YOU Magazine - May 2008 - The Go-Giver A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
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Lyn Bankowski     Lyn Bankowski
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The Go-Giver
A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

The Go-Giver - A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

"There's nothing wrong with making money. Lots of it, in fact. It's just not a goal that will make you successful." During our sit-down with noted author, Bob Burg, it became readily apparent that he truly believes these words. Spoken by a character in his book, The Go-Giver (co-authored with John David Mann), these words serve as backbone for Burg's inspiring message.

Who is Bob Burg?
Blessed with a golden voice, Bob Burg's career started with jobs as both a radio sportscaster and television personality. Eventually, Burg moved into selling advertising in both mediums. As he puts it, "I believed I had the raw talent to do it well." Realizing that he lacked the required knowledge and experience, Bob was perusing the aisles of a neighborhood bookstore when his life changed forever.

It was there where Burg ran across a book titled, How to Master the Art of Selling, written by Tom Hopkins, one of the foremost builders of sales champions. "I studied that book," he proudly states, even going so far as to highlight passages and make notations on the pages inside. What made Burg even prouder, however, was the fact that within three weeks of reading the book, his sales began to "skyrocket."

Burg eventually transitioned from selling ad time to selling solar-powered water heaters. Solar power was a fledgling industry at the time, and it served as the perfect environment to further hone his skills. Burg eventually got so good at selling that he began teaching his newfound techniques and self-actualized philosophies to his staff. It was at that point when Bob decided to make his second career change.

Burg is currently a prolific author and a highly sought-after public speaker on the subjects of success and successful selling. His inspiring and enlightened message is one of learning how to give while staying open to receiving. In one of his earlier books titled, Endless Referrals, Bob created a textbook for applying his principles. In the Go-Giver, Bob puts the same message into the form of a parable, one we promise will keep you glued to the pages and asking the question, "What's coming next?"

What is The Go-Giver?
Burg was carrying around a story in his head for five years before he finally approached John David Mann with his idea. Mann was a writer that Burg had worked with, and whom he felt was the perfect person for putting his story into words. After sharing the idea with Mann, the two men embarked on a literary journey that resulted in The Go-Giver.

While the editorial staff at YOU Magazine has no plans to ruin it for everyone by divulging the story of The Go-Giver, we do feel that it is important to pass along its core principles. They are just too important and potentially life changing not to do so. What you are about to read are a collection of both authors' keenest observations. While Burg freely admits that they are not the only ones to teach these principles, it's our opinion that they've never been presented in such a concise and salient fashion.

The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

While the law may sound almost counterproductive, Burg says that it's important to recognize the difference between the terms, "value" and "price." According to Burg, "Price equals a dollar amount, but value is a product's worth in terms of its desirability to the end user."

In other words, while a customer may have paid X amount for a product, its ultimate worth to said individual should be much higher. Think about some of your own purchases and you'll begin to see what he's talking about.

Burg states that it is highly important to focus on adding value to everything you sell, no matter if it's a product, a service, or yourself. One of his favorite quotes comes from a book written by Wallace D. Wattles in 1910. In The Science of Getting Rich, Wattles writes, "Give every person more in use value than what you take in cash value. That way you are adding to the life of the world with every business transaction."

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

After you have increased your worth by increasing the value of your product, the next step would be to serve as many people as possible. Burg claims this is the best way to be financially compensated for what you do. He reminds us that in sales of any kind your target is not money. Rather, it is to serve people. If you hit your target enough times, you will be rewarded financially.

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interest first.

This is yet another of Burg's laws that seems counterproductive on the surface, but is actually quite powerful when put into effect. According to Burg, "We ultimately refer or hire the people we know, like or trust." He goes on to say that when you put other people's interests ahead of your own, the result is a network of personal ambassadors.

Burg says, "The best relationship, no matter if it's business or personal, is never a 50/50 proposition. It only occurs when each party is giving 100 percent." While Burg suggests some may interpret this as a recipe for co-dependency, he claims that when you truly care about someone, you put that person's happiness ahead of your own.

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

Burg is adamant that sales skills and technical skills are far less effective if you do not bring your real self to the table. This is not to diminish the importance of these learned abilities. It is only to say that they are proportionate to your authenticity, as well as your ability to communicate it.

The law of authenticity requires the practitioner to have both humility and honesty as part of their communication with others. Making your realness part of a sales transaction will only accentuate the effectiveness of your skills.

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

This law is where Burg's philosophy comes full circle. He is quick to point out that giving and receiving are "two sides of the same coin." Without receiving, giving does not exist. As children, we are taught that it is always better to give than to receive. He believes that this system is not only futile, but it's also slightly counterproductive, as it denies others the ability to give to you.

Case in point is the relationship between animals and vegetation. As members of the animal kingdom, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Vegetation, on the other hand, takes in carbon dioxide while giving back oxygen. Our ecosystem would never exist without an equal amount of giving and taking.

A few more thoughts…
Burg stresses that the opposite of a go-giver is not a go-getter. Instead, it's a go-taker. He says it's important to understand that when a go-taker comes into your life, it is never a product of your giving.

He also says there are people who don't have a giving spirit, but still are able to achieve financial success.

The Go-Giver can be purchased at bookstores nationwide, it can also be found by logging on to Bob Burg's website at If you're thinking that we've already outlined the lessons of Burg's parable, rest assured you've yet to receive everything The Go-Giver has to offer.

Here's to the idea of giving… and receiving!

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