Exchange valuable referrals.
The guest here today is Frank Agin, President and Founder of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of the podcast Networking RX.
AmSpirit Business Connections is a membership based organization that brings together entrepreneurs, sales reps and professionals. Every week a meeting takes place where everyone learns about each other and develops relationships. Through this, his clients make referrals with each other and everyone benefits.
Hear more about the weekly sessions that bring entrepreneurs together and more in this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we've got Frank Agin and and Frank, you are the president and founder of AmSpirit business connections on the web at AmSpirit.com. Thank you so much for joining us. Well, thanks for having me, Josh. From a high level, what does am spirit do?
We are a for profit membership based organization, we bring together entrepreneurs, sales reps and professionals into a weekly meeting setting where they learn about each other. Exchange oil, develop relationships, that's the big thing. And through that they exchange referrals.
Yeah. And so, again, someone may be familiar with DNI, how would you just, you know, how would you describe the culture, the environment, you know, what does, you know, a meetup generally look like, and if someone is familiar with maybe other organizations, anything that would be different, anything would differentiate it.
You know, it's hard for me to talk to differentiation, because I've never been in any other organization of mine. And I've, and this is all I know. But you know, the the weekly meetings and a lot of it's become virtual here and in the COVID days, but it will get back to weekly meetings. And, you know, people are coming together, and you're meeting with the same people week after week, and you're really developing an affinity for these people, do you, when you meet with that realtor, you want to help that person because you, you like them, you can't help but like them, and that's really kind of the, that's really kind of the secret sauce is just you develop these relationships with with people,
you know. So, you know, so I guess my experience with that, who's like an ideal fit for membership,
for membership, you're looking at the people who are what I call driving a bottom line, they, you know, they, you know, I, I teach realtors, you could make 100 phone calls, and unless you sell a house, you're not getting paid. So you want the people who are really responsible for bringing in the clients and making sure that the whole experience is successful. So it's, it's your realtors, it's your mortgage lenders, it's your insurance agents, it's your accountants, that your attorneys that your smaller businesses, you know, the president of the local manufacturing companies, not a good fit, because they're not really focused on sales, necessarily.
Mm hmm. So in terms of like, Where am spirit is like, Where are chapters how you've been doing this a while,
I have a we have 17 franchisees out there and we continue to expand through franchising. In eight different states. It really kind of spans the United States. I've got chapters down in Phoenix, Arizona, I guess, technically Scottsdale, and then chapters as far east as South Carolina and Massachusetts. So it's a lot in Ohio, where we're based, but we're really starting to spread out. And when you began am spirit, way back when and when was that? Well, I joined a chapter in 1995. I was an attorney, struggling attorney and private practice trying to make a go of business. And that's how I found it. So and and so then you became the you became the president. Well, so. So you were you're the founder, or how does that work? Well, yeah, I was just, I was a member of an organization had a different name, I became its first franchisee, okay. And I was first franchisee of really kind of a nothing territory. And I said a year we were number one. And within three years, we were bigger than more than 50% of the operations and woman who had founded it. She was based out of Pittsburgh, I'm in Columbus, Ohio. And we had a conversation and she just she was in her 60s. She's like, I want to start cashing out and I said, Well, how about if I buy you out and part of the deal was changing the name to am spirit business connection. So technically, there was an organization before me. People call me the founder. Because it's a heck of a lot easier. That whole story. They call me the founder and the amster been around since 2004.
Yeah, why do referrals work? Why do they work better than, say cold advertising?
Well, the reason referrals work is because when somebody gives you a referral, if I refer you to somebody, I go to my neighbor and say, Listen, I'm gonna have Josh give you a call, he does whatever fill in the blank, I'm gonna have him give you a call, because you mentioned you needed that. When you call, when you call my neighbor, you're borrowing my trust, my neighbor, trust me, or my friend or my client, trust me. And so that's going to give you a leg up on the person that they're calling out of the Yellow Pages, those still exist, they just don't get used or called off a Google search, or just somebody cold calling. You're borrowing my trust, and that's not going to guarantee you the business. But it's going to, it's certainly going to accelerate the trust that you build with them and improve the odds that you'll get that opportunity.
Yeah. I mean, I couldn't agree more. And I think that, you know, in terms of like how consumers behave today, we're, that's that's especially decision makers with successful companies. It's entirely based on relationships. And so I'm curious, though, because I mean, I have gone to, you know, we have a couple of organizations that, that I've gone to one is a military veterans business owner group, and I personally didn't have a real great experience with it. In what ways do you see groups, you know, networking groups not thrive very well. And then in what's like a perfect environment where where everyone just seems to win?
Well, I think the problem is, and we're not problem proof, right? I have good, everything's got good, and it's got bad. The problem comes in is when people really try to push the sale. I had a conversation with a guy yesterday, met him for the first time in his mind, we're networking, and all of a sudden, we need to do business. And it's like, slow down, right? Yeah, we do business with those we know we like and we trust. And that's not something that was born out of the 80s, or the 90s. That's something that's just part of the human, the, you know, the human DNA that really hold over for thousands and thousands of years. Yeah. And when people try to push the sale too quickly, they sort of violate the trust. And that's probably I wasn't with you when you
met. That's exactly what happened with me. And I'm like, Look, I appreciate you guys. But like, you know why there's a water softener sales guy, some insurance sales guy. And unfortunately, and I think a lot of that comes down to as a leader, you have to set the culture. And I think it was just a newer organization where Yeah, you know, I just don't think that the leader was just quite aware of, you know, how important the experience is for a new person, you know, so it's kind of like, I felt like, you know, someone new coming in the front door, it was kind of like fresh meat. And like, so the commission sales, you know, guys were getting him.
What, what, Josh, what people need to keep in mind is, is that we love to buy, right? We love to shop, we do love to buy, we don't want to be sold. And that's the difference. That's the difference. And so, what networking needs to be about, is you establishing trust you adding value to the world, hey, this is what I do. I'm doing you know, I've got a podcast, I share information I I, I, I refer people to others. I make introductions, and then when people decide that they want to buy, you know what, I need a car. I know, Steve, I'm gonna go to Steve because I trust Steve. Yeah, I don't need Steve coming at me saying, Hey, you know what, your car doesn't have that new car smell you need a new one. So that's really what we need to be doing with networking is just kind of putting ourselves out there and waiting for people to really have that, that need. And they do, they will have the need. Selling too soon. To me is kind of like it's like saying I love you on a first date. Yeah, like,
Yeah, you did much.
Yeah, no, that's exactly it. That's exactly it. And I, I use dating as the analogy a lot of times because it you know, people get that if I've got that salesperson, they're being too pushy. I will say, you know, did you propose your wife on your first date? And they'll laugh and they'll say, well, that's what this feels like, Can we get to know each other? You know, can we write we just truly have a cup of coffee. And I will tell people, and I, I try to use this approach when I'm meeting people for the first time. Listen, tell me about yourself. I might not be a good client for you. But If I learned about you, I might stumble upon somebody who is so quick, the wall is going to go up, and I'm just going to walk away. But if you take your time with me, and really kind of explain what you're looking for, I might buy from you one day. But I'm in a position to refer you. And that's probably the more powerful thing in time.
I completely agree. Think of this, just say you're a real estate professional. And you have 500 400 500 people in your local community, that when somebody ever mentions, hey, I need a realtor, and your name is always top of mind for that four to 500 people. Yep, you're invincible business wise, you're set for life, you are set for life, it's about I think it's about how many people recognize you, as someone who solves that particular problem, whatever that thing is that you do. And so, you know, I think a lot of us, especially when in I've been there, and I know exactly what that's like, you know, when, you know, you need to make revenue, like you're just not earning enough right now, or you're in commission sales, you're not going to get that bonus, you know, blah, blah, blah, whatever that might be. I know what it's like to kind of get that sales breath. And, and it's, it's a horrible way of doing business. So it's kind of like, Look, as much as your your company's compensation plan, or whatever it might be, might not be structured this way. If you can play the long game in this, and just spend it, I've talked to people, you know, who have built, you know, 678 figure businesses, and at the beginning, they that's all they were just really they were just building, their goal was to build 1000 relationships, regardless if they bought because what I find his Franca, a no is almost never a no, it's not me or not now, exactly. ration. And so if you think of it in that way, in and your goal, again, is just to get people to know who you are what you do, and just have them like you, you'll be a likable person, like a generous giving person, you know, with your time and attention and your interest. And, and another thing, Frank, you know, just kind of thinking about this, and I'm sorry to this, you're the guest sorry,
you don't need me, and you're doing great and guilty.
I forget who it was it said it right. I think it was a maybe a Dale Carnegie but, you know, strive to be interested, and not interesting, you know, be interested in other people, because people love to be recognized for what they do, or their genius or you know, you know, their contribution. And if you can make someone feel amazing, because you genuinely like them and, and care about what they do. And you give them the opportunity to share what they're so passionate about. And that's that's the secret, in my opinion to investing in great relationships.
No, it absolutely is. And a part of that is I tell people find ways to help others outside of what you sell. People will say, Well, I give to my clients that give them a great discount. No, that's good business. It's not giving to them. Yeah, you know, so if you're a, you know, if you're a mortgage lender, getting somebody the best rate is part of what you do, finding them, the perfect realtor to help them to find the best house goes above and beyond, you know, helping them find the person who can get their house painted. Or, you know, those are the things that go above and beyond what you sell. And there's, you know, there's a ton of opportunities to do those sorts of things. And the people I see are the most successful are really in tune to that they're they're looking for ways to help people. And 95% of the time it's not something that they do. Yeah, but like you said, when a need comes up there top of the list. Hmm.
And that's key. If someone is serving in the leadership capacity with with am spirit or they're going to be a franchise location, you know, they're gonna run a location. Yeah. Are there any books that you ever recommend?
I mean, there's tons of books I yeah.
I wrote a book foundation network.
Can you eat food Frank? And yes. Yeah, no. I'm like in the video if you're watching the video, Frank's got a huge Yeah, no library behind No.
Well, people People ask me what my favorite book is. And I always named mine. I'm like, Well, if it's not gonna be my favorite, it isn't gonna be but you know, outside of mine. The one I would read is Bob Berg's the go giver. I mean, it's just look at this.
Look at this. I don't hear this. Yeah, so I just set up. I don't I did. Sorry, Bob. This was not a paid placement for you. I'm like holding the book right now go sell more, which is the kind of the first one I This was I stumbled on cross it. You know, a couple of years ago, when we were in position where we were like, what do we do? How do we get more sales here? Like I do really well at events, I do really well speaking. But like, you know, I got all these sales funnel people, blah, blah, blah, you just got to advertise more. And I'm like, I don't know, man. I don't good clients out of that. But I do get it out of relationships. And I'm telling you what, you're absolutely right. That's it. You know, it's how much value can you deliver to, and you just gotta look at it. If you're not getting the sales you want. That means you need to, you need to talk to more people, and just Eve on, like, develop processes and systems so you can get and build, just invest in people, as many people as you possibly can. Sorry, I didn't mean,
no, you're right.
That's one of mine. Right there. Yeah.
Yeah. No, that's, I mean, you're, you're spot on. I mean, that's what needs to happen. And in, you know, back to the whole playing the long game, you know, if you're going to be in business for yourself, the first thing you need to do is set yourself up. So you can play that long game, you know, you can't see the desk I've got here. But when I started in the private practice of law, I worked for a really big firm, a very prestigious firm decided I want to do my own thing. I remember, this was January, December 31, of 1994. I went to officemax, with my wife, and bought a $29 table to use as my desk. And I figured to myself, you know what, I don't want to spend the money on anything other than that, because I just need to get my business going. One day when things are going really well. I will buy a desk. Well, I'm still using the same $29 table, and it works just fine. Right? But there I know so many people, I had a friend who similar thing. He started his own practice of law. He invested in a $3,000 desk, he had a $5,000 a month rent payment. He failed, because he just
he just wasn't telling us about No, he wasn't set up for the long game. So that's its key. Have you ever heard the expression? It's like, if you took a successful business person, and you took away their business, you took away their money, but all you let the only thing that you left them with is what they knew, and who they knew they'd be totally fine. Within a couple years. Totally fine. That's it. If that happened to me, no problem. I, you know, because of my work, that network, I think is one of the most valuable, it is the most valuable asset you can have.
Well, I'll even take one other thing from you. Yeah, I'll take away your network.
And Whoa, oh, right. No,
but I think you would be fine, right? Because you would, you know, you would figure it out. You don't you know how to do it, right? I'm just gonna, I'm in this country, it speaks English, that that would help. But I'm going to start, I'm going to get involved in the community, I'm going to figure this out. So you would be fine. And I think that's very true. Have you name a successful person?
What a cool reality show concept, right? Take a successful entrepreneur put him in a country, he's not allowed to communicate with anyone that he had previous relationship, every new, every relationship has to have been formed in that 12 month period. And then what happens by the end of that 12 months? Yeah, I mean, if they you know, if they were worth their like assault when it comes to networking, and they've achieved success with it. Yeah. I I'd be tempted. Maybe I will do that at some point. Yeah, after after a merger acquisitions, something with up my influence. Maybe that'll be my next thing. All right. So well, this is Frank, um, what is your book by the way? You, you you very professionally, you're like, wow, you know, I've got a book that I did. Don't worry about. ever got it? That was very cool of you. By the way. I gotta tell you, Frank, it's called foundational networking. Yep. And by Frank Reagan, let me tell you, that is the mark of someone who is successful. When you, you ask you give them a huge opportunity to self promote, and they dim your light that is someone who doesn't need the business and that instantly, like, I mean, I could just tell you, from an audience perspective, it's like, that's a classy that is kind of a classy guy, you know, as opposed to some people you know, and rightly so want to share their passion, their gift with the world. But I respect that little thing. I noticed Frank.
Well, thank you. Thank you. Well, I mean, it's I mean, it's, it's genuine Bob does a great job. And there are a lot of great people out there and right, not that I don't I take great pride in my work. Yes. But I think if I'm self, if, if my book if I pitch my book, it's just a pitch right? by me talking about Bob Berg's book is genuine. I'll let other people talk about my book and they do and so I'm not you know, it comes back to me.
So tell me again, I'm clicking on looking at in in Amazon right now foundational networking, building know like and trust to create a lifetime extraordinary success. Tell me a little bit about it. What you know, when I,
when I was writing the book, when I wanted to set I wanted to write a book, there were so many books out there, and they're good books, but they're very nuts and bolts, go to an event, do this, this and this. And I thought to myself, Josh, I know people who do all those things, and they're not successful. Mm hmm. Why? And it really comes down to their attitude. And their habits. Those two things. And that's really what I've focused on in the whole book is say, you know, it's your habits of, of how you carry yourself, I call it presence, your attitudes about yourself. I mean, nobody wants to hang out with a moped, right? So when you get out into the world, carry yourself, throw your shoulders back and and be that confident person, that's what you need to be. The second set of attitudes and habits I talked about, is I talked about altruism, you need to give, and it's not money, you just need to add value, add value to the rest of the world, somehow, someway. share information, make introductions, be encouraging, those are little things that don't cost anything. And then the last thing I talked about in the book is I talk about integrity, you've got to do the things you mean, you got to be reliable. And one of the things I'll say is, you know how zero times any number is zero, right? It doesn't matter how much talent you have. If you're unreliable, it's zero. That's the way I look at it. And so I talked about integrity in the book and that you need to have integrity. So having presence, being altruistic, and having a great deal of integrity, those are the things that create the foundational network. Beyond that, you don't even need to have a good 32nd commercial because you've you've set the table for yourself.
Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, Frank agan, your website is of course am spirit.com. And then also, your personal works are all available at Frank hagen.com. And Frank, for people that want to get more into your world, like what what would you recommend? Where would where would they go from here?
Well, you know, the best place to get a hold of me is through Frank reagan.com. Because my emails there, my LinkedIn is there, my Facebook's there, and I everybody communicates differently. I will, I will meet you on your terms. And so you know, certainly reach out to me, email me, I'm happy to set up a phone call and learn about people. I'm not pitchy, I don't sell anything, I want to learn about people. And I just figure that the more people, the more I help people, the more the more comes back to me, I believe in karma, right. It just, it just works. So that's kind of the best way to get a hold of me. All right,
Frank Agin. Again, you're the the founder and president of AmSpirit and again found on the web at AmSpirit.com and FrankAgin.com. That's A G I N.com. Frank, Frank, thank you so much. I was gonna say, Frankie, you, Frank, thank you so much for joining us.
Well, thank you for having me.
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