Bob Burg, Author & Speaker | Influence, Success & Profit: The Go-Giver Way

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Bob Burg shares how a subtle shift in focus is not only a more uplifting and fulfilling way of conducting business but the most financially profitable way, as well. For 30 years he’s helped companies, sales leaders, and their teams to more effectively communicate their value, sell at higher prices with less resistance, and grow their businesses based on Endless Referrals.

Bob regularly addresses audiences, sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, Olympic athletes and political leaders including a former United States President.

Although for years he was best known for his book Endless Referrals, over the past few years it’s his business parable, The Go-Giver (coauthored with John David Mann) that has captured the imagination of his readers.

The Go-Giver, a Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek Bestseller, has sold over 975,000 copies. Since its release it has consistently stayed in the Top 25 on Porchlight’s (formerly 800-CEO-READ) Business Book Bestsellers List. The book has been translated into 29 languages. It was rated #10 on Inc. Magazine’s list of the Most Motivational Books Ever Written, and was on HubSpot’s 20 Most Highly Rated Sales Books of All Time.

Bob is the author of a number of books on sales, marketing and influence, with total book sales approaching two million copies.

The American Management Association named Bob one of the 30 Most Influential Leaders and he was named one of the Top 200 Most Influential Authors in the World by Richtopia.

Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve.


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Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.








Machine Generated Transcript


sales, people, person, giver, books, influence, salesperson, podcast, mentor, mentor protege relationship, understand, giving, emotions, learning, price, focus, business, bob, questions, selling


Scott D Clary, Bob Burg


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining me today I’m sitting down with Bob Burg. If you don’t know who Bob berg is former top sales professional, highly sought after conference speaker author for over 30 years now he’s helped companies sales leaders, their teams communicate value sell at higher prices, less resistance. He’s been named by the American Management Association as one of the top 30 Most Influential thought leaders in business and is the author of a number of books that sales marketing influence, with total book sales approaching 2 million copies, probably much more than when I pulled the stat including the most recent book, go giver and the Go Giver a Wall Street Journal Businessweek bestseller has sold over 950,000 copies, it’s released and has constantly stayed in the top 25 of business books bestseller list book has been translated in 28 languages was rated number 10 on ink Magazine’s list of most motivational books ever written. And hub spots 20 most highly rated sales books of all time, Bob, thank you so much such an honor to unpack your story understand how you became the the the brand the person you know that you are right now, over your career. So So walk me through what who was Bob Berg from, from the start and how you got to where you are today.


Bob Burg  01:50

Great to be with you, Scott, thanks for having me. I began my business career as a broadcaster actually first as a sportscaster on a small radio station, and then a television news anchor on a small affiliate in the small ABC affiliate in the Midwestern United States. I wasn’t really very good at it. And I wasn’t long for that job. And I assumed, I like to say graduated into sales. The the biggest issue I had was though that was that I knew nothing about sales on a, on a formal level, I had no training didn’t know anything about it. And the training where I would the company where I first worked was negligible. I really didn’t actually, I had to figure out things for myself which which, that’s not me, I don’t invent or create wheels. So I flounder because I didn’t figure figure it out. Fortunately, I didn’t have to though, because I was in a bookstore and came across a couple of books on suddenly, which surprised me. Now, again, this is 40 years ago, and back then the prevalence of books on sales was nothing as it is as it is now. But fortunately, in the bookstore I was in there were two great books to a couple of classics, one was by Tom Hopkins and one was by Zig Ziglar. And I got those books and I studied them, I studied them after work every day until the wee hours of the morning and I read a highlight and take notes and, and dog ear the pages and practice and, and within a few weeks, my sales really began to soar. And what it really told me was it if you have a methodology, you have a system for doing a thing that you may not have known how to do before, but if it’s a good system, and it’s principle based, you can be successful, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So that was very encouraging. For me, the to this day, I would define a system as simply the process for predictably achieving a goal based on a logical and specific set of how to principle so the key is, predictability is a it’s been proven that you’ll get the desired results of B then you know, all you need to do is a and keep doing a and keep doing a and eventually you’ll get the desired results of B so that you know again that’s that’s sort of how I began to learn selling and from there as part of selling as you know, personal development really comes into play. So I started buying all the books that we hear about you know the and back then it was you know how to win friends and influence people think Rich, which those are still classics which everyone should have in their, in their their library. The magic of thinking big Psycho Cybernetics As a Man Thinketh and, and so forth and I was just overwhelmed. With this wonderful, not only business building, but just self growth material, and really enjoyed it. So in time I came sales manager of another company. And after a while started teaching others how to do what was working for me and for my team and eventually kind of morphed into a speaking business. And which I approached again, very systematically, I joined the National Speakers Association. And I learned from those who come before me and had a roadmap, a system for how to build a speaking business. And as you said, I’ve been doing that now for about 30 years.


Scott D Clary  05:36

And tell me something so you’re a very logical process and process driven person makes a ton of sense. So what is when you read a book like The Go Giver, I watched, I watched some of your speaking engagements where you’re speaking about giving abundance mindset, this is all tying back to success, I’m assuming in sales and in life and and other things. When you’re the process that you’ve developed. I’m curious where that came from, and how it differentiates and provides value to people when now there is just an absolute abundance of different sales, books, novels, literature, some good some not so good. Much more than you know, when you first started picking up those those classics. And I have actually some of those on my shelf now. So I appreciate it. So what is what is it go giver? And what does that mean?


Bob Burg  06:20

Yeah, so go ahead. And that’s such a great question. A Go Giver is basically someone who understands that shifting their focus, and this is really the key shifting one’s focus from getting to give. And when we, when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. Now, understanding that not only is this a more fulfilling way of doing business, it’s the most financially profitable way as well. And not for reasons of, you know, some woowoo way out there type of reason or mystical, magical thinking, no, it’s actually again, very logical, it’s very rational. When you think about it, right? When you’re that person, who can take your focus off yourself, and place it on bringing value to others, making someone else’s life better, helping solve their problems, helping them to attain what they need, what they want, what they desire. Well, you know, people feel good about you, right? People want to get to know you, they like you, they trust you, they want to be in relationship with you, they want to do business with you if that’s if you have something they want or need, and they want to refer you to others. And so, you know, again, it’s very rational. Now, you know, I talked about rationale and logic and systems, I’m actually very emotional guy, okay, but what we need to be able to do, and by the way, I’m an emotional person, because I’m a human being. And as human beings, we’re all emotional, and we’re all emotion based. We’d like to think we’re logical, right? And to a certain extent, we are but as human beings, we are very emotion driven, we make major decisions, based on emotion that we back those up with, why would we back them up with logic, right, we rationalize, which, I guess kind of means we tell ourselves rational lies to justify those emotional decisions. But But no, I’m as emotional as anyone. The key is that we need to make sure to control our emotions be the master of our emotions, so they work for us rather than against us, or is one of my great friends, Dundee’s. Komachi puts it, she says, by all means take your emotions along for the ride, but make sure that you are driving the car. In other words, we want our decisions to be imaged to be logically based, okay? Even though emotions are certainly a good to have with us because emotions bring wisdom with them as well. But But yeah, the Go Giver itself is actually very logical when you think about it. And the five laws, the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity all play one, along with the other very holistically. So it’s not just one or two, or three, or even four of them, but actually, actually all five, it begins with giving value, that focus on providing immense value to others as you’re building the relationship as you’re cultivating that relationship, as you’re following up and following through. And as you’re you’re in the filling process and the referral process, it’s always about starting with value. And then compensation, which is about how many people’s lives you touch with that value, and then the influence which is really nothing more than being able to have other people’s interests at heart understanding that, you know, as Dale Carnegie said, and how to win friends and influence people, people did things for their reasons, not our reasons. or as I often say, when I speak at a sales conference, nobody’s going to buy from you, because you have a quota to me, right or because you need the money or even because you’re a really nice person, they’re gonna buy from you because they believe they’ll be better off by doing so than by not doing so, which is why we have to put their interest ahead of our own. This is also why John David Mann, like awesome co author, and the lead writer of the team, why we say that money is simply an echo of value. Money is an echo value as the thunder to values lightning, meaning that the value must come first the value comes first, the money is simply that you receive is simply a very natural and direct result of the value you provided the law of authenticity, number one, number four, just says to show up as yourself, be that same person, be the person you are, and be so all the time. And Law Number five, the law of receptivity. So the key to to effective giving is to stay open to receive it means sure we breathe out which is giving, we also have to breathe in, which is receiving and then it’s not a matter of being a giver or receiver. That’s a that’s a treacherous dichotomy, you know that either or, No, you’re a giver and a receiver. But it begins with the focus on giving value and a lot of choice.


Scott D Clary  11:27

Do you find that more sales org sales leaders are working in this lighter? Do you still find that sales is a very traditional latent industry?


Bob Burg  11:40

Well, I think it’s both. I mean, I think more and more people are understanding. And as you said, there’s a lot of good sales books out there, there’s a lot of good books that the you know, the to just be better, more effective salespeople. And in the good ones always talk about the fact that it’s always about the prospect, you know, it’s not about us great salesmanship is never about the salesperson, it’s never even about the product or service. As important as the product or service is, it’s about the other person, it’s about how they are going to benefit from that product or service, it’s about touching the life of another human being, it’s about making their life better, just by their having you in it, your product or service. And and I think that’s a message that a lot more people are getting, of course, you know, people are people. So there’s going to be those people who have sales, you know, they learned a traditional way. And that’s just what they’re going to do. But I think more and more that especially as, as buyers are in much more of a power position, because of the knowledge that the internet supplies, you know, they already know a whole lot, they still need the salesperson, but they all they already know a lot about the product or service, the salesperson is no longer primarily a conduit of information. conduit of insight, they need to be an advisor, they need to be able to but as far as the information goes, so no, it’s I think it’s changing a lot. I think it’s changing a lot for the better.


Scott D Clary  13:15

And and let’s speaking of the value you’re always offering you’re giving you’re giving. And I 100% agree, all these five laws, you mentioned your book, they seem very common sense when you lay them out like that, but I still believe that people still have to focus and understand how to actually action them. Or else they may they may fall flat. If it’s not the way like you mentioned they were trained, they may default to bad habits. So how do you get value?


Bob Burg  13:38

Well, it first of all, we need to understand what value really is. Because it’s different from price and a lot of people think they’re the same price is $1 figure, right? It’s $1 amount, it’s it’s finite it is what it is is the price of something, which by the way might be more than just the dollars there’s also price in terms of opportunity cost, price, sometimes time price, sometimes potential aggravation, price and turn right but but when we say price we’re talking the whole what it would cost a person to buy a certain thing. That’s price value is the relative worth or desirability of a set of some thing to the end user or beholder. In other words, what is it about this? This product or service concept idea what have you that brings so much work to someone to another human being that they will willingly exchange their money for it and be glad they did while you make a very healthy profit. Now on a very basic level, a An example might be the accountant who you excuse me hired to do your taxes and she charges you $1,000 Just to name around bigger that’s her prior fear her practice about Some dollars, but what value does she give you in exchange for this $1,000? Well, she say, let’s say through all her hard work, getting to know you, your business, what you’re looking to accomplish all her years of experience, and so forth, she is able to save you $5,000 on your taxes. She also saves you countless hours of time. And she provides you with the security and the peace of mind of knowing that was done correctly. So she actually gave you well over $5,000 in value in exchange for $1,000 fee or process. And that’s just the intrinsic value that she has given you, based on what an accountant does that right, there doesn’t separate or distinguish her from anyone. So how do we in a world in which the playing field is basically been leveled through technology and through advancement? How do we distinguish ourselves and as you say, provide value give value to others and, and basically, we, the salesperson or the entrepreneur, we need to be that additional value? How? Well there are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to communicate that additional value, but they tend to come down to five, what we call elements of value. And these elements of value are excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation. And to the degree that we can communicate those, those five, whether it’s 123, or all five of them at every single touch point. Well, that’s the degree that we take competition and price out of the equation.


Scott D Clary  16:46

And I understand so now you provided that extra value so that you, you now have the one up on the playing field of all the other, for example, the accountants, you’ve added those those value drivers. Now, how do you actually, once you have made those value drivers apparent? Does the sale just happen because you have shown the intrinsic value plus you’ve added those five additional value drivers, or is you know another principle in the book is influence. And you want to influence the individual to do what you’re trying to do, which is to close a sale, how do you actually employ that influence on somebody who you’re trying to sell to?


Bob Burg  17:22

Well, you influence a person to the degree that you show them that you’re able to effectively communicate why they’re doing business with you is in their best interest. So if you if you look at if you look at influence on a very just on a surface level, we could define it, we can define influence, again, very, basically is simply the ability to move a person or persons to a desired action, usually within the context of a specific goal. That is, by definition influences the definition. It’s not its substance, it’s not its essence. And this is the big difference. The essence of influence is Pull, pull, as opposed to push as in the saying, how far can you push a rope? The answer is not very far, at least not very fast. Which is, you know why great influencers don’t push, right? You never hear people say wow, that Tom or that Mary, she is so influential, she has a lot of push with the now they’d say she has a lot of pull with people not push. And so that’s where influences it’s pullets and attractions magnetic. How do you do that? Well, you really again, you do that through placed in that other person’s interest? First, asking yourself asking yourself questions to make sure you’re really facing the right direction, which is our word. For example, how does what I’m asking this person to do? How does it align with their goals? How does it align with their wants, their needs, their desires? How, what what I want this other person to do? How does it align with their values? What problems Am I helping them to solve? How am I make help making their life better? How am I bringing them closer to happiness? You know, whatever it happens to be whatever questions make sense. And when we ask ourselves these questions thoughtfully, intelligently, genuinely, authentically, not as a way to manipulate another human being and to doing our will but as a way of building everyone in the process. Now we’ve come a lot closer to to earning that person’s commitment to our idea and that is cool. That isn’t


Scott D Clary  19:53

that it’s entirely shifting. I love it shifting the whole focus this whole this whole, the whole over overarching themes are shifting that focus again, from that, that internal self focus to. Yeah. Well, the influence the pull the giving, like, it’s all like, just it’s so simple, just focus on them. Yeah. And you will achieve exactly what you want. Now, you know, and I, I look through like all the points in the Go Giver and some of the topics you talk about, and even some of this the speeches you give on, on how do you how do you make sense of this financially? How does this have an ROI attached to it, or you’re just you’re just focusing on the person and you’re and everything is now tailored to what the customer wants, truly not shoving it down. But again, everything you’re doing is in line with what the customer actually wants to achieve. And it’s just a mindset shift. It’s just shifting your mind from what you care about to wait, let me get what I care about by caring about what the customer wants. That’s it. Yeah, very, very nice. It’s, it’s the whole, the whole ideology sort of lines up that way. One thing you speak about in the book is mentorship. I’m curious to know, because we spoke about all these different sales books when you were first going to sales. Now there’s many, many more, though, regardless of whether it’s a book or a person, how do you find somebody that can guide you this way? Because not everybody can reach out to Bob Berg and you know, jump on a call every time they want some help? How do you find mentors that align with this ideology? Because I agree with this ideology. And I think it’s the way to be as a salesperson,


Bob Burg  21:26

well, finding a mentor, you know, is very helpful, because a good mentor can help cut your learning curve time by by years, I think sometimes people get too attached to having to have that one magical mentor, you know, that’s going to change their lives. And that’s not usually works. First of all, a mentor protege relationship is just that it’s a relationship. So it happens over time. And we don’t know, you know, always know when that’s going to happen, and who that person is going to be. But a lot of people will will kind of approach someone who they, you know, they respect or they admire or what have you, and say, Hey, will you be my mentor, and, you know, that feeds me kind of kind of productive most of the time. Because, first, if you want this person to be your mentor, probably a whole lot of other people do as well. And they’re all asking him to be there, you know, either their mentor, and you know, they don’t, most people just don’t have time to do that, you know, on a consistent basis. But what you can do, which is very effective, is you can really approach almost anyone who’s successful. And say, you know, I’m wondering, and if this is not something you have time to do, or just something you just don’t want to do. Totally understandable. I’m wondering if I might ask you one or two very specific questions. Now, when you do that you you’ve distinguished yourself from practically everyone else first, the way you’ve done it, you’ve shown respect and not, you know, there’s no entitlement, you’re you realize you’re asking this person to do something that they you know, is going to take up their valuable time and they may not want to, and you gave them the out, he said, and that’s totally understandable. Right. And Triplett, typically, when you give someone the out, or backdoor, they’re less likely to feel the need to take it, because you’re making them feel comfortable. They know you’re not going to waste their time. Then what you also did, which is very effective is you asked, he said, You know, I’d love to ask you, or or may I ask you one or two very specific questions. This shows this person that, you know, you’re not just looking to pick their brain and again, waste their time, you know, in general, you know, but instead that you have an agenda. And when I say have an agenda in this case, I mean, that in the positive sense, and have you thought this out, you plan this out, this is going to be a productive, you know, session. And they respect that, you know, they’re much more likely to say, Yeah, sure. You know, what, we literally can take a few minutes, or what can I do or what have you, and that’s a great start. Now, you want to make sure that you don’t ask them anything, the answer to which you could have discovered through an online search, you know what I’m saying. So you want to make sure that this is something that you would not be able to otherwise know. Otherwise, again, it’s a waste of their time, they’re not going to respect that they’re going to write and then you know, they don’t take up a lot of time, just you know, and be totally respectful of it. At the end, let them know how much you appreciate it, and how you look forward to applying their wisdom right away and that if it’s okay to you know, check back every so often and just let you know I was in they’ll say sure, of course of course. Now, what I would do is that day, I would send a handwritten personalized note of things not a text, not an email, handwritten, personalized little things. And just you just say, you know, again, thank you so much for taking valuable time out of your day. Your wisdom is priceless. I look forward to applying it right away. And we’ll keep in touch To let you know how things are going to interest or gardening, just short, sweet note, handwritten number 10 in our regular envelope, regular snap, send it out what have you. Also a nice touch is, is discover what their favorite charitable causes, which you can again, you can do that by just searching them online and learning that and then make a small donation doesn’t have to be anything big, just a small donation in their name, they’ll be notified of it and you’re not doing it to kiss up or anything, but only so again, they understand that you get it, that you are totally respectful of the brush. So you’re now you are the type of person who they want to match. They want to fit right. So now maybe later you either email or call let them know how things are going. You had a good success, or you had one another question? And would it be alright, whatever. And in time a mentor protege relationship is supposed to develop it will. If not, it won’t it might be this person was there for one conversation as will three or four other people be and then you might meet someone who ends up being a real ongoing knows, we want to just you know, do it the right way without attachment to the results.


Scott D Clary  26:10

Very smart. Very, very smart. Those are good, very, very good strategies. I’ve never heard those strategies before. So I like that a lot. I love to hear like something new new on this show. A lot of people speak about mentorship. But those are very, very clever strategies. And I think they’re very smart. I want to I want to ask some rapid fire before we end off today at just about, you know, some quick, quick questions. But before I go off, and we close out, is there anything that I didn’t ask about go giver or what you’re working on now that’s meaningful to you that you wanted to bring to bring up?


Bob Burg  26:45

Well, we have four books in the series, three of them are parables, anyone who goes to Berg They can scroll down and read a chapter if they’d like to see if they like where it’s headed. And they can always click to Amazon or or, you know, wherever they’d like. I do have a free video course a free four part on love for video online. Course mini course we call it called selling the Go Giver way. And so it should be up on the site right now.


Scott D Clary  27:17

Got it? I’ll link that below.


Bob Burg  27:21

Which they can watch if they’d like.


Scott D Clary  27:23

Perfect. Can I do a couple rapid fire? Just short answer before we are Rosa. Asher, thank you very much. What’s one resource, a book podcast person that people should go check out that you’re learning?


Bob Burg  27:38

I subscribe to Randy gages prosperity blog. He also has a podcast and a YouTube channel. So I’m a big believer in really learning, prosperity continuing learning. So there’s a there’s a few people like Randy Sharon Lechter, Bob Proctor who’s one of your fellow Canadians. He’s on the Toronto area. And, you know, people like Elon Rogen and there’s there’s a number of David Nagel, there’s a number of good people that speak specifically on prosperity thinking and mindset. So I’m always studying them and and feel that’s a really good resource for people to go to


Scott D Clary  28:22

the positive resource to find out who these individuals are. Especially we need that more than ever now. What’s, what’s one lesson that you would tell your younger self?


Bob Burg  28:33

Oh, that one is probably the easiest of all. Goes I would, I would say probably to 20 to 23 year old young Bob Berg, I’d say young Bob Berg, shut up. Stop talking. Start listening. You don’t know half of what you think, you know, and the other half that you’re sure you know, is so totally wrong. You don’t even realize it yet.


Scott D Clary  28:58

That’s a good. That’s a good very good lesson. I think I think that applies at any age. And then last last question, what does success mean for you?


Bob Burg  29:12

I believe that success is a sense of genuine feeling of happiness, of peace of mind, in knowing you did the best you can to to operate at your highest level. I think that’s success.


Scott D Clary  29:35

very good answer. And lastly, where can people connect with you online you have websites, socialist,


Bob Burg  29:42

Expert dot com if they scroll down to the very bottom of page they’ll see everything you know, LinkedIn and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and whatever else.


Scott D Clary  29:54

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download To stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google Stitcher, I heart, radio and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already, please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds, as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message and remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast signing off

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