064: Networking with Billionaires with Thor Conklin

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Thor Conklin, entrepreneur, profitability consultant, and host of Peak Performers podcast. He owns a Peak Performance consulting group.

Here’s what Travis and Thor discuss in this episode:

  • About Thor Conklin
    • He’s been an entrepreneur for the last 18 years.
    • He’s bought companies, sold companies, and even destroyed one company I his history.
    • People often think everything will get easier on their journey as they go, that’s not the case.
    • Before entrepreneurship:
      • He wasn’t a great student in school.
      • Applied to insurance school and didn’t get in.
        • Had to go back and take some classes at community college.
        • Then he came back to the insurance school.
        • He learned that most people don’t follow through.
      • He was a door to door life insurance salesman.
        • He had a briefcase, business cards, etc.
        • It was hard to find leads.
        • He got a degree in insurance and got into serving private equity firms.
        • Started Private Equity Risk Consultants.
      • In the commercial insurance space back then, there were no rates, everything was negotiated.
        • Based on your network you were more or less valuable as a client.
      • He was about 25 years old when he started working with venture capital firms.
        • His boss made him go to Hermes to get ties because he needed to fit the part.
      • The first company he started, a private equity firm came to him and asked him to work on all of their accounts.
        • This was one of the top five insurance companies in the world.
        • They gave him 10 minutes to come up with a name and a business plan.
        • In 20 minutes he had a deal done and was fully booked.
      • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important?
        • It’s who you know.
        • You have to know something, the K in PEAK performance stands for knowledge.
        • You have to execute on the knowledge.
        • You have to get around people who recognize the knowledge and can help you.
        • He was in proximity to people who were doing large deals, that helped him get the deals.
      • Tell us a story about a time when a connection led to a big success:
        • He was in Las Vegas at a business seminar.
        • He saw a couple buddies of his and he knew they needed to meet
          • He’s a connector.
        • About two months after his buddies connected, the one guy asked him to come to his office.
          • He gave him a 6-figure check in an envelope because the relationship was so profitable, and he wanted to thank him.
          • That introduction has led to even further involvement in their firm.
        • Boil it down to one tip on relationships.
          • What are you going in for? If you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to get, it’s a loser’s game.
        • Throughout your career, how important have mentorships and masterminds been?
          • He used to be a caddy on a golf course, he would caddy for a guy who was an incredible networker. He gave him a good start.
        • Why do so many people neglect to spend the time to network.
          • They don’t see the importance of it.
          • They’re not willing to get in and do the work.
          • They don’t have the right intention.
          • Networking properly takes time.
        • If you had a funnel standing up, everyone is trying to figure out how to get people into the funnel.
          • People are spending too much time up top throwing people into the funnel.
          • They don’t have someone, or are there themselves along the customer journey to nurture them.
            • These bottoms of the funnel people will throw referrals your way and those people don’t go into the top of the funnel.
            • You’ve got to be present.
          • People who network poorly usually do care, they just don’t understand how to connect. They’re every place except where they are.
        • What fears have you overcome networking?
          • He’s never really had fears, because it comes naturally to them.
          • He just says “Hi, I’m Thor, what’s your name?” and then he gets to know about them.
            • His intent is not to get, it’s to connect.
          • Does anybody think you’re joking when you say your name?
            • Yes, all the time.
          • Who’s the best relationship builder that you know personally and what makes them that way?
            • Charlie Weissman, his mentor on the golf course.
            • Jessie Itzler, the guy behind coconut water and married to Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx.
              • He’s engaging and he makes you feel special and seen.
              • He’s generally interested in what you’re doing and he’s very curious.
              • Good networkers are curious, they’re not judgmental.
            • It’s your network that has the biggest effect of your net worth.
            • If he lost his contact list, he would go to Starbucks and just sit down with someone to get their information.
            • You need to have a genuine interest in what’s important to other people.
          • The Random Round
            • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
              • Yacht broker, they deal with the coolest clients
            • If you could sit on a park bench for any hour with anyone past or present, who would it be?
              • His dad, he’s passed away.
            • How do you like to learn best, books, blogs, podcasts or video?
              • None of the above, doing.
            • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine:
              • Wake up at 4:59am, stays in bed and starts off with a commitment, says a prayer.
              • Gets up and has an audio program to his voice with music that’s meaningful to him.
              • Sits down and writes out his top three goals for the year.
            • What is your go-to pump up song:
              • Can’t Stop, Red Hot Chili Peppers
            • What are you not very good at?
              • Spelling
            • Find him on Facebook
            • If you have a business, or not, send a 50 word or less email to Thor@thorconklin.com telling him what the biggest issue in your life or your business, he’ll respond with a 4-step process that will annihilate that issue.


Tweetable Quotes:

  • People who network poorly usually do care, they just don’t understand how to connect. They’re every place except where they are.
  • Good networkers are curious, they’re not judgmental.
  • It’s your network that has the biggest effect of your net worth.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.co – Podcast website

Peak Performer’s Podcast – Thor’s Podcast

Thorconklin.com – Thor’s Website

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – Song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

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