Bob Burg is a bestselling author, highly sought-after speaker, and brilliant entrepreneur.
His book has been translated into 21 languages and sold over half a million copies.
Bob is a strategic mentor of mine. After meeting him at a conference about 7 years ago, I was able to build a seven-figure business and create lifelong relationships that have opened up a wide range of possibilities.
In a world that’s centered on generating revenue, Bob teaches us how to keep our eye on the prize while doing the most important thing – adding value.
This mindset shift helped me go from the “pull profit” mentality that kept me in the low six-figure income range, to a “push value” mindset that propelled me into multiple profitable ventures.
This interview will help you if you’re an entrepreneur, investor, networker, blogger, author, or even if you’re just starting your career path.
In This Episode, You'll Learn:
- How the 5 laws of the Go-Giver will change the trajectory of your life
- Why adding value is the best way to attract income and wealth
- How Bob built his speaking empire and consulting business
- How to approach a high-power mentor (and what NOT to do)
- How to grow your influence even if you’re a complete beginner
Links & Resources From This Episode:
- Grab your copy of The Go-Giver
- Bob’s Blog –burg.com
- Bob’s #1 recommended book – The Secret of Selling Anything
Subscribe To The Pathways To Wealth Show:
Chris Dunn: Hello everybody, Chris Dunn back with you and I am really excited about this episode of Pathways to Wealth because our guest today is not only a world-renowned speaker and best-selling author but he is actually a mentor to me and helped me get started earlier in life. Today, we have Bob Burg. Hey Bob, thanks for being on the show today.
Bob Burg: Chris, it’s great to be with you man. I am so proud of everything you're doing.
Chris: Awesome man. I appreciate it. I know we’ve talked a little bit over the years but I'm going to fill you on some things that have happened since we first met 6 or 7 years ago. Hopefully, we can tell a story to the audience and inspire them and show them what’s possible.
Bob: That sounds great.
Chris: Awesome. Let’s go ahead and just get it kicked off. For anybody that doesn’t already know Bob, he is a best-selling author. Bob, your books have been translated into over 20 languages, right?
Bob: Yeah, 21 right now. I think the 22nd is coming out soon.
Chris: Nice. I know you’ve sold well over a half a million copies of your book and you throw big events, you’ve spoken to everybody from business leaders to TV personalities and even a former US president. Fill in the holes there Bob, what did I miss?
Bob: Well, I've been doing it for a long time now, so after a while you get to, one time or another, share the platform with a whole lot of people. It’s a lot of fun.
Chris: Awesome. Let’s talk about the book. When did the book come out?
Bob: Well, The Go-Giver first came out in early 2008. The actual publishing date was December 27, 2007 but really, it hit the bookstores 2008.
Chris: Okay and I think that’s right around the time that I heard it. I heard about right after the book launched. For anybody that hasn’t read it, let’s go ahead and give them an overview. What’s the book about?
Bob: The basic premise and it’s a business parable. It’s a story co-authored with John David Mann who’s a fantastic author, fantastic writer and storyteller. I'm really much more about “how to” person, step 1, step 2, step 3. John weaves a great tale. The basic premise is simply that shifting ones focus from getting to giving. Now in this case Chris, as context, when we say giving we simply mean constantly and consistently providing value to others and that doing so is not only a nice way or a pleasant way to live your life and conduct your business. It’s a very financially profitable way as well. And the reason is, I mean, there is nothing magical or mystical about it. It’s very concrete in this regard that in a free-market based economy and when I say that I really mean the type in which most of us live in which no one is forced to do business with us, people are only going to buy from us. They're only going to invest with us, do business with us, or what have you because they believe they are better off by doing so than by not doing so.
Because of that, it’s incumbent upon us to really place our focus on bringing value to them. Otherwise, why would they do business with us? And that’s fine. That’s the way it should be. In this book, we simply tell the story of a young up and coming, aggressive guy with real great potential but has his focus on the wrong place. His focus is really on himself and it’s only after he goes through that shift in focus, move from an “I” focus or “me” focus to an “other” focus looking for ways to bring value to others. That’s all of a sudden when his business really takes off and accelerates.
Chris: That hits home so much for me because whenever I first read the book, I was in a point in my life where I was – I read it and I was like, “Man, you wrote this for me” because I was coming from an industry that was so profit-driven. It was the mortgage industry and I had left a couple of years prior and I was struggling to find my path and my way in life. I had a little bit of a nest egg, so I was testing different ways but I still had that old school mentality of sell-sell-sell and just do whatever you can to make a dollar, and then, whenever I read the book I'm like, it makes sense the idea of adding value. I don’t think I've ever told you but whenever I read the book and I think it was before the conference, right before the conference that you threw in Orlando, I started my YouTube channel and within about 18 months after reading the book and meeting some strategic partners at your event, I had my first 7-figure year.
Bob: I love those stories. That’s fantastic and it really says a lot about you because you took action. This is why we say—some people think that name of the book is The Go-Giver so are you saying that’s the opposite of a go-getter? No, not all. We love go-getters. Go-getters take action. You can have the greatest thoughts, best in idea, most fantastic intention in the world actions put into the mix, nothing’s going to happen and you really took action on that, so we like to say to people be both the go-getter and the go-giver just not a go-taker.
Chris: Yeah, that’s really well put. I found that after I started focusing on just the giving and adding value, it attracts people to you doesn’t it?
Bob: It really does. It really does because they know you have their best interest at heart and this is why—the neat thing is when we say that something’s profit-driven, not only is there nothing wrong with making a profit, there’s everything great about making a profit. But understand that the only reason you can make a profit, this is in a free market of course, the only way you can make a profit is by first providing value to someone since the exchanges are always voluntary. This is why John and I say that money is simply an echo of value. It’s the thunder, if you will, to valued lighting which means nothing more than that the value must come first. That must be your focus. Instead of profit-driven, be value driven and the profit is going to follow very naturally.
Chris: Absolutely. I think that’s a great segway into the five laws of the book. One being value. Bob, can you give us an overview of the framework of the book and the five laws?
Bob: Yeah. The five laws themselves are the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity. The law of value says your true work is determined by how much more you give in value that you take in payment.
Now, when you first hear this, it sounds really counterproductive. I mean, you give more in value than you take in payment, sounds like a recipe for bankruptcy. We simply have to understand the difference between price and value. Price is a dollar figure. It’s a dollar amount. It’s finite. It is what it is. Value on the other hand, Chris, is the relative work or desirability of a thing—of something to the end user or beholder. In other words, what is it about this thing, this product, service, concept, idea, that brings with it such worth or value to someone that they will willingly exchange their money for it and be glad they did while you make a profit.
In the story, we used the example of Italian Café. It’s a high-end restaurant in a swanky part of the city and when you go there, you are given a nice price for it to eat there. But from the moment you walk in, you just feel like a million bucks, the way you're greeted and the way you're escorted to the table and the way the wait staff knows just when to pay attention to you and when to leave you alone, the ambiance was fantastic, the food is great. Everything about it is an experience. You may pay $150 or $200 for the meal, but you come away from it feeling like a million bucks, feeling you received thousands of dollars worth of value from this. What, the owner, did is he gave you more in value than he took in payment yet we also know that his food costs a lot less than what he’s charging for it, maintaining his staff, electricity, and all the other parts of a restaurant cost him less than what he’s charging, so he also made an excellent profit.
In everyone’s business, we need to find ways to give so much value in the experience because, hey, technology has leveled off the playing field. Most products and services are basically the same, so we need to be that extra additional value that makes it happen and when we do that, now we have very very happy customers and clients, and we make a profit, and we’re on our way, but that’s just number one. There are four others.
Chris: Yeah and just to touch on the law of value, I think in today’s economy, with technology the way it is, we’re talking through the internet and it’s so easy for anybody to provide value online. What are the couple of ways that you see working right now of ways that people can add value? The name of the show is Pathways to Wealth and my goal is to help people find different income sources, help them build wealth and create more time freedom. Do you see any opportunities in the marketplace or anything specifically that maybe a first time entrepreneur or investor could do to start creating an income stream or to create value, to give back to attract revenue?
Bob: It’s a great question. It’s a general question and there are as many ways to find, ways to provide value, or to create an income stream as there are businesses because you can always look for ways to take what you're already doing and increase that. let’s face it, who has a great profitable restaurant, could also write a book or have a series or do big teachings on how to run a successful restaurant. Really, anyone who does anything online can find a way to expand their reach which is number two actually—Find ways to serve more people with that exceptional value.
But really, when it comes to providing value to someone especially with an online business is to create a human connection and that’s what I think a lot of people miss when they do business online with people. They really think that the automation and the technology is going to be the experience. It’s really not. When people have an issue or people have a problem, they want to deal with a real live human being.
Geoff Colvin wrote a great book that came out recently. I would suggest everyone read this book, it’s called “Humans Are Underrated” and what he was talking about is that technology and computers and robots and the whole thing are now just so a part of life and are going to be continuing to expand their reach. That asking, “What can humans do that computers can’t do?” is not even the right question because computers and technology can pretty much do everything. The question is, “What does technology provide that human beings will only accept from other human beings?” and a big part of that is empathy. A big part of that is leadership. A big part of that is when you can create together. A big part of that is teambuilding, but the big thing is especially online, you create additional value through the human touch.
Chris: Interesting. I love that. One of the laws is influence. How can somebody that’s sitting there may be saying, “I have no influence. I don’t have an audience. I don’t have a reach. I don’t have any specialist knowledge.” How can somebody go out and start to create influence and create value?
Bob: You start by connecting with people. Finding people to connect with and you start looking for ways to provide value to them. I mean, it’s as simple as that and it’s as difficult because you're still going to go out and do the work to do that. Fortunately, again, technology allows us to do that a lot easier. If you create a special report or you create a video or you create an audio and you give that away for free, now doing that, giving away something for free, that’s not what we mean by being a go-giver. Being a go-giver means you provide more in value than you take in payment and you make a very healthy profit. It means you're focused on providing value to others. But giving things away for free that are of value to others, that is a strategy, that’s a tactic and it’s fantastic because what you're doing is you're giving people a chance to get to know you, to get to like you, to get to trust you, to get to see that you're a person who can be trusted both in terms of competence and character.
Sure by all means, do that. Continue to build your list, have a blog, start guest posting on people’s blogs, get on social media, start connecting with people always asking yourself how is everything I'm doing providing value to another human being. This doesn’t mean providing value what we believe is of value, it means from their perspective because value is always in the eyes of the beholder. We always have to look for ways to give people what they want and it’s what they want, not what we think they should want.
Chris: Absolutely. Bob, let’s talk a little bit about mentorship. I'm a huge fan of having mentors. I think it can drastically cut down the learning curve and give you an edge and really save people a lot of time, money, and frustration. What do you think is the best way for somebody to go about finding a mentor and maybe what are some things that they shouldn’t do when seeking out a mentor?
Bob: That’s a big question. I would say when seeking out a mentor, which I agree you, is a wise thing to do, is to not simply approach someone you admire and would like to be mentored by and say, “Hey, will you mentor me?” And the reason why, is because if you have no relationship with this person—because a mentor-protégé relationship is just that, it’s a relationship and it tends to develop over time. If you just go up to someone or contact them online or call or in person, whatever the medium happens to be that you're meeting this person and you simply say, “Hey will you mentor me?” It’s sort of like going up to someone and saying, “Hey, will you share with me your 40 years of experience and hard knocks even though you don’t know me from a hole in the wall?”
Chris: Yeah, I know you don’t know me, but do you want to get married?
Bob: Exactly, yes. That’s a good way to put it. So instead, what I would do is contact that person, again, regardless of both the medium through which you're doing this and just let this person know you admire them. It might be that they’ve written books or that they are the CEO of a company or they’ve done this or they’ve done that, what have you, make sure you research them first and let them know who you are, that you admire them and their work, I'm starting a blah-blah-blah what have you and if I may, if it wouldn’t be inappropriate for me to ask, may I ask you two very specific questions.
Chris: I like that idea of specific questions because some people when they reach out they say, “Hey, can you just help me” open-ended, like they're looking for that person to come up with a solution for them.
Bob: Or can I pick your brain? Which kind of says to this person this could be an endless thing. And then, what you want to do, and most people, if you do it like that because you're respecting the process and respecting the person, those people are generally good people and if they can, they're going to help you and most people will say, “Sure, a couple of questions that would be fine.” Make sure you don’t ask something that you already should know had you researched it.
Chris: Yeah [crosstalk17:32] put the work and that you care enough about the relationship that you’ll spend 10 minutes researching, right?
Bob: Yeah, absolutely. And then, when they have given you this advice, again, regardless of the medium, you want to right away send a handwritten personalized thank you note just thanking them for their time, letting them know how much you appreciate it, and you're looking putting their wisdom to use right away and that you’ll keep in touch and let them know, and so forth. I would even—if you’ve researched them you found their favorite charity, make just a small donation for their favorite charity. They’ll be notified. You're not doing it to kiss up or anything, but again, you're letting them know that you want to also be of value to them, that you again respect the situation and the process. If you know that they have a certain interest in something and you have a way of being able to help them to get more information on it or introduce them, by all means, do that whenever you can.
Now, you can always write back a couple of weeks later, let them know this or that and may I ask so forth and so on, and again, they will be mostly very open to this and little by little, the relationship grows and now maybe that mentor-protégé relationship actually takes place.
Chris: Absolutely. I love the idea of reaching out and not just asking to receive help but maybe looking how you can add value to a mentor.
Chris: James Altucher has this thing where he says, “Look, if you have somebody you want to reach out to, send them a list of 10 ideas that you think will help them with “X.” If they're an author, 10 ideas for a blog post or 10 ideas to help improve their business even if they're bad ideas, at least you're trying. I think the more creative you get, maybe you can find ways that would inspire or catch that person’s attention.
Bob: Well, James is a very wise man. I've enjoyed his books.
Chris: Absolutely. One thing that you talked about is how The Go-Giver is confluent with basic human nature. How do you find that?
Bob: I think people generally want to feel as though you care about them. That you look at them as more than just a paycheck or more than just a commission check or more than just a sale. And so when you can genuinely and authentically, one of the laws is the law of authenticity right, and so when you can genuinely and authentically place their interest first, know that you need to please them, when I say please them, I don’t mean that in a door-matty type of way. But I mean, again, when we’re talking about business or we’re talking about creating any type of partnership or relationship, you need to be genuinely in pursuit in them and benefiting them. Who doesn’t like that?
When you're really genuinely looking to add value to the life of another human being, they're more attracted to you. They want to do business with you. They want to get to know you. They begin to know you, like you, trust you. As I always think you’ve heard me say, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust” Well, there’s no faster, more powerful, more beneficial way of eliciting those feelings toward you from others than by genuinely and authentically making your win about their win.
Chris: Absolutely. Bob, what does true wealth mean to you?
Bob: In the financial sense, true wealth would just mean having choices. It means you have options, you have choices and you're not limited by finance. I think that’s fairly one-dimensional look at it. I think that makes sense. The purpose of money really is choices. Now, if we look on a deeper level, who is truly rich? used to say “The rich person is that person who rejoices in their life which really comes down to gratitude.” It means you are grateful for what you have, that you're grateful for all the blessings, all the great things which could mean toys and fun things but it could also mean having hands or fingers that work and eyes that see and a mouth where you can speak and a brain that’s functioning, that as well.
Now, here’s the neat thing, being grateful for what you already have does not conflict with wanting to earn more money as well. In fact, the more grateful you are for what you already have, the greater the chances you're also going to earn more in terms of financial wealth.
Chris: Beautiful. Yeah, I would say it’s very possible to be a miserable millionaire, right?
Chris: Gratefulness is absolutely an excellent definition of true wealth. I love it. Bob, what was the greatest or the biggest challenge that you faced in writing your book or building your business?
Bob: There was one part in building the business—I mean, when I build the speaking business, which now I've been doing 27-28 years, I learned a system for doing so. I went to the National Speakers Association meetings and learn from those who did it before me. I would get all the books on the topic and the audios and so forth. I'm a big believer in not reinventing the wheel because I know I'm not smart enough to do so. I believe in following a system and I personally define a system as simply the process of achieving a goal based on a logical and specific set of “how to” principles. I left one word out. It’s the process of “predictably” achieving the goal based on a logical and specific set of “how to” principles. The key is predictability. If it has been proven that by doing A you’ll get the desired results with B, then you know that all you need to do is A and you’ll get the desired results of B. You certainly teach people systems on what you do.
I did it that way and I built the business within a few years. It was cranking up and it was going but in the late ‘90s I guess, when technology was really starting to get big and I'm not really someone who’s particularly tech savvy and I kind of went kicking and screaming into the tech aspect of the speaking business and it hurt because I knew I needed to change. I knew I needed to learn it and I did. What I advised people not to do. I buried my head in the sand and thought maybe it will go away if I don’t pay attention to it. It really set me back for a couple of years.
Chris: So you were comfortable doing what you're doing and technology came in and you said, “No, not for me” and then eventually you gave into it?
Bob: Yeah. Eventually, I did. What I did was I began bringing people along with me who were tech savvy. Now, I have this amazing business partner. Her name is Kathy Tagenel hugely tech savvy, also marketing savvy, and she does a lot of the things I don’t do well, which frees me up to do the things I do well. That has been a huge help for me.
Chris: Beautiful. I always say, figure out what you're good at and then delegate and then delete the rest.
Chris: Is there another book, obviously, outside of one of your books that you would recommend related to business or personal development that you think everybody should read?
Bob: You know, there are so many, so many great books out there that I would recommend. I would say if someone who’s going to get one book and I have this right here, it’s called, “The Secret of Selling Anything.” It’s by a man who was once a mentor of mine, he’s now deceased. His name is Harry Brown and Harry is a best-seller of a number of book on finance, on free markets, so forth.
This book, this was actually taken from two manuscripts he wrote in the ‘60s that he never published, and after he passed away, his wife found these manuscripts and she contacted someone who contacted her with another person who ended up publishing, so this was published posthumously about five years ago, “The Secret of Selling Anything.” And really what it is, is it’s a look at understanding people. It’s a look at understanding human nature and Harry was a man who was a kind, gracious, just fantastic human being. He was the epitome of the sales person who just looked to provide to value others and understood how to communicate and that you communicated best by having a laser focused in that other person.
As Harry says, “The secret to selling which need not be a secret but the secret to selling is find out what another person wants and help them get it.” To me, it’s just a beautiful book. Really, the first half of the book is all about understanding human nature, why people act as they do.
The second part is time to sales process into human nature and he honors human nature, he honors others and I think it’s just a fantastic book. On blog at burg.com/blog, if you search for Harry Brown or the secret of selling, I think, it will come up for that article. I have a few articles on him, but I explained in a nutshell his process. I just have so much respect for that person and I think that’s a book everyone should own.
Chris: Great. Thank you for that. I haven’t heard of that book but I'm going to go ahead and order that today.
Bob: It’s a well-kept secret. It’s one of those things that’s just really starting to get out there because those of us who’ve embraced the book over the last few years, we just can't stop telling people about it.
Chris: Nice. I love that. Bob, what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received about either writing a book or building a business?
Bob: Well, let me share one regarding building a business and it was after I began sales about 35 years ago and I was starting to do well because I was following systems for sales but my focus was still on the sale as opposed to the other person and there was a person who work at the company where I was selling, he wasn’t in sales, he was an engineer, he was retiring. In fact, I think it’s one of maybe two times I ever even saw the person, so I would call him a drive-by mentor, and I think he saw me as sort of like Joe, the protagonist in The Go-Giver who needed a change of focus or attitude. He said to me, “Burg, if you want to make a lot of money in business. If you want to make a lot of money in sales don’t have making money as the target. Your target is serving others. Now, when you hit the target, you’ll get a reward and that reward will be money and you can do with that money whatever you like. But remember, the money is only the reward for hitting the target. It’s not the target itself. The target is serving others.”
Chris: I think what I'm hearing is that you focused on the process of adding value the result will come but if you obsess over the result and forget the process, you won't actually get the result.
Bob: Absolutely. And again, money is an echo of value, so you’ve got to focus on the value first. You got to focus on others and you do this by discovering their needs. Really, what selling is, when you think about it, selling can be defined very easily as simply discovering what the other person needs, wants, or desires and helping them to get it. That’s what selling is.
Chris: That’s great. I think that’s a great place to wrap it up. Bob, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us and where can people get in touch with you?
Bob: Best place to go is burg.com (B-U-R-G dot com) and everything is pretty much right there on the site including they can subscribe to my influence and success insights and they can get chapter 1 of the Go-Giver which has just been expanded after it hit the 500,000 mark in sales. So come on visit burg.com and have fun.
Chris: There you go, beautiful. We’ll link up the book here in the show notes page and on YouTube. Bob, again thank you so much for coming today. Are there any final words that you want to leave us off with?
Bob: No, no. I've enjoyed myself so much and I'm going to tell you, it is really just such a thrill for me personally to know how well you’ve done and how much value you're adding to the lives of so many people. I couldn’t be prouder Chris.
Chris: I really appreciate it. Like I said, when the book came out and then the conference, it happened after that, that really was a trajectory change for me and millions of dollars in revenue, so many amazing relationships have come of that that I'm still really good friends with today, so I can't thank you enough for everything you’ve done and for the time today. Thank you so much.
Bob: Thank you.
Chris: Alright, thanks Bob. Take care.