Passion in one’s field, serves to be it’s own reward. It’s often the passion, which pours value into who we are, and what we do. And, isn’t that one of the blessings and joys of selecting our life’s purpose-not to mention our career fields? Choosing for purpose and allowing the monetary gain to come, thereafter. More and more as the world moves into avenues of social wellness and well-being, we begin to see shifts, and changes, in industries, the world over. Yes, that includes business powerhouses! One of the beauties of such is how the art of giving begins to take center stage. Giving. It’s place in the the business and corporate worlds. Hmm. . .Some would find that to be quite odd. After all, isn’t part of the strategy for successful business is to take. . take. . .and. . .take more? That is the prevalent idea, isn’t it? I mean part of gaining more, and having more, is. . .taking more. Really? You’re not quite sure, are you? Maybe, there is another way. Maybe the perfect strategy is to. . .take less and give more.
There have been many breakthroughs concerning how these holistic shifts, and re-imaginings, are taking place in the corporate/business world. Shifts which urge generosity, contributing back to others, and basic principles of human kindness. Leading that charge is going to be a heavy task. Yet, when you have others in your team, that responsibility can be a little lighter. With Bob Burg, Wall Street Journal and Businessweek Bestselling author, co-author of The Go-Giver, business guru, business leader, international speaker, and numerous others, giving is the perfect. . .business plan.
“The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.”-Bob Burg
Lauren K. Clark: At what point of your career did you begin to realize that traditional methods of working, and selling, in the business world, undermined human potential and essence?
Bob Burg: After being in sales for a couple of years (with a level of success that most people would have felt was substantial, but which I knew was not anywhere near the potential of which I was capable), I received some advice from an older gentleman at the company where I was working. He said, “Burg, if you want to make a lot of money in sales, don’t have ‘making money’ as your target. Your target is serving others. When you hit the target you’ll get a reward, and that reward will come in the form of money. You can then do with that money whatever you choose. But never forget” he said, “the money is simply the reward for hitting the target…it’s not the target itself. Your target is serving others.”
That was really an epiphany for me because it’s what caused me to realize that just as great leadership is never about the leader, but rather about those they lead-great salesmanship is never about the salesperson. And it’s not even about the product or service (as important as those are). Rather, it’s about those they serve, and how that customer or client will benefit from those products or services. So, the key was to take the focus off of myself and place it totally, and squarely, on that other person. Sales now became about serving others, looking to provide exceptional value to that person. And when that’s your focus, and assuming your product or service is indeed the right fit for that person, they will be ecstatic for the opportunity to do business with you.
This is why John David Mann (my coauthor of The Go-Giver) and I say that, “Money is an echo of value. It’s the thunder to value’s lightning.” In other words, it begins with a focus on giving value to another human being. The money you receive is simply a very natural result of the value you’ve provided (given). This is very similar to what Joe, the protagonist in The Go-Giver learns, during the story. That shifting your focus from getting to giving (giving defined as constantly and consistently providing immense value to others) is not only a more pleasant way to conduct business, and not only more congruent with the values of a person focused on making a positive difference in their world. It’s also the most financially profitable way, as well.
Lauren K. Clark: What were some of the negative responses you faced when posing the radical idea, that giving in abundance, produces power and value?
Bob Burg: This tends to surprise people, but we really didn’t receive many negative responses. Our early adopters of the book were those who were already extremely successful, in many different types of businesses and positions; who told us that what we outlined in the story was pretty much exactly how they built their businesses, and became financially successfully. In other words, what John and I wrote about wasn’t anything particularly new (and we never believed it was new. These were all principles – as old as they’ve been market economies — that John and I had studied, researched, and lived in our own business experiences). However, what excited these people was that we had “put into words,” what they knew, believed, and lived. But, didn’t feel they had successfully conveyed to others. This book provided them a tool they could give to others as third-party credibility for building a successful business.
The next wave of adopters were people who heard about the book through many of the first adopters. Then, word of mouth truly began to take hold. More than likely, the reason we didn’t receive push back from those, whose way of doing business was contrary to The Go-Giver Way, is that they simply looked at the title and chose not to read the book. Of course, every so often we would hear of someone who said something like “that wouldn’t work in the ‘real world,’” but the people who said that most likely never read the book. They merely saw the title and assumed it was about something that it wasn’t. And that’s okay. If and when one day they’re ready to read it, they will.
Lauren K. Clark: You have a vivacious and animated Spirit, when you are speaking to an audience. How do you craft the art of giving, in a way that makes it exciting in the business world?
Bob Burg: Thank you. I appreciate that. In terms of crafting it, it’s really nothing more than about taking the Five Laws/Principles described in the book and relating them to businesses of those in the audience. After all, it’s not about me, but about them!
“Nobody is going to buy from you because you have a quota to meet. They are going to buy from you because they see the value in doing so.”-Bob Burg
Lauren K. Clark: “When you sell on price, you’re a commodity. When you sell on value, you’re a resource.”-Bob Burg Kindly speak on how this quote works to revive the value, that people should place on their own community.
Bob Burg: Technology has leveled the playing field and these days most products and services are pretty similar, in terms of functionality. And when a prospective customer or client can not distinguish between any two products or services, it’s naturally always going to come down to who has the lowest price. And, as I often tell my audiences, “Unless your last name is Walmart or Amazon.com, trying to make low price your “unique selling proposition,” is not a good way to do business. It isn’t productive, it isn’t profitable, and it isn’t sustainable. So indeed, when you sell on low price, you (and/or your product/service) are viewed by your prospective customer or client as a commodity. The question then becomes, “how do you distinguish yourself as being a resource; that person who provides such a high-quality experience that people choose to do business with you at a higher price point and feel great about it because they KNOW they’re receiving so much more in value than what they’re paying in price?” Basically you accomplish this by “being” that additional value. By being present and creating an authentic connection. Then, discovering what that person wants, needs, or desires, and helping them to get it. The solution may be your product or service, or it may not be.
Lauren K. Clark: In your book, The Go-Giver, you mixed the world of business, with the world of storytelling. What inspired you to co-author this non-traditional way of teaching others the awards of giving and business?
Bob Burg: While how-to books are certainly helpful, and have comprised most of the books I’ve authored, there’s something very special about relating how-to information within the context of a story. Stories connect on a heart-level. And once that heart-to-heart connection is made, it’s so much easier for a reader to receive the message, and actually apply it. The real magic behind this, however, was my awesome co-author, John David Mann. While I’m really a how-to guy, John is a magnificent writer and storyteller (as well as successful entrepreneur). What a privilege and honor to have the opportunity to work with him!
Lauren K. Clark: In using, the concept of giving to expand businesses, and increase sales, would you say that–in this regard–that friends and business do mix?
Bob Burg: I wouldn’t necessarily limit it to only this concept, but instead say, that when it’s appropriate for people, who already are friends to do business with one another. That’s terrific. There are also friends who – while they both might have amazingly benevolent hearts – probably shouldn’t do business together. But if — via this question — you’re asking if doing business The Go-Giver Way tends to make a person better liked; thus, resulting in friendships with those with whom they are doing business, the answer would be yes.
Lauren K. Clark: How would you contextualize that working in the business world, through giving, decreases the level of stress, that people face in the industry?
Bob Burg: Again, defining giving (in this context) as “constantly and consistently providing immense value to others” there’s a very good reason why doing business this way decreases people’s stress levels; and that is because it’s congruent with their value system. In other words, most people in business, while wanting to make a prosperous living, also want to make a contribution to the world through their product or service (yes, despite the dishonest players we’re more likely to hear about in the media — after all, “bank ripping off customers!” attracts many more eyeballs than “CEO loved by employees and customers alike!”). So when this entrepreneur or salesperson knows that by doing business The Go-Giver Way, they can both add immense value to the lives of others and earn a very healthy income. Well, now their business becomes a lot more fun, and a lot less stressful.
Lauren K. Clark: Let’s go back for a second. You’re backstage. It’s 10 minutes before you are set to go on. Sometimes you’re nervous. Sometimes you’re not. You hear the murmurs of large crowds of people getting in their seats, ready to speak. Closing your eyes, how do you mentally prepare?
Bob Burg: Actually, it’s not sometimes, that I’m nervous. I’m always nervous before taking the stage. Once I get up there, however, I’m fine. Both because I know I’m totally prepared for my presentation, and mainly, because I know it’s not about me, but rather about the audience. So, if I have my focus in the right place – on serving my audience – that’s enough for me to feel comfortable. But yes, I definitely get the butterflies in the stomach before going, onstage. Fortunately – as the saying goes – “the butterflies are usually flying in formation.”
Lauren K. Clark: In your work, you encounter many people, who enjoy benefiting from your knowledge and expertise. Simultaneously, it can be draining if attendees are not recycling that energy back to you. What spiritual and mental cleansing do you do, to make sure that your energy is re-charged, enriched, and sustained?
Bob Burg: The way I keep the energy up during the presentation is to pick out a number of what I call my “go-to people.” These are the audience members, who are particularly encouraging through their body language, smiles, head-nodding, and yes, laughing at the right times. There can be hundreds of people, or thousands of people, in my audience, but I’m going to quickly discover my go-to people. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m still going to make eye contact and engage with as many people as possible; but, those are the people I “go to” when I need that positive energy coming back to me. As a side note: when I first began speaking professionally I made the common “rookie mistake” of focusing on the few people, who did not seem to be engaged, trying to win them over. Fortunately, a veteran speaker told me why that is not a good idea, and instead to focus on the positive ones.
Lauren K. Clark: When you want to add color and creativity to the phenomenon of generous business strategies, what activities or places do you immerse in, and engage with, to stimulate your imagination?
Bob Burg: If I just want to put myself into a state of happiness and joy, I play with my cat, Calvin. He is pure unconditional love and joy, and he brings me completely into the present moment.
Giving! Wow. It’s not as hard as it may seem. If so, it’s one of those practices, which becomes easier, once we are willing to partake in the shift. That subtle change taking place slowly and surely, within many business platforms. A necessary change that is shaping the industry, by those who wish to gain a different feel for the business of nourishment. Pouring into one’s clientele, and experiencing that value of human potential and energy, continues to be a nutritious ingredient in business expansion and growth. It is one of those peculiar attributes of success, where even corporate and business leaders begin to see how their own humanity becomes illuminated. All in the nutritious work of giving for a larger business, in the business of people.
“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other’s people’s interest first.”-Bob Burg
For more information on Bob Burg, you can go to the following link: https://burg.com/