Scott Talley: Scott Talley from the worldwide headquarters of Network in Action with Mrs. Lisa McCleese Kelly in Medford, Oregon.
Scott Talley: Good Afternoon.
Lisa Kelly: Good Afternoon.
Scott Talley: You look warm.
Lisa Kelly: Yeah I'm trying to stay warm.
Scott Talley: Easier said than done these days.
Lisa Kelly: *Laughs*
Scott Talley: So Lisa and her husband purchased a Network Connection franchise. What has it been two years now already?
Lisa Kelly: A year and a half I believe.
Scott Talley: A year and a half, and you're in Medford, Oregon. We're gonna start with your background. So y'all are the owners of a couple of auto repair shops, right?
Lisa Kelly: Yeah we own Kelly's Automotive Service here in Grants Pass and Medford, Oregon.
Scott Talley: And you employ how many? I mean it's a big operation.
Lisa Kelly: 27.
Scott Talley: 27 total? Wow. So when you first came across Network in Action you weren't really looking for another thing to do were you?
Lisa Kelly: No, I always tell people that I was not looking for another job because we own the two shops and I do coaching, and I also do real estate. So I have a lot going on but I saw Network In Action and decided this was too important for small businesses for me to pass up.
Scott Talley: Wow, that's awesome. So you had a little bit of history with networking, talk about that a little bit.
Lisa Kelly: Yeah so I was the area direct for BNI(Business Network International) here in Oregon, I founded four out of the five chapters for it and won international awards for it. I loved it, however when I left that position I couldn't become a member because I couldn't make the attendance policy.
Scott Talley: *Laughs*
Lisa Kelly: And then a lot of the people that I got into BNI also could not continue with the attendance policy and a lot of the things that they were asking of them to do.
Scott Talley: Yeah that's interesting. So in addition to your big company and your coaching practice you've also got a big extended family. We got to talk about that because I love that story. You 've got people that you've affected their lives from all over.
Lisa Kelly: Are you talking about my exchange students?
Scott Talley: Yes.
Lisa Kelly: So we have been rotary exchange parents and exchange parents to other kids for 2-4 weeks during the summer. We have a dozen kids around the world that we still keep in contact with, four of them quite often. My only grandchild is from an exchange student in Slovakia and I got to talk to her at Christmas and she was playing with her letters because she's learning English and Slovak of course.
Scott Talley: Cool!
Lisa Kelly: She was playing with her letters and held up a G and said Gigi - for me. I'm a Gigi.
Scott Talley: Aw. That's awesome, that's awesome. So like everything in your life you don't just sorta tip toe into things. You could've been an exchange parent and worked with a kid for a semester but you sorta adopted them for life. You're the same way with your networking group and I heard you say, and I think this is so important, I heard you say that you came across this opportunity you felt like it was too important for the business owners in your area of the country to not have it. What is it? Like talk about what you see in your role and what you're bringing to that community.
Lisa Kelly: Well here's what I know is a fact. If you're not creating relationships long term then you are not going to be successful in business. It doesn't matter where in your area of business it is, you have to create long term relationships and you have to know how to do it and have someone help you through that. So for us what we're doing here is helping business owners do that. Create those long term relationships in a faster way and they do it with the NIA agendas that we have they can create those relationships faster and deeper and that's what I love about it. They don't have to worry about "oh am I going to have to run the meeting today?" Or "Am I going to have to do something else that this organization wants me to do that's going to take time away from my business? Or can I just create those relationships?". We help them create those relationships, also what I love about NIA is that it's more of a mastermind kind of group. So our members are able to help eachother in so many ways. We had a member just in November, and at the end of every meeting I ask what you take away from every meeting. That's the coach in me and one of our members was in tears saying that the last two months has been really really hard on her and if it wasn't for this group then she doesn't know what she would do because they all reached out to her. It had nothing to do with business, it was about personal relationships and helping her during one of the hardest times of her life.
Scott Talley: Love those stories. You know it's hard to get the message across because so many people just want to talk about referrals and "how many referrals did I get?" but you and I know that it's so much bigger. We could talk all day about the stories right?
Lisa Kelly: Oh absolutely. It's crazy when you ask what's your takeaway and it's different for every person. It might be based around business or it might be based around personal. Some of the things like somebody said once "I need to pay more attention to my business, because they questions that you're asking in here I don't know the answers to, and I need to know the answers." And there's no shame in that, that's a big deal. They don't know what they don't know because they can't be experts in everything.
Scott Talley: Yeah and it's so much more complicated - I say this a lot - it's so much more complicated to run a business today. In the old days of your auto-repair company you just bought the biggest YellowPage ad that you can and sat back and waited and the next year you bought two of them and today it's so different isn't it? So lets not hone in on the big differences like monthly meetings and professional leaders, what are the other things you see that makes it so different than traditional networking? I mean you sort of touched on a couple of them.
Lisa Kelly: Again I think it's the mastermind, the time, but it's the closeness, it's the fact that these people are making differences in eachothers lives.
Scott Talley: Yeah.
Lisa Kelly: And again it's all of those stories that happen all of the time. We have someone who does social media and all of her clients have come from NIA. I think maybe she might have one client outside of this group, it's just that the impact on their lives is significant.
Scott Talley: Yeah It feels good. What do you think that speaks to the future of networking?
Lisa Kelly: Well time is at a premium - until people realize that taking time to build relationships in a way that works - I think we're gonna have some things get shaken up here in the networking world. We have to continue to build relationships, we have to continue to do it in a way that's effective and that works.
Scott Talley: I would say that the time committment is such a big piece because busy business owners just don't want to hear that they need five to seven hours a week every week of their life to make it work.
Lisa Kelly: Right.
Scott Talley: Why is it important - you know this better than many - but why is it important for business owners? Lets say that we're talking to somebody that's just getting their business open, maybe a year or so and don't think they have time for networking. Why is networking so important?
Lisa Kelly: I can tell you from experience that we built our business on networking. Between the chamber and any other networking group that we could get in we had no money when we started. I didn't get paid myself ten years, I worked for free. Those relationships have paid off not just with referrals to the business but these are our advocates. These are the people that go around and tell everybody they know that they need to bring their car to us, right? These are the people that when my husband was in the hospital that were all sharing on social media and praying for us. It's about relationships these are not just our clients, these are our friends and that's what happens when you're building relationships.
Scott Talley: Yeah you know those - you're too young - but for me the older I get the more I realize that the old adages and things that you heard from your parents and grandparents. You go alone or you go with a tribe of people and you're gonna get there a lot faster.
Lisa Kelly: One more thing. If you think about relationships in the business world, I developed relationships with people in the radio industry. Once we could afford advertising I started advertising with radio groups. Now I have relationships with everybody in those offices. I walk in and it's like cheers - everybody knows your name right?
Scott Talley: Yes, yes.
Lisa Kelly: There's five radio stations in one radio group and I can walk into each one and know who's there. That's helped us tremendously, same thing with the television stations nearby - I know a lot of not the anchors but they're the field reporters that go out and do things. So when I write a press release - guess whos press release gets picked up? Because I've spent years building those relationships not to get something out of it but because I genuinely care about people and when you genuinely care about people it comes back to help you in the long run.
Scott Talley: Yeah, yeah that's so true. So we've talked on some of these other recordings about the 6 differences between what we do and what traditional networking is but if you had to pick one - so let me back up. We know the adage no like in trust and we know that that takes a lot of time but I always say that that seems to be circumvented with our methodology, with NIA methodology. Why do you think that is? Is it the technology, is it the agendas, is it the fact that you're the membership committee, or what combination of those things seems to make people build trust so much faster?
Lisa Kelly: I think it's two things. One it's the agenda, and two it's the franchise owners who really and truly care about their members. Because you can have an amazing agenda, you can have an amazing company, but if you don't have the right people at the head of that, nothing matters. If you don't have franchise owners who actually care about making a difference with people that agenda is useless.
Scott Talley: Yeah I really agree and I think it goes along the same lines of what you're saying. You're not gonna put a bad apple in that group, at least not intentionally and if you were to misjudge someone then you know how to get rid of them. So the quality of the people is so easily recognized so when somebody joins that group it's like they trust you because they joined and gave you their fees and everyone else is sorta like well if Lisa trusts them then I trust them. I think that circumvents the time that it takes to build it.
Lisa Kelly: Yeah we've turned away quite a few people from our groups. We've had people visit and you can tell almost immediately that they're not the a good fit for that group.
Scott Talley: Yeah.
Lisa Kelly: That they're usually takers and they're not the kind of givers that we're looking for and our members appreciate that.
Scott Talley: Yeah. What would you say to anyone thinking about joining a Network In Action group?
Lisa Kelly: I would say if you are willing to give, if you are willing to be vulnerable, and be part of something like NIA it could change your business, it could change your life.
Scott Talley: Yeah I would add to that, don't judge your future success by who's in the room. I think that's a big mistake I see business owners make. I tell the story that my nextdoor neighbour is in charge of all of the construction and the repairs and everything for one of the largest - it's the place where George Bush lived when he wanted to run for president and wanted to be from Texas. He has the needs - He comes nextdoor, he comes over all the time and asks me "Hey do you know this person?" or "Where do I find this?" and if you walked into a room and see me you might think how could I help you but it's my nextdoor neighbour that I have a good relationship with. So it's not always the people in the room, right?
Lisa Kelly: Right. Well it's who you know and how you develop those relationships
Scott Talley: That's right. What would you say to someone who's thinking about purchasing a franchise and getting into this line of work and they're busy like you, they have family, extended family, they've got full time career, job, company they own?
Lisa Kelly: I just referred someone who's busy like me to NIA, so I'm hoping that he's gonna follow through on it and I can tell you why I referred him because he loves small businesses and wants them to be successful. So that's what I would say, if you're someone who care about people and cares about small businesses and truly wants to see people succeed then you get the reward - not just the financial reward but what I call my internal cash register. So when that happens it's like when you can see a member you can see a lightbulb go off or those stories at the end of the meetings what are their takeaways. Those are my internal cash register moments, so if that interests you this is one of the best businesses you can get into.
Scott Talley: I love that, I'm gonna borrow that internal cash register. That's where the a-ha moment this is worth the time I've spent doing it. We have lots of those stories don't we. You guys have had your community service project - talk about that a little bit.
Lisa Kelly: So we picked a company called Hearts With a Mission. It's a local non-profit that - well if you're anything like me you probably never thought "What happens to foster children when they turn 18?" I had never thought about that. Well most of them are churned out on the street unfortunately, they're in the system for years and years being taken care of and then they're 18 and it's kind of over with. So Heart With a Mission is a non-profit locally here that helps with food, shelter, skills, counseling so we put together a basket for one of their fundraisers and then we had Christmas trees with giving tags on them at some of our businesses for some of our members here at Christmas and we're just gonna continue to love on them all year.
Scott Talley: Oh my gosh I love it, I love it and it connects the members. Everything about it is so positive, that's such a cool thing I did not know that. I don't want to get off without talking about one other thing. You were able to recruit a really dear friend and a great associate to help you - talk about Julie a little bit and what role she plays and what role you play and how that made your franchise.
Lisa Kelly: Yeah so Julie is my partner in crime. The reason I brought Julie in is because she's curious about everybody and she truly wants to know. I mean we could be going for a walk somewhere and she'll stop somebody and ask them twenty questions and find out everything she can about them because she just loves people and she wants to find out all about them. Everybody calls Julie if they need something.
Scott Talley: That's awesome.
Lisa Kelly: She's the connector, she's the one who knows people, she's the one who knows everything about everybody because she's just genuinely curious and wants to help people.
Scott Talley: I love that, what a perfect partner. I mean your hearts in that place too but you sometimes might have other things going on, that's fantastic. I know she's been a big asset. What would you say just before we finish here if you look back on this last - lets face it you weren't in the easiest last year and a half in the history of America. We had the Covid, we had the rise in prices and inflation going through the roof and yet y'all have been wildly successful. What would you say - is there anything you would do different if you had to do it over again from the start?
Lisa Kelly: Wow, what would I do different over again? I think I would probably have more networking events which is something that we're starting now. I would definitely do more of those to bring people into the fold and to give an opportunity for my members to meet more people outside the group.
Scott Talley: Yeah and since I know you I can flatter you here but it's from the heart, I mean I can see as long as you're in front of somebody they're gonna see what's in your heart and they're gonna want to participate with you. So I can see where that would be super valuable.
Lisa Kelly: Thank you.
Scott Talley: Awesome, well thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it, and tell your hubby hello for me and continue to stay warm.
Lisa Kelly: I will.