Network is the most valuable asset in a company. In this episode, Robert Orfino talks with entrepreneur Casey Eberhart about your true net worth which is your network and how you can effectively build them to provide value to your business. Casey says if networks are built and done correctly, it can be a never-ending source of leads, opportunities, and capital for you to build your own real estate empire. Listen to Robert and Casey on today’s show and take your real estate business to the next level by using their tips and tricks.
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Your True Networth With Casey Eberhart and Co-Host Robert Orfino
I got a great show for you lined up. We’re going to talk about your true net worth which is your network and we’re going to talk about all those great things with our great guest, a good friend, mentor and coach all the way from Los Angeles, California. He’s probably one of the greatest coaches and mentors when it comes to building your own network around you, how to do that, how to multiply and increase the results ten times your stuff. He is on hundreds of stages every year. If you’re in the internet space, you know who this is. If you’re in the real estate space and you’re just coming to get to know him, you’re in for a very big treat. He’s my very good friend, Casey Eberhart.
Thank you so much, Robert, for having me. I appreciate it. This is going to be fun. You and I get in to take our offline conversations right into the online world.
Let’s get right into it. I met you a few years ago at a real estate event and you were talking about networking and you did a one-day event. There are a couple of you guys out there to do this. You gave so much away in that one-day event and it took me a year-and-a-half before I could come back to you.
One of the things that I think of a lot of times speakers/gurus/talk leaders, whatever you want to call them, there are a couple of philosophies out there. Philosophy one is don’t tell anybody what you know until they pay you and then get behind the username and password, membership sites, that type of model. The other one is I’m going to go ahead and give as much gold as I possibly can, give as much useful information. That way, people know, “If I’m getting this for free or I’m getting this for $47 or I’m getting this for small amount. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be unlocked when you do that.” At the end of the day, I have this philosophy that my granddad taught me when I was four years old and that always gives way more value than anybody ever expects to receive. Everything will work its way out or work itself out. It’s been a philosophy as we built-in network of people, whether we build out teams and you benefit from that.
When I saw what you were doing in New Jersey, we are able to take that and create a blueprint for you in Los Angeles that made you the thought leader and that guy in Los Angeles under a year, maybe eighteen months. I remember sitting there in that restaurant with you and I go in, “Let me at you.” Being able to take somebody that started with what you wanted and then mine that worked backward, we were able to do that by providing much value in it. I would say that you are also one of those guys, you and Jason both who gives so much value and so much out there that people want to continuously jump back into your space.
We learned it. I’ve been around a lot of folks that knows the secret to the next price level. You need to go to the next level and you’re like, “Is there anything here?” It keeps peeling back the artichoke.Your network is your most valuable asset. Click To Tweet
There was a guy that lives in the space with lots of speakers, lots of rhythm and lots of people with different kinds of stages and events which you find if you peel back all of that. They’re usually one or two secret nuggets or one or two things that helps somebody to move forward on their business. Why do you invest in $50,000, $997, $27 in a course or whatever? At the end of the day from where I sit, my only job with somebody seeing in front of me is to inspire them to take action to move their business forward a notch.
It happens a lot of times in the guru’s space. I live in that space, it’s part of my world but there are lots of that gets inspired to have you take your credit card out. I am taking the philosophy that if somebody is in my space, if they’re in my ecosystem, our real job is to give them something to take the next step. You got a lot of people that never take the first step, much less step two to six. As a coach or strategist, it’s now a different world. That world then becomes you know what to do, we know what the steps are, break those down, and now we’re going to help people pass out those steps one at a time.
In our space in real estate investing, combine and holding, investing in general, building out and giving value is going to be critical. We talk to our folks who are brand new and we’re like, “What do I have to give?” We got tons of things that you can give. My mother-in-law prior to meeting her, she’s the only person I knew who’d clip an article out on a magazine, put it in an envelope and send it to me. That is one of the easiest things for people to do. We can talk about that and some other things like, “I’m brand new to the industry. I’m in oil and gas and I’m going to the real estate. How could I possibly provide value?”
That’s such great questions/statements. Even take you. You plunked yourself in Los Angeles and said, “I’m a New Jersey boy. What do I do?” As soon as we dominated Los Angeles and you picked up, “I’m out of here. I’m going to go on the flood zone down in Houston. What do I do?” It’s the same basic concept and skill. I’ve always said that, at the end of the day, your network is the most valuable asset. It’s more valuable than a real estate portfolio, stock and trade portfolio or anything. With that network, if it’s built-in and done correctly, it’s a never-ending source of lead, opportunity and capital. In the case of real estate, there’s so much that can be said for building a proper network. I see this all the time. People will show up and will say, “I want to dominate in real estate. I’m going to go out.” I’m like, “Who do you know?” “I know no one.” “What are you actively doing to put your team together and actively building your network?” “Going to a meetup.”
If I go there and enough people know who I am, what do you do to provide value to that net worth so that your depositing into this social bank account before you ever need to make a withdrawal? What do you do in each and every day to add value into that network so that when you need them to click on some link and talk to you about taking money out of their 401(k) or whatever, you have that capital already built up? There are so many easy things that you could do.
One thing that we do is I subscribe to every magazine that my customers are going to read or I think the customers are going to read. Let me move a step back. I support kid entrepreneurs that every waking moment. If a kid is selling something, I’m buying. I truly believe that we’ve got to teach the kid entrepreneurs so I have more wrapping paper and Christmas wrapping paper. I subscribe to these candy bars and so many magazine subscriptions that I don’t even know what to do. I got more wrapping paper than I know what to do. Those magazines, I look like a business opportunity so if I have a batch of customers that read real estate, then they might subscribe to the real estate magazine business. I have love boats so I subscribe to boat magazines. I subscribe to every boating magazine. I need time to have an acronym for BOAT, Break Out Another Thousand. I’ll look at them in magazines and ogle over them rather than actually go. Every boat owner that I talk to says, “There are two days in a boater’s life that are the best in the world, the day they get it and get rid of it.”
It’s important because I know that of a batch of customers, for example, likes boats, then what I’ll do is read the magazine. While I’m watching Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance? or one of those crazy shows, I sit there with a razor blade cutting out all the articles or simply have stacks of articles. If it’s a two-pager, I take a staple and staple it. I have basically a file box next to my desk. I’ll stack those in there and then when I get bored on a regular basis, I simply take an article out, grab an envelope and address it by hand to somebody in my network with a little note that says, “Rob, thinking of you. I hope this helps.” Folded up, there’s no business card, there’s no selling and there’s none of that stuff. This is relationship-building stuff and you drop it on mail and away we go. The goodwill that creates, the return is something. It’s compressing time and easy thing to do, but very few people ake that time to put social deposits on those banks.
We’re talking about people understand the phrase, “Your true net worth is your network.” They understand it, they get it.
I don’t know if they get it. They understand the words put together.
They get that they need four lenders. I need to make sure that this guy knows who I am. They don’t get beyond that and it stalls them.
Absolutely. Let’s take a step back very briefly. If you’re reading, if you’re somewhere where you can think for two seconds, I’ll ask you a question and I already know the answer and that is, “Who is the most powerful woman in the world?” Wherever you are in your world right now, I assure you that you’re going to say to me either your wife or Oprah Winfrey. When you are thinking Oprah Winfrey, the reality is Oprah has dialed this in. She has been able to build a network on what she sells at the end of the day is influence. That’s truly what building your network is. This is why, Robert, you can step into anywhere in Los Angeles and step into the real estate space because you’ve built the caliber of influence.
That influence we can build that through some very easy fundamental steps in building out your network. The network is partly due to what you need right now, “I need a house and I need to get some hard money so I’m going to start cold calling hard money lenders and I’m going to build that relationship in real-time at the time that I need them.” In that case, the influence balance is throwing off but if I were to go, sit down and say, “I need to put together my dream team. I’m going to put together four lenders, four conventional lenders, four unconventional lenders, four hard money lenders, four title reps, four insurance reps and build that out.” It’s like, “Now we need to push in on that. How do we help those people win immediately?” If they’re sponsoring a golf tournament then go and sponsor their golf tournament. If their kids are selling ice cream, then go buy some ice cream.Business and building your network is much like a game of chess. You need to be looking three or five moves out. Click To Tweet
Often, we look some things like that as, “They’re not benefiting my real estate business so I don’t need to do it.” When you look long-term, sometimes I put this into a different perspective for some context. I run into a lot of people that don’t understand and that business and building your network is much like a game of chess. You need to be looking for three or five moves out. Most people unfortunately don’t even know how to play checkers. For somebody that understands the game of chess, strategy and building big long-term relationships, partnerships, opportunities, joint ventures and helping people along the process. They’re going to dominate over a group of people coming in, “I’m here to sell my financing. I’m here to sell my 30-day program and then I’m out.” There’s no competition when that ball search is rock and rolling, which is something that can be done easily in a short amount of time and not a lot of actual large capital and investment if you’re just a nice person.
We had something happen on our real estate team. We worked with two insurance people and they were quite friends who we’re trying to get both to come on as sponsors in this show. We’ll get there. We rarely had the conversation but one of our agents said, “Give me the number for the real estate guy, for the insurance guy and so on who wants it.” I was like, “No. There’s no way. That’s not how we’re going to do it.” She’s like, “What? We’re not giving you out the information?” “We’re doing that. We’re not going to throw a phone number out there.” I got a text from a guy in California says, “I need your refi guy, you just send me that number.” I’m like, “No. That’s not how it happens.”
What we did is we sent a one-minute introduction. Let’s say, “David, I want you to meet Don. Don is a new real estate investor. Don is going to buy two and a fourplex. He and his wife are getting excited about this. Don has done great things for us. Can you help Don out?” I call that interest in your net worth. You make sure that you’re doing that and then I told you about it and you’re like, “No, take three-steps further.” I knew this guy would be able to help him out so I did the warm introduction. Even if you’re brand new to the industry, within 30 days of going to meetups and there are ton of meetups out here. You already have five or six different business cards for private lenders, hard money lenders, insurance guys, and so on. Someone comes up to you and says, “Do you know this?” You can immediately jump into action with, “I’ll do an introduction to the three hard money lenders that I met. Casey, I hope you remember me. I met you at a social event. We talked about this and I want to introduce you to my friend, Gary. Gary is about to buy his first flip. He wants to talk to you guys.” Doing that warm introduction is how you build out your net worth.
There’re so many things to unpack there, Robert. Let’s go back and unpack that a little bit one at a time. The reason that you don’t hand somebody’s number out to somebody is the referral gets lost. You don’t know if you’re client is going to put up the call. You don’t know if the person that interests them is going to take the call. You don’t know if business gets transacted. If they go on and are going to do a $100 million deal together, I want you in the mix of that. It will take a longer process.
The way I would do it is I’m a little bit total nerdy but when I meet somebody, the first thing I’ll do is I’ll take a selfie with the two of us and I’ll text it to them. One of the reasons why I text it to them is because when I text them later on and they get a number that’s not programmed on their phone and there’s a picture of us. I can say, “Ricky, I don’t know if you remember but I met you at KTEK 1110 AM, I met you producing Robert’s show. I have another person that you should talk to. This is Casey.” Now, there’s another connection he sees, there’s one more way to do that. The other thing is I always like to split those referrals in three so somebody comes to me and says, “Who’s your insurance guy?” I’m going to say, “That’s awesome. I’ve got my top guy and I got two others that I want to introduce you to.”
I’ll make a warm introduction into the top one and then also make the introduction to the other two. I’m going to be in control of that via email, phone call or whatever. The reason I do that is because the other two, even though I know that they’re probably not going to get the gig, I want them to know that I’m out working on their behalf, which means that I never even have to give business to somebody before they already are looking at me as an asset to their network. The more times we get to put on somebody else’s asset column, the better off we are. It’s something that we can do when we’re not in the middle of a deal. When we’re going to show up and we don’t know what to do, we’re not spending time. Spend an hour a day on your network then it will pay off much higher.
For real estate investing, we’re looking for properties and money. The insurance guys can remember us because we’re consoling in front of him, sending them deals. When that distressed property that the owner trying to dump comes along, they’ll say, “I remember Casey. Casey might want to buy this.” That’s how you start getting these offhanded referrals from your network.
I found this book by a guy who is very much of Casey’s motto, a book by Harvey Mackay. Harvey Mackay’s book is Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. The first introduction, he goes into a little intro and it woke me because I was awoken to the networking, was this, “How many people do you know that you could call 2:00 in the morning and ask for $50,000 and you’d get it?” If the answer is less than five, then you have a very weak network. That shocked me and I read the rest of the book but that was a big thing. How many do I know that I could make a call at 2:00 in the morning and get $50,000 because I was in big trouble and I need it despite 9:00 in the morning? I’m pretty close to five, if not, more at this point. I feel very good about my network but when I started, I was like, “No one,” and we’re in this real estate run of gurus space. Gurus make you think as everything can happen in seven days. It doesn’t happen in seven days. You have to put the legwork in and you’ve got to watch your network grow.
It’s also trying to put together a network with no strategy or formula is a nightmare because you don’t even know where you’re going. I see that all the time. I go to meetups, networking events or conferences and that shows up as, “Here’s my business card.” There’re business cards swapping like their trading cards like Tops trading cards from 1984. What we have to be able to do is, “Who do we talk to? How do we decide who a player is? Who isn’t a player?” I’m not saying you don’t talk to people who are starting out. There was a mission, but their purpose is to build the network so if there is somebody in that network or in that space that’s of influence then it makes sense that they will bring along the other folks that they have influence over. They will bring along those folks inside the mix.
I start going to a real estate specific meetup in Los Angeles and it was funny because Robert knows a lot of those folks so I was rolling down the names of who are the players. For the most part, I was pretty spot on with who were dealmakers and who were not dealmakers. What the people I was pulling out and name checking and cross-referencing were all the people who I thought the influencers based on exactly what we’re going to talk about networking, which is a systemic way to build out your network. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have a deal on the table or you’re not in the process of doing deals like, “How do I add value to Robert and Jason? What can I do to help these guys out?” I’ll give you a silly, easy way is go comment on every video that Jason and Robert do. They’re here doing their show. They get up here early morning hours to be with you all. Give them some love. Hit like on their Facebook page. I know them both very well and every single comment that’s put on their show. Those folks that are commenting, liking and sharing their posts are the ones that are going to get noticed.
Jason got back from doing a tour. He’s riding bikes and I know that Jason rides silly, fancy bikes. For me, I’d rather take a plane, but he’d rather ride a bike. If you know that he likes bikes and national parks and you happen to be in national parks and microbreweries, then pick up a coffee cup and send it to him. It’s $10 or $15 that says, “Thanks for giving us value on the radio every day.” There are little, simple things that people could do. Now, when somebody sends Jason a coffee mug, that’s a $15 plug. Here’s what Jason’s going to do. Jason is going to turn around because he knows how this game works. Number one, Jason will probably post that back on Facebook and tag you so you already got your $15 back by having a guru post you on a coffee mug. Number two, you’re coming into the Woodlands to meet our crew and you’d send Jason a coffee mug. You walked in, there’s no way possible Jason’s not going to mention that you gave him a coffee mug in front of the room. Now put you on his space whether or not you have it.
I never chatted at a very high level. I did that often and early with that stuff. People are missing that. It’s not even on their sphere of understanding. I tell the mortgage guys I talked to like, “Send me your shirt and I’ll wear it every day,” and then they don’t.Our customers come back to us over and over again only if we’re on top of mind. Click To Tweet
Here’s the other thing that I’m always perplexed by is when you have a conversation with somebody of influence and they reveal themselves to you most often especially because we do a lot of talking for a living. If you’re put in and I’m holding up in that cheesy, “1980s way,” gurus space or thought leaders space, “He’s an influencer, coach, strategist.” In conversation, we ultimately reveal opportunities for somebody to jump into our space. I’m perplexed at the number of people that don’t jump on those opportunities that are not heavy on the investment of time, energy, money or resources. It’s super easy.
If Robert is in Houston and he says he’s going to be sponsoring a golf tournament and you have the ability to promote that on your Facebook page, why not do it? The only person that’s going to watch it is Robert. I work with a company that we can personalize golf balls. I see somebody doing a golf tournament. I’ll go in ten seconds to create a personalized golf ball set, the title is Pro V1, and send that off to a golfer. I’m not a golfer. I never understood what title Pro V1 meant. I had to go to the golfing community with my friends and say, “Does that matter?” They’re like, “That’s the best ball there is.” I’m like, “Awesome.” To put somebody’s name and their logo on a golf ball, that’s easy. It’s $15 to $20. The value of that $15 to $20 will pay off over and over, especially in the real estate game because one referral pays for your entire investment and all that stuff for years.
We’re doing the hotel. We already talked about that. We’ll break it down. We’re definitely under contract. We’ve got our due diligence going. One of the first things that we’re going to do is make shirts, the Atomic and Surfside with our new logo. We’re going to give them out before the hotels even open.
I used to own an equipment rental company and filament type TV and we use swag shirts all the time. We rent specials in our shop so we were a warehouse-type deal. You can do this on hotels as well. It was pretty gnarly but all of our customers would wear shirts is because they are working on TV shows and get dirty and stuff. We would run two for one special shirts. Bring us one shirt of a competitor and I will give you two shirts of ours. We then staple them up on the wall. We have this huge collage of all of our competitor’s t-shirts.
That’s the thing. Once we get those shirts, every influencer in town is going to be wearing those shirts. Make sure that’s good quality, not flimsy.
Make sure that’s good quality and we’ve got to be able to provide why that shirt would be worn. This is the cases on those shirts most people are going to spend a little on that. Spend the extra buck and get that good quality shirt that you would wear.
People were like, “This is absolute gold and gave me two great ideas.” Our biggest problem when we talk to sponsors and business folks are they don’t know where the leads come from. They have no idea. They don’t have a funnel system. It’s all word of mouth. The table at the events is getting the business. They don’t understand it. You won’t spend a ton of time talking about marketing cloud and marketing funnel. Simple little ideas and most of the time, we go to people’s working to see a bucket full of shirts. I’m like, “Why aren’t they out there handing them all out? Why don’t you take these little things or carried five months every day and say, ‘Use them up?’”
Going back, when we were building our equipment rental business, we understood that we were entering the game that was extremely competitive. Filament television is extremely competitive for the work and we have the same traffic cones as all of our competitors. They’ve been sold the same crap; we’re renting it out. We decided we’re going to go Nordstrom model versus the Walmart model. One-and-a-half time is more expensive than anybody else. We thought we were cooler than anybody else and the way we did it is we took better care of the customers. We understood that our customers came back to us over and over again only if we’re on top of mind.
I want every customer to look at us and own the relationship. What that means is that I’m going to do everything to make that person have the conversation with the producer that says, “I got a guy.” At that point, when somebody says, “I got a guy.” It means that I have a 90% chance of getting the deal even if I’m more expensive because we sent flowers, shirts and all of that stuff. If we put all of our marketing dollars, we’re not into booze and sponsorships. Our sponsorship dollars and marketing dollars, we poured into our customers.
It’s the one that had influence over and taking the deal to the producer. If businesses refocused and recalibrate where their marketing dollars were spent, they would have an increase in their business literally overnight. You could dominate the market like, “Robert, let me give you even one little thing and maybe we’ll tease this and able to come back and talk to you.” Think about this, we’re in Houston and you are having a hotel go-in and you need to get the word out of the hotel. In my eyes, same with bird-dogging, you go out with people driving around looking to deal. To me, who’s out on the road on the ground doing Uber drivers so I’d make sure that the Uber drivers are in a Facebook group connected? I give them all shirts. I give them a reason to bring people down to the hotel. We spiff him out and we take care of them.
This has been a great show. Thank you very much for reading. We appreciate everything.
About Casey Eberhart
Casey Dean Eberhart has been an entrepreneur since his first business venture at the age of five. At the age of 22, he was made General Manager of a $22 million amusement park. Casey majored in both Business Management and Human Resource Management at Washington State University. After graduating, Casey made his way to Los Angeles where he found himself working as a Production Manager/Line Producer on feature films including the Oscar winning best picture, “Being John Malcovich.” With his well-earned success in film, Casey started his own production equipment rental company, Atomic Production Supplies.
Casey’s business ventures are in no way, shape or form limited to entertainment. His love of business and his love of the “art of the deal” have taken him into uncharted waters time and time again. He has owned businesses ranging from a lingerie store in an adult nightclub, to a Gymboree for the betterment of children, to an online T-shirt company. His need to learn and grow constantly forces him down new paths and at the onset of the real estate boom Casey made his mark with purchases of homes and condos in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. His willingness to try something new and his desire for knowledge is his catalyst for his continued success.
Business is a skill and Casey hones his skills with ongoing study of his trade. He is an avid member of Toastmasters Intl., a voracious reader of business development publications and he attends training conferences and seminars in a wide variety of fields. He is also part of Business Networking International, Long Beach Community Business Network, The Network for You, and many other organizations.