Are you looking for a business you love again, that’s profitable and allows you to live a life of significance? “Small Business Stacey” interviews Bob Burg to find out what those 2 simple words are and how to put them into ACTION. #SmallBusinessSuccessStories
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Do you want to sell more, lead with influence and just live a life that you feel fulfilled full of significance? Today my guest is Bob Burg. Well, let me tell you who I am. First, “Small Business Stacey” here with another episode of Small Business Marketing Success Interviews, and today my guest is no other, then Bob Burg and he’s going to share two simple words that you can use to achieve extraordinary results both in your business and your personal life. Welcome to the show, Bob,
Hello, Stacey, thank you for having me.
Oh, of course. Now I know all about you, Bob, and you’ve written many books and I mean look behind you. You, you’re a wealth of knowledge and I want to tap into all your brilliance today, but I probably would get it wrong. So I’m going to have you take a few minutes and share a little bit about yourself.
I really just began as a broadcaster and graduated into sales, knew nothing about sales. So I learned about sales and got pretty good at it. I needed some attitude adjustments along the way and to understand that selling was really not about the salesperson and it wasn’t even about the product or service. It’s about the other person. And once I understood that made a big difference. So from there I, I eventually became sales manager of a company, started teaching others what was working regularly for me. And as they used to say on Seinfeld, yada, yada, yada. 35 years later, here we are.
35 years later. Wow. Yeah, but who’s counting right? I’m not. All right. Well, Bob, that’s about the professional you, but my audience really wants to know about the real you. So I have some additional questions.
Okay. Ice cream or Sherbert?
Okay. Any particular flavor? I’m a chocolate ice cream person.
Yes. Okay. Well we’ll get along really well. Batman or Superman?
I actually go with Superman.
Any particular reason? He just seems like a nicer guy. Well, that’s what’s important. When the world’s falling to bits, he gets the job done pretty well. He definitely gets the job done. That’s ultimately what matters.
And log cabin or modern home?
Oh my, modern home. Alright. With lots of books. Yeah, definitely a library. My home is basically a library with scattered furniture. A library and scattering.
Okay. Multipurpose. I love it. Yeah. All right. Let’s get into some meat and potatoes. I know my audience is clamoring to know what these two words are that you are a real expert in that can really help them achieve extraordinary success both in their business and personal life. Yeah, tell us what that is.
You know, Stacey, I was listening as you talk about those two words. I don’t know what those two words are. So would you mind sharing them and I’ll comment on them and make-believe I know.
Well, fair enough. And maybe I’m mistaken because there’s a hyphen in those two words.
Oh, you’re talking about the words g0 giver.
Oh, okay. I got ya. Very good. Very clever.
So what is a Go-Giver? It’s simply a person who understands shifting their focus. And this is really the key. Shifting their focus from getting to giving. And when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. Understanding that doing this is not only a pleasant way of conducting business, it’s the most financially profitable way as well. So you can have both.
Absolutely, absolutely. Meaning you can give and get at the same time.
Well, you give and receive, and that’s a big thing because it really begins with the giving. It begins with focusing on creating value for others. Now, for anyone who might think this is just some kind of lala kind of stuff, just do it.
When I speak at sales conferences, I’ll often ask this question how many of you would agree with the following statement? Nobody is going to buy from you just because you have a quota to meet. And we all raise our hands because we know that’s true, right? How many of you understand that nobody’s going to buy from you because you need the money and would like the sale to happen? We all raise our hands. How many of you agree, nobody’s going to buy from you because you’re a really nice person? We all agree. No, they’re not going to buy from you because they believe that they will be better off by doing so, then by not doing so. And that’s the only reason why anyone should buy from you or from me or for anyone else. What that means is that it’s actually in the best interest of the salesperson to put their interest aside and focus totally on bringing and communicating immense value to the other. This is why we say that money is an echo of value. The value must be the focal point. It must be focusing on that other person. When you do that, the money you receive is simply a natural result of the value you’ve provided. So yes, you give and you receive.
It’s almost like it’s turned on its head because small business owners always think, I need to get more dollars in the door more and more, more, right? It’s about me. I need more money in my bank account. And they’re never really thinking about giving first.
Right? So then, value comes back to them.
And it’s not that you don’t need the money in your account. Of course, you do. You’re in business. And that has to happen. If the question is what’s the best way to make that happen, what’s the best way to create that? What we called benevolent context for your success is that the go into a presentation focused on yourself and on the money that you want this person to give you. Remember, they’re not buying for your reasons, okay? Or is it to discover what the other person needs or desires. And once you know that, then connect the benefits of your product or service with what they need, want, or desire. So it’s not that we’re saying the money’s not a part, of course, it is. It’s just that the best way to make sure that money comes to you is by first focusing on bringing value to that other person and understand that value, which is defined as the relative worth or desirability of a thing of something to the end-user or beholder. Value is always in the eyes of the beholder. It’s not what you believe is a value about your product or service. It’s what they do.
No, it’s really interesting because in my book, Small Business Marketing Made EZ where I lay out the ACTION Marketing System. It all starts with A, which stands for attention. Which is defining your who and that’s kind of what you’re saying. It’s focusing on that, who and understanding their pains, their challenges, and delivering a solution for them. Right?
Exactly. Right on. Right on. And you know, when you say a system, what is asystem? Well, it’s the process of predictably achieving the goal based on a logical and specific set of how to principles. So when your students, when your clients, when they follow your system, it’s a predictable way to get from point A to point B.
Yeah, I always hear a lot of backlash. They’ll be like, well, I did something nice for so-and-so and then I never got anything back. I’m moving on.
Okay. So we have to look at that. Look at what that really means. So when someone says, well, but I gave value to others. I didn’t know, again, let’s recall first that value is always in the eyes of the beholder. So the first thing is did you give them something of value? Did you provide value to them? Did you communicate value to them that was important to them? Or that you think is a value. And that’s usually, and I’d say 99% of the time that’s really what happens. Someone thinks they’re doing the good deed and thinking, okay, the universe should pay me back for that. Well, that’s not how it works. So you know what it means is you find ways to serve others and before you even have the relationship necessarily with that person they’re going to listen to your sales presentation. When I say listen to your sales presentation, I mean be an active participant because you’re really listening to them. But you know what I mean? Before it even gets to the point of a presentation, you need to be able to communicate value to that other person. But it’s gotta be in such a way that they find it to be of value. Not that you find value.
Thanks, that’s valuable. So when it comes down to that value, does it have, when you’re saying deliver value, is it giving them a gift? Is it dumping content on them? What does value mean?
It depends. It can mean it can be a lot of different things. It might be the attention you first paid that person when you first met that person and made that person feel good about themselves and special about themselves. Just the questions you asked as you were getting to know them. It may have been that you were in a conversation where they had a question that maybe did relate to what you do and you gave them a sufficient amount of information to help them in some way. You didn’t know, you didn’t give away the store and you don’t have to, but you gave them some really good solid information that helped them and maybe a connection you made with them and for them with someone else. It could be some other type of way that you did something that they felt good about that benefited them. So there isn’t one and it’s not something that necessarily has to cost money to do. It’s not necessarily a gift or a thing or a what, but it could be depending upon the situation. So, you know, that’s where it really depends on what you do and, and how you do it.
Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
Bob Burg, The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
Well, can you give us an example of how a small business owner could take this concept of giving value? First how, let’s, let’s take the example of a coffee shop owner. What could they do to be more of what you call a Go-Giver?
Okay. Well, I always say that there are five elements of value that have to do with how we communicate the value to others. And to the degree that we do that with any new prospective customer or client, whether it’s through something inbound or whether it’s an outbound or if have you met with them or met them somewhere, whatever. To the degree that you can communicate one or more of these five elements of value, hopefully, all five and from the minute you meet them through the follow up follow through and the sales process, the referral process there. Yeah, everything that’s the degree you take both money or price and competition out of the picture. So this coffee shop owner may meet someone at some charity event or something, or at the kid’s ballgame or at the PTA meeting or some social function that they happen to be at, it’s asking that person about themselves.
Let’s say they meet Gary, and Gary says that he sells copying machines, high-end copying machines to businesses and he says, what are you doing? She says, Oh, I own a coffee shop. But instead of now talking about herself and trying to sell him on the coffee, she’s going to go back to sort of asking him questions about himself and these questions I call these feel-good questions and they immediately establish value and a connection with this person. So she might ask Gary, so this is interesting, you’re in the office products profession, how did you get your start doing that? And this is a question that he’s never been asked before. Probably his own family hasn’t asked him how he got started in his business. And yet she is, is letting him know that she finds him special and interesting and wants to know his story. He’s going to love telling and sharing his story.
Now the next feel-good question, she asks, and again, so feel-good questions are questions that are not salesy. They’re not prospective either, not intrusive, they’re not invasive. They simply very quickly establish a connection with the other person. So the second question might be, what do you enjoy most about it? Okay. And you know this is so different from someone questioning to immediately find their pain, right? You reach into their heart and tear it out. Right now, they’re not ready for that right now, at this point we want them to feel good. We don’t want to find their pain. We want to find their joy, right? And have them associate that joy with us. And so, you know, we ask them, what do you enjoy most about what he does?
Now he answers that question. These are feel-good questions, right? I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy being asked? Those now come what I call the one key question that will separate you from everyone else in this person’s ever met. This is not one of the fielded questions. This is its own separate question and it sounds like this, Gary. You know, I always love connecting good people with other good people. How can I know if someone I’m speaking with is a good prospective customer for you? See that’s value. Right? Gary has probably never been asked that question before. So he says, well I guess if you’re ever in an office and you notice a copying machine and next to that copying machines is a wastepaper basket, that waste per basket is filled to the brim and overflowing with crumpled up pieces of paper.
That’s a great sign that the copying machines are breaking down a lot lately. And that would be an excellent prospect for me. And she says, good. That’s, that’s wonderful to keep in mind. And so boom, that’s one conversation where you already added significant value to that person’s life. Now she makes sure to get his card. If he asked you for yours, that’s fine, but it doesn’t even matter. You asked for his card and the next day you send a personalized, handwritten note to that person. And it simply says, Hi Gary. Thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you with at the so-and-so function. If I can ever refer business your way, I certainly will. You want to make sure that on this notecard, it’s eight and a half by, by three inches. It’s got your name on it. It’s got your contact information, plenty of white space to write the note, but it’s got your picture so that, that they see you are a human being.
We think in pictures, we process information in different ways, but we think in pictures you write it in blue ink, so it’s obvious that it’s a hand-written note. Then you put it in a number 10 envelope, hand stamp it, hand address it and blue link and send it that day. He’ll get it that next day and or send it that same day. If he can’t, he’ll get it the next day. He takes it out, he sees your picture, the warm fuzzy feelings come back and there’s a note, but it’s not a note with a business card stuffed in there or a coupon or, you know, come buy my coffee. It’s, I thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you. If I can ever refer business your way, I certainly will. Okay. Now this is just the start. I mean it’s a whole followup, follow through system, but I’m just saying when you said what do you do to bring value to another person. You pay attention to them. You know, you treat them like a valued person cause they are.
You mean you don’t walk into the room and say, Hey baby, want to buy my stuff?
Well you know, if you did that I would buy.
But most of us, we can’t get away with that. If I did that, someone would say get away from me.
No, that’s why most people actually dread going to these networking events because it’s like, I just met you. What do you do? Oh Hey baby, want to buy my stuff that you don’t want any of that.
No. And here’s the thing. It puts pressure on you to feel as though you’ve got to come up with the perfect elevator speech, which by the way, that person couldn’t care less about that.
Yeah. Well there’s a reason we have two ears and one of these. Right?
Yeah. And I love, love, love the handwritten note. My audience knows I’m a big proponent of stop sending a text or just being so impersonal that there’s nothing more powerful in my opinion than the handwritten note.
All right, so you’ve sort of laid out a system that a small business owner can follow to provide value. I love how you are systematizing it because it’s not just asking one question. You gave a series of questions and then so the person gets the handwritten note. Should they be, does the system just stop then?
Oh no. I mean I was just giving you one. I was just giving you one part. You know, only that initial part. You want to be able to follow up with this person now that you’ve got them on your list. Now create the relationship when there’s something that they may find to be of interest. Send it to them when you have a connection for them or someone or someone you think would be great for them to meet. There’s also other options like writing a little a booklet or having a, a booklet of favorite quotes from the internet that you can send that with a little note you thought they might enjoy. These are some of my favorite quotes. Hope you find these inspirational, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever. Send them. I love the idea of having a scratch pattern notepad to send every month or so. So they keep that on their desks. They keep that by their phone. You know, there are all sorts of great things we can do, but the best is to always try to find ways of connecting those good people with other good people.
You just listed out so many great ideas and as we’re recording this. We’re coming into the holiday season and so small business owners are thinking, oh well I’ll just send a holiday card, maybe a gift then I’ve done my good deed for the year. Right?
Yeah, they’re getting a ton of holiday cards. I mean, you can if you want because it’s fine to do that, but no, don’t, don’t even consider that a part of your marketing plan if you want to do it because it’s just a nice thing to do. Fine, but they’re getting tons of them and so yours doesn’t stand out. What stands out is that personalized note card. What stands out is that that phone call, what stands out is paying attention to them as a human being. You know, and those are the things you want to do when you first have met. Maybe something you’ve put together, five ways to prepare your coffee at home to get the best tasting and when to not drink coffee or something like that.
You put out a special report and you can just email that person if it’s a top performer report. I’d put this together with a handwritten note. I hope you enjoy it or hope you find it helpful. So that reminds them again, that you’re a caring person, but there’s nothing in there about coming into the store for coffee. It’s five ways to enjoy your coffee at home. So again, you’re providing some information to them. You’re also showing your expertise in your competence and so forth. You know, those are the things you can do. Can you have something in the back with a little ad about your store and that’s fine, but you’d generally want to make it about them. And to the degree you do that, that’s the degree that they become more attracted to you and what you do.
It’s very true because I am constantly dripping on people in my funnel. They may have opted in to get a free marketing plan or something like that. They want tips to grow their small businesses. They’re not really ready to buy. And so my motto is people buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell to them. Right. Like you’re saying, if I find a piece of content or something helpful, I’ll send that to them. And it could easily be even a year later. But they come back to me and they’re like, Stacey, I only work with you because you’ve just been there with me all along giving me helpful tips. You, you’ve never been pressuring me to buy from you. And so I think small business owners they’re just so eager to make the sale today.
They need to take more of a longer-term view and they’re brand ambassadors will ultimately become their sales machine. Yeah. And also, if it takes a year, it takes a year. It wasn’t going to take less because you wanted it to take less than, but can also take a week. It can also take six months or three months or three weeks or three days. You don’t know.
That’s why you want to constantly be filling your funnel because at various times people are gonna come out of that funnel. But it’s going to be, as you said, when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. Now, let’s go back to your coffee person again. Your copy person could have a Facebook live every week where it’s not about the coffee, it’s about the community. And this person interviews different business people in the community.
But what she does is she interviewed these people at her coffee shop and it’s, you know, and the name of the program might even be, it’s not about the copy, right? You know, or something like that. Or it could be something as simple as it’s your local business or something like that. And there’s a feature, but it’s always that person and there’s the warm background and there’s everything in there that paints the picture of how nice the coffee shop is. But it’s basically your coffee shop owner talking with someone from the community. And there are all sorts of people in the background too that gives it a nice feel that this is where people are. So in other words, but she’s not plugging their coffee place. Right. Other than coming from, so-and-so, so-and-so, you could even call it, you could even call it coffee with Jeanette or coffee with Dave and friends or something like that. Dave is the owner and the friend is the person being interviewed, you know, however you do it.
But I’m just saying with a little bit of imagination, you can build a coal community around that. And again, you’re just providing value to people because it’s about how that person can grow in business through your gifts or info. You know, the advice of this, or this person. I love it.
Yeah, and I just want give a message to my small business community. Don’t say, well I’m a coffee shop. This has nothing to do with it, this is not about the coffee. Right. Right. Find a way to make it pertinent to what you do. And again, yeah. You know, when you do this community in the community, assuming you’re community-based and that’s where your customers are, just be that community leader. Be that person who brings the community together through your Facebook live and the discussion page and get people involved and make people feel good about themselves and make people feel like they’re part of it. And you’ll see what happens.
I love this. We’ve been talking a lot about the business side of things, right. But I know that you’re both, the Go-Giver also applies to your personal life. So can you elaborate a little bit on that of how do we bring this into our own personal life to get more abundance and significance?
Well, in the book we had a John David Mann, my co-author and we also put a subplot in there cause it’s a business book and the publisher is a business publisher. But we put a subplot in there with Joe and Susan, the husband and wife and how things were a little rocky for them because they were basically trying to have a 50-50 relationship. As pinned the main mentor in the story explained to Joe great relationships, whether it’s business or family or not 50-50, they are simply 100. And if you really focus on bringing immense value to that other person, that other person is going to want to bring that back and give that 100% to you. When you do that now magical things start to happen. It’s really not magical. It’s actually very logical. But it seems magical because most other people don’t have that.
So we can have it all. We can have this abundance in business and our personal life. When you bring it all together, yeah, there’s no reason not to.
Great. Yeah. So then where does a small business owner start if they get your whole philosophy of being a Go-Giver, you can have this abundance. Where did they start?
Okay. They start with, well like we do with Joe in the story. When he met Pindar, Pindar gave him, or we was gonna give him these five laws of stratospheric success as we call them, laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity and receptivity. But as he said, Joe, you’ve got to apply each one that day. You know, it’s not a matter of thinking about why it will work or why it won’t work or what if this or what if that’s Metro is doing it. And I mean these are tried and true principles and none of them are new. I mean, you know, John and I didn’t make these up. We made them, but we may have put them in a story form and given them certain names, but these are principles that people have been using since time immemorial to build fantastic businesses. And so just start applying them. I mean, it’s really not a, you know, it’s not a whole lot more complicated than that.
It is, it’s what makes small business great.
Well, Bob, we’re running up against the clock. Any last parting words you can give my small business community?
You know, I would say it’s a lesson I learned. Remember I was telling you when I first got into sales and I began to learn sales, I got, I’m pretty good at it, but I certainly after a couple of years I was nowhere near where I should have been. And I remember one day coming back to the office after really blowing the sale and I was looking dejected and I was ticked at myself and at the world. And I remember one of the much older people there, and this is almost 40 years ago. So when I say much older, it’s probably my age now, you know, decrepit old guy. But he sits in and I think he saw me as sort of Joe. We would later write about in the story, the guy with a lot of potential but not realizing it.
And he said to me, can I give you some advice? And I said, sure, please do. And he said, Burg, if you want to make a lot of money in sales, he said, don’t have making money as your main target. Wow, your target is serving others. Now when you hit the target, he said, you’ll get a reward and that reward will come in the form of money and you can do with that money, whatever you choose. But never forget. He said the money is simply the reward for hitting the target. It ain’t the target itself. Your target is serving others. And I think when we keep that in mind, that the target is serving others, now we’re nine steps ahead of the game in a 10 step game.
Awesome. To me, the message was: do good, be good, get good.
Very well. And that was goodly said.
Well, thank you, Bob. So I know my audience is gonna want to get a copy of your book and reach out, possibly learn more about you and the services that you provide. How can people get in touch with you? They can go to the gogiver.com or then go to burg.com. And if interested, we have a program coming up. A live program in January 2020 called endless referrals. The go-giver, it’s a two-day event and they can go to endlessreferrals.com.
That’s a good thing. Great. Thank you Bob, for coming on the show today. Sharing your brilliance, giving some real actionable strategies of how any small business owner can be a Go-Giver. Yes. And therefore have a life of abundance and prosperity.
Hey everybody, this is Small Business Stacey, your Small Biz Marketing Specialist here to help you get your marketing into ACTION and help you become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz. Bye bye.
Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small - and not so small - businesses one marketing plan at a time. She helps business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE profit. Stacey's in-demand "Small Biz Marketing Success Coaching and Mastermind Program" is transforming the businesses - and lives - of those who want wealth, freedom, and market domination. Her highly acclaimed book "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" lays out the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of Cups To Gallons, the place where independent coffee, smoothie, juice bar, ice cream, dessert and snack shop owners go to learn how get into lucrative catering so they stop selling by the cup and start selling by the gallon. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.
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