Interview With Bob Burg, Best Selling Co-author of The Go-Giver
Bob Burg is the bestselling author of The Go-Giver (co-authored with John David Mann) and Endless Referrals. Bob's newest book is called Adversaries Into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion. Bob is an accomplished speaker as well, speaking to corporations and associations internationally, including fortune 500 companies, franchises, and numerous direct sales organizations.
We were blessed to catch up with Bob to interview him on his work and his refreshingly different perspective on business and life.
1. You are highly successful and have written such books as The Go-Giver, which was #6 on Wall Street Journal's Business Best Seller's list and has been given rave reviews by the likes of Dave Ramsey (the book is required reading by his team) and Seth Godin - among many others. Can you briefly explain your story of how you got to be where you are?
It's certainly a huge honor to know that Dave Ramsey and Seth Godin found the book to be of value. That Dave has it as required reading by his team is beyond an honor to both my coauthor, John David Mann, and me. In answer to your question, I began as a television broadcaster and then graduated into sales. This was 35 or so years ago and the two authors that really got me started and helped me immediately and profoundly in that regard were Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar. I feel I owe both of those two gentlemen so very much. I began to make a study of sales, and of personal development itself. What a huge turning point that was. In time, after working my way up to sales manager of a company, I went out on my own teaching others my strong point - which was business networking, connecting, and referrals. I've now been speaking at sales and leadership conferences for quite a while and I can't imagine doing anything else. My first book was Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales. The book was based on the underlying premise that, "All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust." Eventually, I was able to persuade the awesome writer/storyteller, John David Mann to coauthor The Go-Giver with me (he was really the lead writer - absolutely brilliant!) and it's been a fun ride. The book has sold over 500,000 copies and we've been blessed to have an enormous number of ambassadors spreading the message of the book.
2. In The Go-Giver, you hold that by seeking the good of others we not only are doing the right thing but are also setting ourselves up for success. Why do you believe that this message is important for our time?
The basic premise of The Go-Giver is that shifting one's focus from getting to giving (and, in this context, when we say "giving" we mean constantly and consistently providing value to others) is not only a nice way to live life, but a very financially profitable way as well. When you place the interests of others first (genuinely and authentically, which is very key) you have taken that first step to eliciting those "know, like, and trust" relationships mentioned above. This holds true whether we're talking about business or personal relationships. The good news is that there's nothing self-sacrificial about doing so. When acting congruently with your values and, as Sam, one of the mentor's in The Go-Giver parable tells the protégé, Joe, "making your win about the other person's win" all parties benefit. Because, the chances are great that this person wants to add value to your life as well. Please understand, we are not talking about a quid-pro-quo. You don't give value to others as a strategy but rather as a way of life. In other words, you give because it's who you are. And, because it's who you are, it's what you do. And, when that's the case you are creating -- what John and I call "a benevolent context for your success." We believe the message is important for our time because not only do these principles work (they are nothing original - as we learn in Koheles/Ecclesiastes, "There is nothing new under the sun"); most people are very happy to learn that there is no dichotomy between focusing on helping others and doing well for yourself.
3. For those who are interested in becoming more giving in their career, what should they do to get started?
Begin by asking yourself how you can provide (give) more value to others in everything you do and in all aspects of your life. Take stock of your strengths. Are you a good listener? Are you a connector of others? Do you have a well-developed sense of empathy? Do you have a knack for asking good questions? Again, whether we're discussing this in the context of business, personal, social or any other type of relationship, the key is to act from your own strength in a way that benefits others. With that in mind, it's very, very important to remember that "value is always in the eyes of the beholder." It's not what we think is of value, and it isn't what we think they should think is of value, it's what they think is of value. When we keep that in mind we find ourselves to be a lot more effective in the giving process. And, of course, the key is to actually get started and take action. In other words, be a go-giver AND a go-getter. Just don't be a go-taker. ;-)
4. What is next for you professionally and where can people connect with what you're doing?
My business partner, Kathy Tagenel and I, are building a team of Certified Go-Giver Speakers; people who are successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who now want to become paid professional speakers and teach the principles contained in the book (and my other books). We've been doing this for several years now and it has been a joy. We have so many fantastic and talented people now in a number of countries who are out there speaking and coaching. This is something we'll continue to build, grow, and enjoy. If anyone is interested in looking into this program, they may visit www.GoGiverSpeaker.com.
To connect with me, subscribe to my "Influence & Success Insights", check out my blog, and connect with me on Social Media, please visit www.burg.com.