Networking for Your Business with David Duston
Networking for Your Business with David Duston
Transcription of Episode
Ryan Chapman: This is Ryan Chapman with Fix Your Funnel, and I'm excited to be with David Duston. We're going to be talking about a really important topic, which is kind of old school in some ways but is, from my opinion, one of the more powerful ways to create lasting relationships in business. So I'm excited to get talking, David.
David Duston: Hey Ryan, how are you doing man?
Ryan Chapman: It's my pleasure. To give people just a little context on who you are, it'd be kind of cool if you could share just in a couple minutes, what's your story? How did you get to this point of what we're going to be talking about, which is, you know, around networking?
David Duston: Yeah, I grew up in Mississippi of all places.
You know, it's a, it's a really cool childhood, but, always was interested in computers and things, and I'm a musician as well. And so I always hung out at the local music store and I took piano lessons all the way through college and, you know, got really interested in playing saxophone over the years. And so [00:01:00] now I'm a pretty avid saxophonist and pianist, and I play few other instruments too, but those are the main two. But, my career really kinda got started in the music business and music retail and learning how to sell in a little small town. And later on, I graduated to working in a much larger, music retail environment. And we didn't have the tools that we have now, today. I mean, everything was on, you know, slips of paper and post-its, a notebook and...
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: Remember such CRMs as ACT and it was really old. But, you know, you work with what you've got. And hindsight, if we had all this, man, we'd all be wealthy. But, you know, building relationships and maintaining those relationships was really important to me. And I always knew that golly, there's gotta be a way to do this, you know, or leverage a system electronically to do this. But, [00:02:00] never really found it really. But my wife and I decided to relocate to Dallas in 2007 and we very quickly got kind of plugged into our respective career paths. And one of the things that I decided I wanted to do was join a networking group so that I could start to meet other people. And the next thing I knew, I was helping to manage a little networking group. And there was a branded organization, that, you know, managed a lot of networking groups actually. So that was, that was kind of interesting. It evolved into me learning a lot about the power of, leveraging a networking group, but also the power of helping others, build their networking skills. And I started reading lots and lots of books. If you could see my office, it's a whole wall of shelves of just books. And. You know, I'm always looking for more material about self-empowerment and networking and things on this level so that we can [00:03:00] help people and inspire people to build their businesses through relationships. One of the things that happened probably about 2015, I realized that there's technology out there. And I had known of Infusionsoft for some number of years, but never really had a reason to get involved with it.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: That point where I was, and lo and behold, I had decided that I would move forward in a franchise model with an organization called team referral network. And that's based in Laverne, California. Well, they use Infusionsoft. So very quickly I got introduced to Infusionsoft and realized, hey, this is, this is kind of what I've been looking for.
Ryan Chapman: So as part of the franchise, they encouraged you to use infusion soft to build the, the franchise?
David Duston: That's correct.
Ryan Chapman: Wow.
David Duston: And, you know it was, really providential that it happened that way. And...
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: You know, a lot of [00:04:00] partners out there that I've talked to, they asked me how I became a partner, and they will tell you how I've said, I've kind of fell into it and didn't realize that that's what was happening. But it happened. And one of the things I very quickly realized is that if I became an Infusionsoft partner, not only could I build a business within the business of, of networking...
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: But I could help business owners, leverage Infusionsoft for helping them build their business, it's going to help me build my business quicker, faster, and more efficiently.
And it's gonna give me one more reason to talk to people and build a different, yet another level of relationship-building there.
Ryan Chapman: You've got this start into networking because you were a consumer of the product of networking, right?
David Duston: When I first moved to Dallas, I needed to network to learn kind of who's who and start to build relationships with other business owners and, you know, people that were selling various products and services.
Ryan Chapman: And that just kind of organically then evolved into you getting into a [00:05:00] position where you were leading an actual networking group under the team referral network.
David Duston: Yeah. And, that happened, later on and after I had been here in Dallas for a while, but, you know, when I realized that marrying the two, team referral network, the platform for networking, and Infusionsoft, and being able to help people with Infusionsoft now I've got two businesses that are feeding each other.
Ryan Chapman: I think people would be kind of interested in knowing how is it that you guys were using Infusionsoft in what seems like a person to person business, right?
David Duston: Well, automating the onboarding of a member was huge timesaver, you know, a lot of people that go to a networking group, they get handed a paper application and they say, bring it back the next week or month, or...
Ryan Chapman: You know what's going to happen there.
David Duston: And you know, you, you turn it into somebody and then the rods around their trunk or briefcase or whatever for a month. And. [00:06:00] Yeah. Nothing ever happens in the person's wondering. I wonder if I can, I wonder if I got accepted or not?
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, maybe I didn't qualify.
David Duston: Yeah. Maybe. Maybe they don't lie. And I've seen it happen. I've seen somebody say, you know, I thought they didn't like me or something. I never heard from them. And...
Ryan Chapman: It was just a lack of following?
David Duston: It was because of the chaos of not having a system, like what Infusionsoft offers. And so now when someone joins or visits a team referral network or a chapter. You know, they sign in, they get an email thanking them for signing in. If you want to join, click here to, you know, fill out our online application. If they decide to fill that out and they choose what chapter they want to join, then a notification gets sent asking if that person could be set up for an interview and whether they're approved or declined. And if they're approved, they get an invoice and then all these tasks happen. It's a great tool.
Ryan Chapman: Well, that's fantastic.
David Duston: So now I find a lot of other networking organizations and people that want to have independent [00:07:00] networking groups contacting me to, you know, help them design some campaigns for their Infusionsoft.
Ryan Chapman: But you don't just work with, you know, other networking organizations, you're working with the myriad of business types that attend your own group, right?
David Duston: Yes. So particularly insurance agents, financial advisors, a few mortgage agents, and then there's personal and business coaches. From there you have, I have some one-offs. I have some cleaning companies, amongst some other service-based, but from there it's the appointment-based, referral-based entrepreneur that's trying to break into a system of managing everything, that I get several of those every now and then.
Ryan Chapman: As you may know, we have our prospect to appointment flow that we've been talking about more recently. It's very text-based, but I'm curious to hear about your referral process. What does that look like? How do you automate referrals? Cause [00:08:00] that seems again like a very tactile human to human process.
David Duston: Well, a lot of times, you know, it takes time to build trust with another business person, really. I mean...
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: I wouldn't just necessarily take 18,000 contacts, load them up in a CSV and give them to the next person and say, here, these are people I know. You know, you're not going to do that and nobody should do that. But as you build trust with people and you understand someone's...someone else's goals in their business. You know, I have a financial advisor that I refer a lot of business to. And when someone meets a certain criteria in my world, when I'm talking to them about their business and what their goals are, I have a few key questions that the financial visor has, has educated me to ask. And that says, you know, this is a really good opportunity to refer him to them. But you [00:09:00] really have to get to know another person to do that pretty well, and you have to understand what their goals are. And that takes time. It really does. And you can't do it on the first meeting or the second meeting. This is someone I've known for three years, and just in the last year, we kind of gotten to the point where he knows when I call it's time and he needs to answer the phone because there's money on the table.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: But turning those rocks over for people helps to give value to them, and use me as a resource and it makes me more referrable and makes them look better when they're trying to refer me to someone else. They know that David has gone over and beyond the call of duty to help them, you know, increase their business.
Ryan Chapman: So you do have a system for creating these referral relationships, but it's not a bing bop boo, you know, it's done situation. It's a process of getting to know the person, developing a certain amount of trust in their [00:10:00] expertise and then at some point, discovering what is it that makes a great customer for them so that you can pre-qualify before you refer over. David Duston: Exactly. One of the things that, I do have is a, uh, it's really kind of interesting. It's a, it's a sheet. It's a pie. Has the pie chart all over it, and each slice of the pie is business vertical, but each of the circles and those pieces of pie represent those verticals. But if, if one business is in a circle, it has a direct referral flow for all the other businesses that are in that circle. So a realtor gives great referrals to a mortgage agent, but a realtor does not give great referrals to insurance agents.
Ryan Chapman: Interesting.
David Duston: Mortgage agents give great referrals to insurance agents.
Ryan Chapman: And is this like part of your expertise as a networking lever that you have discovered the flow of referrals and the best way? You know, people gotta refer to other [00:11:00] people, but I've never had anybody talk about what is the best direction for that flow. That's probably a pretty valuable piece of paper. David Duston: It is in the campaign that I've, I've designed for that, for my networking groups has really helped out because, you know, I'm not going to introduce, you know, underwater basket weaver to makeup artists. You know, I'm going to introduce underwater basket weaver to a lumber broker. And I hope that makes sense.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, no, that does. So you've taken the time to think about, where are the best relationships so that you don't waste time connecting the wrong people.
David Duston: Well, it's not only that I took the time to think about who's got the best relationships and how they work. I have data from all these networking groups for years. So it tells me who gives a referral to who and who receives a referral from whom and so on.
Ryan Chapman: So is that part of what your networking group does is it actually keeps track of some of those?
David Duston: Yes, we keep track of all that [00:12:00] information. Yes.
Ryan Chapman: Oh, that becomes a real valuable resource to everybody that's in the group.
David Duston: Correct.
Ryan Chapman: How, how do referrals flow so they can know how they fit in and they almost when they show up, right?
David Duston: Exactly. So that's now that helps to paint them a picture, a little bit better of a picture of what it, what I mean when I say these people know when I call. And I want to introduce them to someone they know to drop or try to figure out something on their schedule to make it happen because...
Ryan Chapman: There's money on that call.
David Duston: There's money on the table. And, you know, when I used to, be in the music business, I don't really deal with guitar repair, but I know a guy that does guitar repair, but that guy doesn't play guitar really well. He's just a good repair guy and probably not a great teacher either. But repairs guitars extremely well. But the teacher doesn't repair guitars. And so you have the same thing today.
Ryan Chapman: You created your own organic network of people that would be [00:13:00] relevant to your customer.
David Duston: My agency, that represents Infusionsoft backstage concepts. Kind of funny though that the name backstage concepts, backstage music was one of the music stores that I went to school. We'd go to afterschool every few days when I was growing up. But, you know, we, we really try to be the people backstage so that you can look great for your audience and we help you create, build, and maintain relationships with results. That's our tagline.
Ryan Chapman: That's a cool concept. I like that.
David Duston: And that's what we're doing day in and day out. And so I've had recently, in the last week, somebody says, you know, I can go on the website and buy, subscribe to Infusionsoft and I can probably spend some time putting it all together. I mean, tell me why I should go through you? And when I'm done explaining what I just explained to you and what the value is of that over the long term, it's a no brainer.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. That's kind of one of the, the hard parts about [00:14:00] having a powerful software is either your new job becomes learning the software or you get somebody to help you.
David Duston: Yeah. And they're going to get somebody to help you. You know? It hopefully is someone that brings more than just a knowledge base about the software, it needs to be someone that's very interested in learning the ins and outs of your business. Maybe that's relationships in place where there's experience with that already.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah, so that's huge. You know, there's something that you mentioned though before we started recording that, you know, I really was curious about, and I wanted to hear more about, and you were talking about these networking groups. You said, yeah, it's way better to have a weekly than a monthly networking group. And I was thinking, well, that means I gotta be somewhere once a week. It's the once a month. And you know, I really am guarded on my time, and you have great control over that. What is the benefit of a weekly versus a monthly networking group?
David Duston: There's networking groups that meet weekly and some are more [00:15:00] structured and have rules in place than others.
Ryan Chapman: I guess when you say networking group, there's probably 30 different images that come up in different people's heads.
David Duston: Yeah. I mean, you can go on meet something like Meetup.com and, but, you know, networking in the city that you're in and you'll find a hundred different opportunities to network. Some of them meet weekly, some of them meet monthly, some of them are paid, some of them are free. There's all different types. But one of the things I can tell you is if you meet weekly, you have more top of mind awareness with someone. You have more opportunity for them to remember you, you have more opportunity to expand that relationship with them rather than just high five once a month for an hour or two.
Ryan Chapman: It's more like a mastermind, the true sense of the word.
David Duston: Yes. And when you've got a group that just meets once a month, you know, you, you, you're in front of each other 12 times a year. In a perfect world, I would never do a monthly networking group that meets on the third weekend [00:16:00] of the month or the third week of the month because you have Thanksgiving and Christmas and so on. You just killed 15% of your networking. So a lot of times people don't really think about these things and it's really important to look at the bigger picture and make sure you can maximize the opportunities over the course of the year to meet with someone. Well, if I see somebody 48 times a year plus whatever else we schedule, I know that that relationship has a higher probability of really doing well than somebody that I meet 10 to 12 times a year, and that's it. Both of us are there all the time.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. You know what's interesting is. I don't know that I had somebody in a slot of networking expert cause I didn't really think much about networking. But just in this short conversation, I now have someone that fills the networking expert concept in my brain.
That's David Duston. And I look at networking differently than I did before. That's, that's really powerful. [00:17:00] David Duston: You know what's really funny? You know, I've, I literally moved to Dallas July the 16th, 2007, I think that was a Monday. And you know, I didn't know anybody here, but maybe two or three people.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: And my database now is huge. And I have people that call me today. That say, hey, I met you at a networking event five and a half years ago, and I'm really wanting to get plugged into something, but I know you're the person I need to talk to. Do you have time to chat for a few minutes? And to me that, that is gold.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. What you have done is you discovered a way to constantly be planting seeds for your future success by finding ways to help other people.
David Duston: Right. And I'm literally using infusion soft and peripherals to help manage that flow for my own business.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah.
David Duston: And you know, it starts with, yeah, I love to chat with you. There's a link on my, signature to schedule a call or a meeting. And if you could do [00:18:00] that, that would be great. And next thing you know, we're talking about what, what was that. Then the next thing you have, how to help people, see these type of automations in their, in their life and are great referrals for me.
Ryan Chapman: So you're just selling it by demonstration.
David Duston: It's been a fun ride so far, and I mean, it's not perfect, but it's, it's fun. I meet a lot of cool people and I meet some that aren't so cool, but they're really smart. Yeah.
Ryan Chapman: That happens everywhere.
David Duston: Yeah.
Ryan Chapman: Hey David, I really appreciate you taking the time to join me for this conversation. It's been very informative for me. I appreciate all the, the little nuggets that you shared in addition to some of those deep concepts about the power of networking and also how you're doing automation. If anyone wants to reach out to you, it seems like you told me your email addresses is the best for you. Is that right?
David Duston: Yeah. For now. I'm a creature of habit and yeah. I remember when the first email started to happen. So that's just kind of where I've [00:19:00] been.
Ryan Chapman: [email protected] is that right?
David Duston: [email protected]
Ryan Chapman: I'm sorry, Dave. I gave David a little hard time before we started recording about using an email address. I have to, out of integrity, right though? You said you'd have to give me a hard time about networking.
David Duston: One thing I'll have to say is, you know, I've learned a lot about Fix Your Funnel over the last probably three to six months. I've, I've kinda been absorbing the power of that and I've tested a few campaigns and I'm, I'm loving what I'm finding.
Ryan Chapman: I appreciate that.
David Duston: I introduced that to people, the concept, and some of them are, "does that really work?" And one of the things that I've found to be true is that humans cannot delete a text message without reading it first, nine times out of 10.
Ryan Chapman: That's true.
David Duston: The open rate on texting is huge versus email. And I get it, and I'm looking forward to incorporating that into a lot of things that I've got going on.
Ryan Chapman: Oh, that's great. I know it's, it's, been a huge help for those who have [00:20:00] learned it and have incorporated it into their business. It's not uncommon for me to hear about doubling of profits. If not revenue, just by incorporating some of these more effective mediums for communication. So...
David Duston: Absolutely.
Ryan Chapman: Yeah. But it's been great. Thank you so much. I'm actually excited to go to a networking event now. So you made a believer.
David Duston: Well, you know, it's just, that's what I do. And you know, you get up every day and you, you go and you just hit the tree with the ax and eventually, the tree starts to lean a little bit and go the direction you need it to go. But, until it does that, you just got to get up every day and do it. And networking is the same way. You got to add it to your calendar and make it a purposeful, event on your calendar that you're going to go do very systematically over a period of time and it will help you with your business tremendously.
Ryan Chapman: That's great. Thank you again.
David Duston: Thank you.