108 - The Go-Giver with Author Bob Burg (Part 1)

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The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success - An Interview with Author Bob Burg (Part 1)
Courage Cast Podcast Episode 108 - The Go-Giver with Author Bob Burg (Part 1)

Courage Cast Podcast - Faith, Inspiration and Motivation for Today

Eric Nordhoff - Christian entrepreneur, encourager and leader of the Courageous Community
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What is the Go-Giver?

Eric:    This is Courage Cast. Faith, inspiration, and motivation for today. Hey friends, this is Eric Nordhoff and you're listening to another episode of Courage Cast. Today, I'm excited because today starts a four part series on the book, The Go-Giver. Back in July, I had the privilege of being able to interview and have a conversation with Bob Burg, one of the co-authors of The Go-Giver, a little story about a powerful business idea. He was exactly as I thought he would be; Full of enthusiasm, full of joy, tremendous person. I think you're going to find this talk that I had with him to be highly applicable to your life, both in business and in life, and I'm excited to share it with you.

He reached out to me on Twitter, we connected on Twitter after I did my series, back in June, on The Go-Giver in the Courage Cast. He was kind enough to come on, we were able to make it work, and we got to talk for about 30 to 40 minutes. I'm breaking this up into four relatively evenly spaced episodes, so we're starting today with an introduction and we talk about the background of how the book found it's origin, whose idea it was, and how it came into being. Great story, and it's a good way to start. Here, without further ado, is my interview and my conversation with the former top sales professional, Bob Burg, also the author of Endless Referrals, and of course the co-author of The Go-Giver.

Author Bob Burg Discusses The Go-Giver Book

Well, I am honored and thankful and grateful that Bob Burg is with us today. Bob, welcome to the Courage Cast.

Bob:    Thank you, Eric. Great to be with you.

Eric:    Yes. You're down in Florida, I'm up here in Nashville. I wish I was there right now. It sounds like you're living a good life down there in Florida. Grateful to have you on.

Bob:    Thank you.

Eric:    Well, Bob, I wanted to start off by just asking you to give me your background, your journey before The Go-Giver, as a business leader and an author. Just right up the point before you got the idea to write the Go-Giver.

How Bob Burg Became A Successful Salesperson

Bob:    Well, I began actually in broadcasting. First in radio, and then television. I was actually the 10:00 ... In the mid-west of course, it's 10:00, not 11:00 as here in the east, but I was the late night news guy for a small ABC affiliate in mid-west US. I was probably the worst newscaster that you can imagine. I could read the news, that wasn't a problem, but I was 24 years old, really knew nothing about the news, and I really didn't care, so that didn't make for a good combination. I was probably also a little bit too positive for the medium, by my very nature.

My idea of a good newscast opening would have been something like, good evening everyone, I'm Bob Burg. In the news tonight, everything's great. Go to bed, go to bed, we'll let you know if something comes up. I was not long for a news position, but I did graduate into sales. The challenge for me was that while I intuitively understood that selling was about obviously helping people find a solution and connect them with what they needed with my product or service. I really knew nothing about it. I didn't know what to sell. As Jim Rohn would say, I had the motivation but not the information.

Eric:    Right, right.

Bob:    Fortunately, and this is about 35 years ago, I started reading books by the greats, such as Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar, people who really became heroes to me, and taught me how to sell. In a relatively short period of time, Eric, my sales began to go through the roof. Now, the interesting thing to me about this is if you look at where I was when I first got their books and began studying them and applying them, and really not much longer afterwards, really within a few weeks or a month, my sales started to take off, and then they began to really cook. There wasn't a whole lot of difference, but I had a system for being able to apply knowledge to what I was doing. I personally define a system as simply the process of predictably achieving a goal based on a logical, specific set of how-to principles.

In other words, the key is predictability. If it's been proven that by doing A, you'll get desired results of B, then you know that all you need to do is A, and continue to do A, and continue to do A, and you'll get the desired results of B. Which I know, as a great leader, that's what you teach those in your organization. To utilize a proven system and to continue to do it, as my friends Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton, authors of the book Go For No would say, yes is the destination, no is how you get there. It's a matter of finding the system and being persistent until you get to where you want to go. Really, sales ended up being my thing. I love it, I love studying it, and I continue to be a student of sales all these years later. I've been very fortunate to be able to speak on this topic for now close to 25, 30 years.

Eric:    Now, it sounds to me like it almost doesn't matter what you were selling, because it was about ... It seems to me, in the book The Go-Giver and what you're about also with your background of another very successful book that you've written, Endless Referrals, the whole concept of networking and relationships with people has been foundational for you. How important has that been for you, and what would you say to a network marketing audience based on your experience? How it has impacted you making the network of your relationships such a foundational part to your business building.

Bob:    Oh, sure. Well, it really is the foundation of everything. It is all about relationships. You know you can have the best product and service in the world, DoTERRA and other network marketing companies have just fantastic products and services, no doubt about that. Maybe of them have wonderful, fantastic, organizations and they're great people. Before anybody buys into that, whether it's as a customer or as a business builder, they have to buy into you. This is why my mantra, I guess if you will, the foundational premise of everything I've discussed when it comes to sales and business building, is that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.

Eric:    Right.

Bob:    That's what it's all about. It's up to the networker, it's up to that person to lead that way. It's a matter of focusing on bringing value to others, to giving value to everyone you meet.

Bob Burg Discusses How The Book The Go-Giver Came To Be

Eric:    Tell me about the story of how you maybe met John David Mann, how the concept of Go-Giver came into being, a little background on when the idea was first formed in you, and how you got to the point of writing it. What was the main motivation or inspiration for it?

Bob:    Sure. As you mentioned, I had a book called Endless Referrals. That was sort of my first big book, and that was on business networking and creating a referral business. So often, people, regardless of what a person is selling, they begin with a list of names and they begin to go through those names. People tell them no, and they get desperate in a way, because every time someone tells them no, they think they're one step closer to being out of business. That's what knocks more people out of any business. What knocks more people out of business who could have been fantastic business builders, is that it's not that they hear the word no, and it's not that they hear the word no constantly. It's that they think they're the only ones who hear the word no constantly.

How To Build Successful Relationship

They see people walking across stage, or they see people winning all sorts of awards and they think, oh, that person just went out there and people just right away ... They don't realize that's not the case. The book, Endless Referrals, was really for people who wanted the answer to the question, who do I talk to next now that my original list of names has run out? It was a matter of being able to build and develop and cultivate these relationships with people in a way that was very comfortable, in a way that anyone could go out there and do this. You do this, of course, not by focusing on yourself but focusing on others. Again, it always go back to giving value to others and building relationships.

Endless Referrals was a how-to book, and I'd always been a big lover of parables. Starting with Og Mandino's Greatest Salesman in the World, and Clason's Richest Man in Babylon, and then the One Minute series by doctors Blanchard and Johnson in the 80s, all these great parables. I thought, what if we could take the basic premise of Endless Referrals, the know, like, and trust and put that into a really fun parable? I came up with the name, The Go-Giver, only again because how do you do that? You give value constantly, consistently, all the time, to everyone. I put a very, very sketchy, ultra sketchy outline together but as soon as I began to try and write it, it took me about a minute to realize boy, there's a huge difference between writing a how-to book and writing a business parable.

Eric:    Right.

Bob:    I understood, pretty much from the beginning of trying to do that, that not only was it outside my comfort zone, that's not an issue. We all need to often be outside our comfort zone but as John Maxwell would later say, it was outside my strength zone. I knew that I could not do justice to what I believed, intuitively, that this book could be. I knew John David Mann, he was the editor in chief, basically of a networking marketing magazine that I used to write for. He was just such a fantastic editor. He's so brilliant, he's such an amazing writer, but he was so humble. He'd send me back corrections in such a nice way and I did this, is this okay? Our running joke used to be I'd send back his corrections and say not only is it okay, you write my stuff better than I write my stuff.

I'd also heard and I knew that he'd been behind a couple of very, very big books but his name wasn't on the cover. People in the business knew he was really just an all star, all world writer. I asked him if he would be the lead writer and storyteller for this little idea I had for The Go-Giver. He and his wife, his fiancee at the time, Anna, his wife, they were visiting her mom in Tampa, they drove across state to Jupiter, where I live. We had about a three hour dinner and discussed the book, and what we saw for it. He said, well, let me think about it. A few weeks later, he called me on the phone and said you know, I think we've got something here.

Eric:    That's amazing, and the rest is history.

How To Overcome Rejection

Bob:    You know what, Eric? After 25 rejections from publishers.

Eric:    Oh great, I love it.

Bob:    Again, you got to get past those no's. You've just got to realize no is a part of success.

Eric:    Man, and someone even with an accomplished book already, Endless Referrals, very, very impactful, very successful. You still get those kind of rejections. I can't even imagine rejecting ... Were they even rejecting The Go-Giver title, because it's such a great title and such a great play on the whole go-getter philosophy.

Bob:    Thank you. You know, it was just the matter of some of them liked the idea, but they weren't into that kind of book.

Eric:    Sure.

Bob:    Some didn't think another business parable would sell.

Eric:    Right.

Bob:    It's all these things. People have their own reasons for doing things that often we certainly don't agree with, but we also re-did the presentation of it, and put some promotional videos together for it that helped sell it a little better.

Eric:    Right.

Bob:    We used the no's as constructive feedback, and fortunately we had a great agent, by the way, who just never gave up, who totally believed in the book.

Eric:    Right.

Bob:    She found what turned out, for us, the perfect publisher, Portfolio, who has been just a partner in this, that has been second to none.

Eric:    Well, there you go. That's the first part of my four part interview with Bob Burg, of course the author of The Go-Giver, a little story about a powerful business idea. I loved hearing about the origin of that. I love hearing that others, even somebody as successful as Bob has been, still experienced challenges, still experienced obstacles. This was not just handed to him. That just goes to prove that anything worthwhile takes effort, and work, and grit, and persistence for it to happen. May that be an inspiration to you. I'll be back again tomorrow, on the next episode and the next of my four part series with Bob Burg, the author of The Go-Giver. Have a great day, everyone.