It is my great pleasure to post this interview I completed a few weeks ago. It appears in this weeks issue of Young Wealth Weekly (you have signed up for the newsletter, haven’t you?).
Interview with Bob Burg
June 29, 2006
Q: How did you get started in business?
A: My background was as a radio sportscaster, which was my dream growing up. I very quickly moved into doing television news, which probably was not a good move because the passion for news wasn’t there, nor was the skill. Never had that “nose for news” nor did I care to. Today, at the age of 48 and as involved politically as I am things would probably be different but, at the time, it just wasn’t there.
I “graduated” into sales and, realizing I was also not particularly good at that, began reading and studying all I could about it. It was a fascinating study and, following the system of the successful people I learned from at the time, such as Tom Hopkins and Zig Ziglar, my sales career really took off. Eventually I became Sales Manager of a company, which I found to be very rewarding, as well.
Regarding speaking and writing, it evolved, at first, just because other people were asking what I did that resulted in my sales success. Then, I began selling the tapes (back then, there were no such thing as CDs and DVDs) for another speaker, who was very well established. Eventually, I devised my own program with a focus on Networking and referrals, which were two strengths of mine, once I had learned how to go about it correctly. I wrote the book on Endless Referrals simply as a way of “positioning” myself more effectively and profitably as a speaker. The first edition of ER was written back in 1993 and I’ve updated it twice since then.
Now, with several books and more audio programs and other informational products, and having joined in business a couple of years ago with a man by the name of Thom Scott, who is an expert on all forms of Direct Response and other forms of marketing, we are shifting our business model from a speaker who writes, to marketers of information products . . . who also happen to speak.
Q: What have been the most significant developments in networking and referral based businesses in the last few years?
A: Well, I certainly believe the principles of networking and referral-based business will always remain the same, and that is, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” We always need to first keep in mind that “Networking” is far different from what most people think it is. It’s not glad-handing people while shoving a business card in their face and fast-talking about why they should be doing business with you. Instead, it is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships.
Of course, with technology being as prolific as it has become, there are certainly more ways to enter into these types of relationships. It’s important – very important, however, to always realize that people do business with, and refer business to, those PEOPLE they know, like and trust, not those COMPUTERS they know, like and trust. It’s always about the relationship first, about adding value first, about – what Wallace Wattles, author of the 1915 classic, “The Science of Getting Rich” called – “adding increase” to the lives of others.
What technology has done is provided so many more outlets, ways and means of accomplishing this. There are people with whom I’ve had successful joint ventures while never having met them personally . . . and hardly even speaking with them on the phone. That couldn’t have happened “back in the day.”
Q: What do you see as the future trends in networking and referral based businesses?
A: While I believe the relationship will remain king, I believe that technology will continue to provide us with more ways of networking effectively, efficiently and profitably.
Q: Should I set up one of these ‘blogs’ I keep hearing about?
A: Yes, by all means, yes! And, the good news is that there is plenty of good information from knowledgeable sources on how to set up and operate a successful blog.
Q: What is the most important thing a young entrepreneur or professional can do when starting out in business without a sphere of influence?
A: Develop that powerful sphere of influence starting now! When you meet someone with whom you feel a mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationship would be appropriate, then go ahead and begin to cultivate it. Remember, there is an entire system and methodology behind doing this; it’s not a matter of simply getting their business card and putting it in your Rolodex or contact management file. Another thing that the young entrepreneur or professional can do is to make it a point to meet already-successful people and learn from them. Yes, you can cultivate relationships with these people. Just remember, it’s up to you to creatively find ways to “add value” to their lives as your part of cultivating the relationship. The key . . . begin now!
Q: What one piece of advice would you leave with our readers?
A: Keep learning, keep growing. Follow what I call The Success Formula:
1. Seek out and find the information (the system),
2. Apply the information immediately,
3. Be persistent. Sandwich those principles around the specific goal or desire you have, and the belief in yourself and what you’re doing, and by the very nature of life, you must succeed.
Bob Burg shares information on topics vital to the success of today’s business person. He speaks for corporations and associations internationally, including fortune 500 companies, franchises, and numerous direct sales organizations. On the national rally circuit, Bob has shared the platform with legends such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Denis Waitley, CNN’s Larry King, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Today Show’s Willard Scott, Radio Legend Paul Harvey, Tom Hopkins, Mary Lou Retton, Coach Lou Holtz, the late Og Mandino, former U.S. President Gerald Ford, and countless others. Two of his books, “Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales” and “Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion” have each sold well over 160,000 copies. And, Endless Referrals has been released in its third, totally revised and updated edtion. Bob is a staunch 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. You may subscribe to Bob’s “Endless Referrals Video Briefs” by going to www.burg.com, waiting two seconds for the gold invite, clicking, and going from there.