Establish a reputation for saying little, always coming through on your promises, and even over-delivering on those promises. Do this consistently and business success is yours.
And, it works just as well in friendships and family relationships as it does for business relationships. In fact, the ages are filled with quotes emphasizing this very principle.
The Sages of the Talmud used to say, “Say little, do much, and greet everyone with a pleasant countenance.”
Example: Going back about 3700 years, Abraham met the visitors at his “door” and invited them in for some water to wash their feet and a morsel of bread to eat. What he delivered was a veritable feast (Gen 18:2-8).
I love this one, pointed out to me years ago: “The Bill of Rights is stated in 660 words. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has 267 words. The Ten Commandments contains 77 words. A federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words.”*
It figures, doesn’t it?! The really important things are typically far easier to communicate and understand than those that are made complicated. And often, that which is made complicated and difficult to understand is done so for a reason; to confuse others and somehow manipulate them, and most people sense this.
The point is, develop a reputation with those in your sphere of influence as a person who, instead of talking a good game, actually plays a good game; instead of talking about being honest, is honest. Instead of talking about thinking of others, thinks of others.
Say Little and do much, and those others will go out of their way to please you. And, for good reason…you deserve it!
* Whoops. I usually don’t fall victim to Urban Legends but, perhaps because it makes so much sense, I did this time. What I wrote about the price of cabbage is false. The directive does not exist. It never did. Please accept my apologies.
So, let’s use a somewhat similar example: NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) is well over 1000 pages. And, to quote one of my political mentors, the late Harry Browne, “It doesn’t take 1000 pages to say “you can all trade freely now.”
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@Felicia Slattery — Wow, isn’t it fun running a business. 🙂 I love that WWBBD? — What Would Bob Burg Do?
Amen! In a world of (so many) people doing just the opposite (over-promising), this is one more thing that is so easy to do and distinguishes you from everyone else.
Nice post, Bob! Great examples and food for thought. I totally agree with the concept of actions speaking louder than word. Talk is cheap! LOL In my early foreign abroad experiences, I showed appreciation and gratefulness through my actions, as I was developing my language skills. My French family honored that more than the things I tried to say. Keep up the awesome work!
Great brief post to model your message, Bob!
I posted something similar on Facebook a few weeks ago and I got a flood of replies. Seems people like others to live up to their promises and are thrilled when we go above and beyond.
But here’s an interesting question for you: what happens when you do give not only what you promise, but MORE and you still get the very rare person who says she wants her money back anyway?I had the situation recently where a client expressed how overjoyed she was at what I delivered for her and then a week later asked for a refund.
What’s up with THAT? To be filed under “people are weird?” I’m still undecided about what to do. So I ask… “What would Bob Burg do?”
Thanks for your wisdom always, my friend.
I agree with Steve~Amen! Somebody (I have trouble remembering who said what) said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Remembering that AND reading this post, helps me be more succinct (and probably more interesting) than my personality might have me be. Great timing too! I’m writing a presentation today :o)
I enjoy each and every one of your posts. You consistently provide such great reminders about topics that have the potential to accelerate our success.
This post is one of the best of your best. Anyone consistently executing on what you have recomended here will see dramatic improvments in their personal performance.
My personal mantra/reminder to myself on this subject is:
“Wannabe’s talk. Stars walk their talk. And Super Stars let their walk be their talk.”
Wish I had a nickel for all those self-proclaiming that they are rich, or authentic, or truthful (ala “to be honest with you” ) and whose actions tell a very different story.
If we really are whatever attribute, it will be self-evident to all who come in contact with us.
Soooo enjoy and benefit from your wise posts. Thank you my friend.
Great post Bob. Love these examples!
@Russ Henneberry — yep — I think that’s a great question: WWBBD? Maybe Bob could start a monthly column. LOL 🙂
It IS fun running a business almost all the time when you’re doing it with integrity. It’s just when wacky people show up & it’s like, “whaaaa…??” We still have to do something to make the situation right and be fair to everyone involved.
I’ll just keep my head down and keep doing my best to make my clients happy.
Thanks for your response!
just 3 words~~~ love.love.love.
Steve: Thank you. Great point. And, I know you did that to build your sales career and you are doing the same thing to build your speaking career. Really enjoyed your new preview video. Congratulations!
Chi Chi: Great way to add value to a relationship. The principle you sighted works across the board. Thank you for sharing!
Felicia: Thank you for your kind words, in answer to your question:
“…what happens when you do give not only what you promise, but MORE and you still get the very rare person who says she wants her money back anyway?I had the situation recently where a client expressed how overjoyed she was at what I delivered for her and then a week later asked for a refund.”
Felicia, this is always difficult; not in terms of providing a refund; like me (and most of our buds), I know you offer a 100 percent, no-questions asked, money-back guarantee of satisfaction on your products. Yet, when someone is obviously happy with your product/service and they *still* ask for a refund…it seems to me that it is well within your moral right to ask. And, so long as you ask with an “I message” which communicates that it is “for my own clarification only” and “this will help me to better serve my future customers”, etc. (so that she does not feel defensive, as though she’s being blamed or accused of something), you should be able to elicit her letting you know what the challenge is. My suggestion is that – unless she has a really valid reason (and a surprisingly one, at that, since she obviously was happy with the product), that you refund the money, but then simply don’t do business with her again.
Linda: Yes, exactly. “If you can’t define it, you don’t understand it.” And, I, by the way, have the same challenge you referred to in that it is very contrary to my personality to be succinct. You should see how many times I have to edit these blog posts in order to keep them within the usual word count. 🙂
David: thank you for your very kind words, my friend. I’m honored! And, I also love your saying, “Wannabe’s talk. Stars walk their talk. And Super Stars let their walk be their talk.” I hope you’ve been tweeting that. I need to retweet it. 🙂
Dondi: Thank you, my friend!
Russ and Felicia: regarding the WWBBD, you’re giving me way to much credit. Most of the time, BB takes his best guess. 🙂
Deb: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thanks for the personal response, Bob!
I did (almost) exactly what you suggested. And I’ll be filing this one under “some people are nutty.”
Bless and release.
And about WWBBD — The best guess from your brilliance will likely get the rest of us VERY far. That’s why you’re YOU.
Big hugs! 🙂
Felicia: Yep, sometimes that’s just what it is. As Jim Rohn used to say, better to be “fascinated” than “frustrated” by the things some people do. Sure, easier said than done, but worth working on. And, thank you for that great compliment!!
Great post and very true. You always have to do what you say you will do.
Under promise and over deliver! But if you do promise you better deliver as well!
Absolutely, Dan. To the degree you promise…deliver much more. Or, as Zig Ziglar says…”and then some!” 🙂
103 FB Shares and counting — so cool to see so many people “on board”
WOW – thank you for letting me know. What a nice compliment. I’m very grateful that so many people felt there was value in the post. Thanks Steve!
Big brevity. Big content. You manage consistently to put the two together. Your “little book” – “Go Givers Sell More” manages to be one of the bigger books I have read. Same with your posts. This one actually makes the point.
They say “In today’s world” (last time I checked that’s the only world we’re in) – brevity is vital. Thanks for the reminder.
@Wayne: Dan Pink (Al Gore’s former chief speech writer) usually starts his talks by sharing the 3 most important characteristics of a speech, “Brevity, levity and repetition. Let me repeat that, brevity, levity and repetition.” Had to share that 😉
Wayne, thank you. Very kind of you, my friend!
Bob, reading your post prompted self-reflection and laughter! The laughter came from the cabbage example, and then I laughed more when you pointed out it was an urban legend!
Hi Alan, the saddest part is that had it actually been true…it wouldn’t have been surprising! 🙂