TSP002 | How To Be A Power Connector – Interview with Judy Robinett

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Episode Summary

John introduces Judy Robinett to the Successful Pitch show. Judy Robinett is the author of How to Be a Power Connector as well as a consultant for business professionals and entrepreneurs. Judy talks about common mistakes entrepreneurs and startups make when pitching their idea to an investor, how to prepare for a due diligence check, how to expand your network, and much more on today’s show.

How To Be A Power Connector – Interview with Judy Robinett

Welcome to The Successful Pitch. Today’s guest is Judy Robinett. I’m thrilled to have her on the show. She is a startup funding expert and the author of the book, How to Be a Power Connector. She has so much expertise to share with us today. I want to welcome Judy to the show. Judy, can you just tell us about the importance of connecting, since that what’s your book is about?

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How to Be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett

Absolutely. I learned early on in my career, I stalled when I hit the wall in the Fortune 100 Company and I thought, “What am I doing wrong? I’ve kept my head down, I’m working hard, I’m not getting anywhere.”Somebody pointed out to me that I really needed to increase my emotional IQ skills, i.e. networking, and that there’s always been this unwritten rule of success, that is your network equals your net worth.

When I became CEO of a public company and started raising money, millions of dollars, I’ve found out again that my network didn’t really help where I was so that I needed to build one that was deep and wide and robust so that I had access to the funds that I needed.

I was asked to vet a small unknown company in Park City named Skullcandy when Rick Alden at year three was broke and had product stocked in China and only one distribution channel. A Super Angel had asked me to vet that. I became very fascinated with the startup world, so now I do that. I can tell everyone that everything you need is attached to a human being. Humans have the deals, humans write the checks, humans get you in the door. Whether it’s the Angel investors, family offices, venture capitalist or even incubators.

It is absolutely critical that you improve your skills, particularly with strategic networking. The old school networking is dead. It used to be who you knew and what you knew. Now, it’s who knows you. It’s absolutely critical. It’s so easy now with LinkedIn and Twitter and the access that you have.

[Tweet “Old school networking is dead. Used to be who you knew and what you knew, now it’s who knows you.”]

Can you elaborate? That’s such an important point, I really want to hit it home. Old school is, it used to be who you knew and what you knew. Now, [to be a power connector] it’s who knows you. Of course, how [do] we get people to know us? Through social media, like LinkedIn. That’s the big point.

LinkedIn is critical. It’s 300 plus million professionals who all want to network through those wonderful groups. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for VC funding, Angel funding, go to private equity groups. All of those groups are represented and you can do a simple search.

The other one that I use extensively is Twitter. I’m just amazed who you can reach out to these days. When I did my book, I was all like excited. McGraw-Hill signed my contract. They said, “Judy, you’ve got to build a platform.” I was so naïve. I said, “What’s that?” Now, I’ve jumped in to Twitter heavily and I’ve been just amazed and really impressed with the people that are on it and how you have access now.

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To be a power connector: There are people looking for money and the point is: where are they hanging out? It’s important.

Facebook is really historical. It’s about who you know. Twitter is about now. The future is really about Pinterest. The other big thing that I tell people as far as access is how important it is to join powerful groups. Every week or almost daily, someone writes to me and said, “There’s no money out there.”

I point out there’s seven billion people on the planet. 369 trillion in global private wealth. There’s no lack of money, no lack of opportunities. We, as humans, are like chickens, we flock. It turns out, we all have problems and we all have opportunities.

The millionaires, the people who are accredited investors, their problem is finding a good deal. What do they do? They hang out at pitching events and they are friends with the people at the incubators because they’re scouting, looking for a good deal because they don’t want their money stuck in a bank account earning 1.7%.

There are people looking for money and the point is where are they hanging out? It’s important. Now, a couple of other things I suggest to people when I first moved to Salt Lake City, somebody asked me if I would consider being on a finance committee for a local governor’s run. The guy didn’t win, but being on there is where I met my first two billionaires.

Just another short story, I met a fellow in Salt Lake and he had been recruited by a top wealth management firm. He came into this very conservative area and happens to be black and gay. Within two years, he built this tremendous book of business. Very successful. I said to him one day, “How did you do that? You came to town, you didn’t know anybody, you didn’t have any network.” He said, “I joined the symphony.”

He paid a little extra to go to the meet and greet and grab some snacks before the show started and rubbed shoulders with, guess who? All of his customers. You think about, where are the people hanging out that need a deal?

That’s such great advice. Go where the fish are, basically. If you’re targeting people who live a luxury lifestyle, investors, typically Angel investors, live a luxury lifestyle. They’re interested in art and they’re interested in music and they’re interested in culture. Join things that they’re interested in so you have a personal connection first [and can become a power connector]. Would you agree?

Yes. I hate robot presentations. You never walk up to a person and say, “Geez, I’ve got this great startup,” and blah, blah, blah. “I just need 1.5 million and I’m going to get a percent of the market. We’ll be billionaires.” People make connections first personally. It’s critical that you, even if you go into a pitch event, that you be you and you be real.

[Tweet “It’s critical that you be you and you be real.”]

Being authentic really is the key to making that connection. I talk to people all the time, and I have these clients, about the importance of people buy emotionally and then back it up with logic. Most people want to lead with the numbers as opposed to the emotional connection.

The numbers are all suspect, as you know. They’re usually based off of assumptions. It’s anybody’s guess. There’s two reasons a startup fails; number one is lack of customers, number two is lack of funding. You think about when you’re in one of those pitch events, your customers are literally those investors.

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To be a power connector: Because there’s going to be hard times, you’re going to hit the wall. They want to know if you’re coachable.

It’s nice to hear about the Kool Aid and how great your Kool Aid, your product is, or what you’re going to do. But you really need to show them who you are, your character. Because one of the first things they look for is, is this guy honest? Because there’s going to be hard times, you’re going to hit the wall.

They want to know if you’re coachable and certainly they will look at your go to market strategy, what the ROI is. They want to know when they’re going to get their money back. Yes, be you, be authentic. If you can admit to some failings that have made pivots along your way, they’re going to say that you’re educated. They’re really looking for your judgment and your ability to think well.

That’s such an important point. We can’t emphasize that enough to the listeners, is the willingness to be a little bit vulnerable and not come across like you know it all and you don’t need any advice? That whole concept of being coachable is what allows people to say, “Oh, you’re not going to just take my money. You’re going to let me have some input and we’re going to share our combined resource of brain power to make this successful. I’m going to be a part of building this with you.” As opposed to, “I just want your money and goodbye.”

Angels don’t do that. The main reason that Angels invest honestly is they like to coach, they like to mentor, they like to be involved and use the experience that they have. I would say, if you’re just looking for money, that would be bad money. You can find out, there’s a lot of fools out there that you can get bad money from. You really want people to help you because, guess what? No man can know it all anymore.

Can you explain a little bit more about using Twitter to connect and reach out? Do you have a story of how you’ve done that or someone you’ve worked with? As opposed to LinkedIn.

My adopted son, Preston, said to me one day, “You need to start tweeting.” I remember saying to him, “140 characters, what do I put? I’m in the shower?” I started sharing quotes and information about venture capital deals and stats and other things. I’m interested in all things entrepreneurial.

People started reaching out to me. One lady, I was really impressed with what she was doing with social media, [I] ended up talking with her on the phone. She now handles my social media. I called her one day and I said, “It’s Sundance. I’m going to be meeting with Jean Davis. She needs some help with her social media outreach. Would you come out here?” She about passed out. She said, “Of course.” So she flew out. I’d never even met her at that point. This was just a Twitter meeting.

I have other Angel investors reach out to me. You end up seeing that people are so accessible to you. People contact me for interviews. Say, “I’ve got money in to invest.” Certainly, it is important to do that. Again, you can find the thought leaders. You can tell a whole lot about people by what they tweet about, what’s in their profile.

The same thing on LinkedIn. You can read between the lines, so it’s important in your network. Research shows that the two things we look for just almost instantaneously, number one is warmth. Because you don’t want stranger danger. The second one is the level of competence. The third characteristic I tell people to look for is generosity. Because just because someone can help you doesn’t mean they will.

[Tweet “Look for generosity but be weary, just b/c someone can help doesn’t mean they will.”]

It’s that generosity of spirit. Is it in their DNA? Are they someone who’s open to sharing ideas or at least a referral without needing something back right away? The warmth and competence. Those are three great takeaways for our audience. Warmth, competence and generosity is what you want to look for so that you get what Judy’s just described as good money of someone who’s going to be helping you get through the bumps on the road that will happen.

Some Angels are devils.

That’s a great quote. Some Angels are devils.

You have to be careful. Some Angels are devils, just like some ventures are vultures. 90% of high potential startups are funded by Angels and there’s roughly 700,000 in the United States. There’s 300 Angel groups that are active in the US.

I was a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, the third most active group. It’s 300 accredited women, some men, and we syndicated deals with 120 other Angels in early stage VCs. All of these groups, you can get online and look at the application. Many of them post what the due diligence is needed.

[Tweet “Some Angels are devils.”]

Let’s have you speak a little about due diligence because that’s one of your areas of expertise [as well as being a power connector]. What kind of due diligence are Angel investors looking for when they decide whether they’re going to pick a startup to invest in?

Usually, Angel groups have some guidelines. Some of them are very early stage and they will take just an idea. Some of them want to have proof of concept, so they want to see that you really have customers. The VCs say, “the dog that will eat the dog food.” They will have certain criteria before you even apply.

If you pass that criteria, then you usually come and give a ten minute pitch. The Angels get together and say, “This person looks good. Let’s see if they would be easy to work with.” What kind of valuation they’re expecting…

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If you pass that criteria, the Angels get together and say, “This person looks good. Let’s see if they would be easy to work with.”

I tell people to be very, very open. Don’t march in and say you’ve got a three to five million valuation when you don’t have a customer. They’ll just say, “This is an amateur that doesn’t know what they’re doing.” Usually the dance is, “Can we work with this person, do they really have a good concept?”

As soon as they make the decision to go in due diligence, for instance Golden Seeds will put together a team and they will have a legal guru. They’ll have a couple of gurus that’s out of the specific industry so they can look at the stats, do the competitive analysis, the marketing.

A good place to go look is Techstars. If you look at some of the Angel groups, there’s actually a list. Tech has one I think that’s five pages of due diligence questions. They will look at your social security, they’ll look into your background, they’ll see if you’ve had previous litigation. Initially upfront, they’re looking to make sure there is, as you know, no hair on the deal.

That means that it’s clean. You’ve not gotten money from friends and family and cousins that isn’t documented. That you haven’t given away massive amounts of stocks so that at the end of the day, nobody’s going to make money, and particularly the investor.

They want to make sure that you’ve got IP protection or you’re in the process. You’ve got trademarks. There’s sections on legal. There’s sections on the competition, sections looking at the marketplace. They do go in to the founding team’s background, what is their expertise. That’s just some of the major ones.

That’s really helpful Judy. Thank you so much. I think that the real key takeaway and the consistent things that keeps coming up over and over again is when you first pitch, they’re looking at, are you easy to work with? Even when they’re doing the due diligence, they’re looking to make sure that you have integrity and you’re who you say you are.

If you’re pain in the butt, “Next.” There’s millions of deals out there. If you’re a know-it-all and smarty-two-shoes and think you’re valuation is sky-high, it’s too much trouble to educate you.

What is your criteria for what a good valuation is? A lot of people say, “I know all the numbers are suspect and I think I want X amount of money for this percentage in equity. Therefore, my valuation is this.” Do you have a formula that you say, “That’s unreasonable,” or this is really how to be conservative in your valuation?

The best book out there, and I recommend it to people, it’s out of print now, but Howard Stevenson was considered the godfather of the entrepreneurial world at Harvard. He is now retired and in ill health. He has a book that he wrote with a cofounder on Angel investing. It’s probably the best I’ve ever read. It’s really to educate Angels.

There’s a chapter in it on valuations and there’s the Chicago Method and all these different methods. At the end of the day, he said it really is what the investors are willing to do. They’re the ones that are going to call it. If you don’t want the money then fine.

He has a really good one that he liked and many people used it. You get points if you’re a founder who’s done it before. You have expertise, you have an advisory board, which shows that you are coachable and you realize you don’t know it all. You have customers.

You get so many points. I think it starts in at a 1.5 million valuation and moves up to the maximum of three. Now, that book was written many years ago. You can actually find stats of what the going valuations are, on the east coast and west coast. Those are the main two markets. You can certainly look at that.

It’s a combination of art and science. There is no formula. At the end of the day, it’s really, what are you going to do?

[Tweet “Figuring out your valuation is a combo of art and science”]

Art and science, great takeaway. The other thing I want to tap into, because you’re on, I want to have the listeners know about you a little more, you’re on Illuminate Ventures. Tell us a little bit about that and some of the other boards you’re on and advisories. So people have a real picture of what you do.

I’m an advisor on two venture capital early stage boards, Pereg in New York and our strategic arm is Nielsen. Just did the first portfolio deal. The one that I’ve been on the longest is Illuminate VC out of Menlo Park. It is in the top 10% of performers. It’s an interesting backstory. Cindy Padnos, who’s the founder, had $5 million. People sneered and said, “That’s not enough money to invest and you’re not going to do anything.”

She has her first unicorn in the portfolio and a couple of others that are valued it over a billion. An advisor we have, Ken Elefant of Intel Capital, Claudia from IBM Capital. You can go look it up online, and the same with Pereg. I’m also an advisor to Springboard, which was founded because women had such a difficult time getting in the VC doors or Angel investing doors.

Today, we’ve raised the companies that have been mentored and we teach them how to do a pitch and to go to market strategy. We’ve raised 6.6 billion, had eleven IPOs and probably more than 145 strategic sales at this point. That’s a not for profit. That’s another one that you can go online.

Another one we haven’t touched is crowdfunding. I would tell the listeners, if they want to learn about due diligence, go look up CircleUp. CircleUp is a little further up. You have to have a deal of three to five million already in sales. They’re very quick at financing so it’s later than early stage. They probably have the best documents online on due diligence that I’ve seen.

Oh that’s great. Crowdfunding. Thank you for that. That brings us back to the real challenge for so many people, whether they’re women or men, in Springboard or whatever it is. What do I need to have on my pitch that’s going to convince someone like you to want to take it to the next level? What are you looking for in a pitch that you could give suggestions to our listeners on?

I’ll send you some documents that you can attach in the show notes. I have a couple of sample pitch decks usually no more than fifteen slides. I certainly want to see what your product is, your value proposition. I usually tell people, if they can’t tell me the value proposition in one sentence, that they don’t have clarity, they don’t know quite [what] they’re doing.

I’ll give you an example, I’ve sat on the University of Utah’s Tech Transfer Center. I’ll never forget I’d hear pitch after pitch after pitch and we’d have people coming in and one guy go, “Yes. We’ve got this mechanism of action with this chemical and it’ll help blah, blah, blah,” and he goes on for 20 minutes. Afterwards, I said to him, “Why don’t you just say it fixes a hole in the heart?”

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To be a power connector: Just tell me in one or two sentences, what this is, what it does, then you’re crystal clear.

If you can get sophisticated enough to get your messaging right off and tell me in one sentence, just tell me in one or two sentences what this is, what it does, then you’re crystal clear. A short slide deck and certainly has information on the product, the market size, the competition, a little bit on the team.

I particularly look at competition. There’s things that instantly ear mark you as an amateur. For instance, either have no competition or very little competition. Another question I’ll ask people is, “What’s your customer acquisition cost?” Usually, it’s deer in headlights. Your number one job is sales. Cash covers a lot of sins in a startup. The focus needs to be cash flow.

I do look for people telling me the truth. I’m looking for [people] that have good judgment. I’ll send you an article, Angels to Avoid. I’ll send you one on how to do a pitch deck. Another thing that I like to use with people, and most people have heard about it, is business model generation. It’s a one pager that you actually put, what is your value proposition, what is your pathway to a customer, who are your different customer segments. You can do it on one page. Usually, after you’ve worked through that, it really makes messaging easier. That’s an important one.

Judy, you’re certainly modeling for our listeners all the qualities that you say you look for in a startup. Warmth, competence, and your incredible generosity to share with everybody all of those things that you’ve just said, that we’re definitely going to post in the show notes about Angels to Avoid and your pitch deck tips.

What I find really fascinating that you talked about is the two reasons why a startup goes out of business. You had mentioned one, they don’t have customers. Two, they don’t have funding. Of course, it makes perfect sense that one of the key areas that I think a lot of people don’t prepare for is, what is the cost of your customer acquisition so that you don’t go out of business?

It ties it in full circle with what you opened the show with and one of your big tips that rarely get mentioned and what people are going to get asked during a pitch deck or [that] should be in the pitch deck to begin with. So you have an awareness of, “If we’re going to get customers through Facebook, this is what our CPN is and this is what our cost per customer is. Or we’re going to spend money here. This is how much it costs to generate a customer.”

It’s like, “battle plans are really good until you go to war.” It’s when you meet the customer that you find out that some of your assumptions are wrong or faulty. You may find out you could get more money by doing X, Y or Z. Clayton Christensen, again at Harvard, famous on innovation, says that research shows it takes three pivots before you get to the point of a consistent revenue stream.

You’ll find some customers, even if you have an LOI signed or you’re showing that there’s customers, that’s a big deal to investors. Because there’s gazillions of ideas out there. Just because it’s an idea doesn’t mean anybody wants it. That’s sad. I’ve met people who’ve spent three years, mortgaged their house and spent all their friends’ and family money and built something only to find that nobody wanted it.

[Tweet “It takes three pivots before you get to the point of a consistent revenue stream.”]

Nobody wants it. Three pivots, that’s a huge, huge takeaway for our listeners. The fact that you need such passion and perseverance to keep pivoting. Most people give up after the first pivot. Another huge percentage probably give up after the second pivot. If it takes three pivots on average before you really nail it and have something that people want, that’s a really surprising statistic I think for most of our listeners. To be aware that you have to show that willingness. That’s why investors love serial entrepreneurs so much. They have that tenacity.

They’ve learned. You learn from the market. The market talks to you. There’s a famous quote that says, “There’s more danger sitting behind the desk, writing a business plan.” You need to get out there, get out there with your folks. Big companies do this as well.

Viagra was a heart medication pill initially and then the nurses noticed this strange side effect. They did a major pivot. Now, the drug is available for women. It happens all across different industries, verticals. The same thing with the money, I’ve got to tell you, it just hurts my heart when people have a brilliant idea and can’t get funded.

Another story, In Salt Lake, I met a woman who had just a brilliant medical device. Very simple, nothing complex. It was a permanent birth control device. Little tiny thing and it could be done in a doctor’s office. Inexpensive, came as an RFP from China. Obviously, there’s customers all over the world. Women in Africa walk seven miles to have their bellies slit open. They use scissors to cut the fallopian tubes. No anesthesia. Many of them die.

This woman had looked for funding for eight years. I looked at it and I knew. I knew it could go and she could make millions. She was in the wrong room. I talked about this in my books. So many people I meet are in the wrong room. Whether it’s looking for funding, or the right employees. I said to her, “You’ve got two strikes. You’re a woman and you don’t belong to the local religion. We need to get you out of dodge.”

I took her to Golden Seeds in San Francisco and then to a group in Boston. We got half a million dollars in less than six months. The company sold two years later for millions. She had searched for money for eight years. She’d even mortgaged her house so she could cover her IP. I just want to tell people, the money is out there. You make sure that you get in the right room.

Lots of that in my book [How to Be a Power Connector]. If people want to just contact me, I happy to. We could do a second show John, and go into more of these.

[Tweet “The money is out there. You make sure that you get in the right room.”]

Sure. The book again, for everybody, is How to Be a Power Connector. It’s one thing to be in the wrong room, as Judy said. Then when you get in the right room, what do you say? There’s two steps. Get in the right room, and then when you’re in the right room, what do you say?

Exactly. You be real, you smile, say hello, shake hands, drop the elevator pitch. I was shy. I was bullied in junior high. I didn’t dare talk to people. Even in the corporate world, they’d have these events. I’d go late and leave early. I would hang out in the corners. I hated it. It turned out I wasn’t shy. I was worried about what would other people thought of me and did I add value.

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It’s how I got Mark Burnett to endorse my book, and our friends with people on Shark Tank.

You be authentic. I’ll tell you a secret, if people just did this, I call it my two golden rules. After you share your story and you go, “I’ve got this startup and we’re going to do great things and I’m trying to find my seed round.” Then you say two things, “What other ideas do you have for me?” Number two, “Who else do you know I should talk to?” Those are golden. This is how I have billionaires on my Rolodex.

It’s how I got Mark Burnett to endorse my book, and our friends with people on Shark Tank. If you ask those questions, you will build your network up and out. That’s what you need, because on average, people know 632 people. You’re literally crowdsourcing from those people on the best people in their network for you to reach your goal.

That’s such incredible information. Clearly, it works if you have Mark Burnett endorsing your book [How to Be a Power Connector] and know people on Shark Tank. Let’s just repeat those two questions, if we could, for the listeners. The first one after you share your story is, what other ideas do you have for me? The second one is, who else do you think I should know?

Who else should I talk to? Who else do you know I should talk to?

[Tweet “Ask: What other ideas do you have for me? Who else do you know that I should talk to?”]

Who else do you know I should talk to?

Listen. The secret is, most people will help you. Research shows that if you’ve been raised in a lower to a middle class family, we’re taught not to ask. We’re taught to keep our head down, to work hard and magic will happen. It’s a fairytale. You have to learn to ask. When you ask, it’s simple.

You don’t walk up and go, “Dude, don’t you want to invest 800,000? My company valuated at 15 million.” You say, “These are my ideas.” People will help you if you ask. Most people are wired to help others and they like to share advice. This is really true with the Angels.

[Tweet “Research shows that if you’ve been raised in a lower-middle class family, we’re taught not to ask!”]

That’s just so great. Those Judy secrets [on how to become a power connector]. What other ideas do you have for me? Who else do you know that I should talk to? One of the key things to notice about those questions is they’re open ended questions. They are not yes, no questions. Make sure that if you don’t use her exact words, which I highly recommend you do, “What other ideas do you have for me and who else do you know that I should talk to?” that you make sure that any kinds of questions that you ask someone are not yes/no questions.

Are you interested? That’s a yes/no question. Now that we know Judy’s incredible secrets of how she gets, not only in the right room but once she’s in the right room, how does she get the right people to help her and not being shy to ask for help, i.e. being coachable, is a really key takeaway for everybody.

Judy in the last couple of minutes I just want to see if there’s any other suggestions you have for someone who maybe has an idea that doesn’t necessarily solve a problem. Because so many pitch decks are, “Here’s the problem, here’s the solution.” They have a new idea. Maybe it’s a game or something along those lines of not really solving your problem. How would you suggest someone pitch something along those lines?

Those are the brilliant breakthrough things, like Facebook. Clayton Christensen said you can’t really do a business model on something … Nobody asked for a light bulb. There are brilliant things out there. Again, I would surround yourself with advisors, find people who will really give you advice.

When you start sharing your story, you never ask for money initially. What happens is you’ll find somebody and they’ll go, “Oh my Gosh, I love what you’re doing. Can I help? Can I be involved?” Then you have champions. This is really important when you do Angel deals because Angels, like the rest of us, can be finicky.

You can do a great pitch and there’s one person in the whole group that goes, “I think that is just a stupid idea. I’m not going to do it.” If you’ve made friends with an Angel that’s involved in that group of taking them to lunch, then they stick up for you. They’re a champion in that group.

In Salt Lake, I just adore Adam Slovik. He has built and sold a company for a billion dollars. He’s one of my favorite Angels. I take people to him, like you’re mentioning, that have an idea just to brainstorm, help flesh out what would be the best way, and more importantly, which Angel group makes the most sense.

Also, in the VC world, all of those people. Tim Draper invests in Angel deals on the side. He has Draper University. You can go look at that. It’s important to get the people first. You can be honest and upfront. Usually, ideas like that come out of universities, research labs and sometimes just by a regular person. You can get resources at all the universities, at the community colleges, even the SPA offices. I would just make the rounds because there’s gold.

Something else I want to tell people is, we all have a network already. On average, peer research shows we know 632 people. I can tell you, 99% of the time, the answer that you need exists already in the network you have.

Just to another quick story, my agent called my one day and she goes, “Judy, I think you need to talk to Mike Muhney, he builds ACT software, sold it for $48 million. He’s the father of the CRM industry. He has this brilliant app called Vipor that’s for contacts. Keeping track of connections.” We get on the phone and talk. He flies to Salt Lake. I said, “Mike, I’ve never heard of your app. What are you doing for marketing? How are you acquiring customers?”

He talked for a few minutes and he looked really sad and he said, “If I could just get a story in Success Magazine.” I looked at him, I said, “Mike, when you go back to Texas, I want you to call Wendy, who I’ve only known for six months, who you’ve known for six years. One of our friends is Darren Hardy, the founder and owner of Success Magazine.” He literally almost fell off his chair.

I can tell you, this happens to me every week. You need to share your story with the people you’ve already got. My basic formula is quality relationships plus strategy to your goal. Quality relationships plus strategy. It’s important. People talk about be persistent, be scrappy. I met with a VC guy and he said, “If you can’t figure out how you get to me, you’re certainly not going to figure out how to get a customer.”

Besides using the network you have and getting in the right groups, the other thing I’d tell you is talk to strangers, every day. There’s probably millionaires walking by you. I met a guy that was a billionaire and he was in coveralls, work clothes. We only talk to strangers 2-3% of the time. If you think about critical, important people in your life, usually your spouse, they were a stranger at some point. We’re taught as kids, it’s just embedded in our head, strangers are danger.

[Tweet “We talk to strangers 2-3% of the time, important people in your life were a stranger at some point!”]

That works well as a kid, but not as an adult. Start practicing, just say hello, say hi. You start doing that because yes, very good things happen to you because of your working hard and planning. If you think about it, the most important things are usually luck and serendipity. That is all about positioning. You can make those things happen.

I love it. That’s such great advice. What a great quote that the VC said, “If you can’t figure out how to get to me, you probably can’t figure out how to get a customer.” That’s a great tip. As we’re wrapping up the show, are there any other book besides Howard’s book that you mentioned, Howard Stevenson’s book on due diligence, that would you recommend for startups who read, besides yours of course?

TSP002 | power connector

Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Certainly, I do like the Business Model Generator. I’m going to send you the actual worksheets that are fine and it’s okay. I like Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. There’s two or three that I like. I’ll send you some of those so that it will help people.

That’s so nice. Thank you. Judy, this has been such an informative, jam-packed, full of incredible secrets, information and insights [about being a power connector] for our readers. The big one is, what other ideas do you have? Who else do you’ve know that I should talk to? Coming across authentic, being warm.

It’s just been such a great interview. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity and sharing your brilliance and your knowledge. Everyone should obviously pick up the book, How to Be a Power Connector. Judy has her own website, she’s a coach, she’s a speaker.

She’s clearly someone that you want to have in your own Rolodex so that you can network and really help her get to know you so that she could make a difference in your business. Judy, thank you so much.

People, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter, my website. I’ve also been asked by so many people, I’m going to put together a eight week webinar on how to get funded.


I’ll probably interview you on it.

I would love that. That would be great.

Thank you. Listen folks, everybody out there, really, just do it, just reach out to people [and be a power connector]. They will help you, I promise.

Great ending. Thanks, Judy.

[Tweet “Just do it, just reach out to people. They will help you, I promise.”]

Links Mentioned

How to Be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett


Golden Seeds


Illuminate Ventures



Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Judy’s Bonus Content

As you heard during the interview, Judy was incredibly generous with a whole list of attachments. I’ve made the files she mentioned available by simply clicking here to download.

Social Interaction and Health – Dr. Sudip Bose with Judy Robinett

Connect and create | Judy Robinett | TEDxSacramento

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