Earlier this summer, I was talking with my 16-year-old son Kenny about his podcast editing business. I asked him if he'd like to come with me to Nashville for the annual Podcast Movement Conference. He'd have to buy his own ticket obviously. At first he didn't understand why he would even consider it. This lead into a great discussion on networking and why we build relationships with others in our community, online, and nationally. I'll come back to that conversation soon. But first let me ask you, the Smart Cleaning School listener... Are you building relationships in your local community? Did you answer no? Why aren't you doing it as a strategic part of your work week? Is it because you don't believe it's worth your time because it's just more meetings? Allow me to demonstrate with a few stories...
Did I win you the importance of building your network and attending events in person? Great! Let me address the other listener who answered yes from my very first question. Congratulations! You're building your network, but are you growing those relationships through serving? Uh oh! This one may hurt. What is serving the relationships in our local or national network? It's many things. We can send referrals, buy or support their business, introduce them to others we know that they need to know. We can write them thank you notes or send them resources that could help them grow toward their goal. It's being on time and purposefully scheduling 1-on-1 time with them to get to know them, their goals, and their families better. We build trust and friendships based on the cumulative effect of all of these interactions. Here's a story that I heard from my friend in my local MCBA group Marsha Poust from Signs By Tomorrow. It's an example of what not to do. Marsha Post shared a story of a networking group she attended. A board member was a printer doing all kinds of stationary locally. At a board meeting, another woman in conversation bragged about her new business cards from Vistaprint. The printer was very upset. Marsha said. "She didn't get the point of networking." You see, it's not just a friend's group! This woman may have saved a few bucks at Vistaprint, but she lost the opportunity to serve her network. She could have bought through her friend in the group (assuming she had a great reputation for qualilty). This would have served the group and built her network long term. She made a short term decision to save a buck. How about this example. I can save money by buying all of my vacuuming supplies online. But I support my local vacuum store owned by Clint Miller called CJ Miller. I spend more with Clint, but it builds my relationship and trust with a key member of my local cleaning team. Clint is more likely to refer me to his clients that need a great cleaning service. He is also likely to help me when my machines go down. Now, I'll ask again. Are you building relationships within your network to make it stronger? By the way, each of the 6 people I promoted just now are personal friends in my network that I've met online, in local groups, or at conferences that I serve whenever I get the opportunity. What about this podcast itself. Each of my 6 friends are being promoted to everyone listening to this episode. How about that for serving my network. What about you?
Let's return to my son. Kenny is building his podcast editing business and his plan was to start emailing podcasters that aligned with interests to grow his business. He would send them a free tip on how to improve their sound quality with no ask in return. It's a great strategy, but it's going to take a long time. Why? The leads are cold. I explained to Kenny the concept of the A, B, and C lists. The A list are close family & friends. The B list are mutual friends or connections and the C list are people that you don't know nor do any of your friends know. Kenny is starting his marketing and serving approach from the C list. They are all cold and will thus take a lot of emails to generate one client even with the amazing serving approach. I shared the example of the recent CPA firm that contacted me. They wanted to hire me before I even got to the estimate. Why? One of the accountants saw my teaching webinars on the chamber website that the firm was a member of. I had credibility in serving the chamber. Another CPA that I don't even clean for at another firm recommended my services because someone in my network referred me at some point. That's two points of trust. This CPA Firm lead was warm and a B list. I didn't know them, but people that I know, know them. Then I shared the example of cousin Seth. We did a cleaning for them recently at a commercial property. Seth is family and knows us well. He's on our A list. That's beyond warm. It's a hot lead. Kenny got it. "That's why you do local networking!" It's why many do networking, but it's not the main reason. I do it because I want to be an influencer in my community. Therefore, my mindset is to serve and help people in business. I get known for this. People that I know and trust me from networking groups start to refer me. All of these leads are warm to hot. It takes much less work to convert these into clients versus cold emailing. So far, Kenny has gotten 3 podcast editing clients. All of them have come through my network. They all know, like, and trust me. Kenny simply did his free podcast sound tips emails to them after they already had interest and BOOM! He closed the sale 100%. It's really that simple.
I shared this with Kenny next. "I did not do local networking or online through Facebook, LinkedIn, etc in my NY business. It took me 12 years to get to a full schedule. I wasn't trying to grow and thus, I did it very slow. I took the leads that came to me from real estate and ServiceMagic. I didn't have ANY community involvement and therefore nobody knew who I was. In PA, I got active fast and grew $60,000 in one year during a pandemic. What took me 12 years to do on my own in NY took only 12 months in PA." When I asked Kenny after Podcast Movement if he wanted to attend in Dallas in 2022, his answer was YES! He realized that it is an investment for him to be around 2,000 podcasters who all need an editor.
Do you remember what Alonzo Adams said in Powerful Networking? "Your network is your net worth."
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.