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Social Capital

Welcome to Social Capital, a weekly podcast where we dive into social relationships and how the investment you put into them establishes trust, reciprocity, and value within your network. Your host, Lori Highby, will connect with top business professionals to dive into their best techniques and stories to share with you!
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Now displaying: December, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

Meet Bob:

 

Bob is a sought after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences, sharing the platform with everyone from today's business leaders and broadcast personalities, to even a former US president. Bob is the author of a number of books on sales, marketing, and influence, with total book sales of well over a million copies. His book The Go-Giver, coauthored with John David Mann itself has sold over 975,000 copies and has been translated into 29 languages. His and John's newest parable and the Go-Giver Series is the Go-Giver influencer. Bob is an advocate, supporter, and defender of the free enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve. He is also an unapologetic animal fanatic and is a past member of the board of directors of Furry Friends Adoption Clinic and Ranch in his town of Jupiter, Florida.

 

Can you share with our listeners that may not be familiar with the Go-Giver? What is the premise of the book, what it's all about?

 

It's a parable co-authored with John David Mann, who is just a fantastic writer. I'm kind of the How to person and he's the storyteller of the team, although he's a great entrepreneur himself. But the premise is really, that shifting your focus, and this is really where it begins shifting your focus, from getting to giving and when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. Understanding that doing so is not only a more pleasant way of conducting business, it's actually the most financially profitable way as well. And not for some way out there woo-woo type of magical mystical reasons, not at all it's actually very logical when you think about it. When you're that person who is able to take your focus off yourself and place it on others, making their lives better, helping them solve their problems, discovering what they want, need, desire, and helping them to get it well, you know, obviously people feel good about you. They want to get to know you, they like you, they trust you, they want to be a part of your life, your business. They're more likely to want to be your personal walking ambassadors.

 

So you've got the five laws. Can you share a little bit more about that give us a high-level overview of what exactly that is?

 

Sure, the laws themselves are the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity. The law of value is really all about making the buying experience so extraordinary for that other person that they feel as though they receive much more than what they paid for, which they did in terms of the actual value which is different from price right? Price is a dollar figure, value is the sort of relative worth or desirability of a thing of something to the end-user or beholder. What is it about this thing, this product, service, concept that brings so much worth or value to you that you will willingly exchange your money for it and feel great about it. It's like going to a restaurant and maybe it's a high price restaurant, and the bill is a high bill but the deliciousness of the food, the presentation, the exquisite service, the ambiance, the way the wait staff takes care of you, and makes you feel, every single thing about that restaurant is just wow. So you may have paid $150 or $200, but you come away feeling like a couple $1,000! So you got more than what you paid for and yet the restaurant owner, obviously, their costs are less than what they charge for the food. So they made a very nice profit themselves. So the law of value is all about providing that exquisite experience so the other person feels great about it, and you make a great profit as well. The law of value says that your income is determined by how many people you serve, and how well you serve them. So it's not enough for the restaurant owner to have, you know, one customer, right? They obviously need to serve or impact the lives of many, many, many diners, in order to make a very healthy income and it's the same with all of us. Law number three, the law of influence says your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first. This one's sort of important to go into a little bit only because it can easily be misconstrued. When we say, place the other person's interests first, we do not mean that you should be anyone's doormat, right? It's simply understanding as Joe the protege and the story learned from several of the mentors. The Golden Rule of business is that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust. There's no faster, more powerful, or more effective way to elicit those feelings toward you, in others, than by genuinely moving from that "I" focus or "me" focus to that "other" focus, making your win all about their win. Law number four, the law of authenticity says the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. In the story, one of the mentors, Deborah shared a very important lesson that all the skills in the world, the sales skills, technical skills, people skills, as important as they are, and they are very important. They're also all for not if you don't come at it from your true authentic core. But when you do when you show up as yourself day after day, week, after week, month after month, you inspire trust in people, people feel very comfortable with you, they feel very safe with you, they begin to know, like, love, and trust you and want to be in relationship with you. Law number five, the law of receptivity says that the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving and this really means nothing more than, you know you breathe out, but you also have to breathe in. It's not one or the other, it's both. You breathe out carbon dioxide, breathe in oxygen, breathe out which is giving, breathe in which is receiving. Unfortunately, we learn so many negative messages from the world around us regarding money, prosperity, business, and so forth, that it really gets into the subconscious, the unconscious, and it's very easy to kind of put unconscious roadblocks in terms of money just because of the horrible messages. So what we'd like people to know is that giving and receiving are not opposite concepts. Giving and receiving are simply two sides of the very same coin and they work in tandem. It's not are you a giver or a receiver. You're a giver and a receiver. But what you know is that in life, the giving comes first right the giving value. As long as that's your focus, and then you allow yourself to receive, now you're in a position of real strength, prosperity, and abundance.

 

What's the best way to find a mentor and what recommendations would you have to someone that is trying to find one overall?

 

Well, I think finding a mentor is a great idea because the right mentor can cut your learning curve time by years. It's not always necessarily easy to find one, but it's certainly absolutely doable. What I would suggest, first of all, is if you can find someone who has been successful in that business already, that's a plus so long as this person also has similar values as you and the style that you would want to emulate. But it's not necessary in terms of mentorship that this person necessarily is in, or has been in the business that you're in. It could be a mentor in terms of life, principles, and strategies, and so forth. So again, it really depends on the situation, but in terms of seeking out a mentor, my feeling is that you want to go about it in a way that you understand that a mentor-protege relationship is just that it's a relationship and it takes time to develop. I see so many people who will approach someone who they respect and who they'd like to mentor them and say something like, "Hey, I really need a mentor, would you be my mentor?" And I think when doing that, it doesn't create the environment where that person really wants to, because first of all if you're asking them, there's a good chance lots of other people are asking them. They're busy people, and they've got lots of people who want their time, who basically want their free advice is what it comes down to. When you just ask someone to be your mentor, you don't distinguish yourself as anyone's special, so I wouldn't approach it that way. I'd be more inclined to approach it more humbly and in a way that creates an environment where that person wants to take their time with you. So you can really approach anyone like that who you admire, and simply say, "Listen, I know you're very busy, and if this is not something you have the time to do, or even the desire to do totally, totally understandable, but I'm wondering if I might ask you one or two very specific questions?" Now, when you approach the person, that way, you're doing a few different things. One, you're acknowledging the fact that this is very special and that you're making a big ask. So you're approaching with respect, you're giving this person in or out or back door, you're letting know right away that if this is just something they don't have time to do, or just would rather not, you totally understand. When you do this, it doesn't come across as untitled, it comes across more as someone who understands what you're asking, and that person is much more likely to want to do this for you. But here's the other thing. You didn't ask, you know, "Will you be my mentor?" What you instead said was, "May I ask you one or two very specific questions." What this tells the person is that you are someone who has your act together, you have a plan, you have an agenda. When I say agenda, in this case, I mean that in a good way, you know, you're not just going to come in to try to pick his brain or pick her brain, no, you actually have very specific questions. So they're much more likely to take you seriously and be willing to either sit down with you, or Skype, or zoom or, be on the phone with you, or whatever it is. First of all, what I'd suggest is to make sure you have totally researched this person. So you, first of all, you don't ask them anything the answer to which you could have easily looked up which of course, that will be very counterproductive to the relationship. But so you asked you know a couple of questions, you don't take much of their time, you thank them for their time, and let them know how much you appreciate it and you look forward to applying their wisdom, and that very day I would write a handwritten, personalized thank you note. Then also that day, I would make a small donation to their favorite charitable cause, which again, you should be able to find just by researching them. Let's say they're very big on animals with their local animal shelter or something and so you make a small donation in their name, it will get back to them. Now you're not doing it to kiss up to the person, you're simply doing it too, again, communicate that you take this seriously, and how thankful you are for their time. So between the handwritten thank, you note and the donation, you've just made a good impression with this person. You can follow up a few weeks later or whatever with an email or maybe a text if that's how they want to be contacted, or a call and ask another question. Eventually, if a mentor-protege ongoing relationship is supposed to occur, it will. If not, it won't. Don't be emotionally attached to that happening, you might have a whole bunch of one-time meeting many mentors until you find one that's going to be your eventual mentor, but you never know. 

 

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

 

Well, I think the best networking experience is simply when you successfully establish a potential relationship. Networking is really the cultivating of mutually beneficial give and take or give and receive win-win relationships with the emphasis obviously on the give. So when you go to a networking event, let's say and you meet someone, your entire plan should be to give value in terms of just making that person feel good about themselves. So when you can focus on their business and on what they do, and you ask them questions, and they're not salesy questions, prospecting questions, they're not intrusive, they're not invasive. But when you ask them what they do, and they tell you and you ask them how they got started in their business,  that's such a great question, because nobody gets asked that question. And yet, you're asking them that question, and they appreciate that so much. Another great question to ask them what they enjoy most about what they do. Again, it's just a question that feels good to answer, and then don't worry about them not knowing what you do. They don't care right now. Your only goal at this networking function is to take the pressure off of yourself by taking the focus off of yourself, and instead focus on them. A wonderful question to ask, what I call the one key question that will separate you from the rest is to simply say, "How can I know if someone I'm speaking with would be a good client for you?" Again, you're totally communicating and creating value for them. You might set that up by saying to someone, "I always love connecting good people with other good people, tell me how can I know if someone I'm speaking with is a good potential customer for you?" Now, think about the impression you're making on that person when you do that. That's a good networking experience. When you come out when this person was happy to meet you and you can tell you really uplifted them and made their day. Now you want to make sure to get their contact information, just ask them for their business card at the end, they'll give it to you, and they'll ask you for yours and you give it to them. But really the big thing is you get theirs because then you're going to start the follow-up and follow-through process and send them that personalized handwritten note and you start from there. So a great networking experience isn't that you make a sale, that's hardly ever going to happen. The greatest networking experience is to just make a good connection.

 

So you started, you just touched on this a little bit, but how do one best nurture that network and that community that they have?

 

 The first thing is I would send a personalized handwritten note to that person that day. Also if they're on LinkedIn or Facebook, you can always connect there as well and so forth. But what you really want to do over that next period of time is to, as you said, nurture that relationship. So when you can send information to them that they would find interesting not about your business, but you might know this person graduated from Notre Dame right and so you may look on the Notre Dame website, see what's happening, see if there's some information about Notre Dame that you can print out and send to them with a little note that just says, "Hey, I remember you saying you're you know, Fighting Irish fan and I saw this that you might be interested." Or you find something about their business that you might think would be a good prospect for them and you make a call and you do some research and find out who the contact person is and then you let them know. There's just there are so many ways, you can retweet a tweet of theirs, or repost a LinkedIn comment, so there are all sorts of ways that you can find to add value to another human being and develop that know like and trust relationship.

 

What advice would you offer that business professional who is really looking to grow their network?

 

I think to start now and begin making connections. Again, don't try to do it with everybody, but pick and choose and be open to everyone. Just get started I mean, it's really as simple as that.

 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

 

That's probably easy. I would tell 20 year old me, I'd say, "Young Bob Berg, shut up, talk less, listen much more, realize that pretty much everything you think you know that you're absolutely positively sure you know, just is not true." Because I really thought I knew it all back then.

 

Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

 

I think it's all you know, it all comes down to where your focus is. I always say, Be internally motivated, but outwardly focused. So when your focus can always be on bringing value to others, you're really always facing in the right direction. Because people respond to that, and so long as it comes from an authentic place, I think you really begin to develop those know like, and trust relationships, pretty big time.

 

Connect with Bob:

 

Bob’s Website: https://burg.com/ 


Check out the Go-Giver: https://thegogiver.com/

Dec 23, 2020

Meet Rock:

With three decades as a life coach and self-made millionaire, Rock Thomas inspires people to live a life on their terms. From humble beginnings that started out on a farm just off the island of Montreal, Rock Thomas rode to the top to become a self-made millionaire, best-selling author, and host of the top-rated podcast, Rock your Money, Rock your Life. For years, Rock traveled the world to study with Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Robert Kiyosaki, and more. With over 42 streams of income, Rock's mission is to teach others how to become financially free and live an epic life on their terms.

How does one scale a business to get to 42 different levels of income?

Well, one at a time. You just do them kind of every six months, I guess for 21 years. But the reality is once you figure out what the system and processes are to do things, you're basically looking for talent. So I'm actually working on my 43rd stream right now, which is the solar business and I have a current small organization that does $10 million a year of sales. We're going to scale that in 2021 to $100 million, using the system and processes that I have done in my past businesses. So it's really about finding talent, creating a manual for training because most people stumble in the training area, they don't know how to do it, and then making sure you have the Empire builders and the Empire protectors. The protectors are the finance people, the systems, the processes and guarding the money and the builders are the marketing and salespeople. So you're probably wearing hats on both ends which is frustrating because there's not one person I've met that flows in both of those dynamics. We were all meant for something and that's why we do assessments, the disk model, you may have heard of things like that, figure out which team you're on. Are you in the offense team or the defense team? Let's put you in the right place and let you flourish and then the offense doesn't have to worry about defense and vice versa.

Let's circle back to the training and creating a manual for training. Where do you see entrepreneurs failing in that area?

So when you get to be 58 like I am, you have gone through every trial and error and eventually, I decided to invest money in getting the experience from other people. I tried everything myself, but I got exhausted. So you know, you buy a book for 20 bucks, you get somebody with 20 or 30 years of experience, you take a course you get the same thing. What I learned is that a process called me, we, they. The biggest mistake that small entrepreneurs do is they work until they're working 60-70 hours a week, and then they can't take it anymore. They find somebody like their unemployed cousin or their neighbor's daughter or whatever, and they go help me out with some admin stuff. But they're so busy, that they don't train them properly. They do a poor job because they weren't trained properly, and then the solopreneur goes, "Nobody can do it like me." They Pat themselves on the back, they tell their spouse, their family how awesome they are and everybody else in the world just doesn't get them. Understand that business model, and that they have to do everything on their own. They play a little bit the martyr sometimes and then eventually they get burnt out over time. The solution is a step by step process of training called me, we, they.

What is me, we, they? 

So you do your own sales? And can you do it? Like are you making a living? Yes. Right. So what you would do in that sales process, whatever it is, on the phones, are you sending emails or you're talking to people at networking events or you're on Zoom call. Whatever it is, you need to have the person you're going to hire that either has great sales experience, ideally, already, six-figure income earner, because you don't want to necessarily start from the bottom, because that will be a long cycle, they need to witness you doing it. So in one of my businesses, we do zoom calls, and we call them directors of opportunity. They speak to people for about half an hour, and we have a script that they follow. But before they even get a chance to talk to one of our leads, is they have to watch multiple recordings of me doing the call and enrolling people. Then we do role-playing with them and then they jump on a call with one of our directors of opportunity, and they just sit there quietly and watch. That's the me part. They watch me do it, they will watch you do it. Then you will do something called a CSI, Creative Suggestions for Improvement, which is after the call you're going to ask them, "So what did you think I did that was great.? What did you think I could do that needed improvement? And how could I have made it better?" Once you go through that process over and over and over again, the person starts to become highly aware of how it works, then you shift to the not the me but to the we and that's where you say, "Hey, why don't you do that segment on product service, or on refunds, or on whatever it is you break it down into pieces?" Then you do the CSI with them. So you're like, "Hey, what did you think you did really well?" And then you give them feedback, you discuss it until they get to a place where they can do it to the part where they can do it at the standard that you have set for your organization. 

Sounds like you offer a lot around mentorship, coaching, and training. Can you talk a little bit about what you do to help businesses overcome these hurdles?

20 years ago, I did my first Tony Robbins event and I fell in love with the power and impact that it had on me that I kept going back and I hired him as a coach, I paid him $100,000. I did 19 events in 19 months, and I watched people's lives change. But when I started to do this for the last 20 years and 75 events later, I realized that it's about 5-8% of the population that can implement what they learn. Everybody else goes home and their environment supersedes their ability to apply what they learned. So you've got to really protect your environment, like an ecosystem, and find people that are hard-charging like you want to be or you are, and then it's easier to maintain a new normal. So I created a group eight years ago, a tribe of healthy wealthy, generous people that choose to lead epic lives and don't apologize for grabbing like big. We gather people like yourself, or other people that all want this dream life where they don't have to work all the time, they want to add value, they want to make an impact, they want to leave their mark or legacy. Then we help refine each other because steel sharpens steel and we have a culture of support, encourage and challenge. So if you are in the group, and you're like, "Hey, I'm trying to scale my business, here's my challenge," you're going to get feedback from, you know, what is 350 people now. Not from all of them, but from some of them will comment and go, "Hey, have you tried this?" or, "Hey, this is what I did when I was at your stage, here's a resource or talk to this person." So when you put yourself in that environment, it's a bit like if you're part of a country club, like a golf or tennis or chess club or something, everybody has a mindfulness toward getting better at that particular craft. Ours just happens to be entrepreneurship, and a strong mindset because the chains of habit are too weak to feel until they're too strong to break. Sadly, most people don't realize this until they're down the road. And then they now have to try to break these habits and they tell themselves this story that holds them back. Or if you're somebody like yourself, you're incredibly driven, you're going to push through and get things done, but it starts to drain you because it's not your sweet spot. So we got to get people into their sweet spot where they thrive, where they feel great about what they're doing. And they have enough leadership skills to add people to do the stuff they don't like.

You mentioned the whole life millionaire. Can you share with our listeners what exactly it is or define that for us?

Yeah, so again I'm in my late 50s. So I have a bit of experience and what I noticed is that a lot of people, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is food, shelter, clothing, and they struggle to win the money game. We are a consumer society, we're not taught to earn to save, we're taught to earn to spend. So most people are living paycheck to paycheck, the average American makes $44,000 a year. Even if you're a solopreneur and you're making 150 or 200, the net is what counts and for most people, it's not very much. So people struggle, they don't put money away so they never can really retire. For the few people that have said, "You know what, I am going to become a millionaire," most of them have given up on their relationships or their health to get there because they have to go all in. I don't have time to work out, I don't have time to take the kids to soccer, etc, etc. So I said to myself, there's got to be a way that you can be healthy, have great relationships in your family, your friends, and your significant other, and be financially free. So I created a model for that and we tested it and 66 people later, it's not a million people. But I think it's pretty good creating 66 millionaires, I don't know anybody else that can say they've done that. It's kind of like, we're popping now like popcorn, one or two a month, because we have the system and the methodology. So it's really about this whole life having it all.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite or most successful networking experiences that you've had?

Yeah, sure, by the way, I really believe that your net worth will only grow to the extent of your network. So I think if you look at your network as a place where you come to add value, you don't have to be fearful around Oh, I'm coming to get something. I think that's partially what creates fear for some people. But I was at an event seven or eight years ago, and there was a speaker who was very dynamic. I went up to him after the end of the event as I do, and a lot of situations when I see somebody that I can learn from, and I said, "You live in Austin, Texas, I'm going to be there in a couple of weeks for a training, I'd love to spend some time with you and hang out." He kind of looks me up and down, like who the hell are you, and he goes, "Do you golf?" And I said, "Yeah," and he goes, "Okay, come a day early, and we'll golf." So we golfed and became fast friends and now we started two or three businesses together. He's in real estate, I'm in real estate, we started one of our mastermind groups together, we've done investments in multifamily. I'm very fortunate he has gone on to become really wealthy. So as an example, on the 21st and 22nd of this month, he's flying in with his jet. I know it sounds pretentious. He's picking me up and we're going to Pebble Beach to go golfing for two days, and then come back here in Scottsdale and spend some time together, masterminding on our next business project. We've shared some stock tips together and  one of the reasons he's coming to pick me up is he says, "That last stock take you tip you gave me made me $48,000 so I think I owe you a trip." So this is the type of thing that can happen when you hang around people that are intentional around wealth and playing big and having fun. But you know what, since those 7-8 years ago, we've grown together we've contributed to each other's lives. So networking to me is you know, often call them up and I'll ask them, How can they add value? Who you want to meet? I just did one of my podcasts and met somebody's really cool. Would you like to learn more about them? Here's somebody you should be on their podcast. So I think the networking thing starts first with adding value. I think people forget that because they usually come to get because we're trying to build something come to serve and to give and you usually find that things will come back to you.

With quite a vast network and community, how do you stay in front of invest, nurture the relationships that you've created?

I think that that's a tough one because sometimes I go through my portals, you know, Facebook, text, Instagram, and DMs and I feel like I could just circle through the over endlessly to create and keep relationships. So I have a couple of personal assistants now that manage a lot of the relationships up to a certain period of time. And eventually, people understand that if you're going to have a conversation with me, it's going to have to pass certain levels of problem-solving. Because it is impossible to talk to everybody on every level for everything. So you just kind of grow to that place and then people understand it.

Yeah, that makes sense and this is obviously what you preach and teach a lot is finding the right people to handle certain jobs and tasks.

Yeah, talent is probably the biggest problem that successful people have and it's the biggest thing that struggling upcoming people fail to recognize. So when I talk with my different buddies that are running big companies, their whole thing all about always looking for talent. I used to be proud that I paid people the least amount possible. Today, and I learned this story from one of my mentors is you can judge your success by how much you pay your people. So here's the example. Maybe you pay, the person that works for you minimum wage, they cut your grass or whatever, great, you got a couple of people working for you, somebody cleans your house, or you have a COO that you pay $280,000 a year to run one of your companies. That's pretty cool because they are generating a lot of value for you. So if you can afford to have two or three or four people at that level, then you're probably doing a lot of the work still.

What advice would you offer the business professionals looking to grow their network?

Your one good hire from the next level in your company, you need to decide who that is, is it going to be an admin person? Is it going to be an operations person or a salesperson or a marketing person? You may have to sub some people out and you can do that more and more today. So you can hire somebody remotely from the Philippines or what have you. But if you're going to grow, you got to take off another hat or two. But I would say the hat that you need to keep on is you need to be aware. This is how I divide my businesses up into four areas: traffic or leads, nurturing of those leads or the funnel online, sales which is creating relationships with the leads, and then identifying and giving them the right product or service, and then the fulfillment. What most entrepreneurs are really good at is the fulfillment part. So they teach people how to dance or they will have a restaurant and they are good at cooking the food. But they're not good at the other three parts. So decide what you're really good at and even if you're not good at sales, you've got to keep a relationship with sales, because sales is the lifeblood of your entire organization. Without sales, nothing happens so you can't just delegate sales completely. If you do you're going to give them a lot of money because most people suck at sales and if you're going to hire somebody, you're going to give up 20 to 50% of what comes in.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

Hang out with smarter people. I mean, I grew up as a farm boy in a town and I had very low self-esteem. My brothers and sisters called me pizza face and told me I was ugly and so I was really introverted. So all I did was like a taxi and I built decks, anything that really didn't have to do with having to be that much out there. But what I would have learned differently is that, as humans, we have seasons. There are seasons where you're going to be awesome and seasons where you're not going to be awesome. You're going to go through a stage, if you're married, where maybe you have young children, and you're going to feel not as important in a relationship. I was not as patient as I could have been in relationships. I played sports and lead the team, and if somebody dropped the ball two or three times, I want to kick them off the team, like I was a little bit ruthless for standards, because that's what I experienced growing up. So I would be a little bit more I guess, compassionate, and empathetic with the people in my life at a younger stage of my life, and I've learned that in my later years.

What triggered your, your shift in your professional career?

You know, I just started to notice that I had a lot of broken relationships. For a while, I was like, "Oh, that person's unreliable or that person's lazy." Then I kept on going, "Hmm, there's one common denominator in this whole thing and that's me." So I started to realize, okay, well, what part am I taking in this process of broken relationships. I started to realize that I had, you know, stupid high levels of expectations and it was creating a lot of broken relationships. So I started to realize that just because somebody has a bad day or a bad week, you can't just fire them, you realize we're all variable, and life happens, where's a little bit of flexibility. So that took a long time too because, you know, I was raised on a farm. The horses want to be fed, whether it rains or it's sunny, or it's Christmas, or your birthday, or you're sick. So we learn to create a result every day on the farm, whether you feel like it or not. Those drilled into me so I ran my businesses that way, which created incredible growth. But it also created some alienation with people that had a life. Over time, I started to increase my awareness, meditate more, do more yoga, and go, okay, there's another way to look at this life. 

Do you have any final words, or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and support your network?

I think to look for the people that excite you when you talk to them or see them, and go up and try to either add value or be part of their ecosystem, you've got to invest in yourself. We teach 10% of whatever you earn needs to be reinvested in education, mentorship, products, services, learning about how to do your job better in a fast-paced, changing world, like we have today. If you can't afford to invest in that, then you need to invest in adding value. Do a hang out with somebody, add value, pick up their dry cleaning, bring them a coffee, offer to hang out with them and do things, and learn from just being in their environment. So one or the other, but get around people that have the result that you want, learn from them, and turn decades into days.

 

Connect with Rock: 

Claim your free copy of Rock’s book: Your Epic Life Blueprint:

Check out Rock’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RockThomasRealtor 

Rock’s podcast: https://rockyourmoneyrockyourlife.com/

Dec 21, 2020

Meet Amanda:

 

Amanda is an award-winning international speaker and trainer who is passionate about supporting vision and mission-driven entrepreneurs learn how to communicate more effectively and deepen relationships in their network. She combines her unique experience from over 20 years in corporate education and direct selling spaces to deliver and facilitate powerful and transformative training and coaching to her clients. The loves of her life, or her husband, three boys, and three dogs.

 

What experiences in your past ultimately led you to do what you're doing today?

 

For me, it really started back when I was in high school. My middle school and high school years were a bit tumultuous, I didn't have a great time at home. We had a couple of moves and I just never really felt like I fit in anywhere, except for my ceramics teacher's classroom. When I would go into that classroom, he just created this safe space and it was like I could take off my energetic armor and just be me. He helped me feel seen and heard and helped me gain confidence at a time that I didn't have any. It was that experience, that I realized the importance of relationships, the importance of quality communication. Sadly, it took me a couple of years after high school to realize what an impact he had on my life. I remember the day that I realized that and thought, "You know what, I'm gonna go back to high school and visit him and thank him and just let him know that he made a difference in my life." I kid you not hours later, I found out that he had died in a car accident, I never had the chance to thank him. He was just a major reason why I went into teaching and in doing that, I realized I have this love of facilitating connections, whether it be a person to person connection, a connection to some new content outside of you, that makes a difference, or a connection to something within. So that really was the driver in the start to why I do what I do today.

 

How does marketing coordinate with sales and how are they different? And when you look at traditional prospecting and sales versus really building a relationship with someone. Speak to that a little bit if you can. 

 

Absolutely, I started off my sales experience when I got involved in a direct sales company and I started my direct sales company like I'm sure many other people do. I loved the product, and I wanted to make a difference and share it with other people and did not necessarily have a great experience with sales and you know, it was to share your message next, next, next, and eventually, you'll get it Yes. It just didn't feel good to me and I didn't like the way that I felt, I didn't like the way that other people responded and it just never felt authentic to me. So when I discovered this concept called relational marketing, it really resonated with me. When we deal with traditional sales, and it's all about learning a little bit about the person, spending a lot of time talking about what you can give them, and then spending even more time overcoming objections. It seems like more of a convincing type of experience. With relational marketing and prospecting, it's spending a lot of time, in the beginning, developing a relationship, building trust, and then through that, discovering and uncovering a need. By that point, that trust is there and the relationship is built, so it's a very easy transition into the sales conversation. It's more authentic, it's more service-based and for me, that was what really mattered in making the difference.

 

So let's talk about referrals. If a business owner isn't getting the referrals that they want, what would you recommend they do? 

 

Yeah, so I spent a lot of time networking, and one of the things that I teach is actually building more of a referral base for your business, because the act of getting a referral from somebody, you're borrowing somebody's trust, right? Like if you've got this interesting connection and somebody recommends a product or a service to you from somebody, you've got this trust in your existing relationship, so then inherently, you have a trust in that person. So getting referrals for your business are so much more lucrative and your customer will be more willing to buy more from you, stay with you longer and refer business to you so referrals are extremely important. One of the things that I hear a lot in networking situations is, "I go, I show up every week, and I'm not getting any referrals." Really, there are like five steps to the referral process and I think a lot of us were not taught that when we go into business. The first step in the referral process is trust. It's a big step, it takes time, and it takes getting to know each other, doing what you say you're going to do, showing up consistently, adding value, and really coming to be a valuable member of that community. After that is business knowledge, like, do people in your network understand what you do for your business, how you do it, any intricacies. One of the common things, I was talking to an insurance broker, and he was like, "I get all these referrals for life insurance and different forums and I deal with cybersecurity insurance." Well, members in his network simply didn't have the business knowledge. So making sure that your networking partners have knowledge of your business. And then from there, it's like making sure that that person has a need. I think we so often want to help people in our network and a common example I give is on Facebook where if you see somebody post a picture with their cup of coffee saying, "Oh my gosh, I'm so exhausted," and I say, "Oh, my gosh, they need this health and wellness product, I know it, I'm going to connect to them and refer them." Well, the person with a cup of coffee may not realize or have a desire or interest in that. So there really isn't this process in uncovering a need. Then the fourth step is actually edifying your referrer. It's a big difference to say, "I met Sam last week at a networking event and he does insurance and, maybe you guys will connect," versus, "Wow, Sam has been in the insurance industry for 10 years. And he's had all of these awards and he's very, very passionate about making sure his customers do this. He's just this great guy, I think he would be a great connection for you." Do they know how to edify you and do they know how to introduce you? Finally, the final step would be making that referral. So while a lot of us think making a referral is just this easy process, there's a lot more that goes into that process, and being able to teach people in your network how to refer to you will give you more quality referrals, as well as grow their confidence and being able to refer to you.

 

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

 

Absolutely. I was thinking about this and it actually came to fruition very recently and started last year, and I think that goes into the value of networking, and that it is a long game and it is about building those relationships and building that trust. So for me, I created quite a community, a network participating in the direct selling space that I was in. I really make sure that I showed up and added value and built those relationships. I shifted into becoming a trainer for a sales methodology a couple of years ago, and had let some people in my network know and that I was excited about it. One of the leaders for the network marketing company up in Canada caught wind of it and said, "Oh, my gosh, we need a trainer for our international conference, would you come up and, you know, train on stage?" She had learned through the grapevine and the network that I was doing that and had reached out for that connection. So I went up and had the opportunity to train in front of 1200 people, which I gotta tell you was terrifying but very exciting. However, one of the participants in that audience had watched the training and was interested and never really did anything about it. Then about three months later reached out to somebody in the network and found my name, and we ended up connecting. That was back in January of this year. I never met her in person, but we started collaborating over zoom once a week, and then she brought in three other women that were in her various network that she had made connections with. Then through the course of this year, we collaborated and just launched the Women's Impact Academy several weeks ago, which I'm so excited about and all of that started with networking and building those relationships and connections. It's just fun to see where they go because you just never know. 

 

What do you do to continue to nurture your network and your community?

 

I think one of the biggest things is consistency and showing up. If it's a networking group that meets every week, showing up week after week and being there. To nurture those connections, I've heard this rule called the Platinum Rule as opposed to the Golden Rule, right? The Golden Rule is to treat others the way that you want to be treated. The Platinum Rule is to treat others the way that they want to be treated. So I always make sure that I go to those networking events with this kind of givers gain mentality, like, What can I do for them? Who can I connect them to? Who's in my network? What value can I add? Just always showing up with that mindset, and making those connections as they come about. Doing things like if I see something, an article or a piece of information that would benefit them in their business, reaching out. There are all sorts of little relationship-building activities that you can do. Send them a little postcard or something, to commemorate something, or thank them for a referral, those types of things. So really, it is about looking at that relationship, as I don't want to say a friendship, but it is, it's a business relationship that does need to be nurtured. So it's going above and beyond and doing those special things as they come up.

 

What advice would you offer the business professional who is looking to grow their network?

 

I'm definitely a believer in the one to one connections. With the relationship marketing training that I have, we talk about this concept of a complementary business owner. So what are industries that are complementary to what you do? So they may have the same target market, however, if your ideal customer buys something from them, that's not taking money out of their pocket to buy something from you. So an easy example of this would be a realtor and a mortgage broker, something like that they're complementary businesses. So making those connections, and setting up those one to one, conversations is where I have found the most quality connections. Second,  periodically taking a look at your networking opportunities. What networks you are a part of, and making sure you've got some variety there. So kind of doing this little analysis on a networking group. How big is it? How often do they meet? Do they have people there that have access to my target market? Within there showing up consistently, and again, it is time-consuming, but again, it's that long game. Once that connection is there, it's a lot easier to keep them Top of Mind and grow from there.

 

I'm going to make you think about your 20-year-old self here for a moment. What would you tell yourself to do more or less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

 

If you were paying attention to my bio introduction, I've had quite the journey. I started off in the corporate world and I quickly decided I didn't like the politics and went into education, became a classroom teacher, and then stayed home. Then it was, "What am I going to do now?" And that's kind of my step into entrepreneurship. Even that I started in direct sales, and then I went in, you know, to do a different couple different training methodologies. I would say I've had a very winding journey and I'm grateful for every step along the way, because being able to look back and connect the dots for these meaningful experiences, is the value that I can offer to my clients, that's the value that I can offer to my networking partners,  all of these different experiences. So I think I would tell myself to worry less about the changes and embrace the changes and just have confidence in the journey. And we never grow up, I just realized a few months ago. I think COVID has shaken up a lot of us and made us reevaluate things and, either confirm and affirm what we're doing, or maybe shift gears and kind of pivot a little bit. Sorry, that's an overused word this year. But it's a journey and I think we're so fortunate and that's the fun part about entrepreneurship and, being business owners and being able to adapt, create and show up how we want to have that freedom and that flexibility. Change is not always comfortable, but I have found in my life, while there's been a lot of painful moments, good has always come from it. Embrace the journey!

 

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation if you could connect with one person. Who is it and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

 

So my person who jumped to mind right away would be Jen Sincero. She's the author of You Are a Badass. I read her book maybe four years ago now and it completely changed my life and it's just her tone of voice, her presence, her authenticity. I will say I have her book on Audible as well, and I cannot listen to it in the car with my boys, I keep having to say ear muffs. So if profanity bothers you, maybe choose somebody else's book. But for me, it just resonated with who I am and her authenticity and her sense of humor. It really had a huge impact on my confidence, on my vision, waking me up and saying, "You know what, I want to do something bigger in this world, I want to make a difference, and I can, why not?" So Jen Sincero would be that woman, and I absolutely believe that in the six degrees of separation will have a meal with her. Maybe it's virtual at this point, but I will meet her and have a conversation with her one day.

 

Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

 

It's kind of cliche, but one of my favorite things that I hear is your network is your net worth. It really is and while developing those relationships can sometimes feel time-consuming, and there's not a lot of reward, they can really pan out. It may not be months, but even years, you know, just continually growing your network, adding, putting the good out there, and being able to make connections between people. That's my favorite thing to do.

 

Connect with Amanda: 

 

Email: abundanceonpurpose@gmail.com

 

Website: https://abundanceonpurpose.com/ 

Dec 16, 2020

This week, I've got no guest, it's a solo cast. I'm going to be talking to you about building a blog that provides real value.

 

The Importance of having a blog?

I want to dive into the importance of writing a blog. I mean, what is a blog at the end of the day? What I want to share is that a blog is literally fuel for the search engine fire. It's giving you more content to share on social media, it's providing and proving your expertise. Studies have indicated that businesses that are actively blogging acquire more customers because they have a stronger brand presence online. It ultimately allows you to level the playing field and helps you to get to know your target audience and it helps your target audience to get to know you. 

 

The Keystone Click Blog:

 

I look at our Google Analytics, I often will break it up into the different segments of the site and figure out what kind of elements of our site are driving the most traffic. Historically, there is a blog post that continues to show up as one of the top-visited pages on our website. Now, what's fascinating is that this post was written in 2014. So this blog post was written by one of my team members. It likely took her maybe about three hours, that's on average, what we budget per blog post, to do a little research and writes and then published it, and now today, it still drives traffic to our site.

 

What Should you Write About?

 

First and foremost, start with the top questions that are asked of you, from your customer base when you're in that discovery phase when you're getting to know someone from a networking standpoint, even established clients that you have. Anytime someone is asking you a question, just write it down. Do that exercise for a week and it will give you a ton of ideas for what to write about. The reason you want to do this is that oftentimes, questions are what is being entered into search engines, people often are searching a question to find an answer or solution. So if you're writing questions, or answering questions as a form of your blog content, is going to help elevate your opportunity to be found in the search engines.

 

Conducting Interviews:

 

It's no different than a podcast but you could do a written interview, like if you were interviewing someone for a written publication of sorts. The beauty of doing this is one it gives you a lot of content that you don't need to really polish up because you can simply transcribe the conversation. Also if you have a guest that you are interviewing or you're highlighting someone else's expertise, they're likely going to share that content with their audience, which extends the reach of your blog, on your site.

 

The 80-20 Rule:

 

80% of the content that you create should be considered evergreen content. What that means is, it is a value to your audience today and tomorrow, and it was valuable yesterday. So it has a longer shelf life. Referencing that blog post that I talked about when I opened up, it was written in 2014, it is still relevant content today, therefore it is still providing value, it is still bringing visitors to our website. So identifying information, that is your expertise that will work for a long time, as opposed to saying, "Hey, we've got a special going on that ends on Friday," that is considered time-sensitive content.

 

Leveraging your Team and Partners:

 

If it's more than just you or even if you have resources, partners that you work with, they all have different areas of expertise. Ask them what types of questions they're being asked, and understand their expertise a little bit. Maybe you take the approach of answering the questions that are being asked, but taking the interview approach and interviewing your team and partners to get the solid answers

 

Identify what your Core Offering is:

 

Identify what your core offering is, and then make a list of the eight types of questions that people could potentially ask related to that offering. So, for example, we offer website design services, website design, and development. So that would be my core offering that I'd put here and then I'm going to look at the who question. Who am I going to be working with? Who's my main point of contact? Who's actually designing the site? Who on my team needs to be involved in this project? Then you look at the what questions. What kind of features am I going to have on my website? What kind of training Am I going to get with my website? What kind of materials do you need from me? Then look at the why questions. Why should we use WordPress content management system? Why should we have our site on Squarespace? Why should I renew my domain name for 10 years? Next up are the when questions. When is my site can be done? When do you need me to learn to sign off on things? Then come the where questions. We'll look at how questions. How do I make edits to my sites? How do I know that the site is safe and secure? Next up are the which questions. Which image is going to be better? Which color palettes? Which fines should I be using? Which content management system should I have? Which hosting provider? Then the last question is a yes or no question. So you identify that core offering product service, whatever it is, you look at the eight questions types of questions, then you just kind of brainstorm and map out what types of questions that people ask related to this offering. Every one of those 8 questions could be made into a blog post. 

 

5 Best Practices:

 

  1. Easy to Read: When you're looking at a blog or an article, it needs to include visual components that are going to help relay your message and break up the heaviness of the text. Bulleted or numbered lists, images, larger fonts to break up segments, and embedded videos are all great ways to improve the readability of a blog. 
  2. Evaluate the Strength of your Title: What you want is to make sure that it's easy for the reader to know what it is that they are clicking on. You don't want to write the blog title to be “Read our Blog,” or anything along those lines. At the end of the day, people decide to click on something because it's connecting with them on an intellectual or emotional level. A great tool to determine the strength of your blog title is the Google Headline Analyzer which will analyze the emotional marketing value of the words that are used in your title, which will give a score to that strength related to the intellectual or emotional strength.
  3. Target More Words: A best practice that we really strive for is a minimum of 800 words. You want to use words that are going to connect with your audience which means not using heavy industry jargon. Most importantly, you need to know what your audience is searching for and that's where understanding your keywords is going to be beneficial.
  4. Optimize your Posts: Your keywords should live in your title, in the body content, in the URL, in the alt tags or meta description tags, and in any links that you have embedded in your site. 
  5. Be Consistent: You have to have a plan and consistently publish content in order to maximize that exposure and maintain the trust with your audience.

 

Have any questions about blogging? Reach out and I’d be happy to help!

 

Email: lori@socialcapital.com 

 

Join our Facebook Group: Social Capital - A Community of Trust, Reciprocity, and Relationships

 

Facebook Page: Social Capital with Lori Highby



Dec 14, 2020

Meet Cheale:

 

Cheale is the CEO and visionary rabbit of Visual Caffeine and for 25 years has stayed true to her authentic self and worked exclusively through her branding agency to help clients magnify and broadcast their message. Currently, visual caffeine continues to bring companies and communities’ goals to fruition, not only by building messages and magnifying voices but by building and magnifying a relationship. 

 

Let's talk about Instagram a little bit. What is one of the biggest mistakes that people are making on Instagram?

 

Honestly, it's amazing to me, it seems to be the same mistake people have been making since Instagram started. It's the over promoting! People tend to stay really imbalanced with the amount that they're driving really quality-driven content that feeds their credibility, feeds their brand, and instead, they make their channel about sales. 

 

What are a few ways for a company to put their brand out there to exemplify their brand in social media?

 

I honestly think it's two C's, it's content and consistency. Being consistent about who you say you are and who you are trying to be out there in the world and being perceived in an authentic way. But then also putting out quality content that you know your target market would be interested in and freely give it, don't hold back.

 

So let's talk about the websites a little bit. What mistakes do companies make with their website that affects the user experience?

 

First off, people approached the website, a lot of times as just kind of this online brochure, that is how the website started. I was in the midst of the web boom, that's when I started my company and it was all about making your website this online brochure like it was so great to even have a website. But now and for a long time, your website needs to be this fluid, organic space that you're nurturing your users that are coming in, because that glimmering back button is always there, and you have a very short period of time that you have to pull them in. Once they get there, they want to be pulled into a culture that is your brand, want to find what they are seeking and why they're there. So they want to be understood, they want to find what they were looking for when they found you. If you don't quickly give that to them, you are going to lose them as fast as they came in. Part of that is making things as easily communicated as well. I like the term "frictionless as possible", meaning that they have the least amount of steps to get what they want, and also for you to get a sale with them.

 

Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?

 

Well gosh, I've had so many! I basically built my business on networking and relationship and I would say, it is one of the best ways to grow your business organically. I mean, yes, we would love our businesses to grow at an exponential speed. But to have relationships to build loyalty amongst groups of people, and to nurture that over time, and as well as that adds the circle is just an amazing thing, and I've been that is how I've grown for over over 25 years. But I would say my best networking experiences have been recently when I got involved with Highbury. It's an organization that was actually a co-working space in San Francisco. I read about Grace, who had started the organization several years ago, but when the pandemic happened, it was solely in San Francisco. When the pandemic happened, I was like, "Oh, I wonder if they have created a virtual space," and she has successfully created such a community of women and trust in her circle with everyone who is a member, and she did open it up into a virtual space. Ever since I've joined that community, I've just had these amazing connections with very like-minded women and I've actually even pulled some other people in my own network over there because I thought that they would love the experience as well. Of course, it gives me the feeling of obviously, a West Coast culture is very much in there, but it's in a great and fantastic way. To me, it all has to do with Grace's leadership as to why that has happened. Even our zooms are just very engaging, and where we've seen a lot of tiredness with doing zooms, she has successfully continued to implement zooms that are engaging, and you feel like you're always coming away with inspiration. It's just been truly incredible.

 

I love that you've identified a community with like-minded individuals, that can be so powerful. I'm sure it's helped to maintain a positive mindset to be around some like-minded individuals, but I would imagine there's been some growth to your business from that as well.

 

Oh, absolutely. I feel like one of the key things that I have done through my years of networking is diversification. So always diversifying the circles you're in because one of the values you deliver relationships is having relationships that they don't have. Well, the only way you can have that is to be always diversifying the circles and relationships you're building. By doing that our virtual sense has allowed us to expand our circles globally, which is really one of the best ways to help connect your existing contacts with new contacts that could be across the ocean, but they still would be great opportunities for them. That's something that I've always sought to do in my relationships. It's never about what I'm going to get out of it, it's about what I can do to serve others. I feel like when we approach relationships with a self-serving mentality, we're really no different than that sales guy at the carwash, you know, it's kind of putting a relationship face on while I'm just trying to sell you. 

 

So regardless of the size of your network and your community, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?

 

That would be taking the extra time to connect and check-in. Even if it's just an email, or if it's a DM on social media, or it's sharing something they have going on in social media, there are ways that you can continue to nurture those relationships and keep that connection alive. It doesn't always mean that you have to be taking 30 minutes aside or an hour aside to have a coffee meet up or something. There are always ways that we can show that we support and we are trying to serve them in our relationships.

 

What advice would you offer to business professionals looking to grow their network?

 

First, I would say to think about what type of relationships are you really wanting to build. Some people's goals are to obviously grow their business, get more clients, then you need to look in areas where are those potential clients. Then start looking at those places to start networking, to start nurturing. I mean that's even the wisdom of you know when we are in social media. Where should we be having and starting conversations? Well, it's where our target is. But if you're looking to, I don't know, get into a publication or something like that, then you're going to want to start building relationships with journalists and people of that nature. So really to me, the choices, you may have to do with the goals you have. I have always wanted to make sure that where I'm building relationships has a lot to do also with community give back and where we can best serve the community as a whole because that's where we always should start is supporting our local community. Sometimes the best people you can meet are also ones with that community-minded service and you find your people there. If you're minded that way, you're going to find your tribe that way and then expand out from there. 

 

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

 

I first would tell myself to trust my instincts. There are many times where I ignore my instincts, because I heard something that influenced me differently, or I allowed someone to sway me differently. My gut has always been the center in which I have best-made decisions and moved forward. By trusting that those were always where I look back at my history, and that's always where I was on the right path. The things that I would tell my 20-year-old self to avoid doing is making sure that you are always continuing to lead in a heart and service and never veer away from that road as well.

 

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

 

Sophia Amoruso from Girl Boss. I actually looked her up on LinkedIn and I am three degrees away from her. That was really cool because she is someone who would really be an amazing coffee chat with.

 

What would you ask?

 

I would ask about her soul and the passion that drives her. Digging Deeper into what has driven her all of this time and also about her tenacity to keep herself always shifting and doing what she needs to keep moving forward. I have a lot of admiration for her. I think she's an amazing woman, and she's someone I feel like, has even more wisdom than she has put out there that a really deep conversation would reveal.

 

Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

 

I would say, just continue to be authentic, transparent, be of service, always think with a service mind. This is how we best serve our clients, this is how we best can show love to everybody that we engage with a meet. And never treat someone with your preconceived judgments, always treat everybody like they're Oprah Winfrey. Because when you make preconceived notions about people, it does affect how you will treat them and you always should treat everyone as if they are a superstar.

 

Connect with Cheale:

 

Download 4 Ways to Build your Brand Culture on Social Media

 

Instagram: @chealevilla


Visual Caffeine’s website: https://visualcaffeine.com/

Dec 9, 2020

Meet Simon:

Simon is the CEO of Strategy Sprints, Europe's leading remote growth agency. His global team of certified strategy sprint coaches do only one thing: they double the revenue of service-based businesses in 90 days. Simon also teaches growth strategy and select business schools and hosts The Strategy Show podcast.

Can you just tell us a little bit about what certified strategy sprint coaches is?

Sure, so we coach business owners, small business owners into having more freedom, more impact, and more revenue. Our goal is in 90 days of coaching to have them double their revenue or at least significantly move forward to fast track their growth goals. In this funky year, it's quite a challenge, but we are doing really well. 

Let's talk a little bit about goals. Your statement is that goals are a bad thing, why is that?

You know, today in my city, Vienna, we just had a terror attack in the middle of the night out of nowhere. So the first thing is you check if your family is safe and if your friends save, etc. Whatever goals I had for these months are not helping me at all in this real-life situation. But the systems that I have in place limit how far we are going to fall down. So you never raise to your high goals, but you only fall as low as your systems are. For example, your systems can be your morning routine, who picks up the kids, your communication systems, your decision-making system. So my wife and I, we had to decide how do we do that, kids in school kids not in school? Which meetings do we delete? etc. So all the goals that we have are just for sunny times, and entrepreneurship is not about sunny times, it's an all-weather sport. So you need systems that help you especially cope with the bad weather and this year has taught us a lot about that. You need systems much more than you need goals. Having said that I just posted today my goals on LinkedIn publicly, so I like to have goals. But even that it's a system of telling the public what my goals are, because it will keep me accountable, and it will keep me rolling. It will also create some emerging properties that are super nice. For example, today in the morning, I posted that one of my goals is to hire a video editor. Two hours later, somebody wrote to me "Hey, I know somebody can I introduce you?" So even the goals I have, I use them as a system. The system of setting up the goals at the beginning of the month, of communicating them, of delivering them, and at the end of reviewing the amount and setting up the new ones and again communicating the new ones, because it creates more connection and a better and more truthful relationship. But in hard times you need systems more than goals.

So let's look at 2020, which is the year of disruption. How can businesses survive and thrive throughout this year?

This is a special year, we've never had a year like this. So the only thing that we all have in common is that nobody knows what's going on. So markets are shifting, and of course, cash crunch everywhere. Everybody has some form of cash crunch, but also massive opportunities are arising. We have this coaching program for business owners and the dozens of people I hear about because every Monday there's a coach meeting, and they tell me how business owners are doing. So I am out of fulfillment, I am the CEO now, and I don't do the coaching myself. But every Monday I coach the coaches so we go through every single business owner in our programs, and check the main three numbers: the revenue, the customer satisfaction score, and the retainment rate. So every Monday I see these numbers, I see the challenges, I see the problems, and I see the solutions. There is a way to grow even now, but it means re-shifting. It means you cannot just go on as if nothing happened, you have to embrace the current reality around you really think from the customer about how is their word right now changing and what do they need now. And you really need to change your website accordingly and your offer accordingly to pick them up at their bus stop right now because everything else is just not relevant to them. So if you can refine your offer in a way that speaks to their current needs, then there is a chance for growth and there are enormous opportunities if you can do it in a digitized way. One of my joint ventures that we have right now is with Google. So Strategy Sprints and Google had a press conference together in Zurich. Google showed some numbers about small businesses, and how can we help small businesses grow. They showed that 99% of small business customers start their sales journey online. So 99% of every small business customer journey starts online. That means restaurants and when you say, "Hey, go to that restaurant," the first thing that your friends do is they will check for reviews. So everybody now is an online business if they want it or not. This is something to embrace.

I agree with that 100%, the numbers simply skyrocketed. We've had a little spike in our business because people are realizing their website is out of date and they're missing out on opportunities because everyone is online right now.

Absolutely. There is one thing I love, it's simple, and you can do it and it will boost your website. So if you go right now on your own website and check these five things, and then after you hear this, just implement this, it takes half an hour and your website will be much more relevant. First thing, you go onto your website and you check who is the hero. Who is it for? Are you really clearly describing who this is for? The first hero section, it's called the hero section for a reason. The first picture that I see, is that about your client in the way that you can impact them? If in the first five seconds, you don't see this, then implement this. Who is it for and where can you bring them? The next thing is, what do you help them avoid? Because 80% of the people prefer not to lose $100 than to win $100. So if you can clearly state what you help them avoid, for example, I help you grow your business without spending on ads. 80% percent of the people resonate more with them without spending part and 20% resonate with the growing part. So is it clear what you help them avoid? Then the rest is just details. Now, what's the plan? How can I start working with you? What's my next clear action? That's the call to action button. Do you know what to do now? and repeats that button three, four times. And then what's the plan? Do you have a plan? Can I trust you? Do you have a plan? Just put in three testimonials. Three, that's enough, then I know if I can trust you. If you put 17 testimonials or 25, then you're doing a hero reversal. Now you are the hero, not them. And when a hero sees a hero to say, "Oh, yeah, nice to see you, but I don't have time I have to rescue a princess, bye-bye, see you later!" You have five seconds to make really clear who this is for, where you can bring them, what you help them avoid, what the next call to action is, and why they should trust you. So that's my tip for your audience. Just do this, and you massively improve the relevance of your message.

Is growth possible in quarter four here?

Oh yes! So we have right now a number of clients that were struggling, of course, when they started and some that are starting right now. These are challenging times, but what I see every week is that there is a blueprint for growth. For example, when they start with our coaching, 10 minutes later they get into the program, and then in the first week, we define three numbers with them. What are the three numbers that will tell us 80% of the story you need to know? And usually, it's are your clients happy, are the markets resonating, and are we losing a very small amount of reselling potentials? So the first week, define two-three numbers that will tell you this, and now set up the system that will measure these three numbers every seven days. In the second week, we free up the business owner from the weeds because small businesses have the problem that the CEO or the executive team is doing too many activities. So they need to get out of the weeds and start working on the system, but to work on the system you need time. So we free up 10 to 14 hours of their time per week in week two. Then from week three on, we do this brand sprint which is this exercise that I told you about making the message simple, relevant, and repeatable. Then we go to the equalizer, how they can become incomparable so that the pricing problem is not the problem anymore after being incomparable after doing the equalizer, which takes two days after that they can double the price, because now they are not comparable. And then we go to the sale system, setting it up in a way that is repeatable and reliable. We bring it all together in the CRM system where they know right now, with every person they speak to, in which relationship stage they are with them, and what's the next thing to move them from one stage to the next stage in their relationship sequence. This can be attract, nurture, prepare for closing, close, fulfill, retain, for example. You have to know exactly where you're speaking with somebody, where they are. Are they mildly engaged, highly engaged, or are they ready to buy? That's the CRM system. At the very end, in the last week, we do the marketing system, which finds the numbers that are really important and what are the three that you will track every seven days because most people do too much marketing.

I want to go a little deeper into the statement that most people are doing too much marketing. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? 

So business owners really struggle, especially if they have kids or if they have a funky year, like this year 2020. Then you are doing everything, you are the fulfillment team, you are the legal team, you are the IT team, and now you also should do LinkedIn and, and Instagram and Tiktok and what have you. So it's too many activities and usually, they don't build up on each other. So what I really recommend to do is to stop doing marketing. Usually, when somebody starts working with us, we stop all marketing activities, especially the marketing spending because it's leading to nowhere. If you don't do the 11 steps that I was telling you before, you don't have a well-oiled machine that can convert attention into clients. So 99% of the businesses, didn't build the whole machine and so when you spend $1 on marketing, they basically waste it. If you do these 11 things, now you have a well-oiled machine, now you spend $1, you can do 1.2 dollars or 1.5 dollars on that dollar. But first, you have to build the machine and most people don't have the machine, but they do post on LinkedIn on Instagram, etc. You are wasting time. If you enjoy it, okay, then do it, but do not expect any business impact

Let's talk a little bit about networking. Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So I think I mentioned the Google one. So what happened is, especially in this year, which was so funky, and it was kind of reinventing how we network and how we cooperate. I made a list of the 100 firms I want to work with and I started proactively sharing my journey with them and our journey and where we want to go and asking, "Hey, what are you trying to bring into this world, and what do you want to solve next?" We started some really nice conversations and one of them became a joint venture. The joint venture was Google, asking us to be the execution engine for their program in Europe. What we did is we asked them, "What does your audience really need in this year (small businesses) in order to survive and thrive in this funky year?" And so you know that Google has data because they take that really seriously. So I gave them 15 topics and asked them to check that with their data. What is really relevant? What do people really need? So around these topics, we created a series of webinars. So okay, people, we know that you need this. Now, this is free webinar number one, free webinar number two, free webinar number three, we were just giving, giving, giving, giving. This created wonderful win-win situations for small businesses, for Google, and for my company, because we had real needs, and basically free value around that which created wonderful conversations. So this is my favorite networking way is to talk to people about what are you going to solve next. Tell them what you are struggling with, what you want to solve, and what you have found out that works, and share this. This is how collaboration possibilities can emerge even in relations where you didn't think that that could be possible. But it can because everybody is trying to solve some problems and maybe the problems that you're solving work for theirs, and then collaborate. So my way of networking is really just collaborating. I also run a podcast where I meet new people. So I also increase the number of people I can collaborate with. But then the way I do it is really just say, "Hey, let's talk, what are you bringing into this world? What are we bringing into this world? How can we find synergies?"

So how do you stay in front of and best nurture your network and your community?

So what I do is every day I try to share the journey. I do not just share the solutions, let's say once a month when they're polished. But really, every day I share the journey. Like right now I'm speaking on a podcast of somebody, then later I will have somebody on my podcast and I will do the same thing I will ask them, "Hey, what are you doing?" and these will be directly live in our Facebook community, which is called Entrepreneurship in Sprints so our own exploration is always public, we try to work in public. So whatever we are trying to find out to solve, to make better, to digest, to understand, that's our exploratory path of today. I try to make that as public as possible and that's the nurturing piece. At the end of the week, we put that all together. So at the end of the week, we have produced five podcasts, three interviews, two templates, maybe three video guides. So in the end, we just collect it and send it to the people who have asked us via subscribing, that they want to have that and every Friday it goes to everybody and that's how we nurture.

What advice would you offer those business professionals really looking to grow their network?

I think it's just about true conversations, deep, real conversations. What's not working, what's working. I really prefer the new one on ones. I'm actually liking the lockdowns, my city right now, Vienna is in the second lockdown starting today. I actually like the lockdown, because now I can finally say, "No, I'm not coming to your networking event," so I always hated networking events. I was a speaker at many conferences, but I would get there and go away as quickly as possible because I hate wasting time. For me, every form of networking event in the traditional way is time wasted because I just want to have one conversation with one person. I prefer to have three really deep real conversations per day than to meet 25 people. 

Do you have any final word or advice for our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?

We have put together something because nowadays everybody needs to make this Q4 a winning one. So we have put together a 15 minutes exercise if you want that you can go through and you will analyze your current sales funnel and find two points to improve during that 15 minutes. That 15 minutes might help you get along with this funky Q4.

Connect with Simon

Take his 15-minute sales audit: https://www.strategysprints.com/sales 

Check out Simon’s podcast: https://www.strategysprints.com/podcast 

Facebook Group: Entrepreneurship in Sprints 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonseverino/

Dec 7, 2020

Meet Adam:

Adam is a managing director and MGA, a specialized commercial real estate firm structured to support the growing needs and concerns of occupiers of commercial real estate. Adam provides expert consultation and analyzing and executing solutions aimed to reduce their client's overall facility expenses while maximizing workplace efficiency and productivity. Never representing institutional landlords, MGA is one of the few firms that eliminates any conflict of interest from representing tenants and landlords. 

So you are in Washington, DC. What makes that region special to you?

I think a lot actually. So my family has been in this area, we actually just found a newspaper article from earlier this year about my great great grandfather. It's just a story about him when he came to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1875. So we've been here for such a long time. I've got a lot of history and a couple of different stories. My great grandmother has a post off is named after her, we've got schools named after her family. We're not from a whole lot of money or anything like that, but it was just community involvement with both the civil rights movement and just general activity in mentoring younger people. So it's been a great region and area for me and it's been my second home for a long time. About eight to nine years ago, I moved here permanently.

So let's talk about commercial real estate right now. What has the pandemic done and what does it mean for commercial real estate in the future?

Yeah, I think that it's no secret, a lot of people are having success working remotely. Now, whether or not that means more business, they're going to go 100% remote, I don't think from the executives I'm speaking with, I don't see that happening, especially to those businesses that have a good number of employees. They're still going to have an office presence for the most part. You might have the four people per thousand square feet now, I mean, does that drop down to two or three people? How many people are going to fit into your office and how much is it going to be utilized? Still, the question that I think a lot of executives are wondering is, what does that mean for their footprint and what does that mean for their operations? So I think most executives are still asking those questions amongst their employees, and we're helping them create a strategy to offer their real estate based on some of those answers to the questions.

So let's circle back to relationships here a little bit. How do you manage the new relationships as well as the old ones?

Yeah, my life is based on relationships, and cultivating relationships. What I do is I keep a bit of a tracker, in terms of understanding the relationships that I'm building every year, and I'm adding on to it. I'm a member of a couple of different network marketing organizations. As you know, when we used to go out and shake hands, meet people and collect business cards, instead of just simply putting in the pile, and then you know, maybe in a few years, you ring them up and say, "I need some help with something," I try to create a system to where it's more intentional. I've got a top 100 list of people that I like to keep in touch with who aren't prospective clients of mine, but they're just referral partners. They're people that can help grow my business and then I can also help grow their business or they're your trusted advisors to where, if my client needs a referral, they're on that list. Then throughout the year, I'm making sure that I'm reaching out to those people, once a quarter, in different ways. Sometimes it's an email, sometimes it’s a call, sometimes it's a handwritten note or some sort of physical mailing to those people, just to make sure that we're staying in touch, and I'm staying Top of Mind with them. Also to really take that networking meeting that generally a lot of people don't get a lot of value from, and make sure that you extract all the value from that by building lasting, incredible relationships.

Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?

One of them was about four or five years ago. I went to this event, and I met a really nice set of brothers. It was a whiskey and cigar event that I had been invited to through somebody in my network and he said, "Hey, there's gonna be some business owners here, why don't you come in just enjoy the night," and so I did. Then I met these three brothers and we just got to talking and they mentioned they were interested in buying a property for their business or possibly even buying an investment property. So, you know, continue to carry on the relationship and at least once a quarter doing something of value to them to inform them on the real estate market, because I knew that at some point in time, but this is going to be, you know, four or five years away from when they're ready to purchase. At least once a quarter keeping in touch with them, whether that be a personal connection, or sending them something in about the real estate market that's of value until they're ready to buy. Then finally, this summer, they did end up purchasing a property, about three and a half million dollars or so. Looking back on having developed that relationship for five years, it worth it, and I still consider them to be friends of mine, even if they weren't clients.

What's great about that was you were just going to meet some new people and get to know them. But then you fostered a relationship and there was a positive outcome for you. But your goal when you attended that event was not to sell three and a half million dollar property, right?

Exactly. Sometimes networking events, you know, historically, outside of COVID get to be exhausted, right? If you've already done two or three that month, and that's kind of it. If you're the kind of person that just needs to sit back and relax, it doesn't seem like the most fun thing to do. But if you do go out to that event that you do, try and form at least one valuable relationship, whether that be with somebody that is going to be a prospect or a client of yours, or somebody that you can help in either direction, whether they're helping them grow their business, or you're helping them grow your business. To form that meaningful connection with somebody does pay off because what I found is, the more advocates you can have, the better you'll be. You'll never know where that next referral is coming from and the fact that I've been able to build up kind of like an army of advocates across the region, that I can say, "Hey, do you know this CFO? and the person says, "Oh, yeah, of course," and then next thing I know, I've got a glowing email introduction to the exact person I'm trying to meet. I've just been able to cultivate the relationship to where they do trust me. So when the time comes, they're more than happy to make that referral.

So what advice would you offer that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?

I would say that it's not always about quantity. A lot of times, like I've been saying, it's about the quality. So you don't have to go to every single Chamber of Commerce event. Here, in the D.C. area, we've got maybe a dozen different little chambers of commerce throughout our metro area. You don't have to go to every single one, but when you go, or if you go into a BNI group, or if you're going to be a part of any sort of networking group is to get involved in it and some sort of level that's deeper than just being a member. Really trying to find out, can I be on the membership committee, or can I be, you know, on the Events Planning Committee? How do I get more involved in this organization to form a deeper relationship with the five or six of the people on that committee, because that's going to pay off in my experience a lot more than simply going and handing out business cards to everybody.

If you could go back to your 20-year-old cell phone, would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?

I would tell myself to be more focused. Early on in my career in real estate, there was a lot of different interesting opportunities, and you kind of run around, chasing a dollar. Just like, I can close this deal, or I can do this or that, you know? But I think that over the long run, it certainly pays off to be hyper-focused. For me, I'm hyper-focused on office space tenant representation or representing the occupiers of real estate, even though there's a lot of different facets to commercial real estate that I could veer off into or step into. Being focused really does pay off in the long run, it increases your income, save you a lot of time, wasted energy, and heartache, I think as well.

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?

The person that I would love to connect with is not necessarily a business person, it's my hero is Peyton Manning. He's just been my hero since he started playing for the Colts in 98. So that would be my dream connection. I'm a firm believer in six degrees of separation. I think that if I were to try hard enough and dedicate enough time, I'm sure that I could find a route to Mr. Manning, but I don't know that I've got the time or energy at this very point in time.

Do you know where you’d start?

Where would I start? That's a good question. I actually did play high school football with a couple of people who made it to the NFL. So I'd probably start there and then look at who they know. I'm sure that might be one of the quickest routes to it. Where else would I start? Actually, I know the route. It's a friend that played for the Giants and Eli Manning played for the giants. So he'd be more than happy to introduce me to Eli Manning and obviously if I can get to Eli, I can get to Peyton.

Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

I just think don't be picky or choosy about who you're connecting with. Everybody's got different job titles, and everybody wants to first say of what do you do for a living and how can you help me. But especially in this world of entrepreneurship, or real estate, or whatever it is you might be doing, it's not always the person that you think that's going to lead to a great introduction or meaningful relationship. So go out there and connect with people and build genuine relationships and the money will follow.

Connect with Adam:

Email: acollins@mgaco.com 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-collins-commercialre/

Dec 2, 2020

Meet Kate:

Kate Paine works with executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals to develop their brand and share their stories which differentiate them from their competition in the marketplace. She's an expert on using LinkedIn as a powerful personal branding tool and discovering an individual's story which makes her expertise unique in the world of online promotion. Kay volunteers her time training members of the US Special Forces on how to use LinkedIn as they transition out of their military career. 

So personal branding is a space that you support on LinkedIn. When when you discuss or talk about identifying your personal brand, what does that look like? And why is it so important to know what your personal brand is? 

Well, the personal brand piece is really something that you sort of need to self identify with. I think a lot of people when they hear the term "personal brand" or "personal branding," I think they have this notion that they're going to go around and sort of like shake someone's hand and say, "Hi, I'm Kate Payne, and my personal brand is," and you fill in the blank. That's not what it is at all. The personal brand is really similar to that other marketing term we love, it's like your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition. Except I prefer the person the term personal brand because I think that when you're thinking of a platform like LinkedIn, a lot of people see LinkedIn as a quote-unquote, personal branding platform. So it's a way for you to kind of consider your expertise. Your personal brand is essentially your reputation, and your reputation is made up of your values and your integrity, certainly your professional expertise. So really understanding your personal brand and how you're going to message that via your personal LinkedIn profile is really important. Then I add a component to that, which is a personal story, which helps make your personal brand more personalized, and really true to who you are, and helps you sort of creating that unforgettable feeling in someone's mind when they meet you because they know your brand and they know your story. You're now more unforgettable, so they'll remember you going forward.

I'm the type of person that's like, "Here are all the facts." That's my storytelling and it's not that I don't want to, I feel awkward telling the world my story. How do you help people overcome that?

So that's, that's sort of my niche that's sort of my superpower is I pull from my journalism, marketing, and PR background. When I interview a person I'm working with, I really kind of go back to, "Alright, so how did you get it, why did you want to become a realtor?" or, "Why did you go into the military, and then decide to get out of the military and go into being a financial advisor?" So there's this little nugget and I call it a nugget of your personal story that you can kind of identify and write about in like a short paragraph. So it's not the story from the standpoint of this long bio, you know, dirty laundry kind of thing. It's like you're taking this little slice of a life story or that story nugget. For example, when I have people kind of identify what that might be, is when you literally look at your LinkedIn profile, I want that to really stand out in the about section which used to be the summary and that's the most read section of one's profile. So for example, on my profile, I start out with like, the first line is I was an avid news junkie in eighth grade. Then I go into like my internship at CBS News and then I kind of say, I learned how to become a storyteller, and now I help people find their own. So it's like, I've taken that nugget and I've also made it relevant to what I do now. so that then sort of tying it all together and it's not like this all about my story thing, it's just a little slice of life. A lot of people when they start their about section in their LinkedIn profile, they don't really know what to do. So some people either ignore it don't have one there at all, which is not good. Or they start off with like, "I've been in the digital marketing world for 15 years doing blah, blah, blah." You know, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's sort of formulaic, and it's what everybody else does. So if you figure out what that little story nugget is, if yours, you know, you can really use that as an introduction and really hook your reader and want to learn more about you.

Let's talk about some of the new features that LinkedIn has rolled out. What do you think is one of the best features that they’ve come out with recently?

Well, their whole user interface has changed, and it didn't change drastically, but it's very white. It's looking very much like Facebook and Twitter so I'm not real thrilled about that. I liked that LinkedIn had a little bit of an aesthetic structure. But some of the new things I like, their privacy and settings is probably one of the biggest changes and it's so you can make your user experience much more the way you want it to be. Because a lot of people when they're on LinkedIn, especially if they don't use it a lot, they're like, "All I do is get these annoying notifications." Now you can go in and really create the user experience you want. So they created more privacy and settings, which makes that user experience much more the way you want it to be. They also came out with stories and some people are finding really great engagement with stories. I still haven't wrapped my head around stories on LinkedIn, because I barely wrap my head around it on Instagram and Facebook. I mean, it's funny, I know, you're asked me like, what's my favorite and now I'm telling you kind of the opposite. To me, stories are really something that just belongs on Facebook and Instagram. I mean, what are you going to do in the course of your business day, that's going to be so particularly exciting that you want to throw it out there for 24 hours. So I haven't wrapped my head around that, I've tested it, and it's kind of gotten average engagement. But you know what? Just because LinkedIn or any platform creates a new feature doesn't mean you have to use it. Again, you should always be utilizing these features if they're aligned with your personal brand and your efforts on social media. The one thing I love the most on LinkedIn right now is the Featured Block and I think it's completely rolled out to everybody. It's on your personal profile page and you don't see it there if you haven't taken any kind of online asset and made it a featured link. So if you want to feature a post you just wrote in the feed if you wanted to feature a LinkedIn article that you've done on the publishing platform, if you wanted to link to anything on a website, anywhere on the internet, or if you wanted to upload an infographic or a PDF, you now have this really great Featured Block and it creates this really big visual block in the middle of your otherwise text-heavy profile page. You can put up as many links as you want, some people have put up like 60, but it's like this side-scrolling thing, so I don't advise that. So I put in four to six things in that featured section and you can change them as you go. But it's a way to get targeted eyes on something and it's finally something LinkedIn did, where you can literally click on that piece of content in the featured block, and it will take you directly to that online asset. Whereas before, you could have up to three websites in your contact information, and you still can. But when you click there, it’s a two-click process to get to the final thing. It's just a way to really get targeted eyes on something you really want people to see on your profile page.

So can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you’ve had?

I just had one today, actually. So you know, we all know what influencers are right? And LinkedIn, actually, long before they opened up publishing to the average user, there were a lot of quote-unquote, LinkedIn influencers out there like the Richard Bransons and the Arianna Huffingtons of the world. So now anybody can be a so-called influencer on LinkedIn. They're rolling out newsletters, which is a subscription thing. They're certainly still in beta with LinkedIn live, you do have to apply for it. But there are all kinds of ways that you can now become an influencer. So anyway, I'm part of a virtual summit that's going on this week called the LinkedIn Lead Generation Summit, and the woman that's putting it on is a woman from Australia, Kate Hore-Lacey is her name. So she got 21 speakers to share some lead generation tips of which I'm one of the speakers. One of the speakers, the primary sort of keynote, if you will, is a New York Times bestselling author, Dave Kirpan. He's written the Art of People, and he's written some other books about social media in general. Anyway, he did his video today and I was watching the recording this morning and I thought, "Well, I'll go in and see if I can connect with him," you know, somebody who's got almost a million followers, it's really hard to have a meaningful networking conversation. He was actually sharing some of his best practices and so I actually took his advice, went into LinkedIn, I followed him on his profile, and then I found a way to send him an inmail and I very rarely do that. I sent him a very nice message saying, you're the keynote, I'm one of the speakers. I've read your book, I would really love to be connected here and I just kind of gave a little blurb, about, you know, what my talk will be about. I didn't try to sell him or pitch him, and within five minutes, he accepted my request and wrote me a really nice note. So you just never know, and you've got to try and find ways to kind of do some work around some time.

So regardless of the size of our network, and how many people are in our community, it's extremely important to nurture these relationships. How do you best stay in front of or nurture these relationships?

I'm so glad you brought that up because I've been doing this now for nearly six years and LinkedIn is really like my platform of choice. Even though I work with the foundational work on personal branding, LinkedIn is my tool of choice. I do not have a lot of connections and that's totally by design. I'm actually one of those people that truly wants to make connections with people on LinkedIn where I feel like when I'm serving them and connecting with them and nurturing them, that I want to feel like that the circle is not small, but just more intimate. So I'm not one of these people that connects with every single person just to build up my numbers. I care more about my numbers, if you will, on Facebook and Instagram. Even then, I don't worry about it as much. But on LinkedIn, I really want those connections to be just more intimate and I feel like even though I don't have multiple thousands of followers, I'll get there at some point. But I also feel like I'm walking the talk because I teach the people I work with the same thing. You know, don't just accept an invitation because you want to get your numbers up and there's a lot of people that are using LinkedIn who are spamming, and I don't want those people in my network, either.

So let's talk about building your network. What advice would you offer the business professional who is looking to grow there, there are a number of relationships that they have?

Well, certainly and this is true on every platform and I know you would agree with me 100% on this is you need to have a Service mindset first. So when you are putting out content, you need to think of yourself as an up other LinkedIn is to not think of yourself as a resume, but instead, think of yourself as a resource. When you are positioning yourself from the LinkedIn platform, you need to be seen as a resource. So whatever content you're putting out, put out everything you know about that topic, whatever world you're in. Share that stuff, share other people's content, reshare other's content as well if something aligns with you, put out videos, put out some of your own promotional stuff, too. But back to that good old fashioned 80-20 rule, 80% service, and 20% of your own stuff, here and there. That's the best way you're going to serve your people to build relationships, and then lead to either a connection on LinkedIn, which then may lead to a transaction at some point. But always go into it with wanting to build the relationship and build the network first and nurture it by giving them really great content and serving them.

Let's go back to your 20-year-old self. What would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regard to your great career?

My 20-year-old self would have been a junior in college. I think I would have told myself to step forward more. At the time that I was 20, I was actually in college in New York City and I'm from Vermont so that was a major culture shock. I was interning at the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, so I was in a pretty cool internship. A lot of the people I had admired from journalists we're literally walking through the building all the time, and I had to get away from being starstruck and really do the job. But I think I was a little too shy and didn't speak up enough or ask questions enough. So I think what I would have told myself back then is to lean in, step up, raise your hand, wherever you want to call it. I certainly do that now and that's why I've gotten where I am and doing what I do in my business. I mean, it's been a major characteristic of what I need to do in my business.

So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you would love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?

This is going to sound so trite, but I would absolutely love to meet Ellen DeGeneres. I followed her since she was on Carson, like when she was brand new. Actually from the degrees of separation, years ago in the late 90s, I worked at one of our state colleges here in Vermont at Johnson State College and Ellen DeGeneres;, his mother was on a speaking tour, and she came and spoke at our campus. So I met her mother and the reason she was speaking out, was it was at the time that Ellen was coming out as a gay woman. Her mom went around and told the story about how it was hard for her when she first learned but how she came to be very accepting and loving of that. So I always felt like I had this little hint of closeness to maybe someday meeting or and if I ever did, I could say, "Oh, I Met Your Mother." Not many people could say that, not that her mother would remember who the heck I was. 

Do you have any final word or advice offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?

You know, I keep it real. I think that's why that my use of personal story really resonates with people is, I think a lot of people when it comes to LinkedIn, think they just need to show their professional side, and you absolutely do. But also, don't be afraid to let people peek behind the curtain a little bit and see who you are as a whole person. When you write in your LinkedIn profile, speak and present yourself in the first person in a conversational tone. Some people still using like, the third person, in their bio, speaking about themselves in the third person in their profile. That's not a way to try to connect with people, you know. Be that on LinkedIn as you would be in real life, so that get the real you so keep it real. You don't have to go into the nitty-gritty, but be authentic and be relatable.

Connect with Kate:

Email: kate@standingoutonline.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katepaine/ 

Kate’s Website: https://www.standingoutonline.com/ 

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