A Network In Action franchise owner and running three groups out of Meridian, Idaho, Scott is a successful speaker, trainer, and two-time author of books on marketing and sales. Scott has an unwavering passion for helping others succeed in business and life.
In your own words, describe what you do and who you are.
Well, family first. I married my college sweetheart, which is probably one of the best things that’s happened to me. She’s like my soulmate, and we have adopted two children. Besides that, I tell people that I love helping people. That’s how I got involved in Network In Action. I just love connecting people and helping people out, and that kind of dovetails right into the sales I’ve been in. Right out of college, I stumbled into running two restaurants as Assistant General Manager. One day, a couple of customers, a husband and wife, said, “You need to be in sales.”
I said, “Well, bring your bosses in!”
And sure enough, one of them did. The boss interviewed me in the restaurant, and the next thing you know, they moved me to Portland, Oregon, and I’m in sales. I was there for a year and then Seattle for two years. Then I moved back to Boise, Idaho, and got back into sales again. So, I’m a sales junkie. A lot of people really like to do something. For some people, it’s golf. They get really into it, they know a lot about it, they watch it, and they follow it. And that’s how I am with sales. I just am obsessed with how it’s done—and also how it’s not done properly in a lot of places. I’m always trying to find ways to do things in a more buyer-centric way.
Why did you decide to move forward on the Network In Action franchise?
I just got to the point in my life where I wanted to control my own destiny. People always say, “Go to work for yourself,” but startups have a terrible failure rate—like 90 percent. But franchises have roughly an 85 percent success rate. So, I decided to go for a franchise; they have a proven model.
What would you say is your why?
It’s just trying to make the world a better place. A lot of people say that, but I really am. In my referral groups, I’m always trying to help people out. Of course I give them referrals and stuff, but also in other ways. For instance, if a member’s kid needs to get a job, I might coach that teenager on how to get a job. I’m just always looking for ways to help people. If people run into challenges with medical bills, that’s something I’ve been through before, so I can coach them on some resources that help get through that. In the last five years, I’ve helped people get rid of about $200,000 in medical bills, just as a friend, because I’m really passionate about helping people out with their healthcare challenges.
So, that’s my biggest why—just trying to make the world a better place. I like to take complex things and then try to figure them out, such as trying to get healthcare figured out or B2B sales figured out. I’m just really passionate about figuring out a better way to do things. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps pushing me. I’m constantly coming into new opportunities where someone needs help, and I’m trying to figure out how I can help. I can’t always help—but I’m always trying to find a way to try.
What do you believe is the future of networking?
I think the future of networking is going to be very active, like it is right now. I just think it’s going to expand into different platforms. There are a lot of different ways to do it. Network In Action is even now starting to do it online, too. I’m really connected on LinkedIn, but most of my group here in the Treasure Valley, Boise, Idaho-Metro area still want the old-fashioned, shake-hands type of thing. That’s super important to them. So, there are a lot of ways to do networking that work. Personally, I can’t believe how many people who have helped me write my book who are friends I made online with LinkedIn. They’re all over the country, even all over the world. And I tell you, we have real friendships.
Just the other day, I had somebody review my book. It was someone I’ve never met in person. We only connected through DMs so he could do the review for me. And before he read the book, he said, “You know something, Scott? This is weird, but I feel like we’ve been best friends for over a year.” So, the future of networking, I think, is going to be diverse, but it will be a kind of hybrid. I think you’re still going to have the steady and true face-to-face; I think you’re going to have some who are just going to go straight virtual; and some are going to have mixed roots, part of the time with face-to-face and other parts hybrid. Networking is not going to go away.
A perfect example is in the B2B world right now. There’s so much noise out there. If you’re looking for a product to help your company out, and let’s say it’s a product that costs in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, you are going to go and ask your network what they think before you buy. You ask your friends and business associates who you know can weigh in on this. That’s all networking. I get people asking me all the time what I think about this product or that service. These are people who often have nothing to do with my formal networking group—but them asking me is still about networking.
What would you say to a business owner who has never networked about the importance of networking?
I’ve met a lot of people who think, Been there, done that. I have a guy right now who is a new EOS implementer. I met with him, and he’s a super sharp guy with a great resume. Of course, I’m looking to see if he might want to join my NIA group, maybe come and visit, but I also want to sincerely help him where I can. I asked him, “Who are you looking for?” I helped him with a marketing plan. I helped him out where I could. He said he’s never had somebody give more over lunch. And that really speaks to what networking can do for you and your business.
I will give another quick example of this. Within my groups, I have a banker named Charlie, and I have a Property and Casualty Company. The Property and Casualty Company bought an existing bank as their new office building. They had a line of banks and credit unions wanting to buy it from them, but because of the relationships we build in the group—which is the true power of networking—the Casualty Company said, “Nope. Charlie’s bank is gonna get it because we have a relationship with him in NIA.” Charlie got that deal, and he jokes with me and says his bank owes me $2 million from that deal because he didn’t have to build a bank; his bank was able to just move in and be a tenant. But really, he’s not the only one who got a deal. Charlie told me he signed a ten-year lease with the Property and Casualty Company, which will pay for that building over the lifetime of that lease. It’s a win-win. Those types of relationships are cool. Referrals are always the key, and we really try to push them, but there are so many other types of great business transactions outside of those that come with networking.
Which of Network In Action’s six basic differences do you think are the key one or two differentiators for you?
I tell people all the time that one of our key differences is that we’re not volunteers—we’re run by professionals. You can have the best volunteers running a group, but that volunteer has another job. They can’t commit to your success. As a franchise owner, I’ve bought into this—I have a stake in my members’ successes. It’s the same for all the franchise owners I’ve talked to; we’re all committed to our groups. Every week, us franchise owners have a Monday meeting. We all get on as a group, and we’re all talking about our challenges and how to attract the best people. Overall, we’re always trying to figure out ways to be better at leading our groups. Another difference is the abundance mindset that we’re attracting. The first time I had my first two groups meet together, I knew there was going to be a bunch of competitors in the room, since we’re each category-specific. But to this day, I cannot believe what’s happening in my groups. For instance, I have three business attorneys in the group, and when we get together, they’re all making fun of each other, and they’ve all done business with each other. One of them even tried to recruit one of the others to work for him, but he said no. But when the first attorney’s tenant moved out, he went back to the guy he was trying to recruit and said, “Hey, you guys are looking to be on the east side of the Treasure Valley. You guys should move in here.”
And so, that attorney and his partners came over to look at the building, then said, “You know something? How about we buy the building from you and you’ll be our tenant?” And that’s what happened. That’s all from the luncheon! It really speaks to the caliber of people we bring in. They’re great people and great givers. The caliber of people we bring in truly have an abundance mindset. Even people with partial business overlaps and competition can still get past that and just see where they can help each other out. It’s amazing.
What would you say to a business owner who is thinking about joining Network In Action?
I would tell them to take a look at it. This model fits into what you’re doing anyway. Business coaches are the easiest example of this, but it’s true for any business owner. With NIA, you can just monetize a piece of what you’re already doing.
What would you say to someone looking into buying a Network In Action franchise?
Oh, absolutely look into it. What I like about it is that it’s super low-expense. It comes with a framework of how to get restaurants to let you in for free so that when you run your meetings, all you have to pay for is some drinks. I work out of my house, and I’ve got to drive to the meetings and coffees. If I meet someone for lunch, everyone’s buying their own lunch, so there’s no real expense there. I don’t need a bunch of employees; I can take care of it myself. I like being a solopreneur and having low expenses.
On a scale of one to ten, how are you able to control your income with your franchise?
A few months ago, I made a post on social media about wanting to go to Hawaii. So, you challenged me to figure out how many new members it would take to pay for me to take that trip with my family. We figured out it would take adding fifteen members. I committed to do that in three months—five new members a month. Really, it was more about the game than it was about the money. But I did it. And I’m taking that trip with my kids and my wife next year.
It’s really just up to you going out and talking to people and trying to get them to come into the groups. My big thing is that I try to sell the group. I used to just want people to sign up without visiting a group, especially if I was building out a group. But now I have pretty good success once the business owner comes by and visits the group because it sells itself.
On a scale of one to ten, how strongly do you feel that you’re waking up every day and making an impact on businesses in your area?
That’s really what I love about it. When I first looked at the franchise, my wife said, “You’re already doing this anyway.” For me, I was already connecting people because I love doing it. So, again, all I did was take a piece of what I was already doing and monetize it and make some money at it. The NIA model helped me build a model to make that happen. Now, it’s just me getting up every day just doing what I love. It’s what I’ve always done, but now I make a living doing it.