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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

My 75 Year Old Dad’s Social Network is More Effective Than Yours

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

When I wrote my book, The Entrepreneur Equation, I was blessed to have tons of wonderful people who I had built up relationships with help me in varying degrees to promote the book and spread my important messages about approaching entrepreneurship.   But even with the fabulously connected folks that I had in my network, one person stood out above all else in helping me market my book—my dad.

Now, if you haven’t heard about my dad before, let me give you some insights.  He’s 75 and highly uneducated (that wasn’t a typo).  He did not graduate from college, was a union electrician for 40 years and cannot spell the word banana (seriously).  So, this isn’t some wealthy high-flyer we are talking about here. 

Now Bernie (that’s his name) also really isn’t that impressed by books.  I’m fairly sure he still doesn’t know what my book is about.  Plus, when it won the Axiom Gold Medal Book Award in the Entrepreneurship category, I called my dad.  His response was, “That’s nice. Did you know that your sister won $650 playing blackjack in Vegas?!”.  (Yes, I know where I stand in my family).

But despite his “specialness”, my dad did have something incredibly powerful to bring to book marketing- an amazing social network.  No, not Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn (we can’t let my father on the computer for fear that he will obliterate it with a virus from visiting random porn sites).  No, his social network is offline- strong friends that he has built and cultivated relationships with for decades, some of whom he has been friends with for over 60 years.

My dad called each and every one of those friends.  He didn’t send a blast email, a tweet or an update.  He just picked up the phone or had lunch with them.  And every single one of those people bought at least one copy (and in many cases multiple copies) of my book.  My dad had a 100% success rate in helping me.

Now certainly, this feels a bit like the pre-Girl Scouts Brownies troupe where my dad also used his network to help me sell Samoas and Thin Mints so that I could get some kind of a badge, but my point is that for significant and air-tight results, you have to build long-term relationships and they don’t always have to be- but, of course, can be- online.  Better yet, if you start them online, take them offline to take them to the next level.

Also, think about reaching out in a more personal way.  These tools are great to start a connection, but can you pick up the phone from time to time or find other ways to connect to make your relationship more meaningful?

I worry that with the ease of communication these days that we are swapping quality communication for the quantity of communication. Anything that is worthwhile is going to take some work, so if you find a worthwhile connection, spend the time to foster it. It may be slow to build these relationships, but as my dad showed, they can pay off over a lifetime.

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Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth