Go-Givers Sell More

Everything You Learned About Sales Is Backwards

[Guest Post by: Bob Burg and John David Mann, coauthors of Go-Givers Sell More*]

“I’m no good at selling!” Have you ever heard someone say that? Or maybe said it yourself? (Now, tell the truth.)

We hear it all the time. Everyone who is not in sales thinks, “I could never sell” — and most people who are in sales secretly think the same thing.

Go Givers Sell MoreThere is a reason people feel this way: most of us look at sales backwards. Backwards how? In the most fundamental ways.

For example.

They see sales as convincing people to do something they don’t want to do. It’s not: it is about learning what people do want to do and then helping them do that.

They think sales is about taking advantage of others. Not so: in fact, it’s about giving others more advantage.

Most people think of sales as a talking business. Nope: it’s really a listening business.

Classic sales training focuses on the “close.” The true sales greats hardly notice the close — they are too busy focusing on the open.

But the biggest inversion of all, the great upside-down misconception about sales, is that it is an effort to get other people to do something. Ask most anyone to define sales and you will hear some variation of this: “Sales is getting people to buy something.”

The truth about sales is that it isn’t about getting at all. Sales at its best, at its most effective, is precisely the opposite: it is about [Read more…]

I Have a Referral for You

Making Referral Business Your Business


How to turn even your toughest client into a referral source

When I was selling Acuras, I’d reached a very comfortable and rewarding 70% repeat and referral business. The breakdown is what’s important to note… While 30% of that total business came from repeat buyers, that number was only trumped by the amount of referral business, responsible for 40% of my total sales. Said another way, 4 out of 10 clients that bought from me, were referred by previous clients.

Now, I don’t care what your product or service is – referrals are where it’s at! What higher compliment could you receive from an existing client, than their referrals? Let’s face it – Whether they showed it or not, this client was impressed with you. So impressed, in fact, they were willing to put their name and reputation on the line.

This is a win-win-win:

For your existing client, they know how much their friend will appreciate them for having found you. For the referred client, the weight of anxiety and lack of trust [Read more…]

It’s All About Who You Know

 5 Tips to discovering valuable connections

With only 130 connections on LinkedIn (at the time of this writing), I’m within 2 degrees of 9,800 people! (…3 degrees away from 864,000 people!)

In 2006, a former client invited me to join a leadership breakfast group that he’d founded 15 years prior. Within a few months of joining, I met my future co-founders of the YPLG (Young Professionals Leadership Group). By attending these monthly leadership meetings, I continue to meet like-minded professionals and always walk away with fresh ideas on training and business development.

I purposely did not use the word “networking” in the headline. Why not? For many people, that word carries a stigma, conjuring up images of a room full of “Me Monsters;” business-card-dispensing salespeople, all with dollar signs in their eyes, engaging in cheesy, superficial conversations.

While many of us have had awkward or even unpleasant experiences with networking, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you already make networking a part of your business development or it’s the last thing you feel comfortable doing (even though you know you should) here are five tips designed for making valuable connections:

1. Showing Up is 80% of Success

While online networking is important, nothing compares with face-to-face meetings. Sure there have been times that I didn’t feel like attending an event, but each and every time I reminded myself that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain and went anyway, I met some excellent people. If nothing else, it’s a nice way to remain top-of-mind within your locale.

2. Pitch That Elevator Pitch

You know the scene: Everyone is talking and no one is really listening. Fact is, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. You could theoretically deliver your elevator pitch to a hundred people in order to meet just one that would bring you new business, either directly or indirectly. Why play with those odds? Instead, here’s a way to engage in a conversation with a stranger and still make relevant points about your business:

Ask for a story and listen well. Say, “Will you share a story with me, about a client you’ve recently helped?” The other person will always oblige.

  • You’ll understand what they do and maybe even why they do it;
  • You’ll develop a much better sense of what type of person they are;
  • You’ll get them onto new conversational ground, and away from the same old script;
  • You’ll learn how to position your story, making it relevant for them.

3. There are no competitors, only partners

People are always asking me who my competitors are. My answer is always the same – “There are no competitors, only partners.” We live in an abundant world. There is enough for everyone. For example, it doesn’t matter that our Young Professionals Leadership Group includes two or three financial advisors as members. They can learn from each other … and do. Besides, any given member will connect with one of them more than the others, when it comes to doing business together or referring leads.

I’ve traded lots of great ideas with many people in my industry, butI’ve never considered any of them to be my competition. I’ve noticed that, in the end, we tend to attract clients that are just right for us.

4. Join Non-Networking Groups

Not a fan of structured networking groups? Do what I do. Join “non-networking” groups. I attend three separate monthly leadership breakfasts. We’re all there to share strategies for success. When you’re surrounded by dozens of like-minded individuals, networking occurs … naturally. Fact is, any time you’re surrounded by a group of people, it’s an opportunity to make valuable connections. As you attend those holiday parties and friendly gatherings, make an effort to talk with someone you don’t yet know that well. More often than not, you’ll be glad you did. What do you have to lose?

5. We Should Really Do Lunch

When you make a valuable connection, set up a follow-up appointment for coffee or lunch. This allows you to pursue more focused conversations than those had in large group settings, meet more people, and can lead to stronger associations.


Our world is a richer place for the many connections we make along life’s path. Like bestselling author Bob Burg always says, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.”

[Originally posted 12/17/08]