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Book Excerpt:
Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales
by Bob Burg
ISBN: 0-07-146207-4
Paperback (Third Edition)
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From Chapter 5

Understanding the Law of Successful Giving and Successful Receiving

Superstar Networkers

Superstar networkers, those whose businesses are extremely profitable and whose personal lives are filled with friends and loving relationships, share two powerful traits in common.

Number one, they are givers.

Number two, they are "connectors."

First let's discuss what I don't mean by givers. There are plenty of people who seem in a sense to be givers, but the way they give is so sharply limiting that it doesn't fulfill the qualities of giving we've been talking about at all -- nor does it produce the same results. These fall into two broad categories.

The Quid Pro Quo Networker

This is the person who gives only in order to get something back. (Or, as the esteemed Dr. Hannibal Lecter put it so eloquently, "Quid pro quo, Clarice … quid pro quo.") This type of pseudonetworker always has an agenda when they do anything for another, and they soon gain a reputation for being that way.

While a QPQ networker can and sometimes does attain his share of business, he will never develop the kind of long-lasting, mutually beneficial, give-and-take relationships with others that the superstar networker will enjoy. He will never elicit in others those feeling of knowing, liking and trusting that is the hallmark of the genuine networker's relationships. If he does get anything back from the relationships he forms, it will at most be exactly what he gave in the first place and no more -- and most likely, it will come grudgingly. What's more, it most likely will come back from that one source alone, and only that one time. This is not the case with our superstar networkers.

What's interesting about a QPQ giver is that he often thinks he is the ultimate networker. That's the belief system he comes from -- that networking is a strategy for getting from others. "Hey, sometimes I might even have to give a little first, and why not, if that's what it'll take to get what I want from them." Any success this person achieves will be mere inches on the yardstick of profitable superstar networking.

The Martyr

This is the person who gives in a way that ends up hurting himself. The Martyr actually sets himself up to be taken advantage of. Why would anyone possibly want to do this? Because there's a payoff -- though not the kind of payoff that yields success. It's the sort of payoff that says, "Look at me, I'm a martyr. Here I am, always doing for others, but no one does for me." In other words, it provides an excuse for not being successful.

This person is convinced that giving does not and cannot ever result in success. And he's right -- for him. But on an unconscious level, he's not really seeking success; his more primary goal is to stay within a comfort zone dictated by his belief system.

These are examples of what a true giver is not. Now let's look at what a true giver is.

The Genuine Networker

The superstar, mega-successful, high-dollar-earning networker is the greatest and most active giver you know. He is constantly referring business to others. She is always on the lookout for a piece of information that will interest someone in her network of friends and prospects -- regardless of whether or not it's business-related. He is always suggesting ways that someone from whom he purchases goods or services can improve his own business.

Genuine networkers give. They give actively and without expectation. They are always thinking of what they can give, how they can give, and to whom can they give.

They are who I term superstar networkers.

Tim Sanders, author of the bestseller, Love Is the Killer App, describes this as "the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles." According to Sanders, our "intangibles" are our knowledge, our network, and our compassion.

Some superstar networkers seem to excel in one type of giving above all others and become known for this. For example, some individuals are always recommending great books, or constantly making introductions to people who can benefit one another.

Mike Litman, author of, Conversations With Millionaires, talks about how this creates what he calls an "asset of value." This, says Mike, is what you bring to the table in your relationships with others. And it doesn't cost you a cent! (Or perhaps the price of a book or a stamp.) The result? The other person's appreciation, which as you already know, can prove to be virtually priceless.

What's interesting is that successful, giving, profitable, superstar networkers seem to have a knack for hooking up with other success givers. It's not luck: they are specifically looking to identify these types of people. Why? Because they know that while average networking relationships are 50/50, the most exciting and profitable ones are 100/100. In other words, both people are trying so hard to help each other succeed, that success comes back to each of them in spades.


I also mentioned that these people are "connectors." They are always asking themselves who they can set up with each other. They know that everyone they know or meet might be a valuable contact to someone else in their network. The fun part is introducing them and setting up the relationship.

You can probably see how the goodwill and positive feeling you elicit in others can come back to you in incredible abundance.

Again, the essence of being a Connector is the proactive drive to make the connections -- not out of a calculating intent to get something in return, but out of the joy and satisfaction of seeing the positive, exciting developments that can spring out of the new associations you help form. It's something very much like the pure joy of the creative artist: the thrill of the creation itself is its own reward.

Connectors don't worry about whether they'll "get anything" in return. They know they'll be taken care of -- and well taken care of. It's simply not an issue.

The essential point here is that being a Connector isn't a genetic fluke. You don't have to be born a Connector -- you can become one!

Simply develop (through practice) a habit of giving without expectation, without concern for what you're going to "get" from the other person. Know that when you tap into the sheer joy of giving and connecting, you're going to get and get big-time. Try not to think about it too much. Just get out there and try to give yourself away! Way before you even get close, you'll get back so much in return, you'll know you've become a superstar networker.

Bob Burg is the author of Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales

Copyright 2006, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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