The Go-Giver’s approach to sales contacts is built around generosity, and it relies on a simple fact: All things being equal, people will do business with people they know and like. They base their perception of you based on their experience and the value they receive – as they define it. The same goes for recommending your business to their friends and peers.

The Go-Giver puts others’ interests first to add value to their clients’ lives and businesses.

Even as strategies, techniques, tactics, and technology change, the universal laws of Go-Giving remain the same. “Go-Givers are always about the human relationship,” Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals and the co-author of the Go-Giver series books told Publio Podcast host Keith Reynolds

The Go-Giver Allegory

The protagonist in The Go-Giver, Joe is an ambitious and determined young salesperson. Despite his good intentions, he has yet to achieve the kind of success he desires. Ultimately, as the allegory unfolds, he realizes that the main issue he is struggling with is that he puts himself first instead of considering others’ needs. 

Joe learns a valuable lesson from the story: the importance of focusing on others instead of yourself. Ultimately, our goals and dreams can be best realized when we are generous and authentic about helping others achieve theirs. Being so helps us create value for everyone involved, making it an enjoyable and rewarding experience to do business together – and it is probably the most profitable strategy financially. 

The Human Factor

In an age where machines are doing more of what humans used to do, it’s hardly possible to ask what humans can do that machines can’t do. Burg takes a different approach to the question:

Citing inspiration from the book, “Humans Are Underrated” by Geoff Colvin, Burg says, “What can humans do that machines can also do, but that people will not accept from a machine?”

Burg believes that humans are underrated because we don’t take into account that there are some things that we need to hear only from a human who can be empathetic, compassionate, or tough, as the situation dictates.

“Technology is a tool,” he explained. “It helps us get to the end result.” 

But only humans can gain trust, build a relationship or close a deal. As such, Go-Givers never ask “what’s in it for me.” Instead, they focus on the value they can create for their customer. 

“People want to be in a relationship with you. They want to do business with you. They want to tell others about you,” Burg said. “But first, they have to trust you.”

The Go-Giver’s Five Laws of Stratospheric Success

Joe, the main character, learns about these laws and how to put each one into practice. Becoming a “go-giver” means giving value to others, not as a strategy or quid pro quo, but as a way of leading a satisfying life. The authors explain why and how to become a go-giver by practicing The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success:

  1. The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.  The entire buyer’s experience is much more than just the product or service. What you sell must provide more value than what the customer pays.
  2. The Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. This builds on the first law because the more people whose lives you touch with the exceptional value you provide, the more money you will earn.
  3. The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests ahead of yours. Burg is not talking about self-sacrifice. Rather, you must understand that you’re doing things for the customer’s reasons – not yours.
  4. The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. Stay congruent with your true, authentic core.
  5. The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving. When you breathe out (give) carbon dioxide, you breathe in (receive) oxygen. Giving and receiving are not opposite concepts. They are two sides of the same coin. Giving and receiving work best in tandem.


Go-Givers’ Authenticity and Transparency Define Their North Star

Sadly, people commonly believe that saying and doing whatever they want is okay, because it means they’re being authentic.

“Sometimes, such a person would be an authentic jerk,” Burg observed wryly. “I would not recommend that.”

Similarly, transparency has come to be understood as telling everything that you’re thinking, feeling and doing. However, Burg points out that judgment and wisdom matter to the Go-Giver. He uses this example:

You wake up with an aching neck and back. You feel so lousy that you’d rather not go to your customer’s meeting, but you do anyway. You know he’s the type who doesn’t like to get personal with his salespeople and doesn’t want to hear about your aches and pains.

Sharing it with him anyway is absolutely not authentic since your highest value is relating to and serving your customer as they want to be related to and served.

Moreover, this information doesn’t add any value to your customer’s meeting.

Afterward, you go to your chiropractor. Now is the time to talk about your aching back and your sore neck. This is authentic and transparent because you are talking to a person with whom you’ve made an appointment to do something about your condition. 

The authentic and transparent person understands that there is a time and a place for everything. 

Publio CEO Keith Reynolds pointed out how authenticity and integrity are at the center of helping companies define and follow their North Star using a branded content hub, social media and active networking.

“We help clients define their purpose, vision, mission, and values [through storytelling] so that their people can effectively talk about them to their customers.”

The Go-Giver and Generosity

In a networking scenario, it is always best to identify how you can help people. Most people know that. In mentoring relationships, he points out that handwritten thank-you notes go a long way, as do small donations to a mentor’s or client’s favorite charity. You don’t have to tell them you’re doing this, but if you make a small donation in their name, it will get back to them.

“You’re not doing it to kiss up, but to show you value the person and the relationship,” Burg said. “You want to express gratitude before you follow up on another question or engage in another conversation.”

A point is well-taken. Reynolds followed up his interview with a donation in Burg’s name to his favorite charity, Furry Friends. Please consider making a donation to this local non-profit. 

Reynolds concluded, “It was pretty special to have this opportunity. I have dedicated myself to applying Bob’s principles.”

Contact Bob Burg

For 30 years Bob has helped, “companies, sales leaders, and their teams to more effectively communicate their value, sell at higher prices with less resistance, and grow their businesses based on Endless Referrals. 

Although for years he was best known for his book Endless Referrals, it’s his business parable, The Go-Giver (coauthored with John David Mann) that captured the imagination of his readers.” He has many ways to work with those interested in learning and applying his ideas. 

Learn more at 

Bob Burg Website

There are several ways to become a Go-Giver with Bob Burg.


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