Why Networking is SO Important For Plumbing Companies
[Joe]: Good morning, good morning, good morning and welcome again to Ask The Experts on Talk Radio 1190. It’s the beginning of the month again and that means that we have a bit of a doubleheader going on for baseball fans. Roger Wakefield, Expert Plumber of Texas Green Plumbing is back with us again. Www.texasgreenplumbing.com, a way to get in touch with him. Also, you can try the phone if your next to one (972)-442-4101. He also brings with him Jeff Lindigrin the Vice President of Happiness at Great Western Home Loans. You can find them www.gwloans.com or at (972)-407-9900. So, let’s talk about – oh go right ahead, yes sir.
[Jeff]: Joe, I just want to say I appreciate you going retro on the “www”. [Joe]: Absolutely! I could I could even go all the way back and do the “http://” I don’t even think you have to do that anymore.
[Roger]: On the “world wide web”.
[Joe]: Absolutely, yeah. Talking about the web, let’s talk about networking with Realtors. How did you get started doing that, Roger?
[Roger]: My wife is a etiquette and protocol consultant she owns a company called JW Etiquette, and she actually teaches people how to get out and network and, you know, networking is great for a lot of businesses. Her business is one that people don’t realize every day: hey I need etiquette and protocol training.
[Joe]: Absolutely. hand up, right here.
[Roger]: Most people need it and they just don’t realize it.
[Joe]: Two hands up right here!
[Roger]: So plumbing is a little bit different. She kept trying to get me to go out networking I kept saying: honey look this is not working for you. You get some calls every now and then but this, just I can’t see going out every week just to get a call once a month right and don’t get me wrong when she gets a call once a month it’s a big call. But she talked me into it and one night we went out to a happy hour networking event and I told her before I got there I said: I’m going to walk in and we’re going to separate. I do not want to hang out with you. Nothing against you, but I’m here to work
so you let me do my deal, you do your deal and let’s see how it goes. When we left two and a half three hours later, she looks at me in the car she says: oh my God. Every time I look up you’ve got a crowd of people around you and you’re waving your arms in the air and you’re talking and you’re just you’re going on and on. Yeah and she says what are you talking about? I said: plumbing. and she said: plumbing? I said: that’s what – they’d ask me what I do and then they all have questions and that’s where I go.
[Jeff]: Same exact thing happened to me only I didn’t take my wife with me or even an ex-wife. When I started doing doing this for Greg Western Home Loans about five years ago, I started networking with Realtors and other mortgage people and everybody and several folks from the company would want to go with me and I said: sure, you’re welcome, come on. So I go and I’m working the room. I didn’t take a class but, I didn’t talk with these guys and I was going: where are they? and I finally found them and they were talking in a corner with themselves. They were not interacting with other people and they said: Jeff come hang out with us. “No man, I’m working. all right?” You’ve got to go touch everybody there, you know? And you’re right, not everybody gets it. New people do, you know? I’m guessing, you know, less than 20% of the folks that go to networking parties are actually networking the entire event.
[Roger]: It’s funny because I’ll watch people at events now and you see a man and wife that come in together and they’re together the entire night.
[Joe]: Yeah, absolutely.
[Roger]: Half the night it’s just them standing there talking to each other. It’s like: wait y’all are here to network and this is what you call this.
[Jeff]: Well when I went on my first date when I was 16 my mom said “hey whatever you do don’t leave her side.” You know, it was social at the church. She was shy and boring, in fact I was shy back then as well. So I just stood there with her you know, God it wouldn’t – I wanted to go talk with my buddies but yeah. So yeah we’re trained to stay with your
wife or husband, significant other
[Joe]: Just anybody that’s with you socially, it feels like they’re kind of your safety blanket in this room full of people don’t know.
[Jeff]: Well you know, Joe, Roger is one of those people. He is a safety blanket for someone like me because he’s very entertaining and energy and positive all the time and that’s fun. However you got to go talk to the boring people too. Well I mean they all need business and exposure in business and in your plan. So the more you can interact with the more people, the more business you’re going to do. It’s just that simple.
[Roger]: And the good thing is when you do have a safety net like that, Jeff is great the first time I was at Great Western Home Loans at the event, he’s like: Roger do you know so-and-so? Do you know so-and-so? Do you know so-and-so? and he’s – the good thing about a good networker, we’re not there for us and I know that sounds crazy. If I help introduce Jeff to 50 people Jeff is going to say: oh my God I want to introduce Roger to 100 people, this has been great for me and to be honest that that’s really what it is. When I meet people, I’m not going to connect with everybody and I may meet someone and think: okay this person that I may never do business together, but I need to introduce them to so-and-so and that’s always in my mind. Because if I can help someone else – like I said, I’m not just there to help me and then going back to what Jeff said about taking people, I’ve taken some of my plumbers to networking events and they come back and they won’t tell me they’re like: oh no that was fun, I enjoyed that. They come back and tell Julie: I’m not Roger. I cannot do that.
[Jeff]: Yeah it’s not for everybody and a lot of folks would say: yeah I went to that but I didn’t get anything out of it, you know? It’s not a one-and-done thing. Networking is a full-time business. When I went to Kroger last night, I was networking. This morning when I mowed my new neighbors yard I was networking. Because everywhere I go, you know, somehow it comes up what I do for a living. You know, yeah I have a cool job title: VP of Happiness. There’s a great story behind that but I can’t tell it on the air. But, you know, I mean you just got to be you know fun and just see the positive in folks, not the negative. Focus on all that and man, because they’re going to remember you, and gosh, I’m bad at remembering names, Joe. I remembered yours because it’s Joe when I wrote it down three times. But people always say: hey, Jeff how you doing man? “I’m sorry” and I’m too honest I’ll go “I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name” you know? And a lot of people are good at faking it: hey! you know, the voice goes up at the octaves but the more people you meet, more friends you make. Social, Facebook, be my friend, all of that, it matters, you know? And that’s how you grow business.
[Joe]: Do you feel like you’ve always had that that approach to networking? That it’s just an everywhere you go type of thing?
[Jeff]: When I’m drinking! No.
[Roger]: Like you said you were networking at Kroger. I eat lunch at or ate lunch at Lockhart’s Barbecue in Plano yesterday and you know, there’s a line and the guy from behind me is with Plano Independent School District, special education instructor. Lady in front of me was a technician and had several engineers there for lunch with her and we’re all talking and she starts talking about: well I bought a house that was built in ’83 so I have issues and my neighbors across the street had a big pile of dirt in their yard and it I don’t know what it is about being a plumber it it gets back to plumbing. “Oh by the way I’ve got a question” and I’m fine with that. I love it.
[Jeff]: Well you like barbecue, Lockhart’s is known for their burnt ends and I need to go back there, I’ve been there a few times but they’re great. Plumbing and eating…
[Roger]: It’s an inlet-outlet type deal.
[Joe]: There’s some sort of connection there I feel like.
[Jeff]: When Roger and I go and eat and talk about business, we talk about social media not really plumbing because I I can’t separate the…
[Roger]: Speaking of social media and we talked about YouTube while ago and Facebook, I literally got invited to go to a pop-up for LinkedIn and LinkedIn sent the LinkedIn video people, and it’s not like that call you get every week: hey I’m with Google I want to help you. It’s like: okay just Google sign your paycheck? Well no, sorry but okay then. I work with Google to I write on my check every now and then. But LinkedIn video actually brought people from New York down and said: look we want to you things that people are doing on LinkedIn video now and then we want to teach you how to do LinkedIn video better and gain traction and here’s what we’re working on with hashtags and ampersands and all this and they’re trying to grow it and myself, Will my video guy, Julie my wife, who runs the office so I guess she’s really my boss, I didn’t say that. Cut that. Anthony, cut that. Yeah, it’s gone now. Anyway the thing is we got asked to be part of a Dallas LinkedIn video network and oh my God there are some amazing people here doing some great things and anybody who’s not on LinkedIn doing video and Jeff and I had this conversation before I went to a big marketing event a while back, video in social media whether it’s Facebook, Linkedin, it’s huge guys. If you’re not doing it, start thinking about it.
[Joe]: So we’re talking social media, we’re talking networking. Why did you get into this business, Jeff, you think into getting
into networking, social media?
[Jeff]: Great question Joe here’s the thing that I noticed immediately when I – I’ve been in the mortgage business for, goodness 17 years, but when I started doing networking and marketing the first thing I noticed is the real estate industry they have a lot of events all the time but they are somewhat exclusive, okay? They’ll have these, excuse me, four or five, six sponsors, you know? They’re doing a happy hour, they need somebody to split the tab basically. So the affiliates, the mortgage companies, the insurance agents, the title companies, the plumber, the inspector, the plumber, they’re all pitching in to, you know, split the tab and then if you’re not the lender or the plumber well you you are not welcome to go to the happy hour. Well I I said to heck with that, right? So I put on events and I said: look, everybody’s welcome, alright? And so I will go to their events too but I will I’ll pick up my own tab. I would never want someone else to get mine. So what I did is, well there’s a young people network, young professional network and it’s exclusive it’s open to realtors, but it’s exclusive to these members in our industry that are a part of it. So I created the cool people Network, CPM, so in this this is how Roger got in.
[Roger]: Yeah because I’m not allowed at the young people network.
[Jeff]: So you’re invited if you’re cool, if you want to be cool or in Rogers case, if you used to be cool. Yeah.
[Joe]: I believe we’re supposed to cut that as well.
[Roger]: I noticed Anthony stepped away.
[Jeff]: No but so it started out the first one we did was a crawfish boil and we had about 200 people and I do the cooking, that’s part of it. We have a live band, have a nice porta-potty out there… [Roger]: And Jeff can cook.
[Jeff]: Thank you, and then we did hamburgers, so then we stepped it up and we and we did pig roast in the fall, pig roast. Now we have 500 people there. Same cool band. Band is fun, they let us get up there and sing with them, and then we do beer can chicken, okay? Anyway we just do it in the back of the building out there, we’ve got a creek in the backyard, it’s a nice venue. I mean we could do it at a park. It doesn’t have – it could be anywhere. But it really we’ll only advertise it on social media and then everybody invites other people about it. I don’t care if every mortgage company in town comes, okay? That’s a great opportunity for us to show them about us and how friendly we are in our business and maybe they’ll come work for us. Every realtor is invited, every plumber’s invited, every electrician, you know. There’s no exclusion, okay? And like at first I said everybody bring a case of beer. That’s your price, you know, as a sponsor.
[Joe]: Do you feel, how do you guys feel that that going to these has has increased what you guys do? Because I really like the idea of this big community of businesses working together for this.
[Roger]: I love it, it’s really helping me a lot and you can ask Jeff in a minute. I’m part one of the sponsor groups he talks about where you know there’s one plumber, there’s one home inspector, there’s one insurance guy, and we do. We split the tab between ten of us that’s Dallas Elite Real Estate Group and we invite every realtor we know. Jeff is friends with the home mortgage specialists and so there’s no issue there and the neat thing is there’s not a lot of other trades. I’ve never seen another electrician, I’ve never seen an HVAC person, I’ve never seen – I have seen roofers because they’re their own breed but plumbers, HVAC people, electricians you just, there’s not a lot of those that go to events like this.
[Jeff]: You are the only plumber I’ve ever seen at a real estate event.
[Joe]: Do you think that they’re just not invited or they just don’t come because they don’t know or…
[Jeff]: Well they’re probably at home counting their money.
[Roger]: I don’t have any to count, so that’s easy.
[Jeff]: Roger’s got people hired to do that. No, it requires out-of-the-box thinking. Roger is that, okay? Most folks in business like that can’t get out of the box, okay? You know we’ve been doing it this way so long we’re gonna keep doing it this way.
[Joe]: So we have got plenty left in our doubleheader with Roger Wakefield, The Expert Plumber of Texas Green Plumbing and Jeff Lindigrin, the Vice President of Happiness at Great Western Home Loans. Don’t go anywhere, this is Ask The Experts on Talk Radio 1190.