Every sales transaction starts with a connection, and that connection can either make or break a business deal. Lou Diamond shares his fail-proof tips for helping your company succeed and thrive. His depth of experiences has helped him shape a method of coaching and consulting that helps you develop best practices and skills to connect and thrive, and then transpose those skills into a leadership style that creates a better experience for your company or business. He delivers on the premise that great leaders are master connectors and the best of what sales can be is determined on how well you can connect.
Thank you to Megan Hall of The Inspired Women Podcast for introducing today’s episode. What she loves about The Business Building Rockstars Show is the wealth of information that Nicole and her guest share on the podcast. She walks away inspired after every single episode she listened to.
If you would like to introduce an episode and share your love for the Business Building Rockstars show, go to www.BBRShow.com/fan.
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Lou Diamond of Thrive LOUD on How to Connect and Thrive to Generate Success
I'm super excited to have one of my favorite people, Lou Diamond from Thrive LOUD. How is it going?
I'm so excited to be here. This is going to be fun. Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
What are you doing now? How are you serving, supporting people today in the highest and best way that you do?
We're doing lots of things. I love to work with the most amazing people and companies and make them even more amazing. I do that through my company, Thrive, where we are helping people to connect, to thrive, and in some cases, thrive loud. In a lot of these cases, I'm coaching and consulting top leaders, top performers to make them even more incredible. We have a whole philosophy on how we do that, which is we help them strengthen what I call the connecting core. We go through each one of those nozzles in whether I speak to a large audience, conference, event, doing some group workshops, or one-on-one, that's the focus of what I've been on.
The podcast show has helped launch into a total different direction, but it’s also helping me connect to the listeners with all these amazing people that are thriving each and every day. Pairing that all together, this whole connecting to thrive is what Lou was all about. It's been unbelievable, the companies and the people we've been working with; entrepreneurs, amazing professionals, seasoned, serious executives as well who are digging down and figuring out how they can do a better job of connecting. We always talk about the power of connection is what helps grow your business. Sales is a speed bump along the way of what you're trying to achieve. I've set much bigger goals and those connections are the way that I'm focused on helping people achieve them.
You’re so great at teaching about those, and you’ve got a book about it. You can check out Master the Art of Connecting. I was working with some students in my Rockstar Ready Academy, and this was the exact thing we were talking about. It’s not the sale necessarily to be focused on. That's where a lot of people go wrong is they focus on the marketing to sell their stuff. Whereas if you're looking at the relationships that you can build, you may have a lead or a connection to somebody who is not a right fit for you as a client, but who could be a great collaborator, a referral partner or a friend. When you come from a place of curiosity and exploration about, “Who is this person? How can I serve them?” Not necessarily sell them, even though sales is a way of service. So much more can be accomplished in such a smaller amount of timing.
I do this for salespeople and the ones who have sales in their title. You're not actually selling. You're helping someone to buy and that's the way that you have to think, “What can you do to improve that person's world?”Whether that is your client that is trying to grow their business, whether you have an offering that you know will be additive to the world of the person you're trying to connect to. I always make it about the connection, and the sale will come. The sale will come time and time again when you have a strong connection, and that's who you want to do business with. Nicole and I are close connection. We help each other with our own businesses and we're always trying to figure out how to help one another grow whether it's recommending guests for the show, for our client services, or for what we do.
We're always trying to figure out, “How can I make Nicole's world better?” That's what I'm thinking about. In the same sense, that is exactly what it's about. If we got out of the way about worrying about, “I got to make this number. I got to close this deal. We got to get this thing signed.”If you focus on how you need to be, and then how you want to connect with your target, then they're naturally going to want to flow and connect to you. That's where the magic happens. You don't have to worry so much about the sale, you have to worry about the connection that you have in maintaining that each and every day.
Some of the challenges of running a podcast show is not so much about the actual content and the guests, and you get the great stuff that goes on. There's all these little nuances and things that you will have. For instance, different recording mediums. My website was hacked several weeks ago, and now we've updated it. I've moved over to a different service provider, which is doing a great job. I re-changed the URL of my company as well, so that everything is more in-line with Thrive LOUD. Those are the advice that we need from people who are going through that same pain, and that's a strong connection that we have. The reason why she is the business rockstar is because she volunteers her brilliance to you. You're able to take it in and you don't even have to go anywhere else. If Nicole says, “It's right,” because she's done the research, she's done the study, and she's worked with all these different folks to help figure it out, I don't need to go anywhere else. That's the type of connection that the two of us have.
This can lead into a question I have about what’s the super ‘why’. I’m at this pivoting point with who I’m serving. I’m serving clients with larger businesses, brick and mortars, corporate, who are in a different space and the people who I have been working with historically. It's a fun transition, but it's also one time where I need to pull a lot of stuff together. As an online entrepreneur, I've gotten comfortable with people in my industry knowing who I am and not having to “sell myself”, not having to say, “I'm so great at this.”I'm pivoting into a new arena. It's like, “I got to gather up the things that let other people talk about me.”
I've been gathering up all these testimonials. We talked about this even in your podcast where you interviewed me about how everybody is like, “Nicole’s the catalyst. Don’t hire Nicole if you want somebody to tell you you're doing the right thing because she doesn't pull any punches. She'll tell you what to do, and she'll tell you where the gap, and she'll tell you how to fix it.”It's hard to hear, and I love that you say that, and I appreciate that. I know that about myself, but for so much of my life, that was seen as a bad thing. Kids are often told, young adults are told, “Don't be too loud. Don't be too loud or pushy, you don't have to be right.”Much of my life was about making me not right.
It’s the way my brain works, and my gifts and skills. I could see where people had gaps or had always to be conscientious about not letting people know what I saw, and so it's always been a really weird thing. Shifting, it's nice to be working with people like you whether we're in relationship as colleagues and friends, mastermind partners, clients, or even with my mentors. There's a lot of stuff that I help them with. It's something that from a personal standpoint, I'm not 100% comfortable and always say, “Did you know this? Here's something I see that can be fixed.”Thank you, I appreciate that you're pushing my boundaries.
You make connections as you grow as a professional. A lot of the people that I deal with, these are top performers who are selling and then all of a sudden they're given the responsibility that they now have to manage and lead others. How you connect in the role of a leader isn't that much different from the way you connect with clients, sometimes the advice on knowing what you need to strengthen in that connecting core as a leader, you need to seek other leaders and get their advice. That's why we have our network of people like ourselves and other top professionals that we can go to, and in those instances we'll be able to be almost like the student.
We're learning how to absorb that information and then figure aout how you can transpose that in a leadership style. What I've always said about connecting, “The best of what sales can be is how great you can connect.” It's the same as it applies to the way you lead. Great leaders are master connectors, and they need to connect with the people that they are leading and taking them to the next level. What we're doing is leaders are building the next level of a master connectors as well.
For today's episode, I'm sponsoring it myself. With that, I want to share with you about my one-day business breakthrough intensive. Let's face it, no matter what stage of business that we're at, there are always areas that could use a little bit of outside perspective. Without which, they hold us back from our goals. That's why the most successful people in the world have people that they turn to in order to optimize their resources and get unstuck fast. I'm Nicole Holland, host of the Business Building Rockstars Show, and this is one of the things I love doing for clients. It’s helping them get really clear on the underlying issue that is manifesting all kinds of funky stuff in their life, so that they can get more productive, more profitable, and more joyful as quickly as possible, so they don't have to spend time trying to figure it all out.
I have a unique way of honing in really fast on what's going on, and spitting out a complete roadmap, step-by-step to get out of that stuff, that sticky stuff, that gunk that's holding them back. Whether it's processes, lead generation, conversion, or any number of things, that is one of my innate gifts and how I serve my clients at my highest and best. If you would like more information about the one-day breakthrough, visit BBRShow.com/ODB for more information. If you decide to join us, you can use coupon code BBR Show to take a whole $100 off of the tuition.
Let's talk about how this all started. How did you come to this? You weren't always thriving loudly, even though you are a successful leader. Can you take us back a little bit?
I have had a very successful career and it has varied and waved into different roles. I never knew that the main thing that I do, which is helping people thrive, was where it would all lead to. Truth be told, I started off in my dad's jewelry store. I was opening up and managing it for summers and holidays. I probably learned more in a store that was 60 feet long and nine feet wide and had tons of customers and how to interact with people. That's where I learned a lot of my people selling skills. Go sell jewelry in a block where there were probably fifteen jewelry stores or something that is not necessarily a need. You need to figure out that it isn't just about the item. It's going to be about the relationship that you have. I worked in consulting and professional services. I then headed up sales of a large company called Organic, which is still around today as part of the Omnicom family. I worked on Wall Street for a very long time.
I had an institutional role helping in the fixed income products area. In that, I recognize that I was limiting myself because I wasn't tapping into what I love to do best. I loved working in all of those roles, whether consulting, whether doing the work with clients and connecting with them. What I recognize is I wanted to help other people do it. The way that I connected with clients was not this typical Wall Street way of doing it. A lot of people can be very aggressive. There were some people who were disingenuous in the way that they would connect to people, and I recognize that what I did was a little different. I sought out a business coach that helped get me on track to figure out what I wanted to do next. I'd been doing well; I was very successful, very happy with it, but I was not happy. Not being happy is not a good thing. Someone who I interviewed in a podcast show had a great quote. They said, “Happiness is an inside job. You have to work on yourself really to figure out how to make yourself happy and take yourself to the next level.”
I did that with a coach, but then I recognized that what I love doing was connecting with others. That made me excited and watching them grow and connect from that. Watching them close more business, watching their startup companies launched to new levels. A client I've been added an almost $11million in sales to their business, which was a 20% jump in their revenue growth after I had been working them for a year. They know that you would have that type of impact and helping them do that. The expertise I had as an individual growing up on my own journey has made me focus on, “That's what I'm able to do the best, and that's what I love doing for companies and it's so exciting to see.” One of my favorite phone calls was to this company that I'd worked with. I gave a keynote address at this company event and I didn't get to meet everybody at this company, but there were a lot of people there.
One of the sales people who was in that conference sent me an email. They said he closed his biggest deal he's ever done it that company, and he used a lot of the tools of the connecting core to help establish that relationship. What I was so excited about was one, that I connected with him. Two, that it was what I sent back to him made it even better. I go, “I'm so excited that you've done this. Let's take it to the next level.”He got more excited about that because that's the type of thing that I'm always looking to do. You can use your connections to extend your growth, but you could also use them on yourself to continue to push yourself on who you need to help out and who you want to grow with.
What are you most excited about today? What are you working on that’s great? What's the next evolution or what are you working on today?
I'm doing a lot more speaking and a lot more keynotes. I adopted a lot of my message, the way that I've done in a way that's a little bit more interactive and more fun, which makes it cool. I get large audiences to do lots of things, which was always challenging. I took a lot of what I did in workshops and added it that way. Thrive LOUD has blown up. It's ridiculous. We joke about the number of guests that I had. It was getting to the point that if I didn't increase the number of shows per week. If I interviewed you today, you're weren't going on until the fall and we're in the winter. I’m like, “That's just wrong.”We added more shows, which is great. We created a little bit more content in there and then something unbelievable happens. There's a new show that I'm actually getting involved with, which is pretty cool. A lot of the thriving companies that I’ve been dealing with are around a big topic here on our planet, and I say that specifically, in being more green.
Thrive has some green colors in our logos, which was pretty cool. I was approached by this group called Green Matters, and we're launching a new show called Greenbacks. Me and this absolutely amazing co-host, Nathalie Molina Niño, who is the head of Brava Investments, are partnering together and we are tackling and doing almost like a car chat, car talk with some unbelievable leaders in sustainability, in business growth. Green isn't just people wrapping themselves around a tree with the bulldozer coming and protecting themselves or making sure you don't burn the forest. This is a trillion-dollar business that we're dealing with.
A lot of these companies, we want to check how valid their growth is, where the opportunities are, and how people have transform their businesses to focus on sustainability. It is a huge revenue bucket that's out there and people are doing amazing things with it. This new show is launching. It's not just a podcast show. It's also going to be video on a YouTube channel, which is really cool. We're filming in YouTube Studios here in New York City and it's pretty awesome. More speaking, more events, and there's lots of things happening in the Thrive LOUD world.
On this show, we usually get into a journey and stories. We're hopping all over the place. One of the things that is cool about how you're running your business is you work with a lot of young people. Speaking of sustainability, I'm a huge advocate for helping young people have a hand up. Not a handout, but a hand up, and helping them see the insides. I know that when I was a kid, I was always looking for those opportunities.
My drive led me to having some great mentors at a very early age, which led me to working in professional sports and entertainment at a very early age. One of the things that I know you're skilled at and gifted at is working with interns and helping others get involved with interns. Can you speak a little bit about how you came upon this intern idea or community or how to build your business using interns, and then the process that people could adopt if they want to follow in your footsteps?
I am the biggest advocate of, “If you are not good at something, you get somebody that is way better at it to do it for you.”One of the things that was absolutely prevalent, as I was building the brand of Thrive LOUD and Thrive, and myself as Lou, was that a lot of the things that we use in social media, I didn't have that much adeptness with. This was even before the podcast program came out.. I went to Cornell University and I'm very involved with the communications department at Cornell. I went up and I spoke at a class called Media Communications. Great class, unbelievable abilities of how people are using media technologies in business. What I ended up doing was recognizing these interns can help out with lots of activities, marketing activities, social media.
As the podcast show was created, I also recognized I had additional audio editor, montages, marketing tools with things that I wasn't as familiar with. As Instagram has become more popular, I learned how to use stories on Instagram. The interns we're not only helping me, but they were adept at running it and taking it to a whole new level. From all the marketing activities that have gone on, I give as much of that responsibilities and give a creative freedom to college students and people who graduated college. A lot of them have come to me at different stages of their career where they're trying to learn a little bit about that. Some of it’s an internship and in some cases, I've had people work for me over the summer.
Thrive is a small business. We have about five or six people, but these interns add a tremendous amount of value. I also love it because since I'm a communications major and on a podcast show, my interns are getting a lot of airtime. When we introduce a show, they're doing all the intros. They're actually on with me as we talk about a certain episode that they may have edited, so they can add some value to the content. It's a great experience and I am the biggest fan of this medium. I have three interns every semester, so we're cycling through tons of great people.
They're getting unbelievable experience and the best part is that all of the people that have interned with Thrive are getting jobs, whether it's they're younger in their early college years and they're getting summer jobs afterwards or full-time employment afterwards through the connections that they've had in this experience. In many instances, they're getting jobs at companies that I have done business with. I'm using my interns as a great fodder for that. I'm hoping to get to a place that I start taking some of these interns and keep them because they're so good, but they're so amazing at what they do.
I've shared this idea with other people in businesses like me. The nice guys on business podcast have taken a couple of interns and love that idea. You were an event and had a college student come and help you from Quinnipiac University. This is a great way to get exposure at an early age to some amazing senior level people and they were looking to do it, and they do an amazing job. I'm the biggest fan of using interns as much as you can, but most importantly, giving them real tasks, real responsibility, and accountability. They will not only deliver, they will thrive.
Much of my career was working with youth, and I'm always looking for opportunities that are win-win. I believe that the more we mentor, the more we support, the more we teach, the more those people can go on and do great things as they grow, and they get to grow in a faster way. One of the things that I ran up against was when I went to the local university here. It seemed like it was a big undertaking to get an intern, and I wasn't clear on what to do. Would you mind sharing any of those of first steps if somebody is saying, “This makes a lot of sense, but where do I start? What do I do?”
I had a great connection within the heads of the departments that make the most sense. You and I are in a communication space. Public relations space is another area, so that could be within the business or marketing departments. When I tell you that the faculty of these programs love the support from the outside in any way they can, they do. They have very little time to go do it, so it is a little proactiveness to reach out and find those people. Based on the universities that you go through, you can identify who those key people are and reach out to them. They will look to you and say, “This is something that I need.”Trust me, they're the best channel into the students. You can ask them to speak in class, they would love that. Find the appropriate topic that you can connect with the most. You and I have specific niches that make sense.
If your audience are listening and there's something that they would like to do, find the avenue within the universities that make the most sense. Universities, in the spirit of connection and what we've been talking about on this program, are looking to connect to the business world as much as they can. Not only to get jobs for their soon-to-be graduate students, whether they're undergraduate students or graduate. They're looking to be able to bring the two worlds together so that the study of the books and the things that they're learning has practical value in the real world where it does and it doesn't. That's the type of stuff that we can help connect for them. Be an advocate for your local university, and don't be afraid to go tap into whatever levels you can and ask as high as you can because you will get through there. They are looking for help always.
I do want to give a special shout-out to Gabby Perrone. She helped me out in New York. She came along and joined me at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, NRF 2018. Gabby was great, and it was in that way, not an official internship, I had put something out on Facebook to my friends and to my community and said, “I'm coming to New York City and I need help with this event. Does anybody know an intern-esque kind of person who would love to come behind the scenes and get into the press room and get to have some experience there?” I was amazed that I had more people say ‘yes’ than I could manage even that it was a weekend and it was during a winter break and all this stuff.
Being willing to ask and also knowing how you're willing to compensate them, and something that you taught me is that experience is more powerful than the money. That was a shift for me because I'm used to working with assistants who are looking at how much am I going to get for this rather than how much am I going to get for this. When I was young, I couldn't have cared less about money. I wanted experience. I wanted to meet important people. I knew that going as Steve Sidekick to the Washington Bullets, I got to sit right behind the bench, right behind Mark Gallery and Rex Chapman. I got to walk on the court. I got to get to know the community relations director. I got to spend time in these negotiations and meetings with these people.
It was that prestige and there was that experience. The first time I did that I was fifteen, I was very young. I'm 42 now and I still remember what it felt like to walk onto the basketball court and the smell of sweat. Sometimes we forget, at least I had, that there are people out there, who want to hustle and want to experience. It's not about the money. It's about the experience. The more we can teach and give them the opportunity to have that role, that's not just, “You're here, just do this. Go grab coffee,” but to include them in the experience is pretty powerful.
For those that are thinking, “You don't necessarily need a university formal type of internship program. You can do it ad hoc initially to see what works.” The university is the most natural funnel for it to the point that you had. It wasn't a formalized thing. You were trying to find somebody to help. There's plenty of people out there. Start off with that and figure out what works best, and then see if it's something that works for you and do not even set a limit. Break open your mind on limiting beliefs on what your interns can do for you because they will always amaze you with what they can do, especially if you get that go-getter type attitude you're talking.
I have an email in my inbox where I saw the first few words there where the girl said, “YES, I'm totally in.” I have something that I want to implement in terms of building a bot and doing some pretty, crazy, fun stuff, but I don't have the time. I was looking for awhile, “Who can I hire to do this?” Then I came across this girl that I had interviewed for a position and I wound up not being able to hire her, but I liked her. I had that sense that she was a go-getter. I made her an offer essentially that we have an agreement for how long she puts in and what she does. I'll put her through the training, and I will support her and mentor her to build a business around this for herself so she's not looking for jobs anymore.
I made that proposal and told her to think about it, speak with her family, and consider it. I got an email saying “Yes, I'm totally in.” I haven't read the rest of it, but it's exciting because it's such a win-win. She wants to build something for her family, and that’s somewhere that I can help. Thank you for sharing about your internship program and how you've done it. I'm going to turn it over to you. Any final words of wisdom, anything you want to leave our audience with, and then we'll talk about where people connect and be a part of the Thrive LOUD community.
I sign off all my shows, “Be brief, be bright, be gone.” This is a message. It’s more about the fact that we want to get our message with a smart point, and then leave it with that. There are a lot of tasks you have to do, whether you're an entrepreneur. You are that business rockstar and you're trying to figure out what the next level is. Try not to overthink too much. Try to keep your focus each day on limited things that are tactical. If you try to take on too much at one time, we know what happens. It's almost like you don't do a quality job in all the things you need to get done. That type of way that you need to communicate with people. Brief, bright, gone. Don't be long-winded. Try to keep your emails short. Try to keep your points to the point. People know that we're busy, we got a lot of things to do. The more on top of it that we are, the more that your connections will appreciate it.
To get more from Lou Diamond, where can people go?
Pretty much everywhere on social media, just hit @ThriveLoud, you will find me. It's on from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In addition, you go to ThriveLoud.com, you will see everything that we do at Thrive. Most notably, if you are interested in having me speak at your company, you can go to LouDiamond.net.
The podcast, go into Apple or any of your podcast players and look Thrive LOUD.
Thrive LOUD with Lou Diamond and you go to ThriveLoud.com, you will see the podcast link right there as well and get to see great episodes.
I had a lot of fun with you and I always have fun with you. You're an amazing host and you have amazing guests, so it's a pleasure to listen. If people enjoy the show, check out Thrive LOUD with Lou Diamond.
We've only improved upon our conversation in this episode. This was good. We covered a lot of good stuff, some fun things. We have two very cool voices. For those in the special group that you have going on, you got to see us in action in what is the BBR headquarters and Thrive LOUD madness.
I've been talking about the Listener’s Lounge. It's not there yet. I haven't done the ad for it, but we are working behind the scenes. It’s a membership area. There's no cost for the audience and you get the unedited videos of all of the interviews before they're even released on airwaves. It's a little value add and a way that my listeners can get more involved in the community.
I will get my rockstar interns to help promote this special group, and we'll send it out as a special message through social media, which they do a great job of. Once you have the instructions and release on how to get to do it, the way that people would have gotten here might be some of the people that help support it. That sound in line with what you want to do?
If you're in the Listener's Lounge, my plan is that there's going to be comments section below, so let us know, “Did you come from Lou’s amazing interns or how did you get here?” I want to know that in the comments section below. Come on over to BBRShow.com. I don't have the exact link right now, but if you search Listener’s Lounge, you'll find out at BBRShow.com how to get into our secret portal.
It's been awesome being on here and an honor because it’s a show I’m a fan of. Just to be here and be amongst many amazing people that have come on there is cool. Thank you for having me.
Been a pleasure. Thanks so much for being here, Lou.
- Thrive LOUD
- Master the Art of Connecting
- podcast – Nicole Holland’s interview
- Green Matters
- Brava Investments
- Gabby Perrone
- National Retail Federation’s Big Show
- Lou Diamond’s Facebook
- Lou Diamond’s Instagram
- Lou Diamond’s LinkedIn
- Lou Diamond’s Twitter
- Lou Diamond’s Amazon Author’s Profile
- Thrive LOUD with Lou Diamond on iTunes
About Lou Diamond
Lou is a Speaker, Coach, Consultant, Bestselling Author & Motivator. He was a top producer for firms such as Accenture, Deloitte, Omnicom, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, leading teams to achieve record revenues year after year. Lou founded THRIVE, a leading consulting and coaching company focused on making the most incredible leaders and top performers CONNECT to THRIVE Most recently, he launched ThriveLOUD, a weekly podcast dedicated to inspiring people to reach their peak potential in every facet of their life.
Thanks to Megan Hall of The Inspired Women Podcast for supporting the Business Building Rockstars Show.