Brandon Steiner, author of “You Gotta Have Balls”
Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s Personal Commentary:
That’s a racy title; I grant you that. But the subtitle of Brandon’s book says it all: “How A Kid From Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought The Yankee Stadium, And Created A Sports Empire.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter where you start in life and work. Living in a poor, run-down apartment with a single mother who was often sick, somehow Brandon knew it didn’t matter where you start in life. The only thing that matters is where you finish. So he went on to build Steiner Sports Marketing, the largest sports memorabilia business in the country.
Of course, you’re wondering, “How did he do it? And what can you do to create enormous amounts of success in your life?”
My new book, “The Payoff Principle: Discover The 3 Secrets For Getting What You Want Out Of Life And Work” answers those questions in great detail.
For the moment, however, apply these strategies in your pursuit of GREATER success.
1. Look for ways to render more service.
As a youngster, Brandon delivered newspapers. But he was having trouble signing up more customers to increase his bottom line. So his mother challenged him to find other services he could offer his prospective customers.
As he pondered her challenge, an idea popped into Brandon’s mind. He lived near a bagel shop and began telling his prospective customers he could deliver bagels and milk in the morning, in addition to the newspaper. Before long, he was delivering 100 daily papers, 150 Sunday papers, 100 gallons of milk every week, and more than 100 bagels every Sunday.
He learned how to render more service at a very young age and parlayed that into a multimillion dollar business.
2. Find new products and services to offer.
As Brandon puts it, “If you want more money, don’t pay attention to the money. Pay attention to the thing that makes the money.” In other words, new and creative products and services.
That thought was the very impetus behind his purchase of the old Yankee Stadium contents. As a kid, he would try to scrape enough money together to attend a Yankees’ game once in a while and temporarily escape his abysmal home life. Now as an adult, he knew the stadium had a lot of sentimental value for a lot of people.
Brandon said, “I wanted to buy the priceless remains, from the foul poles to the lockers to the bullpen bench. I wanted every seat and every sign — and of course every patch of dirt and grass… In preserving these totems from the wrecking ball, we’d also be preserving a very substantial part of people’s lives. We had to treat it like your grandmother’s home — respectfully. Every little piece had a meaning and a story.”
Buying the contents of Yankee Stadium allowed him to offer a new product to his customers. Sure, it cost him $11.5 million, but it also became the foundation of his new bigger and better company.
So ask yourself: “What are you offering to your customers, your coworkers, or even your family members in the arena of new services?”
3. Do more than the minimum.
If you pay the minimum on your credit card balance each month, it may take you 10, 20 or 30 years to pay off your balance. Indeed, you may never get out of the financial hole you’re in.
The same truth applies to your work. If you do just enough to get by, if you give the bare minimum to your job, you might be digging yourself in a hole. If you think it’s okay to have your coat on at 4:59 p.m., for example, you might end up being the first one out the door in a whole new way.
4. Use the law of reciprocity.
Most people don’t like the feeling of being indebted to someone else and they will go to great lengths to remove the discomfort of debt. Once you understand this law, you can use it to enormous advantage.
Howard Bloom talks about this in his book, “Global Brain.” In one experiment where students were selling raffle tickets, the student who brought a passing-by stranger a soda sold twice as many tickets as another student who simply pitched his product. As Bloom reports, “So strong was the need to pay back an unexpected kindness that the ticket buyers opened their wallets and coughed up the cash even when, as they admitted to researchers later, they could hardly stand the person who had bribed them with a beverage.”
The lesson is clear. If you want to get more FROM people, it helps if you give more TO people.
And, finally in your pursuit of greater success…
5. Focus more on relationships than transactions.
In other words, your success at work and in life is strongly correlated to the quality of the relationships you build.
When you focus on transactions, you’re constantly thinking about what you’re getting back from someone. You’re focused on how many dollars that person is going to equal for you. You’re keeping score.
When you focus on relationships, however, you’ll discover, as Brandon says, “There’s definitely more joy in giving than receiving.” In fact, he tells us, “Being generous with what you have without keeping score is the only way to live. It strengthens your spirit, it keeps you focused on the people who make your business what it is, and it helps breed success.”