Catch Rob Thomas on the #PirateBroadcast
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Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let's get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:16
It's a beautiful day for the #piratebroadcast. I want to invite you to join us in the conversation five days a week. Enjoy the community, connect with the community and start conversations with the community. You know, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree. I always share that because it's important for us to understand that we have the opportunity to make those connections here and also meet new people like Rob Thomas. Rob Thomas has been active in networking, he has a book out, he has an organization and we're going to be talking a little bit about networking and all of the details around networking and some of the tips that you can use to improve your connections in your community. So welcome, Rob. How are you today?
Rob Thomas 1:11
Russ Johns 1:14
Now you're super fine.
Rob Thomas 1:16
Good morning to you. Well, I mean, it's what 7am your time? God bless you. It's an honor to be here. So thank you, my friend.
Russ Johns 1:27
Appreciate it. Recently, I was invited to your group. Talking about networking and meeting some people and I know that you run an organization and networking in diners, and that really fascinated me because I've been networking for years. I've built networks, I've had different activities and a lot of people fail to really understand the nuances and the details about networking. It's like we were talking earlier, It's pretty simple and I think a lot of people get anxious and they think, oh, I don't know if I can do that. I don't know if I could go to meetings. I don't know if I can meet new people. And you make it so seamless and so easy. In fact, you wrote a book about it. So talk about the book and how that comes about, and some of the philosophies in the book about networking.
Rob Thomas 2:28
Terrific, thank you very much. The book is entitled, Who do you Need to Meet? When I worked at the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, years ago, I was a business development executive signing up new members and taking care of existing ones and sponsorships and things. When I would sign up a new member, I came up with this this wasn't something that was told or taught to me. I said, okay, so thank you very much for participating. Who is it that you need to meet now? They would tell us, the three people we don't know. Anyone, everyone or someone who would buy my stuff, right? And so I'm like, okay, that doesn't work. That does not work, I need you to be a little bit more specific. And they would struggle with that even. And they would go into the verticals of, accountants and attorneys and this type of thing. And I said, well, tell me about your last 10 invoices. Tell me about your last 10 jobs that you've filled out, and where they were and how much they were and for who they were. So I can get a direction on how to help you with that. And then throughout all of that culminated what I call the Rob Thomas method, which is a simplistic way to identify, refine, maximize and really nurture your network because people whether you own your own business or you are in a business to sell. They're always told by managers or colleagues, here's some business cards. Go. Just go out and network. Go to a cocktail party and just do it.
Russ Johns 4:12
Anywhere you can reach.
Rob Thomas 4:14
Well, right? And it's like throwing it against the wall and see if it'll stick. No, no, it doesn't. So they always end up showing up and throwing up all over people, like here's my card, here's my card. No, nobody wants that. They didn't ask you for your card. Please do it when I asked you for your card. So that's been the biggest challenge. Because networking, they're like it's a component of sales. You have your cold calling and your warm calling and all this kind of jazz. But no, just relax. Ask them good questions first and have a conversation. They might not like you. And they're not going to tell you that. So you need to ask good questions to find out whether any, any kind of chemistry is going to exist at all.
Russ Johns 5:01
Yeah, it's interesting, especially right now there's a lot of people testing the entrepreneurial waters, and they have a skill, they may be currently not employed with a regular employer, and they're going out there and they're stretching their boundaries. I think this is great information to know because you have to be very focused in who you're looking for, otherwise, if you're searching for everyone, you're going to find no one. And it's really important for us to understand that the more focused you become, the more successful you are at finding those individuals. And it seems counterproductive. It seems counterintuitive, and it's really not because and I want to dig into this a little bit, Rob, because one of the challenges I find is the narrowing down enough. I like the analogy, give me the last 10 invoices. Sometimes, especially when people are in transition, they don't have the last 10 or the last 10 invoices they've received may not be the next 10 invoices they want to chase. So we have to kind of go through this process and networking in diners I think allows people to think outside the box and really create, with Rob Thomas system, a new kind of philosophy and how they think and through this process,what's the thought process I need to approach with my business? How do I need to break it down in order to accomplish my goals? So talk a little bit about how someone might approach that next step of like, okay, let me sit down and really think about how to identify my next 10 connections or a list of my hot one hundred or whatever it happens to be, and talk about that philosophy as it relates to what your experience has been.
Rob Thomas 7:07
Yeah, absolutely. So what I had to do was to figure out how good my network really was. Be it either I to them or them to me, I had to figure that out. I had to call down, let's say, a list of 1000 contacts, and I used LinkedIn as a guide. So from that, I would call them down to 100 and 100, down to 50 and 50 down to 20. And it was that last 20 to 10 because I love David Letterman years ago. So I'm all about top 10 lists and it's easy that it's just bite size and it's just easy. Top 10. So who are your top 10? Your go to contacts that you have. What are you talking about? Like how do we get that? Well, so there's a way to rate those contacts and we don't need a scale of one to 10. It's a one to four. So to be able to scale that and prioritize those different humans, that have been good to us or we've been good to them professionally, because I'm a firm believer that if you've got family and friends and LinkedIn, and you haven't discussed business with them, swipe them out. They don't deserve to be in LinkedIn, and it's okay. Just send them to another piece of social, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, it's fine. But when I give talks that I talk about that people think it's tantamount to killing the human. I'm killing a man of LinkedIn. I'm like, no, it's just another aspect. If people can get really focused about that. Now for networking in diners, a structured networking group, on a business to business aspect, you've got to be fluent enough, not really the pitch but you've got to be fluent, to be able to say who you are what you do. Who is it that would be an ideal client for you? Who would pay you for what you do? Who would pay you? Who are those different verticals that don't sell to you and you don't sell to them? Who's calling you? Who's emailing you and saying, I need you to talk to my client about this because they just don't get it? Then finally coming up with Who do you need to meet. Now, I didn't say who do you want to meet? I want to meet, Jeff Bezos, but I need to meet the head of Amazon Web Services, Andrew Jassie. I need to meet Andrew. I don't necessarily need to meet Jeff, but I would want to, so that's where I got that. People need to be focused and I needed to do it, it isn't like I just kind of like, oh, you need to do this and that. No, I had to do it to figure it out.
Russ Johns 10:12
And the beauty of that, Rob, is that when you do it, it's almost that you eliminate 80% of the noise in your world, because you have a very clear focus. I want people in the pirate community to really hear this because it's important to understand and I've struggled with it over the years, and I know so many other business owners have struggled with it over the years. Who is it that I want to do business with? Who is it that I want to approach my business with? Sometimes imposter syndrome kicks in and you're thinking, well, I'm not ready for that. Richard Branson always said, if you have an opportunity show up in your lap, take it and figure out how to get it done. There's a lot of truth in that. Also, you want to make sure that you're providing the best value possible. So it's this combination of balance, and I think boiling it down or, kind of trimming down the list and focusing in on that top 20 and just start having a conversation with that top 10 or top 20 or top 100 and just engaging because LinkedIn is such a valuable tool for engaging with individuals. Reaching out, making comments, having a conversation online is much easier. What I've discovered along the way, it's not as difficult as some people make it to have a conversation with some people. Is that your experience Rob?
So the kicker about all of this, all good points, so the kicker about all of this is most of us always want to show up and throw up. Okay? And that's considered sales in their world, right? And then creating relationships wants to go in reverse and I needed to learn this. I needed to ask good questions of my contacts first, before I could tell them anything that was happening with me. That exercise reveals something I call, the organic switch. Because organically, my contact then in the middle of those questions will say okay, stop. Stop with it Stop. Tell me I appreciate you asking me about me. Respect.
Rob Thomas 12:48
Tell me now, about you. Where are you in the process? Are you in transition? Are you not? Are you launching a new business? Where are you? Wait a minute. Organically, they said deep inside to themselves, I like Russ. I like him. So I want to now ask him more questions. They're not obligated,we're forcing them to connect with us. So the kicker about that is, well, they want to find out more about us. That bumps them up the scale automatically and organically. I'm not forcing you to do that. The bad news is we're gonna kiss a lot of frogs, a lot of frogs. Because we think these people are just, we got to have them. We got to have them in our network. I can't let them go. I gotta have them. No, actually you don't, because you can get into a conversation and they will talk your ear off for about an hour and they're done. That's been the real poignant aspect of where networking has taken me. I teach the how, but how to go get that? How to do that? There was no manual, I mean, sure there is sales stuff out there and Zig Ziglar. But in my opinion I was making sense.
Russ Johns 14:20
Well, we could spend a lot of time in conversation. Ultimately, building relationships, I think, is is valuable because if you stay top of mind, in your network and this is my philosophy in a lot of ways, is if you stay top of mind and you're visible, and people know what you do, and who you help and how you help them, references, referrals, people say, hey, talk to Russ or talk to Rob, he could probably introduce you to somebody that you need to know. It's valuable, it's an added value that you can you can bring to the table. It doesn't always bring direct business to you or myself. It does, though, bring the relationship to the to the community. I think being visible in that respect is important. You have to kind of separate it because there's a lot of people that want your time and they want to be able to use or know something or meet somebody andmthey're they're making withdraws instead of deposits. You know what I'm saying?
Rob Thomas 15:36
Oh, absolutely and there's a lot of those folks out there, they just kind of don't know. When we get down to good questions and ask them stuff about them, then we kind of really find out the poignant pieces about their background and who is it they're really trying to get to know and connect with. Absolutely.
Russ Johns 15:59
I want to bring a couple of the community members here and some of the pirates that are here. Wendy's in the room, she says good morning pirates. Hiett Ives, he's going to be a future pirate. He's out over in Houston, so he's a great connection to have. Olivia, always wonderful to have you in the room. Hi, morning, Russ and Rob watching from Jacksonville. Thank you so much for being here. Donnie Ray. Good afternoon from Germany. Thank you, Danny for being here. Russ. I completely agree networking and connection are the key. Russ, appreciate you and thank you so much for being here. Who do you need to meet? Absolutely. Let's actually bring that into the room. So you can reach Rob at RobThomas.usa.com. All of the connection links, his book, all of his information is right there. So if you need to meet Rob Thomas, you can go there right now. Or after the show. Just wait. We've got more to come. Don't run away. So thank you so much. Olivia is saying join in Nancy Gaskins, let's connect partner and profit. Debby, with a Y, McKinney. I'm not going to try to butcher her name. Karen. Kathy. Bruce, thank you so much. Olivia, I really appreciate the shout out. Rob Thomas USA, Rob Thomas book. Who do you need to meet?
Rob Thomas 17:37
Wow, she is a good pirate, huh?
Russ Johns 17:39
She's a great pirate. tThis is the kind of community that everybody would really love to have. It's really engagement. Engagement is awesome on LinkedIn, especially with the #piratebroadcast, I've been able to reach out to many people featured on the live, meet other people who are commenting, too. This is on a podcast as well. If you haven't subscribed to the YouTube channel or the podcast or russjohns.com. Go there and you can see all of the information there. Meet and Greet Monday's fantastic for networking here too. Fantastic. When we hear about a need, we mentally check out contact lists for a referral, check our contact list for referral. Yeah. Sherry Lolly. She's awesome at doing networking and reaching out. So I just want to highlight this Rob, as an example of how much value the community can bring to each other. You have a networking group, talk a little bit about your networking group and how it operates and who it's for, and who might be interested in maybe getting involved in this, no.
Rob Thomas 19:02
Thank you very much. years ago, I had to figure out as a salesperson, how I was going to get the decision makers out of their office. Because 70's and 80's sales stuff would always teach us that we have to go meet the decision makers in their office, see the picture of Johnny and the baseball bat and the glove and all this, where you traveled for vacation. With the onset of, not only social media, I have casual conversations, which is like a happy hour, which you attended...I believe it was a couple weeks ago.
Russ Johns 21:07
Highly recommended, by the way.
Rob Thomas 21:09
Yeah, it was just fun, right? So although I'm in a jacket and collared shirt here, we just kind of relax. Because all those three different ways or ways that we identify and how we network to ourselves, we may not like the structure. So I want to sit back and watch the speaker, but there are other people there. Let's get out in the chat. We'll make a connection. I've now since taken that, since June anyway, nationwide, virtual nationwide. So I've got people from Colorado and Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona that are participating. And that is really, really neat. This is nothing new, Rob. people have been doing this since the dawn of man or the dawn of zoom. Okay, great. I just got to the party. That's fine. I'm here and now we're really trying to engage people. I think for an inexpensive cost to participate, it's really neat. The big kicker is that it's a business to business philosophy. I'm not necessarily the retail or consumer minded. So although they're fine professions, your electricians and your plumbers and your residential realtors are fine, fantastic humans making gobs of money. I'm not interested in that for networking and diners. I'm interested in the business to business folks. So that when I asked you, who you need to meet, you will give me a person's name or a vertical title of a company where you need to get in.
Russ Johns 22:52
I think that's where I could spend a little time, personally and think about, okay, I need to get into...I mean, it's really important to...the riches are in the niches, as they say.
Rob Thomas 23:12
Russ Johns 23:13
What I do with #thepiratesyndicate and help people live stream and get their voice out there and create content, is fairly universal. It can be. However, I think I would be better served to find an industry that is really starving for that support and that assistance and then go in there and master this process for them and benefit them in a way that exceeds all expectations. So that's great advice. That's great feedback, Rob. I really appreciate the fact that we had an opportunity to connect. I'm really appreciative that you're here, by the way.
Rob Thomas 23:56
Thank you. It's good to see you. Yeah, absolutely.
Russ Johns 23:59
So what do we want to do in the next six to eight months? Business to businesses is rather unique. Any specific tips or strategies you use on LinkedIn to identify individuals or, just some day to day real world feedback?
Rob Thomas 24:26
I didn't know where we were, we were going to take LinkedIn because it can be such a broad topic. Sure. I've learned from the best like Mark Halpern out there. What I suggest to people and suggestion really equals mandate when we're talking about connecting on LinkedIn. It's a minimum requirement, that when you're going to reach out to another contact, whom you don't know or you may know, and you were asked or introduced or referred to, always make sure that you send a personal note with that invitation on LinkedIn. Under no circumstances, should anyone ever just click the connect button. I never endorsed that whatsoever because it's just so, quite frankly, cheesy and it's simple for you. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about doing the work and making the effort. A simple note of 300 characters is not going to stretch you out. Susan, Russ suggested that you and I connect with each other. The reason why is this, that, or the other. Let's find a way to zoom together or what have you. I don't believe in cold calling. I don't believe in sending mass LinkedIn messages. I don't believe in those things. Networking equals connecting, well, we may not always be a connection for each other. Business to business talks about identifying those different verticals or those titles of those businesses. Who do you need to meet? Well, I need to meet the Chief Marketing Officer of Verizon Wireless, as an example Those types of things. That I find more focused.
Russ Johns 26:19
Hiett Ives said, Rob, I'm calling you post show to talk about synergy for our programs. Hiett, by the way, would be a great connection because he's been involved and engaged in a lot of expos and events and bringing a lot more conversations to the table. He's been a professional networker for years, and it would probably be beneficial for you guys to talk. So without having an introduction, I can provide an introduction and let you guys know that that would be a good combination. Hiett is actually scheduled to be on the show, as well. I've known Hyatt for years from Houston. It would be great to have a conversation, I think.
Rob Thomas 27:07
Russ Johns 27:09
Gabriel is here. Gabriel. Good morning, gentlemen and fellow pirates. Petros Awesomeness. Slaptagz. Sherry, identify your target avatar, as Greg Waslick says. Fantastic. That's a great idea. Take time to read the profile. Don't ask them to fill out a book report to connect, say no to unsolicited homework. I think that's great advice. Any thoughts on that? Rob?
Rob Thomas 27:44
Absolutely. So part of my method when you are going to go now, after you've identified that contact, you've connected and you set up a separate zoom call or what have you. I always encourage my clients to do the research. Go to their LinkedIn profile and find three different things about them that you thought was kind of interesting. Then I use an acronym called f.o.u.r. and I have people f.o.r.m. the individual and ask them good questions. You're not going to just show up to some kind of connection meeting, without having done some cursory research about them because it shows respect. This is about professional respect. Stop with the, oh, I just saw we would connect because we've got some great people in our network or we order...
Russ Johns 28:32
42 people we're connected. Mutual connections is not a good reason. One of my favorite tools that I got to give a shout out to Ruben and the team over is dub because like, I shoot alot of personalized videos and I share them out with people that I've just that have reached out or I've connected with or something. We found a reason to make a connection. And I'll shoot a quick video and a lot of times, I'll send it out. That has made the difference in a lot of experiences for people in the relationship and removing the roadblocks of how we connect. LinkedIn is great because from a phone, you can leave a voice message and a lot of people still don't use that. You can actually record a video just native in in LinkedIn, as well. There's a lot of ways to do the research, do the homework, ask the good questions, and make sure that you're engaging in a way that invites a conversation to take place. I think these are all great advice. Rob, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate you and everything you're doing in the community. I encourage people to go to RobThomasusa.com. I can't believe you got that domain.
Rob Thomas 28:58
Yeah, I don't have RobThomas.com for obvious reasons, the singer of Matchbox 20 there. I had CT for a while and then I got a couple clients outside of Connecticut, so I went USA. Now, my good friend, Paul, who helps me through all these trials and tribulations, as well as my good friend, Ramon, are helping me discover and get ready for Rob Thomas International.
Russ Johns 30:30
Oh, fantastic. That's exciting. That is exciting. Well, I love the pirate community. I love the interaction we have. We're not here to shout and shine and do anything beyond have a great community of people that are willing to put a little kindness in the world. #Kindnessiscool. #smilesarefree. And you have to understand that this is the way that we can improve the world around us and make things a little better and making those connections and making those introductions in helping people out will never be frowned upon. Any last words of wisdom you want to share with the community, Rob?
Rob Thomas 31:26
No, I'm just very grateful and thankful that you're able to have me as part of the pirate community. I'm wondering, do I get a hat? Do I get a pirate hat? Am I a pirate now? Is there a separate fee if...
Russ Johns 31:41
You are officially a pirate.
Rob Thomas 31:43
What happens now? I'm going to need a pirate hat, I think.
Russ Johns 31:47
You'll probably receive some connection requests or some introductions or phone calls or something like that. You might even gets some business out of it. I appreciate you and thank you so much. Take care...
Rob Thomas 32:02
Russ Johns 32:02
everyone in the pirate community and like I said, #kindnessiscool. #smilesarefree, and you, #enjoytheday. Thanks, Rob.
Rob Thomas 32:14
Russ Johns 32:19
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