Investing in Relationships for Business Success
Season 1: Episode 8
This is a written transcript of The Omaha Podcast, Season 1 Episode 8.
How to Invest in Relationships For Business Success
Full Written Transcript of Episode:
Matt Tompkins: Hello and welcome back to the Omaha podcast, where Omaha’s most successful entrepreneurs help your business grow. I’m your host, Matt Tompkins of Two Brothers Creative. Have you ever asked your customers why they do business with you? Why did they choose you over everybody else?
You quickly realize that your customers are buying you just as much as your product or service. The relationships you invest in and how you treat people are the foundation of any success that you hope your business to have. On today’s episode, we are joined by sales coach, author and motivational speaker Van Deeb, who proves how making someone feel special, even if it’s just for a moment, can impact your business for a lifetime.
Today you will get the van DB Crash course on how to invest in relationships for business success. Our guest today is an entrepreneur, a business owner, a motivational speaker, a podcast host, a radio show host. He is the author of so many books. I don’t know.
I lost track of how many books he’s written up from sales to his most recent book about his dog, Baxter. He’s a great man. He’s a dear friend of mine. I can call him that. I don’t know if he calls me the same, but.
Van Deeb: My dear friend.
Matt Tompkins: You too, Van. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Van Deeb: I am honored to be with you, Matt. Thank you for having me on.
Matt Tompkins: Van can actually do it all. For those that don’t know, I mean that literally. Van also played college football for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and this was back when Uno still had football. Yes. I don’t know if that if they got rid of it because like when you were playing, they said, that’s it. We can’t do this anymore.
Van Deeb: The worst player on the planet. We’re shutting down the whole system.
Matt Tompkins: Yeah. You scored a touchdown, though, right?
Van Deeb: So you know what? I’m a big fan of visualization. And if you got time, I got a quick story.
Matt Tompkins: Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. That’s. That’s what we’re here to.
Van Deeb: So I got to tell you this. So I was not a good athlete, and I’m. I’m not ashamed of that. I just was not. But I like to participate participate in a discipline, like being on the team. It was a week before our game and I told everybody, I’m going to score a touchdown and I’m going to intercept a pass.
I played the linebacker and I’m going to score a touchdown and people were like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Well, every night that week I would look in the mirror before bed, soap and water in my face and then splash it with water six times and go touchdown.
And I did it and I visualized because I really believe in visualization. I mean I can tell you stories for hours about how it plays a big role in my life is visualizing where you see yourself and manifesting it. Anyway, I’d say touchdown and I’d visualize me scoring every day. I told everybody I’m going to and I’ll never forget. On that Saturday morning, one of my friends dropped me off at campus for the pregame meal and I said, Listen to the radio tonight at work because he’s a bartender.
I said, I’m going to pick off a pass and score a touchdown. And his words were, Are you high? And I said, No, not yet. But I said, I am going to score a touchdown. He just laughed. The story ends with I picked off a pass. I ran 32 yards. We won by my six points.
Matt Tompkins: Touchdown.
Van Deeb: Yeah. So, yeah, it was like.
Matt Tompkins: It’s a great lesson.
Van Deeb: It really does something to you when you visualize it in your head and then it becomes where you can touch and feel it. It really it plays a huge role in your life, I.
Matt Tompkins: Think visualizing there are so many different techniques and tips and lessons learned that we’re excited to talk about on this podcast. That’s its sole focus is helping business owners, entrepreneurs here in Omaha be successful here in Omaha.
And today we’re talking about today’s episode is titled Invest in Relationships. And I wanted to have you on because, you know, we’ve known each other for a long time, and I’ve filmed and seen a lot of your speeches and engagements. You talk about this a lot, the value of how you treat other people and how that is probably the best investment you can make as as an entrepreneur.
It doesn’t cost you anything to be nice and the return is always pretty substantial. So I guess the first question is for somebody who says, Well, I don’t even know what that means. Why should you invest in relationships?
Van Deeb: So I believe that people do business with people they trust and they hope they have a good product or service. So I learned early on and I had some mentors that I’ve never met, Mary Kay Ash and Maya Angelou, two very dynamic women in their own right.
And they said a couple of things that just kind of blew me away in the beginning of my life because I grew up with a family of teachers. I never had anybody say, Hey, you can do it now. They were wonderful, love my family. But no one said, Go out there and knock em dead in the business world. Their goal for me was Just don’t die, because that was I think we.
Matt Tompkins: Had the same family.
Van Deeb: Yeah, I think so. Matt, Because I know your real well.
Matt Tompkins: And I tested that, by the way, many times. Yeah.
Van Deeb: So that’s why I’m a big fan of yours. And I always have been. But, you know, I was non-conforming, rebellious and stuff like that. But anyway, I listen to these two women early on in my career. Maya Angelou was one of them. And she said, People will forget what you said.
They’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget the way you make them feel. And I’m like, Wow, how easy is that to make people feel good every time you see them? And I know that I choose to be around people that make me feel good about myself. And maybe it’s just the way they talk to me. Maybe they smile at me. Maybe they’re present when we’re together, not looking at their phone.
And then Mary Kay. Actually, she said something that kind of blew me away was she said, Pretend everybody you meet has a sign around their neck that says, Make me feel important. Well, who doesn’t want to feel like they matter? So I kind of learned early on that.
We treat humans like they matter and it’s not giving them things. It may be just simple things like instead of looking down when you’re walking to look up and smile at somebody and you know, that may be the only good thing that happened to that person all day long is that you smiled at them.
Matt Tompkins: And that’s something I try and do. Even on days where you’re maybe you’re having a rough day, you’ve been walking around the building, you know, we have like the you know, I’m usually here pretty late. We have an evening cleaning crew and I intentionally make it a point to say hi and talk to them the same as I would any other person who’s a business owner or a tenant.
And I just you know, Wendy, you know, my wife, she made she made that. It was a great story. A woman I walked upstairs, she was delivering her groceries and I walked upstairs like, what is going on? It’s taken forever. And this young girl was just in tears on on the couch. And it turns out, you know, she had just lost her mom. Wendy was the first person for who knows how many days.
They just simply asked, you know, are you okay? Like, how are you doing? Like, you know, you look you know, you look kind of upset and, you know, and just being there for people. I think trust is the key word that you use there, though. That is the foundation of pretty much all marketing and advertising. And I almost try and frame it as every relationship in your life is a is technically a form of marketing.
You know, you’re marketing yourself your brand. Do you trust me? Do you want to work with me? That’s what relationships are all about. So one thing I think people need to be aware of is and cognizant of is is only. Only starting creating and strengthening healthy relationships because there are some toxic, especially in the workplace, toxic people, toxic relationships.
So, I mean, how do you like what’s kind of the process you go through? Because you’re probably pretty second nature now to identify what is a healthy relationship and what is a toxic relationship and how you’re going to handle your approach in dealing with either of those.
Van Deeb: Great question, Matt. And Tia, just to back up with the trust, I mean, there’s a reason why I’ve used your company to do my videos for the last couple of decades. I trust you. I know that. I know what kind of product I’m going to get. And I think once you build a relationship, you should go into every relationship as if it’s going to be something you’re going to keep forever, not just a one and done.
Matt Tompkins: And there’s no there’s nothing wrong with saying no to.
Van Deeb: Exactly.
Matt Tompkins: Oprah had a great piece. It was the power of yes, which it was all about. If you say yes to everything, then you you strip the power away from saying yes to the things you truly want to do.
Van Deeb: And that’s hard to do. It’s hard to say no. Like I meant, I mentor so many young people and I don’t I don’t charge anything, but I get asked a lot. But it satisfies me also. But to answer your question, you know, like the toxic relationships, there’s a really true fact out there. You’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. And that is one of the most true statements I’ve ever heard.
Matt Tompkins: It’s funny, I wrote that down in my notes to bring up. Did you today? Because I could not. I didn’t. I thought that was just a bunch of nonsense when I wasn’t in, you know, self and doing this entrepreneurial adventure yet. And so I was like, I don’t know about that.
And then I looked around at my friends and I’m like, when I was at the height of my addiction and low points in my life, I was surrounded by drug dealers and addicts and people who just were harming themselves. And I found it’s amazing how quickly your story can turn around when you get the right people in your circle.
Gwen and Jeremy Aspen were a couple podcast clients of ours. They were the first podcast we started producing and I was extremely lucky that that happened to be them because they’re such great role models and I learned so much and just being around them in the way that, like you said, the energy like you want to be around them, you want to find excuses to go hang around them and just learn from them and just absorb that positive energy.
Yeah, it is a it’s a night and day difference. And now I that that quote is cliche, as some people may say. It sounds it is absolutely accurate.
Van Deeb: Yeah. And you know, another one is show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. It’s it’s so true. You know, we if if we want to get to a certain place in life, it’s going to be a lot easier to get there when you hang out with like minded people. And that doesn’t mean go find the richest person on the planet and try to be their friend.
I’ve got the right people in my life and some of them struggle paying their bills. It’s just I want to be surrounded around good humans, good influences. If you hang out with five people that are have great attitudes, positive attitudes, they see the bright side of life. You’re going to be the sixth. Unfortunately, if you hang out with five people that don’t respect other people and don’t appreciate life, you’re going to be the sixth.
And it just goes that way. And if you really stop and take a look at it, well, I experienced it a long time ago. I let a whole slew of people go in my life and my life became enriched. I do want to I prepare people, though. It’s going to get lonely. I mean, it can be very lonely not being with the wrong people because you’re there.
There’s not as unfortunately, there’s not as many right people. So I am in my life and my journey. I’m specifically, I am by design, trying to create a smaller group of friends. Yeah, because I want more quality. I’d rather spend more time with good people than a bunch of time with with people that, you know, really, they’re not an asset to me and I’m not an asset to them.
Matt Tompkins: At some point you realize that that time is the one thing that is the true value in your life. You can’t get time back. You can make more money and you can buy another car, but you can’t get time back and spending time around toxic people. You know, that was I learned that in my last stint. I went back into this thinking I wanted a job where I just did one thing and I don’t want to do the small business thing is so stressful.
And I just felt like it was I was just it was over. I was I was just underwater the entire time and went back and quickly realized this is not for me because there was just toxic people in management positions, which I know a lot of people deal with. Unfortunately, that drove me to a point with my mental health where it was. Make or break.
It was either you remove yourself or you remove these people. But, you know, and I did that. I had to play that card. I had to go to H.R. and said, this is not healthy for me. It’s not good for my mental health to be driven at this point of anxiety every day.
Van Deeb: And unfortunately, we have toxic leaders. Oh, yeah, Not just in companies. I do a lot of culture consulting. I go into companies and I visit with them about their culture because my company, we had an off the charts killer culture. And I want to tell you something, Matt, You said it right on the button. It starts at the top. Everything starts with leadership from companies to government.
If you’ve got a leader that’s a hater, you’re going to have followers that are going to be haters. If you’ve got a leader that that that just doesn’t set a good example. He’s going to have workers that don’t work as hard as they should.
Matt Tompkins: And I would add to that, too, that people hire who they know, so they end up hiring reflections of themselves. So like in, you know, I worked in radio industry. Not a lot of women in high ranking management positions like you don’t see in many other industries.
And that’s because they hire who they know. And it’s I’m going to hire this the the the the typical 1998 man or manager, you know, who is just, you know, numbers driven and these things that don’t that nobody uses anymore at least not successful companies use anymore.
Van Deeb: Right.
Matt Tompkins: And that’s why they struggle and they look around going, what’s happening? Well, you know, you have to you have to bring in those new people, the right people. So I put down just to get your take on like, how do I identify and foster those healthy relationships and and get away from the toxic ones. First, you have to identify.
So you have to know which one is healthy and which one’s toxic, because sometimes the toxic can feel good. Like in my situation, yeah, it felt good for a while there to be getting high or doing that, but then it turned pretty dark and got really ugly. And then it was it was not funny. It usually does, you know. And so toxic people can they can manipulate you, you know, intentionally or not.
So you got to identify what’s what. I always encourage people to promote instead of or not don’t promote participate. So instead of going to somebody and saying, Hey, I want you as a new customer, new client, I’m going to do this for you and give them the hard sell, right? Just participate in their life to build a genuine relationship. Yes.
And so, you know, building off of current relationships that you have already have in your life, I think for people who are starting off and they’re thinking, well, I don’t really know. Like I don’t have this reservoir of CEOs and millionaires and success stories in my circle, in my orbit. So where do I start? So where would you suggest somebody starts if it’s somebody who’s just starting off? They just they said, I’m doing this, I’m all in, got my business started. I’m going to do this.
This is my life now. This is my income. I don’t have connections. I don’t have strategic partnerships. So how do you where do you even start? What’s the first step you would recommend? Van As far as so just step one.
Van Deeb: So step one is, I’d say finding a like minded networking group, Omaha and area surrounding areas full of great networking opportunities. When I say networking groups, really make sure to vet these groups to make sure they’re not just a gathering of people that want a party. You know, there’s some really good networking groups out there that are really interested in making everybody in the room successful.
And so I say, you know that. And then also it’s amazing what you can what you can find at your local place of worship. You know, not saying that good people only go to places of worship, but it’s a good place to start to get.
Matt Tompkins: A positive environment.
Van Deeb: It’s a positive environment. I know that I have a spirit. Yeah, I have a spiritual leader. I’m not religious, but I’m very spiritual and I have a spiritual leader. And I relied on his teachings, you know, for just about everything. I mean, he made it okay for me to let people go. And, you know, just hearing somebody else that you really admire and trust saying it’s okay to let even if they’re family members that are toxic and the wrong relationship, it’s okay because it’s about you If you’re not the best.
Matt Tompkins: Boundaries, right?
Van Deeb: If you’re not right, if you’re not the best. Matt Tompkins, you’re not going to be the best to Wendy. You’re not going to be the best of your family. You’re not going to be the best to people that love you. So it’s real important that you surround yourself around the right people. And go back to your question.
Another place is that I found you know, the Chamber of Commerce is a place where people join the Chamber of Commerce because they want to enhance their business. So when I know when I first built my company, I joined the Chamber of Commerce from day one. And I, I give a lot of that those relationships credit because I surrounded myself. Off around like minded people.
And that is the key like minded people. Another thing, too, is I only want to spend time with people that respect other humans. And I can tell a lot about a new relationship by the way they treat others. And if I see the way they treat others, I want to keep on visiting with them.
Matt Tompkins: Yeah. Yeah. I think those are all great, great pieces of advice. And you’d be surprised to how willing most people are to just help you out because they want to help you because somebody helps them. When I got into broadcasting, I was just, you know, part time Saturday morning lineup producer for a news station here, had the 5 a.m. shift editing together, Paul Harvey and his seamless break to commercial transitions that but I would go to these events the Omaha Press Club was you know still fairly popular at that time and like, you know, Rob McCartney or these big stars in my eyes and I was like, Hey, would you take a listen to my my reel or my aircheck or my demo, or would you give me some pointers or could we go to lunch?
I’ll buy you lunch if you give me some advice. Every time it was, it was. Yes, absolutely. And you know, it maybe it was years later that that paid off that investment. A recommendation or just vouching. Oh, yeah. He’s he’s a great person. Van’s a great guy or whatever it might be. It always comes back around. And however you kind of intended that to manifest, you did a negative thing. It can come back around right to be bad. And but if you keep putting out that positive energy, I think.
Van Deeb: Well, people helped you because you’re a good person. When you’re a good person, I think people want to help you. But that’s one thing that I visit. I really encourage entrepreneurs is use your resources. You know, a lot of famous people in Omaha, you know, a lot of celebrities. So if you know that they can help you get from point A to point B faster, why wouldn’t you contact them? And most people are good.
They want to help people, but I think they want to help you, Matt, is because you’ve built a reputation of being This is a really good guy. And I think that’s why it’s easy for people to want to, you know, back you or get or get in your camp.
Matt Tompkins: I think I think you’re right. And I think my brother Ben and I working in radio, you know, I was a radio four over seven.
Van Deeb: Ben’s a great guy, Ben.
Matt Tompkins: Yeah, he’s Ben’s. He’s. He’s behind the.
Van Deeb: Camera. Was he.
Matt Tompkins: Here? Yeah. Yeah, he’s right over there.
Van Deeb: Hi, Ben.
Matt Tompkins: He’s the good looking man with long hair. But, Ben, I just. It’s kind of how we were brought up. It wasn’t anything intentional of just do nice things, do favors. But to kind of wrap this up, this conversation, if I could share this. So when we started, I had we were not on the air currently, my brother and I, we didn’t know if we’d go back on the radio. It was new management in town and it was years earlier.
We used to do favors for sales reps all the time. It’d be like Friday night 8 p.m.. Hey, I forgot to submit this commercial. It starts tomorrow. Can you go down and do that? And. Oh, okay. All right. So we could always do these things. Well then it came around to just a random encounter. Otis 12. Doug, Doug. And he said, Hey, I’ve got this show on Sirius XM. I need a co host and a producer. And he asked this this woman, Michelle Phillips, who was the sales rep, you know, we got anybody you’d recommend, so. Oh, yes, absolutely.
Like, man, Ben are great. Like they they’re always above and beyond just highly recommended and that it was actually that had that not happened, that wouldn’t have gotten me creating my own home studio because I could actually have the resources to do that and the funds to then do the TV show my live to then get to where we are today, sitting in this studio here with you. So like, none of that would have been possible. None of that would have happened had I just been on that Friday night, Ben or I just saying now, you know, you’re we could have been a jerk.
Van Deeb: So that’s value added. It is you you’re you’re describing value added. And you know, when you find people that want to give you added value, I think you’d pretty much do anything for him.
Matt Tompkins: Can you share with us just kind of maybe a short story if one comes to mind, an example like I just share with you where you saw just the obvious, the obvious return on an investment, on investing in a relationship. So you did it, maybe not expecting anything, but you just invested in this relationship and all of a sudden years later, it manifested in a way that’s just kind of the take your breath away moment of the universe all kind of working in this magical way. Like, is there a story like that that.
Van Deeb: There’s a lot of stories like that. So my one of the things that I’ve tried to do is I always wanted to to stand out in the crowd. I didn’t want to be in my background’s real estate. I didn’t want to be vans. One of the 2500 real estate professionals in Omaha, Nebraska, I wanted to stand. Out in the crowd. So one of the ways that I did that, that came back and and has come back in my life over and over and over again is I made sure that everybody I worked with, even my competitors, if anybody needed me, I advertised and promoted, I’m available for you 24 seven.
And I got I want to give an example. I got an email today. I woke up checking my emails. It was a customer that sent me a house that I sold of his 23 years ago today, and he saved the picture, remembered me and sent it to me and said, Do you remember one of the greatest experiences we ever had? Well, I’ve stayed in touch with these people and I, I was one of these that when they called, my attitude was always, if you tell me to jump.
My response is always how high? And I didn’t want anybody to compete with me in the customer service category. And so I look at that as people don’t forget that when you make them feel like they’re extremely special and you’re available for them, you know, because in in my industry, in selling real estate, you’re usually helping people with the biggest investment of most people’s lives.
I never wanted my clients, and still today I don’t want them to go to bed with a question that may keep them from sleeping. So I I’ve promoted that my whole life. I am a phone call away and so I really try hard to make that’s come back in my life over and over, repeat, repeat, repeat. And it’s the same thing with you. I mean, you get the same thing. We started doing business a couple of decades ago.
Matt Tompkins: Yeah. I mean, and you know, you’re only a couple of years younger than me, but oh, boy.
Van Deeb: How much do I owe you?
Matt Tompkins: The more time that we have here together, the more it becomes obvious that all these things we’re talking about today, all these these tips that you can implement today, they are free. They don’t cost anything except effort. Yeah. And just kind of giving a damn, like, what am I going to actually care and invest in this? Am I going to dedicate myself to this? You know, and because it’s easy to just be a jerk, be a dick and just not, you know, help people, that’s the that’s the easy way out. And there’s no return on that.
Van Deeb: And I think that’s great message for your audience is if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, you don’t like the way your life is going. We have the God given ability to change it immediately. You can It’s all making a decision. It’s making a decision to say, I don’t like this about me. I don’t like who my friends are. I don’t like who I’m hanging out with. I want to make a change. And we have that ability. You’re not stuck. You have the ability to make the change. It may not be easy, but we have the ability to create the discipline to make that change.
Matt Tompkins: That’s the the first step. It’s like, you know, like they say with recovery, it’s admitting you have a problem, even recognizing that it’s there and that you want to get help, you know, And so that works with anything, I think, in in your life, if especially with your business.
Okay, I want to be a successful entrepreneur. I want to have this business be a legacy for my kids and their kids and on and on. I’m like, okay, well then if that’s what you want to do, commit to it fully and start these. It’s it’s like eating unhealthy or eating healthy. It’s never just the one meal or the one box of candy. It’s the little bites throughout the day, throughout the week. That’s how it slowly gets added on. So the same results can come for you in a positive and positive and productive and a way that affects your bottom line. Quite honestly.
Van Deeb: I totally.
Matt Tompkins: Agree with Van Ven Web.com is where you can you can do everything you can by the books, you can listen to the podcast, you can find out about the journey, your radio show, which thank you for inviting me on.
Van Deeb: I can’t wait to have you as a guest. I can’t wait to have you on.
Matt Tompkins: And also, if you want a book van, which I highly recommend, I’ve seen his speeches. I don’t know how many times I only fell asleep once, but that was because I had a late night the night before. And that’s. But. But you can hire Van. He’s a great speaker. He’ll get your team motivated. All of that. You can find it Van Deeb dot com and of course listen to and subscribe to his podcast and podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And Van, thank you so much for for stopping by. You really appreciate it.
Van Deeb: I’m a big fan of yours and I’m grateful you asked me to be here.
Matt Tompkins: I feel people are going to think that we just paid each other to just say, Oh.
Van Deeb: No, I’m a true, true big fan.
Matt Tompkins: And can you get my, my, my roll of twenties or one or we couldn’t. We can only afford ones.
Van Deeb: I’m grateful to be here.
Matt Tompkins: Thanks once again for Van Deeb joining us. Thank you for joining us today on the podcast. So today we talked about marketing and networking, how it is all about relationships all the time and effort that we put in. To developing and maintaining these relationships. So today we discuss tips on how to foster healthy relationships and how to find strategic partners for your business. Importantly, how to identify the healthy from the toxic relationships and how to use these relationship building techniques to build your business.
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