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Intro: Welcome to the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast with JP Stonestreet, episode #23.
JP: In this episode, I am very excited to welcome Bob Burg who wrote The Go-Giver and he shares all kinds of neat stuffs about the book, the background for the book and advice on how to give in order to get, but before we get into the interview, I would like to ask you to go to my website JPStonestreet.com and sign up for my newsletter. You will get to download my list of seven resources that I use to do my business and work in my business, the resources I recommend other people use. You will also get 75 pages, which is one-fourth of my book, The Web Startup Roadmap. The first fourth of that book is the story of my entrepreneurial journey, my entrepreneurial origin story and I have been told it’s a good read, it’s fascinating to see how many failures I had to rack up before I was successful. So, go there, download those free resources and my book by signing up for my newsletter at JPStonestreet.com. Now, I would like to introduce today’s guest. Bob Burg is a sought-after speaker at corporate conventions and for entrepreneurial events. He regularly addresses audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000 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 co-authored with John David Mann that has captured the heart and imagination of his readers. It shot to #6 on the Wall Street Journal’s Business Bestsellers list just three weeks after its release and reached #9 on Business Weeks. It’s been translated into 21 languages and it is fourth book to sell over 250,000 copies. His newest book is entitled Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion, which discusses how to master the art of ultimate influence. 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. He is an unapologetic animal fanatic and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Furry Friends Adoption and Clinic in Jupiter, Florida. Without further ado, let’s welcome Bob Burg.
Welcome Bob to this episode of the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast. I am so excited to talk to you about your book The Go-Giver today. How are you doing?
Bob: I am doing great, JP. Just so terrific to be on your show, thank you.
JP: Thanks. I am really glad that you agreed to do this with me. I read your book and I have had several people recommend your book before I read it and so that’s why I read it because of the people who recommended it – Sarah Bowles was the first and then Melanie Benson, who is someone that you know very well, recommended it and usually if two people I highly respect recommend a book, I read it and so, I read your book, it was amazing and I really do try and live my life by that by your whole premise. So, why don’t we talk about your background and your book and we can just give us your rundown of who you are.
Bob: It’s interesting when asked to describe yourself who are you and because we are all so many different things, I think in the business sense someone who has – who really after a very brief and not a great career in journalism, I was a broadcaster, a television news anchor actually for a couple of years, but I wasn’t very good. So, I guess non-illustrious career as a broadcaster, I graduated into sales, found that I really had the motivation to do well, but I didn’t have the information to do well. So, I floundered until I came across a couple of great sales books which was encouraging to me just to know that there was some kind of system to selling, it wasn’t just a matter of going out and trying to ask people to buy from you. This was 30 years ago and so in a very short period of time, I became a somewhat successful salesperson only because I now had a system for doing so and I always like to define a system as simply the process of predictably achieving a goal based on illogical and very specific set of how-to principles. In other words, the key is predictability if it has been proven that by doing ‘A’ you will get the desired result of ‘B’ then you know that all you need to do is ‘A’ and do it consistently and over time and you will get the desired results of ‘B.’ So, once I knew that I had a lot more confidence and I was able to really do well in that regard, working my way up to sales manager of a company and eventually began to speak on the topic and so I have been doing that for quite a while and I guess in terms of describing who I am on a person who has a very big belief and liberty, I believe in both free minds and free markets, frustrates me that someone would want to deny anyone either of those two and so, I am also a lover of animals. So, I guess I am constantly trying to learn and I guess that would be who I am.
JP: That’s great and I totally agree with you. Free market – that’s what made our country great and I honestly see a return to that despite certain government entities trying to take that away. Thanks to the internet, it’s kind of leveling the plane field and I am seeing a return to entrepreneurialism in the free market society, which I am grateful for.
JP: So, what was your motivation for writing The Go-Giver?
Bob: I had a book out years ago called Endless Referrals, that was sort of my first big book and that was basically on networking and creating a referral-based business based on a very basic principle throughout that book and pretty much the foundation for everything I have taught for years and that is that all things being equal people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust. Endless Referrals was a how-to book, it’s in it’s third revised edition, in fact the publisher wants me to do a fourth now that we are in the social media age and so I am considering doing that, but I had always thought wouldn’t that be great to be able to tell the story about this or sort of give the how-to in story form if you will. I always loved business parables or fables starting with Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World, Clason’s Richest Man in Babylon. In the early 80s you had doctors Blanchard and Johnson with their one-minute series, One Minute Manager, One Minute Salesperson, and of course Dr. Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? was another great parable and people like Robin Sharma and Chris White are great, but I loved reading these because most of them were very short, they had a great message, they are told in story form and stories were really connected and I thought wouldn’t it be great to do that with Endless Referrals and I had sort of come up with the name The Go-Giver because the basic of that is giving value and that’s really how you create the know, like and trust relationships with the focus on the other person, on their needs, their wants, their desires, not only is that good life, it’s good business. So, I sketched out some characters and began to write it and about one minute into my writing, I realized that there is a big difference between writing a how-to book and writing a business fable which is basically a work of fiction based on true principles and using true stories, but it’s fiction and I thought “No, this is outside not just my comfort zone (and that’s fine, I can live outside my comfort zone), but as Dr. John Maxwell would say, outside my strength zone” and I knew I couldn’t do justice to this story and this message, so I called John David Mann who was the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine I used to write for who is an absolutely brilliant, brilliant writer and he is very well-known now and he is hugely in demand and he was then, but to a very niche group of people, but I happen to know that he was the guy who had ghostwritten some amazing books and he was such a great editor, I asked him if he would be the lead writer and storyteller for the book. So, it’s something he had to think about because he was very much in demand even at that time, very busy. Fortunately, he and his fiancée at that time, Ana, his wife, they were coming down to Tampa to visit her mom and so they drove to my side of the state in Jupiter, Florida, and we had dinner and just discussed. We took about three hours discussing the storyline, what we wanted to do with it, where it was going to go and he thought about it and about three weeks later called me and said “Yeah, I think we have got something here.” So, he was really the guy who made the characters come alive. So, I was very, very fortunate to get to write this with him and that’s really how it happened.
JP: That’s the great story. Is the main character – is that based on you or someone that you know? I know that you mentioned that The Guy with the Wisdom was based on Bob Proctor, is that?
JP: Tell us about that. How did you come up with the story and the characters?
Bob: Joe who is the protégé in the story, Joe is every man and every woman. At one time or another, we have all been Joe. So, he was sort of every person, a good guy, on the move, he was wanting to accomplish great things and had real terrific potential, but was just stepping over himself. He was just messing himself up with some of them and in his case it was really his focus. His focus was on Joe. He was very ‘I’ focused or ‘Me’ focused. Everything was about Joe and we have all been through it – most of us. I know I have been through that and it was from meeting Pindar, the mentor, and some of the other people, he came to learn that shifting his focus from getting to giving, and in this case when we say giving, we mean constantly and consistently providing value to others, to individuals, to the marketplace, not only is that a nice way to live life, that’s very financially profitable way as well and so that’s really what the story was about. Yes, Pindar was based on Bob Proctor who is a very well known speaker and entrepreneur on prosperity and abundance and so we pictured Pindar looking like Bob Proctor, speaking like on the same tone of voice and so forth and then other characters were sort of an amalgamation of different people. What we really did is we took a lot of story, lot of the individual stories on the book happened in real life. We just simply fit them in the story in order to teach the lesson.
JP: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I love all of the different characters that they went to meet on each day for their lunch meeting and I liked how some of them were surprise, you didn’t know who – he was talking to somebody, he didn’t know that was the person, l like that how you kind of did that little twist.
Bob: Thank you. That was fun. We had fun with the whole thing and again John being the writer he is, it was a pleasure for me to get to work with him, but yes, some of the twists and turns I totally give John the credit for that, believe me.
JP: Yes, that’s great. Okay, I have a question about the whole concept of giving. Is there ever a point where you give too much, like some people are great at taking, is there a point where you are interacting with someone where you said “I can’t give anymore.” How do you know how much is too much?
Bob: Yes, what the premise there is that being a go-giver might set someone up for being taken advantage of, but really it’s not an issue because there is nothing about being a go-giver that would in any way be congruent with allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. If you are a nice person and you get taken advantage of, it’s not because you are a nice person. If you give to people and you are taken advantage of, it’s not because you give to people, it’s because you do things in such a way that you allowed yourself to be taken advantage of. Being a go-giver simply means you shift your focus. You are focused on providing value to others. If somebody is what we call a go-taker, someone who is always – they feel almost entitled to take, take, take without having added value to the person, the process, the situation and you allow yourself to be put in that position, that’s not a matter, it’s not because of being a go-giver, it’s because you didn’t use your head.
JP: Let’s talk about that. What’s one way that you can use your head like you said to go from just giving because receiving is okay too. There is nothing wrong with receiving.
Bob: Well, it’s one of the – it’s the fifth law.
Bob: It’s absolutely not only is there nothing wrong with it, there is everything right about it. When you have focused on providing value to the marketplace and utilized the other four laws, what you’ve done is you have the created the environment for receptivity and you simply got to allow yourself to do that. So, yes, you are right, that’s – in fact two of the five laws; remember law #2 is The Law of Compensation; law #5 is The Law of Receptivity. So, it’s not just – being a go-giver is not about giving yourself away, it‘s not about being anybody’s doormat, it’s not about – you know what I am saying?
JP: Yes, exactly.
Bob: By giving, we are simply talking about that focused on giving value to the marketplace and think about it. In a free market-based economy, which simply means that nobody is forced to buy from you, they are only going to buy from you, do business with you, refer you because they feel there is a benefit to doing so and that’s great. That’s the only reason they should buy from you. I often tell my audience as I say, this is kind of a joke and everybody laughs “Nobody is going to buy from you because if you have a quote to meet.”
Bob: They are going to buy from you because they feel there is more value in doing business with you than in not doing business with you. So, it’s imperative to focus on the other. There is nothing goody-good about this, nothing goody two-shoes about this. This is good business and it happens to be that good business is also a good way to live life.
JP: It’s very true and I think a lot of people have difficulty with seeing their value and so they give it away and then they feel resentful about giving it away.
Bob: This is very, very true. It’s a wonderful point and it’s one of the things that we talk about. Remember the law of value – law #1, Law of Value simply says “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment,” but what is that really mean because at first glance, you know JP, it kind of sounds like a recipe for bankruptcy, give more in value than I take in payment, how am I supposed to survive in business, never mind thrive? So, we simply need to understand the difference between price and value and the difference is significant. Price is a dollar amount. It’s a dollar figure. It’s finite, it is what it is. Value on the other hand is the relative worth or desirability of a thing to the end user or beholder. In other words, what is it about this thing, this product, service, concept, idea that brings with it so much worth that someone will exchange their money for it and be ecstatic that they did while you make a very healthy profit. A very simple example of it to say that you hire an accountant to do your tax returns, he charges you 1000 dollars, that’s his fee, or literally it’s his price, 1000 dollars, but what value does he provide to you in exchange? Well, let’s say he saves you 5000 dollars in taxes. He saves you countless hours of time you could be giving something you are more qualified to do and that you enjoy more and perhaps most importantly he provides you with the peace of mind and security knowing that it was done correctly. So, we see that while price is finite, value is both concrete, in terms of the money saved, and it’s intangible in terms of the peace of mind, right? And so what he did is he gave you well over 5000 dollars of value in exchange for a 1000 dollar price. So, you feel great about it. You got more in value or use value than what you paid, but he also made a very healthy profit which he should and it’s the same for anyone. So, in order for that to happen, we have got to understand the immense value that we provide. Now there are two things about this. One is, it’s a not a matter of what we believe is of value, it’s what the customer believes to be of value. Value is always in the eyes of the beholder. So, that’s why it’s always so important to ask the proper questions to determine what they need, what they want, what they desire and then of course how the benefit of your product or service matches to that. You can also add more value just by being yourself through your excellence, consistency, attention, empathy, and appreciation and then we need to understand that money is simply an echo of value. It’s the thunder to value’s lightening, which simply means that the value must come first and the money is a very natural and direct result of the value you have provided and this happens only through focusing on that other person.
JP: How do you tell people to assign a price to their value because that’s what I think people struggle with the most is how do I pick a price that goes with my value?
Bob: Different markets have different prices and it is partly what the market will bear, but it goes deeper than that. The market will usually bear a higher price; it will allow a higher price when sufficient value is there. Let me explain this through something that happened just a few years ago. It’s really one of my favorite stories. It’s about a woman named Amy and this was in San Antonio. I was doing a program there and I talked about the difference between price and value and Amy had owned for many years a wedding shop, they sold wedding dresses and Amy told me – this I first heard the story from Amy about six months after it happened and the story went like this. Amy, as the owner of a wedding shop of what you call a bridal salon, according to Amy, it’s an industry in which it’s very discount focused, in other words according to Amy, usually the bride and her mom will come into the shop and the first thing they want to know is what kind of discount can I get? This surprised me to hear that because you think it’s such an important day, price would not be the issue, it would totally be the value of them and of course it is, but you have always got to remember JP and I know you know this that as industries, as businesses, we train our customers how to buy from us and that industry is one in which they basically train their customers to be focused on the discount and Amy at that point made a decision that from now on they were no longer going to discount their wedding dresses. They were going to sell it full, they were going to sell them at full retail, but they were going to do a much better job of communicating their value to their prospects, in other words as Amy said “We are going to walk in our value.” So, she went back and told her team this and they were not excited about it at all. This was way outside their comfort zone and Amy said “No, no, we are going to do this, I believe in this” and what they did first is they got together and they really determined what is the value. Aside from the intrinsic value, the dresses themselves, what’s the value that we really provide that our competition does not? Then Amy did a very smart thing. She went to her current or past clients and said “What is it about us that make us different from our competitors, what’s the value you receive from us that’s over and above, what has made you tell others about us?” Because remember value is in the eyes of the beholder. So, Amy and her team were equipped, they still weren’t excited about it by the way, her team, but Amy was and a woman came in with her mom, a young bride-to-be. So, Amy sent one of her team members out. Not a few minutes later, the team member came back very upset and said “Amy, the bride’s mother is not happy, she wants to talk to you right now. I guess she is a headstrong kind of wanted what she wanted.” So, Amy said “Okay.” So, Amy went out there, asked her how she could help and the mom said “Amy, I am not happy about this, I expected more from you than this.” So, Amy looked at her. Now get it, I have known Amy now for years, we got for few years, but this is the first time I am hearing this, but I can picture Amy now knowing her she is one of the sweetest, gentlest, kindest souls you could ever meet. So, I can picture this, but Amy looked at her and said “Well, more from me than this you expected and more from me than this you are going to receive; I am going to give you 19 years of my experience in this business. I am going to give you…” and she named a couple of benefits that again she had identified as being very strong benefits that her competitors did not have, certain connections she had, certain ways of being able to do certain things. Then she turned to the bride and began to primp the bride a little bit, the daughter, turned back to the mom and said “Most of all, I am going to give you delivery of the perfect dress for the perfect day that your daughter has dreamt about her entire life.” The woman and the daughter left the store. The next day, the bride-to-be calls back very excited and says “Amy, Amy, my mom said that not only we might buy the dress from you, but instead of paying you the 50% deposit you asked for, I am going to write you a check in full.” So, I think what this comes down to is that the bride’s mom knew that what was really important was not the discount, but getting the entire customer experience, being with the person who understood her own value and knew that she was able to take – going to take good care of these people, now the interesting thing is Amy gets a call a couple of weeks later from a young bride-to-be who says she wants to make an appointment and Amy says “Oh sure, how did you hear of me?” She said “Oh, my aunt told me you are the only one I can buy a dress from.” Oh really, who is your aunt? It was the mom from a couple of weeks earlier. So, not only has Amy turned an adversary into an ally, she has turned this person into her personal walking ambassador. When first wrote me six months later, the reason she wanted to relate the story and to tell me that in that time her store profit had gone up 10,000 dollars per month and in the year since it went up a lot more to the point that Amy had a basically an all referral based business, but she also – I said well didn’t she lose anybody from charging the full, of course she did, but she attracted more of the people she wanted to attract and because it was mostly referral based, in fact near the end it was practically all referral based, people knew. They were told, “Don’t even bother asking for the discount, you are not going to get one, but you are going to get the most amazing experience imaginable.” So, they were already trained that by the time they called they knew they were going to invest full price.
JP: I think the interesting part of that story is that she didn’t really do anything different. She just told them what she was going to do. A lot of people they think they have to do a ton of things differently; really what they needed to do is start telling people what they are already doing because that’s not obvious to most people.
Bob: Right, you need to – you are exactly, exactly right JP. You have got to first understand your own value and then you have got to much more affectively communicate your value and do that in a way that the other person connects with it.
JP: Yes, I had my first job out of college working in a corporation; I had a quote that I hung on my cube wall that said, “If you don’t toot your own horn, someone else will use it as a spittoon.”
JP: And that has stuck with me. I think about that a lot because we are raised not to brag, don’t be too big for our breaches, and it’s not really bragging if you are just sharing information that somebody wants to know and that’s important to your relationship.
Bob: Sure. Like it’s the way you do it.
JP: Yes, it’s the way you do it. I love that story. That’s a great story. That really makes your point. Is that why you wrote your new book Adversaries into Allies or is that one of the motivations for it?
Bob: No, the reason I wrote that one – this was a labor of love for me because I grew up very, very fortunate and that I have had into this day, thank God, I still have, two wonderful, wonderful parents and I got to really see – my dad is probably the master of people skills, always saw that as a big part of him and a part of his success and it’s his people skills came from a genuine interest in others to bringing up the best in others to what I call make people feel genuinely good about themselves and I got to watch that growing up and for a while in my life I resisted it, but then kind of came back to that and have really in a sense codified what I saw my dad doing and I think people skills – again based on a genuine and authentic desire to add value to another person’s life, I think that’s a big difference maker. I am a big believer JP that you can have practically all the positive success skills working for you. You can be very talented and have extremely high character, you can be ambitious, kind, charitable, hardworking, thrifty, energetic, have a knack for numbers, a head for business, you can even temperate and creative and all that is so great, it’s very helpful, it’s terrific. However, unless you can move people to the appropriate and desired action, your chances for significant success are limited. Now on the other hand when you are utilizing benevolent intent and the learned skill set, you can really find yourself attaining satisfaction both business-wise and personally while adding exceptional value to the lives of others and I call this ultimate influence. Again, the ability to get the results you want from others while helping them feel genuinely good about themselves, the situation and you, and we have all seen people who really did have a lot of talent and they achieved a legitimate level of success certainly and yet when it came to whether it was in the corporate environment or entrepreneurial or just in sales, they seem to get past right by, by that person who seemed to have a “knack for obtaining agreement from people, to obtaining commitment from people, having people seem to just be on their side” and so I put quotation marks around that because for very few people – then I think my dad, for very few people – other than that for most of us it’s a learned skill and I feel it’s such an important part of success in life that I wanted to put that into a book in a sense it’s really to me sharing my dad’s legacy.
JP: You are absolutely right, this is a learned skill. You don’t have to be born with it, although it is easier if you are natural. Not everybody is born a natural, but you can learn, you just have to connect to it and be willing to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
JP: It’s funny, one of the things I have noticed among all the people I have interviewed, I think you are around the 27th interview that I recorded so far, the most successful entrepreneurs that I have interviewed they talk about people during the interview more than the ones who are struggling more. It’s how I tweeted, I tweeted your name and that’s kind of how we got connected because your book was mentioned and I tweeted you about your book and when the entrepreneurs that are really successful, I have like a dozen tweets to send out because they have mentioned a dozen different people in the interview, the ones who struggle, I might have two or three tweets at most and that’s because I drug it out of them.
Bob: It’s very interesting and it makes a lot of sense because you think of people and I heard your interview with my friend Melanie, she is one of my favorite people in the world and she mentioned Jim Palmer who is also a great friend of mine and different people we all learn from. So, I think what happens is when you got people who have attained a certain level of success, they have really done it through in a sense and interdependency as Stephen Covey used to say with other people where we can all learn and grow both from and with others.
JP: It’s very true and the more that you connect with other people; you help each other take those steps. One of you might be higher up on the next rung of the ladder and they help you get up to their level and vice versa. You can help other people get up to your level from the lower rungs on the ladder, but you have to realize that we are all part of a community and we are all here to help each other. If you are trying to do it yourself, you are just really making it hard on yourself.
Bob: Yes, that’s very true, very true.
JP: You are obviously a very successful author and a sought-after speaker. So, how did you get your start doing that? I would like to switch gears a little bit and talk about your business and your entrepreneurial journey. So, how did you get your start doing this? You mentioned that you are a broadcaster and you wrote your book. How did you get that published, how did you get your first followers?
Bob: When I started speaking, I was salesman under a company and I went and I took some of my sales people to a seminar and I bought the speaker’s – back then it was tape, so it wasn’t even CD, that’s how long ago it was, about 30 years ago. They are cassette tape album as they used to be called and I really enjoyed what they wrote and at the end of his CDs, he had a thing that said “If you want to learn how to speak and sell those materials, call our office” and so I did and I started. They showed me how to do a 25-30 minute speech at different civic clubs and organizations and then how to sell the cassette tapes at the end, I could buy them at a discount and resell them and I did that for a while and I made them a lot of money, not a lot for myself, but I got great, great experience while I was doing it and I kind of then got the idea, I think I would like to do this on my own taking some of what has worked for me and my business and that was pretty much the networking kind of relationship building and I started speaking on it and when I started speaking, I just thought – this again back in a different day than today, I remember getting the National Trade Professional Association membership directory and the State and Regional Association and I pick out markets that I thought might be interested and I pretty much sit there and started dialing for dollars and once I had a prospect, I would follow up and I wrote articles for their magazines at that time and actually it took a few years, but it started to grow and when I joined National Speakers Association, which is an association of professional speakers, I got to learn from some of the real greats and a lot of it was on the business end and one of them suggested that you really need to write a book because what it’s going to do is it’s going to position you a lot better in the marketplace and so that’s where we came up with Endless Referrals, in fact a friend of mine in National Speakers Association, Randy Pennington, who since that time has written some terrific books and is a great speaker, he is a great guy, he referred me to his agent at that time and that agent went shopping the book idea around and we got Endless Referrals published I think back in 1994. While I got very few and to this point it has sold now 250,000 copies over the last whatever it is 15-20 years or so – 20 years and I didn’t necessarily get a lot of calls from companies to come in because they had read the book. In fact, the distribution for the book wasn’t very good at first, but I was able to use it as an out marketing and positioning tool and I was able to get higher fees and speak more and so forth and so on and that’s kind of how that started. From there, the business grew and I have written a bunch more books since then and some of them have done pretty well and others have not, but it’s been a good ride.
JP: Great, I am going to put links to all of your books on the show notes page for this podcast. So, if you go there JPStonestreet.com and look that up, that way you can get all of those books if you want to. So, obviously it’s a challenge. You talked about the first three years, not a lot happened. So, how did you persevere through that? The problem with being an entrepreneur is it can be a rollercoaster and a lot of people, they get tired. They get motion sickness and they give up before they are successful. So, what kept you going, what kept you motivated?
Bob: I knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted to make a living at this and there was up and down and there were times where believe me I was looking at the help wanted ads because I knew I was one week away from having to get a job and go back to building the speaking business part-time until I could afford to do it and I really just did not want to do that and I remember – and this was before the book came out and I remember at one point being so frustrated with the business because it was just making me enough to not be able to survive in the business and it gone to the point where again the want ads came out and I said “If I don’t get a client by the end of this day, I am going to have to look for a job.” There was nothing else I was going to be able to do. In the speaking business, even back then when my fees were not very high, you typically did not get a client that day, still at least a few months away from anything happening, but what I did is – and I was out of people to call at that point and so it’s an interesting thing. When I was in direct sales before that, before I got into speaking, I used to have this rule that at the end of the day and this is when I was on the road doing this; I would always make one more call. So, again when it was time to stop, I would visit one more place and knock on one more door and talk to one more – even it was a no, it didn’t matter, but I was going to just do one and as you can imagine, every so often that one extra call would result in a new client. So, I went back and I said “I have made all my calls, I am going to home for the weekend, I am depressed and I am going to have to look in the want ads, but I am going to make one more call.” I actually went into the yellow pages. There would be nothing in the yellow pages and I looked at one company in there and I decided to call. Again, I didn’t expect anything, but I didn’t say I was going to get a customer. I said I was going to make one more call. I called this company, it was a national organization actually, it wasn’t the company, it was an organization and I told them what I am speaking. The person actually said, “It’s interesting, we are brining in new speakers” and they had something like 50 different, what they called sections across the United States and she said “We are looking for some more, to bring on some more speakers that we can send out to the different sections” and it turned out that what I had was exactly what would work for them and over the next few years, I think I spoke at something like 41 of the 50 sections. Again, it wasn’t a very high fee, it wasn’t anything with what I would be making 25 years later or so, 22 years later, but it was enough to keep me going and keep my confidence and keep it so that I had options and didn’t have to go back to working a fulltime job. So, I think the way you get through it is you just get through it. It doesn’t mean it has to be fun and sometimes I get a little mad at the positive thinking genre that says “No matter how bad things are, you got to be happy about” – no you don’t. You can be frustrated and ticked and angry and depressed, but you still got to do the thing anyway.
JP: That is a great point and I totally agree with you that it is okay and I tell peoples all the time, it is okay to be stressed out, to fear failure, to feel like quitting, it’s all that’s okay; you just thank your ego for trying to protect you and do it anyway.
JP: And that exactly what it is; your ego, that old system that was built millions of years ago is trying to protect us and you just have to thank it and then do it anyway.
Bob: Yes, exactly.
JP: That’s great. I love that because you were on the verge of giving up just like so many entrepreneurs are; in fact I am working with someone right now who is on the verge of giving up and she is actually making great progress. Her company is Sugar District & Company and she sells organic brownies here in the Denver area and they are amazing and she is in two coffee shops now, she just delivered a big order to the Denver Broncos cheerleaders. She has catered events at popular stores like Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie. She is doing fantastic. She has been written about in the Denver Post and other places and she is on the verge of giving up because she is not making enough money at it and I have been telling her that’s one reason why I was drilling you about the value/price ratio because I don’t think she is charging enough and she is not making enough because organic ingredients are expensive and she is like contemplating should I continue doing this or not and I just keep telling her you just got to persevere and raise your prices.
Bob: Absolutely, yes, yes, yes.
JP: Yes, so it’s interesting that there are so many people and a lot of entrepreneurs they think they are the only ones going through this, they are the only ones that are struggling or thinking about giving up. We have all been there, all have been there.
Bob: Yes, I think you made a great point and this is so powerful. The problem isn’t that we get discouraged; the problem isn’t that we have all these “No’s,” the problem isn’t the problems; the problem is that we think we are the only one going through these problems. We look at the person who has a good healthy business and we just assume they always had a good healthy business. We look at the person who is getting the awards at the Sales Awards at the end of the year and we think everybody is saying “Yes” to them while everybody is telling us “No.” A couple of great friends of mine, Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton, they have a great book. It’s a parable, it’s called Go For No! and they are at GoForNo.com and the entire premise of their teaching is that “Yes” is the destination, “No” is how you get there.
Bob: The big thing is you are not the only one getting told “No.” That’s what knocked people out of business. JP, they think they are the only ones being told no. If only they realized that the road to “Yes” is paved with “No’s” then they are going to be okay because they are going to say “Okay, I got told “No,” it stinks, I don’t like it, I don’t have to like it, but everyone else goes the route too, I am not the only one and I am just going to have to get past it.”
JP: Yes, Jack Canfield said, I think he went to 180 publishers with his Chicken Soup for the Soul book and got told “No” 180 times or something like that.
JP: We all hear “No,” even the greats hear “No” and one quote from T. Harv Eker that I love is “Every master was once a disaster” and we look at the masters and we think “Oh, they are so great, they have never been where I am,” but all of them have been.
Bob: Exactly and Harv has some wonderful information. His book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind is a book that anyone who has any type of feelings of “Oh, money is bad and business is bad and you have to do these things to get there,” they should read that book, it’s a terrific book.
JP: Yes, I recommend that to everybody. When I meet with people, I can discern pretty quickly if they have issues around money. I can read that because I was raised with “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and “We are not made of money” and so I had those sayings beat into me as a child and so I had my own issues with it and I have to deal with them, it’s easy to spot them in other people, and that’s what I tell them, go read that book. The other one I tell them to read is Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. That’s another great one to help you overcome those internal issues.
Bob: Another great author on this topic, I don’t know if you have heard of Randy Gage. He is an amazing prosperity authority. We just had him as a guest on our Go-Givers International monthly call and he is a guy who really brought himself from – he really did live that story of the – you always hear the rags to riches. He really did live that story of growing up. He was in jail, he was on drugs, he went bankrupt, the whole thing and once he began to study prosperity, his life began – it was over the course of years of course, his life really began to change and this guy lives prosperity and he just tells some great stories, but he refers to those – the means, the mind viruses that people have when it comes to money. Some of them are like “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” In the first Spiderman movie, uncle, I think it was Ben, uncle Ben said to Peter “We may not have money, but at least we are honest.” What a horrible mean that is as though if you are honest, you don’t have money and if you don’t have money, it must mean you are honest, horrible. You look at any movie, any high grossing movie and there is typically 10 types of characters, right? There are the good people who are portrayed usually as poor, but happy. They are always poor, but happy and they are always taken advantage of, put down, stepped on, stepped over by who? The rich people who are mean and nasty and cowardly and have no soul and you can see those kinds of messages everywhere in society. Very rarely does the press say, “CEO makes honest decision.” No, that doesn’t sell and yet in my world I see people making good decisions based on high values and doing what’s right and making a lot of money. So, who do you believe?
JP: There are a lot of good people who have a lot of money and they do a lot of good with the money they have.
JP: I think it’s interesting too that the movies that you are talking about they are trying to appeal to the masses and the masses are usually in the lower income, meaning middle class or lower because that’s where most people are, most people are not in that upper class, so that they are not the ones that the movie industry is targeting and you got to have a villain, but you have to realize, you have to look at that and say “This isn’t true, this isn’t reality.” The movie industry or entertainment industry has to have a villain and they have just chosen this villain because it’s something that we have been brainwashed to believe.
Bob: To paraphrase Randy, Hollywood makes billions and billions of dollars teaching us that it’s right just to be poor and bad to be wealthy.
JP: Yes, and it’s so wrong. There is nothing wrong with being prosperous and having prosperity and having wealth. Nothing wrong with it and if you have that belief listeners, go check out T. Harv Eker’s book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Read Awaken the Giant Within. Check out Randy Gage. Does he have a book?
Bob: Yes, Randy has many of them. His last one is Risky is the New Safe. It’s a New York Times Bestseller and he has been on sabbatical I guess for about the last six months. He used to put out Randy Gage’s Prosperity blog and he still has a whole lot of videos out there. If someone will go to my website Burg.com, if they go to the blog Burg.com/blog, on the right hand side, I have a blogroll and there should be a link to Randy’s Prosperity blog and even though there aren’t many articles, you can go through the archives. I used to – when he blogs, I read it everyday because it keeps my prosperity muscles in shape.
JP: That’s great and I will put a link to that in the show notes page as well. Okay, Bob, so you are obviously, you are a coach and a mentor to a lot of different people, do you have your own coach or mentor?
Bob: I have been very fortunate and that my mentors and coaches have always seem to come along when I need them and I have gotten some of the best pieces of advice by one another mentor of mine Dondi Scumaci and I call drive-by mentors and what that means is someone who just happens to be there when you need them and says that profound thing that makes a big difference. I will never forget coming back from a sales presentation that did not turn into a sale and I remember coming back and being very disgusted because the prospect just didn’t get it. Here I had this great product that would help them and they just didn’t get it, they didn’t buy and I remember one of the heads of the company I worked. He was actually in a different department, but he said to me “Burg always remember something when the shooter misses the target, it ain’t the target’s fault.”
JP: I love that.
Bob: What that said to me was I need to learn how to better communicate my message and what I had been doing is talking a lot about the benefits of my product or service. I have not been asking the right questions to determine if they needed, wanted and desired the benefits of that product. Another one was when a person said – he saw me a sort of the – now I was having some success in sales and he saw me as this upcoming, up and coming sort of sales hotshot if you will. He said, “Bob remember something, the goal, the target is not to make money, the target is to serve your customer. When you hit the target, you will get a reward. The reward will be money and you can do with that money whatever you would like, but the money itself is not the target. The target is service, the money is simply the reward for providing that service” – Wow!
JP: Yes, that’s powerful. It’s a complete change in paradigm from what a lot of people think, their goal is the money, it’s not the service.
Bob: Right. Provide the value, provide the service, and remember is an echo of value and again this isn’t just stuff to say because it sounds good, this is what the free market is about. You can only become wealthy by providing value to others in such a way that the other person sees it as being a value. One of my great mentors, Harry Brown; he used to say, “Profit is simply the reward for satisfying the desire of another person.” Yes, think about it. Again, this person is only going to buy because your product or service is satisfying and need want or desire. That’s it.
JP: Yes, in this day and age we have such easy access to information, you have to provide value or you are not going to be in business very long because everybody can communicate with everybody.
Bob: Exactly, exactly.
JP: It’s always been that way, it’s just more so now. It’s just more important now.
JP: Is there a book Bob that you can recommend that – besides one of your own because I am going to put links to all those already? Is there a book that you recommend to people that they should read?
Bob: I never recommend my own books, I don’t learn anything from my own books. I learn from others books. There are some great books out there. It’s hard to mention one, can I mention a few?
JP: Yes, that’s fine.
Bob: Okay, well there are the books that everyone should have in their library – How to Win Friends & Influence People by Carnegie, Think and Grow Rich by Hill, The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.
JP: Hold one second on that book. My grandma, she died of cancer in 1988 and when we were cleaning out her bedroom after she passed away, in her nightstand she had As a Man Thinketh in her nightstand and I remember I was 16 at that time and I read that book and man, that was powerful and my grandma was not a woman of many words and the fact that she had – I felt like I knew her better just by finding that book in her nightstand right next to where she passed away.
JP: That was probably the first kind of self-help book that I ever read and it’s tiny and I actually had my – I went to find another copy of it because my mom kept that one. So, I went online and I could actually find it. It’s – you can still buy it, but that was a powerful experience for me around that book. So, I have had other people recommend that one and it always brings back that memory.
Bob: Yes, that’s a nice story.
JP: Yes, okay As a Man Thinketh, you are going to say another one?
Bob: Yes, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles written back in 1910 and one of my all-time favorites was written in 1900 by Orison Swett Marden, actually the founder of Success magazine and the man who many consider the father of the modern day personal development movement. It’s a book called Peace, Power & Plenty. It’s an absolutely magnificent book. Of course, these are books of all. There are so many great books by so many terrific authors today, the Mark Sanborn, Dondi Scumaci, and Jim Collins and just – there are just so many great wonderful books to get and to read and to devour and to grow with and grow from.
JP: That’s great advice coming from someone who has written several books, who speaks about this and to know that you are still reading all the time, that’s extremely powerful. You think just like everybody thinks that somebody that’s successful, you don’t need all that stuff, but the reason why you are successful because you do and like you said devour all of that stuff.
Bob: Thank you.
JP: So, that’s amazing that you recommend all that. I am going to put links to all of those on the show notes page.
Bob: Just one more and this is the powerful one, The Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin. That’s another one that is just absolutely magnificent.
JP: That was written by the same guy that wrote the Steve Jobs biography, right?
Bob: Well no, you are talking about the Walter Isaacson’s book Benjamin Franklin. That’s also a wonderful book, but this book is actually Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.
JP: Oh! The Autobiography, okay.
Bob: Yes, The Autobiography by Ben Franklin, although I also love Walter Isaacson’s Franklin and I love this book Steve Jobs.
JP: Yes, that’s an amazing book, amazing view into an amazing visionary – the good and the bad.
Bob: Yes, absolutely.
JP: Okay, we have time for a couple more questions here. Looking back from where you are now, would you have done – would you do anything differently?
Bob: I would actually do a lot of things differently. Hindsight is 20/20 and if I could – I would say I wouldn’t go back to being young for anything okay because every year – I am 56 right now, every year it gets better and better for me, not so much physically, but mentally, emotionally and in all those other ways. Life gets better every year. So, no I would not want to be young again, but if I had the wisdom of a 56-year-old, they can go back to being 18 again, that I would probably do as long as I could take the wisdom because are a lot of things I would do different. I know a lot of people would say “If I had to do over again, I wouldn’t do a thing differently.” Well, they are better person than I am then because I would do a lot of things differently. I have made a lot of mistakes and I have learned from them, but it would have been nice to have known in advance too.
JP: Yes, there are always things that you could change, especially with hindsight. There are things I would change, although you could argue that all of those things made me who I am.
Bob: Of course, absolutely. When it comes right down to it, we know everything that happened because that’s how it was supposed to happen, but still when we say what would you change? That allows for a little bit of fantasizing a little bit and if you could go back, but have the wisdom that you have today, I am sure most of us would make different choices.
JP: Yes, sometimes some of those choices I wish I could have made with the wisdom I have now definitely. All right, last question Bob. What is the most important piece of advice that you have for someone who is thinking about starting a business right now?
Bob: Well, I think Brian Tracy said this when he said “Find out what successful people do, do that same thing and you will get the same results.” Now I would say what he is saying there is don’t try to reinvent the wheel, find a system. If you want to build the certain business, someone has already done and they have put their wisdom down in books or CDs or whatever it is and you can learn from them. There are also people you can find to be your coach or mentor, someone who can help you along, but don’t try to do it yourself. Find again a system, the process for predictably achieving a goal based on a logical and specific set of how-to principles. Now when you tap into someone else’s knowledge and wisdom of course, it needs to be someone whose principles are congruent with yours. Otherwise, it’s not going to be a good thing, but assuming that’s the case, by all means seek out and find the system, then of course you need to apply the information. Don’t wait until everything is perfect to start, well it’s not going to be. Once you have got the sufficient amount of information, begin. Then of course as Richard and Andrea talk about in their book Go For No!, you are going to have to outlast the “No’s” and be persistent and you got to sandwich that in between knowing what your desire is. “All great things begin with desire,” Napoleon Hill said and then you have got to have the belief in yourself and the process and what you are doing and the value you are providing the world in order to kind of stay with it and keep yourself 9 feet tall or 10 feet tall and bulletproof when things aren’t going right.
JP: Yes, and actually I am teaching a seminar tonight called the Wantrepreneur Energizer Seminar and my goal in life, my passion is to help people start their own business. That’s why I do this podcast and that’s why I do everything I do, is to help people start their own business and experience that fulfilling lifestyle as entrepreneurs experience and so, one of the main messages in this seminar that I am teaching is that it’s okay to copy someone else like Picasso said “Good artists copy, great artists steal” and I think it’s okay to copy and steal. You do need to differentiate yourself and come up with you own unique selling proposition, something that sets you apart from the competition, but it’s totally okay to copy people. That’s how we learned when we were kids, we imitate.
Bob: Sure, we model, we duplicate and so forth. Of course, if it’s a matter of taking someone’s information, of course you have always got to get permission and/or credit them, but if it’s a matter of learning a certain skill, absolutely. That’s why a store owner goes into another store to see what that other store is doing right. Sam Walton did that for years.
Bob: Yes, absolutely. Find out what other people are doing, duplicate it and you will get the same results.
JP: That’s great advice. Bob, thank you so much for taking your valuable time to be interviewed on this podcast. I am just so excited. I have been looking forward to this for the last week.
Bob: Me too and I really, really appreciate it and just thank you JP for having me on it, it’s really been an honor and a pleasure.
JP: Yes and I want to talk to you about coming back in a couple of months and talk about your new book Adversaries into Allies because I just got that in the mail I think yesterday or may be it was Saturday and I haven’t had a chance to read that yet, so it’s on my list, it’s on my countertop, it’s my next book. So, I am interested to read it and talk to you about that one too. So, let’s stay in touch.
Bob: Thanks, I hope you enjoy and absolutely let’s stay in touch. Thank you.
JP: Thanks Bob. We will talk soon.
JP: I hope you enjoyed this interview with Bob Burg as much as I did. He is a fantastic person and the ultimate go-giver and one of the most important things that I took away from this interview and I took away from the book is that just because you are a go-giver, does not mean you can’t receive. In fact, the final law that he talks about in the book as well as in this interview is The Law of Receptivity meaning it is part of the process of giving. You can’t give if you don’t receive. You can’t receive if you don’t give. They are interrelated. Everything has a yin and yang, a give and take, and so that’s part of the process and one of the things that I really got out of the book and this interview because it’s hard. Sometimes I just want to give and I never want to receive, I have a hard time receiving and it’s one of those things that I am constantly working on. It’s okay to receive. So, convince yourself with that, tell yourself that over and over again until you believe it. All right, this was a fantastic interview, I loved talking to Bob and if you want links to all of the books that he recommended and all of his books and the things we talked about on this podcast episode, go to the podcast show notes page at JPStonestreet.com/podcasts and you will find Bob Burg’s interview there. I think that’s it. Until next time, this is JP Stonestreet with the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast.