not authentically but rather as a phonus balonus, not themselves?
The default answer would be they’re dishonest or they’re crooked. It’s a big world out there. There are lots of people. We always have to understand there are people like that, but 99.9% of the time that’s not the case. What it typically is that they don’t have the self-confidence to show up authentically. They don’t believe enough in themselves. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to show up authentically when you don’t think you have anything authentically to show up for. It’s very important that we are able to embrace our values. I believe as human beings, we all have two types of value. We have intrinsic value and this simply means by being a person, you bring value to the table. That’s fine and we should understand that.
We also have what I call market value. I define market value as that combination of strengths, traits, talents and characteristics that allow a person to bring value or give value to the marketplace in such a way that they will be financially rewarded. We all have these what Mike Littman calls assets of value, those things we have. With some people, it’s the ability to communicate. With other people, it’s the ability to ask good questions, listen and understand where another person’s coming. Another person might be a wonderful sense of empathy. Another person might be a great connector of people. Another person might love their product or service and be able to transfer that love to others. Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert Comic Strip who’s also written a number of amazing books, talks about having a value stack.When you can communicate empathy, you're nine steps ahead of the game in a ten-step game. Click To Tweet
That is a number of traits that you’re good at, a number of talents that you don’t have to be the best at any of them, but because there are a few of them, you’re able to put them together. Either way, it allows you to bring value to the lives of others in a way that helps everyone involved. As human beings, it can be very difficult for us to embrace that market value. Why? Because we’re human beings. That means we’re emotionally involved with ourselves. We’re so used to knowing what we know or being who we are and seeing the world through our own prism and sometimes prison that we don’t always know that what we bring to the table is that fantastic.
For example, I can think of times where I’ve been mentoring someone or coaching someone and they’ve told me what they’re doing. I said, “That’s fantastic. That’s terrific.” They’ve said, “No, everyone does that.” They weren’t being falsely modest. They didn’t know what they did and that’s because they’ve always done it or it’s something they may have learned and work harder, but now it’s a part of their life. We tend to think that the way we see the world is the way everyone else sees the world. This is also why people undervalue themselves. This is also why realtors going for the listening will let themselves be negotiated on price. Instead of standing firm with the fee that they should be charging because they’re bringing so much value to that person whose homes they’re listing. It’s important whether it’s through a coach or whether it’s through a mentor you have or through your manager or someone that you’re able to see and embrace what you bring to the table. That’s how you lead with authenticity by understanding your strengths.
I have so many things that I want to capitalize on what you shared with us. Number one, I want to touch on confidence and how important it is to develop your own inner confidence. The other thing that this leads me to is I keep thinking that you’re so humble, but the truth is that when I hear you speak, all I hear is how much you have dedicated in your own life to learning from others. You’re one of the smartest people I know, yet you continue to learn from others, read and study. That goes to show why you have such great and powerful insights is because you’re constantly open to learning more. Let’s talk about how we can learn more because I know that they’re going to be a lot of people who are thinking they’re stuck in their business. They want to take it to the next level but they can’t. You offer a plethora of resources and they’re all very financially attainable. You’ve got some things cooking as well. Let’s talk about that.
First of all, I agree that we should all be continuing to learn. I know you have an audience in different fields, but I know also many other successful realtors as you are. There’s so much great information out there both directly in terms of real estate and sales. Also, great information that’s principle-based. What I mean by that is it’s universal. Success principles, they work across the board. It doesn’t matter. Learning from others is the best way to learn because what we know, we already know. Sometimes what we think we know isn’t necessarily true. Lots of great resources out there from all sorts of authors, other speakers and people who’ve been successful in real estate itself is always a great thing to do.
In terms of the resources that we offer aside from the books, we have an online video course called Endless Referrals, The Go-Giver Way. We also do the Go-Giver Entrepreneurs Academy, which we love doing because we limit it for ten people. You were at one of them. We loved having you with us and you added so much to the group itself. It’s typically ten successful people who are all there exchanging ideas and going deep into their business. Everybody learning from one another and breakthroughs happen at those workshops. Personally, for me, what I love about them, for 30 years I’ve been speaking in front of audiences from anywhere from a few hundred to 15,000. It’s me and my big mouth up there speaking. I love these because you get to over the course of 2.5 days to get to know people and go deep into their business. We do the monthly calls. Selfishly, I love it. It’s a lot of fun for me. I love seeing the breakthroughs occur for the people who attend.
It was great for me. I got a lot of epiphanies and what I learned is that in business, perception is a reality until we change the perception that’s out there. I learned that for whatever reason the marketplace can think of real estate agents as being greedy, money grubby. I don’t know if it’s because of the former experience that went awry and people how to treat us. To educate them and that people do step up to the conversations that you have around them. It’s our responsibility to do so. That’s one of the reasons why the inspiration of The Go-Giver has helped me so much because I know my heart that someone who hasn’t met me yet or hasn’t gotten to be in a relationship with me yet, they don’t know my heart. It’s up to me to help them understand where I’m coming from and to show up as you say authentically.
The Endless Referrals webinar is intriguing to me because as I told you, this book, I have it flagged, the corners are being torn, ruffled and highlighted and all of that. What is the webinar series going to look like and can you talk a little bit about the price and how to opt in to that? I do want to caution the audience from my own experience, some of the things that I’ve learned because as we talked about it, there are so many resources out there and there are inexpensive resources and there are expensive resources. Your gut is going to tell you what resource is going to be best for you.
Maybe your brokerage is constantly pedaling or promoting a coaching series that has a specific purpose. If that purpose doesn’t resonate with you, more than likely the principles behind the coaching aren’t going to resonate with you either. That’s why the story about the realtor in your Go-Giver book resonates with me so much is because she implemented every single success principle you can think of. Without the authenticity behind it, it didn’t work. When you come to an opportunity that you might want to take your business to the next level and look for coaching, you’ve got to listen to that instinct that’s going to tell you whether or not that system is going to work for you and fully vetted before you buy into it.
That’s important because there’s got to be that congruency with your values and with your style. There are courses that you do a certain thing. If you do it, it will work. You will see the results. If it’s not congruent with your values, how you like to operate or even with your style, sometimes you need to change the style a little bit because the style you’re doing isn’t one that serves you or the other person. I’m talking about more a style you wouldn’t want to change because to do that would not be congruent with your values, you don’t. The one course that I have heard such great things about and I’ve gotten to know them very well. That is the Ninja Selling Organization, founded by Larry Kendall in Colorado.
I found out about them because for several years, I was doing a lot of public events. There were people from all sorts of businesses that would attend. I would invariably have a couple of people coming up at the top realtors and top producers. They’d say to me, “Have you ever heard of Ninja Selling?” I hadn’t until the first couple of times. Everywhere I went, the Ninja people were the top salespeople. They were the happiest people. I ended up finding out that this group was very much in alignment with Go-Giver principles. They gave the book to everyone in their course. I got to know them and Larry Kendall over time. These are people who the system that they teach is congruent with Go-Giver principles. When someone tells me, and I’ll have a client who I come in to speak for a company, for their kickoff or whatever. When they tell me that they’ve had a number of their people go through Ninja, I said, “Great, good.” They’re already in alignment with what we’re talking about.
Let’s talk about the Endless Referrals program and that webinar because that’s something that you can purchase and listen to on your own time.
They can watch it because it’s an online video course. We’re very excited about it. You know her personally, my business partner, Kathy Tagenel, who’s quite brilliant and a wonderful human being. She and I have been producing this and we’ve been working on this for about 1.5 years. We did all the video recording and we had the crew come in into my home office and the whole bit. We’re in post-production. It’s about six weeks from being ready for sale. We’re very excited about it because we can take people through the laws from The Go-Giver, which provides the premise for everything. The actual step by step from how to find people in the marketplace, how to meet them, how to have a conversation, how to bring immense value and communicate immense value leading into know, like and trust and how to ask for and receive referrals.
I want to talk about the laws that are in The Go-Giver. What are the five laws?It's difficult to show up authentically when you don't think you have anything to authentically show up for. Click To Tweet
The five laws themselves are the Laws of Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity and Receptivity.
The Endless Referrals book and the webinar series are going to teach you how to develop those laws in your business and implement them. Is it quarterly or twice a year that you offer the Go-Giver Academy?
We’ve been having them twice a year, but we’re going to start doing them quarterly.
It’s a long weekend.
It starts Thursday afternoon and goes through Saturday.
After you do the long weekend, you have weekly calls with anyone who’s been in the Go-Giver Academy.
We have monthly calls for a year but before the event, they’ll have the series that they can go through. They’ll get that as part of this new online video course. What we’ve been doing is we did one that was live that we had people go through, which is the whole Endless Referrals part. People will get the new updated online video course. The reason we do that is so that they have all that information they get to learn beforehand so that by the time we were at the live workshop, we can invest that 2.5 days in the application of it for their business. We want people to come away from this with those epiphanies, with those a-has and the strategy to implement.
Have you ever considered having a Go-Giver Academy weekend dedicated solely to realtors from across the nation or around the world?
We’re always open when people want to get together to do certain things. We have companies who will ask, “Would you do it for our team?” That’s something that if they ask us, we would put that together. It’s not something that we would advertise because typically we advertise for the event itself. If a group of realtors wanted to do something like that, Kathy and I would absolutely do that.
I enjoyed learning from the people in my group that were from other industries. That was excellent. The conversation would be rich. A few of my realtor friends from around the country, we could strategize together on some of our own business strategies that we’re implementing and also learn from your principles as well. That would be great. Thank you for your time. Tell us the best way to be in touch with you, learn more about you, to purchase the books to opt-in to your other educational series.
They could go to TheGoGiver.com and that’s where all the resources are in terms of books, academy, my podcast and various things. If someone wanted to discuss having me speak at their event, they could go to Burg.com. That’s the speaker’s site.
Thank you so much. You’re so sweet, kind and generous.
- The Go-Giver
- Endless Referrals
- Go-Giver Entrepreneurs Academy
- Ninja Selling Organization
- Kathy Tagenel
- The Go-Giver books
- The Go-Giver podcast
About Bob Burg
Bob Burg is a sought-after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences on topics at the core of the Go-Giver books. A former television personality and top-producing salesperson, Bob has shared the platform with some of today’s top business leaders, broadcast personalities, coaches, athletes, and political leaders, including a former U.S. president.