Today I spoke to Bob Burg, who is a highly sought-after speaker and the bestselling author of Endless Referrals, The Go-Giver and his upcoming book Go-Giver’s Sell More, which comes out on February 18th. In this interview, Bob talks about how to network by giving before receiving, talks about how he was inspired to write his books, gives some networking tips and more.
Why don’t more people give to others, without asking for something in return?
“It really comes down to two things; one’s world model, and level of knowledge.”
- Regarding world model, if a person has learned (whether through upbringing, environment, television shows, news media, etc.) that giving for the sake of adding value to someone’s life makes you a sucker and you’ll only be taken advantage of, then that person is not likely to give without asking for something in return. And, “asking for something in return” is not always verbal. It can be implied in other ways, or merely – what John and I call – emotionally demanded. Either way, it typic ally has the opposite effect.
- In terms of knowledge level, it’s often nothing more than not knowing that when you give only to add value without that “emotional demand” you’re much more likely to create the type of relationship that results in the other person feeling good about you know; what we call “knowing, liking and trusting you.” When you get to that point, you’ll do a lot of direct business with people as well as receive a lot of referrals.
Giving – while asking for or demanding something in return – isn’t really giving. It’s trading. And traders can make a living, but they very rarely thrive as do those following the Go-Giver methodology.
Can you give an example of a Go-Giver who has successfully grown a business?
There are so many, and we share several of these types of stories in the new book. One of our favorites is Terri Murphy. Now a well-known speaker and author, she was a mega-successful Realtor upon whom the Realtor in the original Go-Giver story, Debra Davenport was very loosely based. Terri built an immensely successful and profitable Real Estate business by adding extreme value to every transaction; touching the lives of many; always putting other people’s interests first, staying truly authentic to who she really was, and making herself available to receive in a big way. Terri is the embodiment of a person who follows all five of the Laws we share through our work.
What inspired you to write the Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More?
Years ago I had a book out entitled, Endless Referrals (3rd edition 2005). It was a how-to manual for creating just what the title says. Having read and enjoyed the many business parables/fables on the market today, I thought it would be a neat idea to take the how-to principles from Endless Referrals and turn them into a quick, easy-to-read parable. Now, please know that there is a big difference between writing a how-to book and writing a fictional story. I quickly determined I was not qualified to write the fable.
Fortunately, as busy as he was, my close friend, John David Mann (a brilliant writer, and coauthor of several books and ghost-writer for some extremely big authors with sales in the multi-millions of copies) agreed to take a look at the notes I had put together. Even more fortunately (for me), he saw the potential. While we worked together throughout the process, it was he who turned the basic idea into a terrific story.
Go-Givers Sell More was a very natural spinoff. So many people wrote in to say how applying the principles in the first book accelerated their success and that they’d enjoy even more specific examples, we decided to take the Five Laws and show exactly how to apply them to the sales process.
Does the old sales model of cold calling still work?
I would never say that cold calling doesn’t work. In its proper context, and done correctly, it certainly does. And, there are people today who write excellent books and have terrific newsletters on this topic. However, it’s very logical to see that – all else being equal – a referral is much better than a cold call. And, being able to meet new people and quickly establish relationships with them is also generally more effective. But, sure, cold calling still works and there is still a time and place for it in the business-building process.
What are your top three networking tips?
It would be to understand the following and really take them to heart:
- “All thing being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know like and trust.” So be the person worthy of eliciting those feelings toward you in others.
- The very essence of networking is not to determine how the new person you are now speaking with can add value to your life and business, but to determine how you can add business to theirs. Take care of that and more good things will come your way than you can imagine.
- It isn’t about you…it’s about them!
Bob Burg is a highly sought-after speaker at corporate, financial services and direct sales conventions. Sharing the principles contained in his bestselling books, Bob has addressed audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000, sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities athletes and political leaders including cabinet secretaries and a former United States President. His critically acclaimed book, Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales has sold over 200,000 copies. His latest national bestseller, The Go-Giver, was on the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek bestseller lists, has been translated into 18 languages and is his fourth book to top the 100,000 copies sold mark. His forthcoming book is called Go-Giver’s Sell More, which comes out on February 18th and is published by Penguin Portfolio.