Phil Town Interview – Rule #1 Author and Speaker
It’s an honor to have caught up with author and speaker Phil Town. Phil is a self-made millionaire several times over as well as one of America’s most widely sought-after speakers on investing. He is the author of the best-selling investment book, “RULE #1“.
Mr. Town appears regularly as part of the “Get Motivated” touring success seminar, where he speaks to more than 500,000 people annually about Rule #1 investing.
As you read the following ideas from Phil pay close attention to what he says about “developing relationships with people that share your similar interests” and how doing so can open you up to new business opportunities.
Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
Phil Town: To me business networking is a bunch of people at a convention center with name tags. I can’t handle it but then I’ve always been a bit anti-social. The trouble is, it’s real important. You are going to find that the more people you are connected with, the luckier you get when it comes to opportunities.
The key word in business networking is ‘connected’. I’m not a big fan of casual business card exchanges. Mostly that stuff gets tossed or becomes fodder for some generic email blast to three billion people. Or at least that’s my rationale for not doing it. I never feel much of a real connection in those ‘business networking’ environments. I go for connections that involve something I share with someone and I don’t do things to get connected. I get connected because I do things I like and meet people who share that interest.
Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
Phil Town: Frankly, Josh, I suck at what traditionally passes for networking. Harvey Mackay (Swim with the Sharks) is a master at networking and I highly recommend his book. But for me it was always really uncomfortable to do the kinds of things Harvey takes in stride. For example, he sits in first class on flights and always strikes up a conversation with person next to him. I live in fear of sitting next to a guy like that. I try to get on early, get out a book and be deeply into it before my seatmate arrives. So for me traditional networking is really like rowing upstream… painful at best.
Still, the fact is that some of the best things that have ever happened to me, maybe all of the good things, came from being networked in some way or another. But the networks I was in weren’t business related per se. I just got myself networked as a side-effect of being really interested in some things in my life.
For instance, I love riding Harleys. Always have. As a result other guys with the same interest would get together with me for rides and we became friends. Then one of those guys suggested that I do a business with him and we formed the touring arm of EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals, a business that is going gangbusters all over the US today.
I met Dr. Jonas Salk and invested in a company he was chairman of because I was interested in philosophy and took a class outside of school that Peter Salk, Jonas’ son, was also taking. We became friends and that led to a business investment.
One of my daughters plays volleyball and I’m a huge fan of hers. Another Dad who has a daughter on the team is the same way and we became friends and that resulted in my other daughter getting an internship with him. So for me, networking is about connecting with people who share your interest in something. I guess I’d recommend that you put your personal interests before your business networking to get the most out of what real friends can do for real friends.