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Capitalist Sage: Wendy Kinney talking shop on effective networking



Wendy Kinney, Power Generator, giving her sage advice on networking with your hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini. Recorded at Atlanta Tech Park in City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia


In this episode of the Capitalist Sage Podcast, Karl and Rico talk to Wendy Kinney – a referral marketing expert. Wendy shares knowledge and advice about how to find networking associations that are a good fit, common mistakes people often make in a referral market, and the importance of referral marketing in expanding your network.


Power Core:


How to contact Wendy: 404-816-3377

“So, someone once explained to me that the difference between a homeless person and Warren Buffet is timeline. The homeless person wonders what he’s going to eat tonight. Warren Buffet knows what his grandchildren are going to eat. So the homeless person is thinking, “Can I get 20 bucks. Can I go to burger king?” Warren Buffet is thinking, “Where am I gonna take my family on vacation three years from now?” And that timeline is crucial for referrals. Cold calling is – I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna interrupt what you’re doing, you’re either gonna say yes or not to me, and I’m gonna move on. Referrals has a timeline. And that’s the first thing that people miss. They want it to be instant.”

Wendy Kinney

Audiences transform from groups of passive strangers to active, individual participants learning new skills together. People are meeting. New contacts are being made. Sparks fly.

Wendy Kinney created Ready… Set… Go Make Money! networking methodology from her 21 years of researching, experimenting and confirming what works for networking. 

She opened the Atlanta office of PowerCore in 1995; since then PowerCore Teams in the metro Atlanta Area have connected more than 15,898 Members.

Wendy continues to guide Atlanta’s entrepreneurial community into the lucrative and exciting world of network and referral marketing. And she’s gone global, bringing her proven methods and innovative techniques for creating ah-ha’s and shocks of recognition to corporate events around the world.

For more information visit www.WendysDesk.com, or contact Wendy via 404-816-3377 or Wendy@PowerCore.net

Podcast transcript:

Karl [00:01]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Carl Barham.

Rico [00:08]: And I’m Rico Figliolini.

Karl [00:09]: I’m with Transworld Business Advisor, and Rico is with Mighty Rocket Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Rico! How about telling us about our sponsors today?

Rico [00:22]: Sure. First thing is – I just want to let you know, we’re in the podcast studios at Atlanta Tech park in Tech Park Atlanta.

Karl [00:30]: That’s right.

Rico [00:31]: Love the name. It’s in the city of Peachtree Corners. So we’re in the middle of this accelerator here in Peachtree Corners. Now what is that – the incubator that’s at Prototype Prime just down the block. So this is a great hub for technology. So this is where we’re at doing this podcast.

Karl [00:49]: Part of Curiosity Lab of –

Rico [00:52]: Well, Curiosity Lab actually encompasses now Prototype Prime as long as a one and a half mile autonomous vehicle track, and I think it’s the Georgia Tech professional education services that’s being conducted out of there as well.

Karl [01:08]: Absolutely. A live lab in Peachtree Corners. Fabulous.

Rico [01:11]: So one – the only one I should, probably one of several, but the only one that made it in Atlanta. A live lab where people can actually put their autonomous vehicles and stuff into a real track. So that’s where we are here, just to give you an essence. Peachtree Corners magazine and the family of podcasts which includes Capitalist Sage is also a media sponsor for Smart City Expo Atlanta, which is an offshoot of the annual Barcelona event that’s done internationally. So this expo happens in September – it’s the first one in North America. Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners will have an offsite demo place in its racing place that the attendees of this expo can come to and check out the track and all the stuff that’s gonna go on there. Because they should hopefully be done in about 48 days – at least the PC portion of that to be able to share. The Smart City Expo is the first one of three years that are going to be here and the World Congress Center, and it’s right at smart cities and bringing it down to the people that would actually be using it on the boardway. So not just businesses. And, also want to welcome, for the first time, Gwinnett Medical Center. They’re a sponsor of our podcast as well. So they’re actually opening up a place – they’re entering Peachtree Corners. It’s called the GMC Primary Care and Specialty Center of Peachtree Corners, and they’re gonna have a lot of premier, first rate primary care services and specialty services. For those people that want to know where it is, if you’re familiar with the old Abuelita’s restaurant, which is the building that’s been completely gutted and renovated, just south of the QT of Peachtree Corners.

Karl [02:57]: That’s right. Right across from the farm. So if you can find the farm, you’ll be able to find this medical center.

Rico [03:01]: And if you find the QT or Climate Smoothie which is in that same place.

Karl [03:05]: That’s it. Good – thank you very much for introducing our sponsors. Today’s guest is Wendy Kinney. An entrepreneur, business owner, network and relationship marketing expert. Wendy opened the Atlanta office of Power Core back in 1995 and has connected over 15,000 members, helping people grow their business through network and referral marketing. Just want to thank you for joining us today, and why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit more to our audience?

Wendy [03:36]: Thank you, Karl, I’m honored, and Rico – I’m honored to be invited and participate in this. I think you’re doing good work, so, that’s good.

Karl [03:44]: Thank you. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got into this space?

Wendy [03:49]: I visited my first Power Core team, and all Power Core meetings are at seven o’clock in the morning, in Melbourne, Florida at the Hyatt across from the airport. And it was two hours from where I lived. And the reason I agreed to go to a 7 AM meeting two hours from home, because you’re already doing the math on what time they had to leave and get up and all that, right? Was because I’m incredibly shy. I had a hard time getting to events that were close to home. I would very often get dressed, get in the car, drive in the event, circle the parking lot and get home. And I figured if it was two hours away, I would actually go in because if I embarrassed myself, I wouldn’t have to kill anyone. So that was my first experience in that situation.

Karl [04:33]: Oh wow, fabulous. So when you found Power Core – why don’t you describe what Power Core is for folks that don’t know?

Wendy [04:40]: So, it’s a business referral network, and there are 21 different types of networking associations. So think of them as languages. Think of them as Greek and French and Spanish and Portuguese. And if I prepared for a trip to Brazil by taking Spanish lessons, when I got there, I would be, best case, ineffective and, worst case, offensive because they speak Portuguese, right? And so, associations are like that too. Each association has its own purpose, has its own language. And Power Core is the type of association that is codified, close contact. And what that means is that there’s a group of people who meet once a week. These people are not in competition with each other. And their purpose is to build the credibility required to recognize and refer their clients to each other. So they know each other closely. And this – the reason that that very first meeting worked for me was because one of the presentations was being done by the CPA. And I sat there during his presentation taking notes and thinking to myself, “How come the guy I’m paying isn’t telling me this? Why isn’t my own CPA telling me this?” And it was so powerful to me to recognize, and I could see right there already, that if I had a question, I could ask the banker. Just right after the meeting, and he would have answered me. If I had a question, I could just ask the attorney, and he would just answer me. And I didn’t have another place in my life where that existed. And that was my motivation. I – I know that most people join because they want the referrals, right? But my motivation was – I need these people in my life. I had just come off a very bad business failure. Do you want to know what it was? I bought a restaurant.

Rico [06:25]: That’ll do it all.

Wendy [06:28]: Big mistake. Big mistake. And what I realized, sitting there, was – if I had had these people in my life, I would have not been a failure as a restauranteur.

Karl [06:40]: That’s fabulous – it’s interesting having advisors and people that you can go to to help you at – grow your business is really key. And having this group that, by structure, you’re getting to know them very well, I could see that building kind of, like, almost a board of directors, a kitchen cabinet, or small council – whatever you want to call them. But they’re these people that you can go to for those questions. And along the way, you happen to be able to help each other do business.

Wendy [07:10]: Yes. Yes. And when I first joined, I didn’t think anyone would have referrals for me. I was wrong, but I was clear. And what I learned and what I tell people now is – these people are cheering for your success more than any other people in your life. More than family, more than anyone. These people want you to be successful. They’re building you up, they’re holding you up, they’re introducing you to prospects. This is your cheerleader, right here.

Karl [07:38]: So what do you think people miss, when you see folks looking to grow? So I talk to business owners all the time. Pretty much most of them have a revenue problem. They don’t grow enough money. You ask them, “What do you spend on marketing, what do you do for marketing?” They say, “Referrals. I built my business on referrals.” What are they missing when they’re looking at their business and how they’re approaching it and how someone that really wants to really drive their business using referrals can do.

Wendy [08:05]: Yeah. Two things. The first thing that they’re missing is timeline. So, someone once explained to me that the difference between a homeless person and Warren Buffet is timeline. The homeless person wonders what he’s going to eat tonight. Warren Buffet knows what his grandchildren are going to eat. So the homeless person is thinking, “Can I get 20 bucks. Can I go to burger king?” Warren Buffet is thinking, “Where am I gonna take my family on vacation three years from now?” And that timeline is crucial for referrals. Cold calling is – I’m gonna call you, I’m gonna interrupt what you’re doing, you’re either gonna say yes or not to me, and I’m gonna move on. Referrals has a timeline. And that’s the first thing that people miss. They want it to be instant. Yeah.

Rico [08:48]: I’ve been – I didn’t do Power Core. I did another – I won’t name it – I did another networking group. And the other networking group was more like – wasn’t like this. I mean they had the –

Wendy [09:03]: I think you should name it. I really do. Just because it will be clearer.

Rico [09:07]: It’s been a long time, it’s BNI.

Wendy [09:10]: But I just think it’ll be clearer.

Rico [09:11]: Okay. So BNI is this Business Network International. It’s been around a long time. Same thing. 7 o’clock in the morning, we all did the one minute, two-minute elevator screens. We all had to share leads. It was almost mandatory – it was almost like you were shamed if you didn’t do it. And it was always typically the same type of business. An accountant, lawyer, it’s always the typical. And I just felt very – I just wasn’t feeling it. And I’m –

Wendy [09:45]: So here’s – here’s my response to that. I believe that associations are like blue jeans. Not every pair of jeans fits every butt. Can I say that? Do I need to rerecord? And as soon as you try it on, you know if it’s a fit for you or not. And if it’s not a fit for you, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you and there’s nothing wrong with the jeans. So I have no illusions that anyone should belong to any one type of association. I think that’s part of the reason why there’s 21 different associations. I think we all need to belong to three different types, but it doesn’t matter which type we belong to. As long as we work each type according to its purpose, right? So. Finding out, and finding out quickly, that it’s not for you – I think that’s a good thing.

Rico [10:34]: Yeah, I don’t disagree, and it didn’t take me too long. I think it was about four or five weeks, which I thought was long, I thought I needed to do a little bit more. And I found my network and my referrals confirmed with different –

Wendy [10:46]: So I want to – I want to address how long is long enough. Just in the general referral marketing thing. So I told you that I belonged – I believe that we each need to belong to three different types of associations. I believe very firmly that we need to belong to an association where every member is a prospect. Now that would not be a close contact association. So if someone went to a close contact association, selling to the people at the table and the people at the people then buy with them, they would think they were unsuccessful. However, it would be because they were speaking the wrong language, right? So that’s really important. So there needs to be, in my marketing portfolio, one association where every member of that association is indeed a prospect for me. There needs to be a second association in my portfolio where every member is a gate opener for me. A gate opener is a person who will never do business with me personally, but is in a position to send me one referral a month like clockwork. And I need to belong to a third association with this broader cross-section of people as possible. And for most people, that’s what Power Core is. Where there’s this broader cross-section of people – so watch, I’ve got depth in the first two, I’ve got width in the second one. And that depth and width is what gives a marketing plan stability. And I believe that everyone needs to belong to those three things, and then – and so here we go. Here’s – I know that was a long answer to come back. Once my private clients make those three choices, it’s a three year decision. So now we’re coming back to the difference between the homeless person and Warren Buffett. So the important piece here is, five or six weeks isn’t long enough to know. It’s just not. And it’s long enough to know the jeans don’t fit or you don’t like the jeans, right? But once people make a decision, the difference between success and failure and referral marketing is being a member long enough for these people to know you. So the team I was at today – I was at Cumberland today. And David Arnold turned in a business slip from a guy who was a member of his team fourteen years ago. Fourteen years ago. And now he’s moving to Denver. Now. Fourteen years later! Of all the real estate agents in the greater metro area, this guy knows David the best. And that’s a long – that’s a Warren Buffet time frame, right? So when people use – there’s only three ways to get new clients. Advertising, cold-calling, referrals. When people use an advertising or cold-calling mindset in a referral marketing plan, you’re always gonna be ripping up these plans before the roots have had time to form.

Karl [13:25]: Yeah. It’s a good thing to know as I’ve ventured out and talked to a lot of the folks and participated in some of these different – getting to know people, part of it, if you think about it, it’s hard for me to refer to you, and we’ve known each other for a while now. And we’ve worked together, and I know what you do, little by little, many small conversations. I know details. But I now know how to listen for things. And I’ll say, “Hey Rico, there’s someone here that you need to talk to because of our conversation we had” that if we didn’t stick through this and meet every week and chat all the time, I wouldn’t have known that.

Rico [14:04]: You know what I find out – I find that I don’t know the two organizations you’re talking about – all have to be networking, quote networking? Because what I find is that, when I belong to an association, let’s say the America – the Atlantic Marketing Association, which is going to –

Wendy [14:21]: That’s a really good example of an industry specific association.

Rico [14:25]: Now, there I find that, because maybe because of what I do particularly –

Wendy [14:31]: No, I think these jeans just fit your personality.

Rico [14:35]: Maybe. Because I don’t like being necessarily a member in an organization as opposed to being a board member. I want to be an effective person that could bring value to that organization. And in doing so, expand the value of the organization. And bring – and when you do that, I think, when you get in, then you get it.

Wendy [14:55]: Yeah. So the key in this three-year trajectory is to be a visible, committee member or board member by the end of the first year. So everyone needs to be on a leadership track, a visibility track – just from the very beginning. Go find out where there’s a hole that fits me, right? Because I don’t want to volunteer for a board position that’s onerous for me, right? Find – always work in your area of strength. Always work in your area of strength.

Karl [15:24]: That leads me to one thing that does, when people get that involved, it starts building credibility. I know that’s one of the important elements of getting referrals. Help folks understand why credibility is so important and how people build that and build that.

Wendy [15:39]: Yeah, so I just came from a lunch conversation with someone who was referencing a person who we both know. And he cost himself any referrals from her or from me because he blew his credibility. And he blew his credibility in very specific ways. The easiest way to get credibility is to say, “I’ll call you at 10 o’clock tomorrow,” and then do it! Right? Because if I say I’ll call you at ten o’clock tomorrow, and at ten o’clock tomorrow I get your voicemail and I say, “Hey this is Wendy,” you’re gonna listen to that voicemail and go, “Ooh, she did what she said she was gonna do.” If you answer the phone, you’re gonna be, “Okay, she did what she said she was gonna do.” I can count on her – if I refer to her, my clients are going to experience the same thing. The easiest way to bust credibility is to not do what you said you were going to do. So whether that is not performing well as a leader, or not showing up for a lunch appointment, or not performing in some other way that I said I was going to, that’s referral death.

Karl [16:44]: So I’m wondering. As people start putting together a plan on building credibility, are there tools and strategies that they can use to start to pull some of this together to be more effective in getting referrals?

Wendy [16:59]: Yeah. So, so let’s start with the concept of meeting one-on-one for coffee. So those one-on-one meetings, as you just expressed to Rico – those meeting where people are just talking and beginning a friendship because referrals are always between friends. And beginning that friendship – those are really important. So I can strategically make a plan to have one coffee meeting in between every meeting with the association. So you like AMA meets monthly – in between every month’s meeting, you’re going to have lunch with some person from that association. Now watch what happens. Remember my three-year path. In month number one, you have lunch with Art. And when you go in month number two, Art’s gonna say – “Oh, hey! I want to introduce you to Scott, Tom and Jerry.” And in month number two, you’re going to have lunch with Betty. And when you go onto meeting number 3, Betty’a gonna say, “Oh I want to introduce you to Carla and Deborah and Sally.” And in month number four – are you getting it? And so what happens is – if you have lunch with one person in between every meeting, those people become your advocates and your champions at the next week’s meeting – or the next month’s meeting. And by the end of twelve months – twelve meetings, you’ve got a whole group who knows who you are and knows your name and recognizes you – I don’t know what you do yet. But they know who are, they know what you do, they know your name. And if you saw them Friday night at pizza, they’d come up to your table and say hi! When people don’t have a proactive strategy to do that, networking doesn’t work for them.

Karl [18:43]: That’s super key. I notice that another thing, as you start talking with folks, in the cold networking kind of groups, if you’re trying to sell to people, that’s speaking the wrong line.

Wendy [18:57]: It’s so speaking the wrong line.

Karl [18:59]: So if I’m trained in sales, and I know – I don’t know if you’re familiar with Challenger, Inside Be Sellings – some of those kinds of things. One of those key things is changing the way someone thinks introducing new information.

Wendy [19:12]: Right.

Karl [19:13]: If you’re not supposed to be selling to – to Rico – because he’s not supposed to, he’s not my customer, what should I be spending my time telling Rico?

Wendy [19:22]: Right. So, the book, The Secret Life of Pronouns is fabulous. The author is James Panabaker, he’s a University of Texas at Austin. And one of the things that he describes is how our use of pronouns affects how people react and respond to us. So the pronouns, “we” – this is what we do – and “you” – I can help you – are sales pronouns. And neuro linguistically they call them vertical. So these pronouns make people think – “I need this, I don’t need this. Yes, no, up, down, in, out. This is for me, this is not for me.” These pronouns – what an incredible power – stop referrals. Because when I’m speaking to Rico, and I say, “Well, Rico, what I can do for you is…” – Rico either thinks “Oh, I like that” or “No I don’t.” And then we’re done. He’s not thinking laterally, which is what neurolinguistics call the pronouns “I” and “they”. So when I’m speaking to Rico and I say – “What I did for them was…”, now Rico thinks what is like or what is not like what she’s talking about. So I was just talking with Heather, and she said, “I’m a good referral for your friends who have coffee table books of the places they’ve visited.” Well, immediately, when she said that, I thought – “Ooh, Kevin and Hal. They don’t have coffee table books from the places they’ve visited. They get some piece of art from every place they’ve been on vacation, and that’s their memento from the vacation.” Right? So that lateral thinking – it’s not a coffee table book – it’s a piece of art. That lateral thinking is how referral happen. And they happen with the pronouns, “This is what I did for them” – the person who’s not here. Not “This is what we can do for you,” the person who is here. And that’s key to referrals. Just key.

Rico [21:13]: You know, that’s funny. Because I’ve gotta believe that’s – as you were saying it – it’s almost like the case study.

Wendy [21:19]: Isn’t it?

Rico [21:20]: And everyone talks about – “I want to see the case study. I want to see what you did for someone else. Is that what you’re gonna do for me? Because we – you don’t even know me.”

Wendy [21:28]: Right! Right! And yet you’re pitching me? Yeah.

Rico [21:31]: Right. And I don’t do that. I hate doing that. I hate coming up with, I have a toolbox. I have a hammer and a screwdriver. I know you got nails and screws –

Wendy [21:40]: And now everything’s gonna be hammered.

Karl [21:43]: Even if you don’t need it, I’m gonna hit you.

Wendy [21:44]: Yeah, it’s what I got.

Rico [21:46]: So I need to know who you are first because you don’t even – you know, if at least I give you my case studies like that. What I did for them, then they might be able to step up and say and feel empathy. I understand.

Karl [21:56]: I just had an incident where what you just said happened, and now that I’m sensitized to it, I see it coming right at me. At a just a networking event or meeting some people, and someone selling, I think it was maybe employee benefits. And said – and she didn’t know anything about me. And she started saying, “Well, you know, I sell employee benefits and I can build us up, and if you have three to ninety-nine employees” and so on. And I said, “Wow.” She just went in and went from me to the next person and said the same thing to the next person and next person, next person. And I’m sitting there going, “why, I’d love to pull her aside for a moment and just have a short” –

Wendy [22:39]: Say, “Honey I can help you.”

Karl [22:41]: Which I am scheduling coffee with her, so we’re gonna have a conversation. But you see when folks do that a little bit different. There’s another thing –

Wendy [22:49]: I think that venturing to do that, thought, don’t you think? And they’ve just – what – and I remember the metaphor that I was taught was, you’re just picking up rocks and saying, “Is it you? Is it you? Is it you?” And it’s really uncomfortable to be one of those rocks.

Rico [23:01]: You know, when I was a stockbroker, it was like that. I got a stock, and I don’t care who you are, you’re gonna end up buying this stock from me, right? That’s the mentality of a lot of people have –

Wendy [23:11]: And we’re over it. We’re just over it.

Rico [23:13]: It doesn’t work that way.

Karl [23:15]: There’s this interesting thing that you introduced to me about the file cabinet and how to look at it. And I’ve used the ideas of it over the years – I didn’t realize – I used it in a different way, but it was a great way to organize your approach to it. But basically, offering insights. But when I have conversations with business owners – I’m not selling them a service. There’s information that I might have that could help them with their business. They may want to know evaluation, they may want to know how to increase marketing – whatever it is, I offer them insight to think differently about their business. That’s where I start. And then I can pivot from depending what they need, whether it’s a referral, what I can help them, whether they can help themselves. How do you use this filing cabinet now, do you help people organize that?

Wendy [24:04]: Right. So think of a four-drawer cabinet. You know, it’s about shoulder high, everybody has one, whether it’s in the garage or basement, they’ve got one, right? And the four drawers of the filing cabinet are the four things that people want when they come to us. So nobody wants peace of mind – they want car insurance or they want homeowners insurance, or they want umbrella insurance, or they want insurance on their motorcycle, right? They have something they want and it’s called insurance. Now, the name of the filing cabinet in this example is, “Insurance,” right? So if I’m an insurance agent and I go to a networking event, and I say, “I’m an insurance agent, so if you’ve got a home or a boat or a car I can help you.” People are either going to say, “Oh thanks I love my agent.” They’re not gonna talk to me because they feel pitched, right? Or they’re gonna say, and these are the only two options – or they’re gonna say, “Oh, I know a lot of insurance agents. Do you know Tommy Schlosser? Do you know – ” And they’re gonna start naming my competition. Well there’s no money for me if they’re talking about my competition. And there’s no money for me if they say, “Don’t need you.” And so naming the filing cabinet, starting the conversation by naming my filing cabinet, is automatic. It’s over, there’s no place to go. If instead, I name one of the drawers in my mind. Not out of my mouth, in my mind. So let’s just – in this example, let’s take homeowners. If in my mind, I say – I’m shaking hands with Rico – I say to myself, “I’m gonna play in homeowners.” And when he says, “Wendy, what do you do?” I open that homeowners drawer, and in that drawer, there’s thirty six different Pendaflex folders. There’s thirty-six different topics in that drawer that I can choose to talk about. Let’s say that I’m gonna talk about – let’s say we just had a hail storm. And I’m gonna talk about roof damage. Hail insurance for roof damage on a house. And I pull that topic out, and in that topic, there’s anywhere from six to eleven pieces of information that I could share. Let’s say that I decide to pull out the one file folder that has the information on the conversation to have with an insurance agent when there’s been hail damage, right? And I – Rico says to me, “What do you do?” And I say, “Well, yesterday I had a great conversation with a client who had hail damage to their rah-rah-rah, right?” Rico knows that – what the name of my filing cabinet is. And he knows what drawer we’re in, right? And he responds to me by saying, “Not interested in that, but what I wanted to know about is motorcycle because my 18-year-old just is looking at a motorcycle.” And I slam that homeowner’s drawer shut, I pull open the toys drawer, and now I’m talking to Rico about him in minute number two – I’m talking to Rico about him. He knows exactly what we do, and he thinks to me, “Ooh, that Wendy Kinney, she knows a lot. She knows more than my guys does. She’s telling me more than my guy has told me. I got people to send to her.”

Rico [27:03]: And it feels like that – that’s genuine. Because I think that people want – people are always asking questions about themselves. And if you’re coming in from the place where you’re selling to you, and they’re like, “I can pick a brand and I can share it – “

Wendy [27:18]: Yes – she’ll tell me!

Rico [27:20]: Yes, that’s a better way.

Wendy [27:22]: Now, this is why – you didn’t ask me this question. Ask me if there are words you shouldn’t use. So the word “depends” is an anti-referral word. We could do a whole cast on all the words not to use. The word “busy” is an anti-referral word, ask me about that later. Okay. But the word “depends” – so if someone says, “How much does that cost?” If I say, “Well, it depends…” they think I’m hiding something. And if I’m hiding something, I’m not credible. If I say, “it’s $137 for the customer who just bought it yesterday,” now, they’re like, “Ooh, I need that.” Or, they’re like, “I’m gonna have to save for that.” There’s never a value in me hiding the price. In sale – in referrals. In sales, what everybody who’s taken sales training is taught – first rule is, never address price until you’ve established value, right? Everything about referral marketing is the opposite. So in referral marketing, the first person to talk dollars wins. Every single time. And our fear is that they’ll think it’s too expensive. You know what? Thinking it’s too expensive – they were never gonna buy from us anyway!

Rico [28:27]: You know, you’re right. Because that’s not your client –

Wendy [28:30]: That’s not my client! That’s not my client! That’s not my best client!

Rico [28:34]: And you know, you qualified that too. You said, “Yesterday, for this client it was $137.” So that doesn’t mean it would be the same for me, so qualifying it –

Wendy [28:44]: And there – but you don’t have to qualify. There’s research on this. Let’s say that I say that it’s gonna be two thousand dollars, and you refer me to Carl, and for Carl it’s – and you say to Carl, “Hey, you need to talk to Wendy. It’s gonna be two grand.” And for Carl, it’s twenty-four hundred. Carl will think he’s special. He’ll think – “Oh, I’m better than the average bear.” Now, let’s say that for Carl, it’s 1700. Carl will think he got a deal because of you. Carl will think, “Ooh, that Rico – he did me good.” And he does all that himself. We don’t have to do it. So – there’s no downside to talking dollars if you’re doing referral marketing. No downside.

Karl [29:23]: I love that, and I started to adopt that because now I know attorneys and so on. And I start asking what they do – I wanna know fee. Give me a range.

Wendy [29:33]: Yeah, just tell me something!

Karl [29:34]: Because my conversation with someone – I’m not someone in legal services. They’re always gonna ask you about how much that’s gonna cost.

Wendy [29:43]: Right – what should I budget for that?

Karl [29:44]: And so I can establish the budget between two people, and that’s exactly what happened. I’ve gotta save for that, or now I gotta rethink the investment.  But I can follow that out and say, “Well, let’s think about your situation. If you invest in this solution, three thousand or whatever it is, now, what is it saving you? What are the business benefits? Are you gonna get to take a vacation?” Whatever that benefit is, I’m talking in your language. I’ve almost pre-sold before I refer them to – they’re not – they’re gonna say, “well I know you’re gonna be in this range, and now it makes it easier for the person you’re doing, which accelerates referrals and business.

Wendy [30:22]: Yeah. There was another thing that you were addressing – I had a conversation with a woman who’s a state attorney and her basic – her basic – her bottom line is seven thousand. Now, I know another state attorney, whose average – not her lowest – her average is fifteen hundred, right? So the first woman is saying, “Oh, how am I gonna talk people into seven thousand?” You’re not gonna talk people into anything, right? You don’t gotta talk people into fifteen hundred or seven thousand. What’s gonna happen is, your best clients never think that seven thousand is out of line. Your best clients, and referral marketing is all about best clients – sometimes people say that they’re in a networking group for the low-hanging fruit. That is a mistake and it’s offensive. Your best clients will not be offended by your price. Which is the second reason to be clear with your price so that people can select in. Her best clients don’t want to pay fifteen hundred dollars. They want to buy a seven thousand dollar estate plan.

Rico [31:23]: Yeah the problem of that I think from the business side is, she shouldn’t want less than seven thousand. Because if you help to bring – if you’re pressed out to fifteen hundred, no one wins.

Wendy [31:33]: Nobody wins.

Rico [31:34]: That’s not your price range. It takes you –

Wendy [31:37]: She doesn’t want to take less than fifteen hundred. She wants to find out how to talk people who have fifteen hundred dollars into spending seven thousand. You can’t do it! Instead, go networking for the seven – for the people who want to spend seven thousand.

Karl [31:53]: Yeah. Perfectly, perfectly. Now, I know we could continue talking about it, and I think we’re – we’d love to have you back and just continue this conversation because I think you’ve shared a lot of good stuff. But I’m curious – what do you have going on? Or there’s, you know, how can people learn more about this stuff if they wanted to get in?

Wendy [32:15]: So the Power Core website is PowerCore.net as in networking. And at the top left, there’s a place where you can get the twenty-one types of associations. So if that is the first place that you’re thinking – what are my options? Is American Market Association an option for me? Go get that downloaded – the twenty-one types of associations. There are other places on the website where there is more information. And there’s also a list there for upcoming events. For example, in August, I’m doing a workshop on the filing cabinet. So that’s something that people can look at.

Karl [32:49]: And if somebody wanted to visit and just, you know, take a – take a look at someone, how many groups there are? How do they get connected and to explore the fit – this would be a fit for them?

Wendy [33:00]: Right. So the website is PowerCore.net. On the top left, there’s a little thing that says “New to Power Core” and they can put their information and find a team, and I’ll pick up the phone and call them. Or, my phone number is 404-816-3377. And the processes – everybody gets two visits. And that’s just to try on the jeans and say, do they fit? Are these for me?

Karl [33:21]: Oh, fabulous. I just want to thank you very much for coming out, sharing some of this knowledge. I think anyone that listens today can take something away from it and change their approach, tweak their approach, and see immediate benefit. If they want to learn more, there are a lot of resources out there. There is BNI, there is Power Core. But be intentional about how you use network and relational marketing to grow your business. And there’s just a lot of opportunity. So thank you today for sharing that advice with us today. We’d also like to thank Atlanta Tech Park for hosting the Capitalist Sage Podcast here in Peachtree Corners. Great space for people to come, meet other entrepreneurs, other business owners. It is the hub of business in Peachtree Corners in southwest Guinnett, the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber if Commerce is headquartered here as well. What about other sponsors?

Rico [34:17]: Yeah the sponsors include as we said before, Gwinnett Medical Center, which is entering Peachtree Corners. If you want to find more information, it’s GuinnettMedicalCenter.org/PTC. And they’re gonna provide first-rate primary care, specialty services. So that’s our main sponsor off there. And Smart City Expo Atlanta –

Karl [34:39]: Looking forward to that coming up soon.

Rico [34:41]: September 11th is its first day. It’s gonna be a great event. And if you’re into or want to know more about technology, ILT, Smart City – if you are smart, if you are a company that’s in sustainable or smart areas, technology – that’s the place to be.

Karl [34:57]: Absolutely. All those ILT companies out there. It’s definitely a place to be. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. We help people find the right buyers for their business. We help them find the right businesses to invest in and just offer them general advice. Think of us as one of your – your board members that just helps advise you on decisions you make to help you with your business. And Rico –

Rico [35:25]: Sure – I do a few things. I wear a lot of different hats. So – I’m publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication for the city of Peachtree Corners. Our next issue is gonna hit the post-office Friday. Its cover story is about the movie industry in and around Peachtree Corners, along with some other great stories. One is about the boyscouts, another one is about a local – one of the local, five – of five swim teams that just won the Gwinnett Championship. That’s fun. So there’s a bunch of things in there, so visit livinginpeachtreecorners.com or Peachtree Corners Life’s Facebook page and you’ll get more info there. And I have a company called Mighty Rockets. MightyRockets.com – you can find a little bit about what I do. I do a variety of things – product videos, social media, online content, and anything that’s in the creative realm. So –

Karl [36:18]: And you’re fabulous. If you haven’t seen the Peachtree Corner magazine – it’s been well received. It’s a beautiful publication. Keeps you up to date on what’s going on around the city. And just really interesting stories about people. People stop – they go on the internet for everything, and we have something you can pick up and read and talk to your neighbor about. So, thank you for that.

Rico [36:44]: And just one more thing – my daughter’s been behind the camera today. Thank you Kinsey.

Karl [36:50]: Thank you Kinsey for joining us. So that’s it from the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Stay tuned. We’ll have more interesting guests that come in and help you find ways to improve your business. Thank you. Karl Barham, signing off.

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The Colorful Woven Threads that Make Up the Fabric of Our City: Part 5, Joe Sawyer



Joe and Kimberly Sawyer

Gwinnett County is getting more and more culturally and racially diverse. Remember the old adage ‘Variety is the spice of life’? In today’s climate of social unrest and world-wide protests for racial justice, we should move towards healing by getting to know our neighbors and broaching some delicate conversations. It can be scary and cathartic — and it can be a little heartbreaking, too.

The heartbeat of Peachtree Corners is strong because of the amazing people who live and work here. I reached out to some from a variety of backgrounds. Each of their accounts will have you shouting, Vive la différence!

No matter what their jobs, ages, political leanings, religious beliefs, ethnicity or color of their skin, each one has essentially come to the same conclusion with regard to moving forward through the turmoil that has been unleashed in the wake of George Floyd’s death. It’s a focus not on what divides us, but on what can bring us all together. It’s the inevitable acquiescence to an aphorism anyone can support — love is always the answer.

Joe Sawyer

As the city is building a physical pedestrian bridge over Peachtree Parkway, resident of 25 years and equity warrior, President and Cofounder of Bridges Peachtree Corners Joe Sawyer has been launching intensive volunteer efforts to build metaphorical bridges between races and social classes in the city. “I guess you can say it’s about black and white; we’re trying to bring equality up to where it needs to be,” he shared.

Joseph Sawyer, President of Bridges Peachtree Corners, delivering meals to police officers with the organization he also co-founded.

Bridges is a non-profit funded by grants and generous donations from the community. The board is made up of a diverse group who share Sawyer’s mission to close the gap between the affluent and the less affluent parts of town. They’ve been working on racial diversity and economic disparity since 2013.

Through school counselors, they identify needs at Peachtree Elementary and other area schools, assisting in any way they can — from electric pencil sharpeners in the classroom to Christmas dinners for families. They’re currently partnering with xfinity to provide internet access so children can do their schoolwork at home during the pandemic.

Affectionately known as Preacher Man, Sawyer would love to help more areas of the city reach their potential. He espouses the Holcomb Bridge Corridor Project , the city’s plan to revamp the area, and hopes it will get underway soon. “We’ve done the easy part, the Forum and Town Center area. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and do the hard part,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer comes clean

This is a man who will “tell it like it is.” He is refreshingly unafraid to level with you. Sawyer attends Life Center Apostolic Church in Dunwoody. His faith shines through in everything he touches, including his company name of 20 years, Alpha Omega Carpet Cleaning, inspired by the book of Revelation.

Since many are home with more time than usual on their hands, the pandemic has Sawyer busier than ever. “I build relationships with my customers. By the time I leave their house, I’m their friend,” he said. He also prides himself on his effective carpet cleaning services, which avoid harsh chemicals, as he is a cancer survivor.

The United Nations

Together with his wife Kimberly of 31 years (who is white), Sawyer has raised his two daughters, now 29 and 23. “She’s my backbone. She keeps me grounded,” he said. His daughters are now raising his five grandkids in Peachtree Corners.

Joseph Sawyer, Owner of Alpha Omega Carpet Cleaning, President and Co-Founder of Bridges Peachtree Corners, on his wedding day 31 years ago.

The Sawyers have two blond, blue-eyed grandchildren and three who are light-skinned black. “I’ve got everybody in my family — we have the United Nations over here,” Sawyer laughed.

In 1992 things were more challenging for biracial couples. Sawyer’s in-laws didn’t allow him into their home until two years after the marriage; now they’re the best of friends, despite many earlier battles. “They had to make sure I was going to take care of their daughter. I think that was one of the biggest issues,” he said. “Mixed marriages are more common now, and more likely to be accepted by both families, but you still have issues with certain people. I just try to keep it real and be myself.”

Sawyer shared a story from his senior year in high school (1982), when he was given an ultimatum: stop dating his white girlfriend or quit the football team. The young lady’s mom called the school because they had published a picture of them in the school magazine.

The girl’s mom had known about their relationship. In fact, they were among the few biracial couples at the time who did not hide it. But when other parents saw the photo, it became a problem. Sawyer elected to pass on what may have been a lucrative career and quit the team.

Sawyer noted that things have changed for the better. “It’s a new generation, we’re improving a whole lot,” he said. He’s unaware of any negative issues experienced by his daughters about being biracial.

While Peachtree Corners is very diverse, Sawyer said he still experiences some people who are prejudiced. During a recent job, a client had left the door open for him. It saddened him to learn that his client’s neighbor reached out to inform her, saying, “There’s a black man in your house.”

“[Racism] is still there, but overall, I think Peachtree Corners is a welcoming community. You might have some people stuck in their ways, but you just have to learn to overlook them. We stopped and we said a prayer for the lady,” Sawyer said.

He believes the cause of divisiveness is that some people don’t want to lose control of what they’ve got. “As long as we feel that one race is better than the other, we’re always going to have a problem. Both communities have work to do. Now is the perfect time for us to work on race relations in America,” Sawyer affirmed.

Preacher Man

When he was little, Sawyer told his dad, “I want to be like you when I grow up.” His father replied, “You don’t want to be like me, son, you want to be like Jesus.”

“So that’s what I try to do. As soon as we realize that we’re all made in God’s image, we’re going to be OK,” he said. “I don’t hate anybody. I try to get along with everybody. Don’t let politicians divide us any more than we’re divided. That’s the biggest problem. We listen to what’s on TV. I don’t need anybody to tell me who I like and who I don’t like.”

“We have to come together,” he continued. “I’m thankful for the friends the Lord has put in my life. We have to change our perception of our neighbors. Not all people of a different race are bad. Be there for your friends.”

Sawyer added that everyone needs to work on racism as a society. “Both the white and black communities have work to do. Now is the perfect time for us to work on race relations in America. The whole world sees what’s going on, politicians fighting over this and that. We don’t have any togetherness,” he said. “Let’s take a stand and let’s be one. We claim to be one nation under God but how can we be under God if we’re at each other’s throats?”

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The Colorful Woven Threads that Make Up the Fabric of Our City: Part 4, Miriam and Ed Carreras



Miriam and Eddie Carreras

Gwinnett County is getting more and more culturally and racially diverse. Remember the old adage ‘Variety is the spice of life’? In today’s climate of social unrest and world-wide protests for racial justice, we should move towards healing by getting to know our neighbors and broaching some delicate conversations. It can be scary and cathartic — and it can be a little heartbreaking, too.

The heartbeat of Peachtree Corners is strong because of the amazing people who live and work here. I reached out to some from a variety of backgrounds. Each of their accounts will have you shouting, Vive la différence!

No matter what their jobs, ages, political leanings, religious beliefs, ethnicity or color of their skin, each one has essentially come to the same conclusion with regard to moving forward through the turmoil that has been unleashed in the wake of George Floyd’s death. It’s a focus not on what divides us, but on what can bring us all together. It’s the inevitable acquiescence to an aphorism anyone can support — love is always the answer.

Miriam and Ed Carreras

By pure coincidence, Miriam and Ed Carreras shared a similar history predating their marriage of 48 years. They both left Cuba with their families at a young age, and within five to seven years, they became naturalized U.S. citizens.

After a 20-year career as a microbiologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Miriam is now a Realtor with RE/MAX Prestige. “I guess, given my name and former clients, I get quite a few referrals from Spanish-speaking buyers. I would say most of my clients right now are Hispanic,” she said. Hispanics, who can identify as any race, make up 15.2% of the population in Peachtree Corners.

Miriam Carreras, realtor and longtime resident of Peachtree Corners, hails from Cuba.

Miriam works in residential real estate, both on listings — people selling their homes — as well as helping buyers find their dream homes. Being bilingual, she is a huge asset to the community. She is able to help English and Spanish speakers navigate the sometimes-challenging waters of real estate.

A home is one of the biggest and most important investments a family will ever make, and Miriam is happy to provide her clients with excellent customer service, every step of the way.

Ed was an attorney with The Coca Cola Company for about 20 years. He retired from the company in 2003 and joined a law firm. He retired from the firm in February of this year. “We were supposed to travel, and now we’re homebound because of COVID-19,” he said.

As an attorney, much of his work was international. “I dealt with a number of countries, like Japan, countries in Europe, in Latin America, and so on,” Ed shared.

Ed Carreras, retired attorney, enjoys the diversity in Peachtree Corners – he loves the great selections of different cuisines available in local restaurants.

He served on the Board of Goodwill of North Georgia for a number of years and was Chair of the Board for two years. “Goodwill had a significant relationship with the Hispanic community. One of the things I got involved in was developing a robust system for their strategic plan,” Ed said.

In studying the projection of population changes, he and his fellow board members identified the important growth of the Hispanic community and the need for more Hispanic contacts and people with language skills in the organization.

A home in Peachtree Corners

The Carreras family built their home in Neely Farm in 1998. Both are happy with the amount of diversity in Peachtree Corners. “I think there is a good mix of people. You see a nice diversity of cultures represented here,” Ed said. “My experience is more in the restaurants since I like eating. We’ve gone to a lot of different types.”

“I think there’s pretty good diversity,” Miriam added. “Even in our subdivision, we’re diverse.”

They haven’t had any negative experiences because of their ethnicity in recent years. As a teenager, Ed recalled an incident at a restaurant in Miami. His family was speaking Spanish, and a man at a nearby table addressed them, saying, “Go back to Cuba!”

“My father was surprised. He turned around and in perfect English said, “I’m sorry, does it bother you if we speak Spanish?” The guy ended up apologizing,” Ed remembered. “I was 13 or 15 at the time. It stuck in my mind because my father handled it so perfectly. The guy said, “You speak English very well.” My father said, “Yes, I was educated in the United States. I went to an Ivy League school.” The guy just kept shrinking.”

Ed said that everyone carries prejudices based on faulty stereotypes. “From my own experience, the best way to eliminate prejudice is to be made aware that the stereotype supporting the prejudice is not correct,” he explained. “Anything that helps an individual realize that the stereotype is wrong should help in reducing prejudice.”            

“Education highlighting non-stereotypical members of a group could help,” Ed suggested, “as well as the promotion of events that bring members of diverse groups together in a social setting.”

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The Colorful Woven Threads that Make Up the Fabric of Our City: Part 3, Maurie Ladson



Gwinnett County is getting more and more culturally and racially diverse. Remember the old adage ‘Variety is the spice of life’? In today’s climate of social unrest and world-wide protests for racial justice, we should move towards healing by getting to know our neighbors and broaching some delicate conversations. It can be scary and cathartic — and it can be a little heartbreaking, too.

The heartbeat of Peachtree Corners is strong because of the amazing people who live and work here. I reached out to some from a variety of backgrounds. Each of their accounts will have you shouting, Vive la différence!

No matter what their jobs, ages, political leanings, religious beliefs, ethnicity or color of their skin, each one has essentially come to the same conclusion with regard to moving forward through the turmoil that has been unleashed in the wake of George Floyd’s death. It’s a focus not on what divides us, but on what can bring us all together. It’s the inevitable acquiescence to an aphorism anyone can support — love is always the answer.

Maurie Ladson

Maurie Ladson is a Program Director at Corners Outreach, an organization providing a multigenerational approach to helping underserved children with specialized tutoring. Parents are given assistance with career paths, workshops, unemployment and anything they may need to navigate in the education system. Their goal is to achieve a 100% high school graduation rate among the students they serve.

Maurie Ladson, Program Director at Corners Academy, lunching with some of her students. Photo courtesy of Ladson.

Ladson clarified underserved as “communities or people living amongst us who don’t have all the necessary resources.” She explained, “They may not be earning a living wage. A lot of them are immigrant families. There’s a challenge with education and the language.”

Elementary, my dear

By focusing on elementary school students, the intention is to prepare them for success in middle school and high school. “Then hopefully, to higher learning, either a four-year education or, sometimes, they prefer to do some kind of trade,” Ladson said.

“We’re not focused on one demographic,” she continued. “We welcome all the children who need assistance. The mix varies. In Norcross and on our DeKalb side, we have a high percentage of Latino children. At our Meadow Creek location, there’s a mix of children — Indian, American, Hispanic.”

The Corners Outreach offices are located in Peachtree Corners. Ladson said that Executive Director Larry Campbell liked the name, “as the goal is to touch “every corner” of the community.” The organization partners with Title 1 schools in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, including Peachtree Corners and the surrounding areas, and helps 450 families/children.

Maurie Ladson leads a Pandemic Emotional well-being session with some kindergarteners and 1st graders through Corners Outreach. 2020 Photo courtesy of Maurie Ladson.

“We work with them during the normal school year; we provide after-school tutoringfor two and a half to three hours. We’re supplementing and enhancing what the school is teaching,” Ladson said. “There’s a big focus on reading comprehension and math. We then provide nine weeks of summer camp which focus on reading, math, games and a craft.”

School principals identify the children in most need. There is also input from counselors, teachers, teacher liaisons, center coordinators and ESOL [English to speakers of other languages] coordinators. “We also have volunteers that play a key role in our success. We’re so thankful,” she said. “Schools like Wesleyan, GAC, Perimeter Church and individuals in our wonderful Peachtree Corners community come out and volunteer their time.”

Masks with a purpose

Due to COVID-19, Corners Outreach was unable to tutor or assist families in person for some time. “We began communication via Zoom, WhatsApp, video chat, telephone calls. There was a big need to assist in setting up Internet. Many of the families didn’t have it,” she continued.

“Our organization was able to place Chromebooks in the community for children to be able to do their homework. It was still challenging because in a lot of cases they’re sharing either a phone or a hot spot. With two to four children in the family of various ages, needing to do homework with one device, that was difficult.”

To help underemployed parents, the organization developed Masks with a Purpose.

After surveying the parents, they found they had 101 mothers with sewing skills that could be used to provide much-needed masks in the community.

“They sew masks and earn a living wage, $4 per mask,” Ladson said. “We launched the Corners Store on June 22 so people can go online and purchase a mask to support our cause.” To purchase a mask, visit cornersoutreach.org. If you don’t need a mask, you can help by giving a donation.

“We’re looking to donate 1,000 masks to farmworkers and 10,000 masks to children in poverty, who can’t afford to buy three or four masks or have the throwaways,” she said. It’s a great cause,” she said. You can donate masks to the effort through their website.

Beauty in all colors

“I’m Mexican American,” Ladson said. “I’ve been in Peachtree Corners for 20 years. My husband is black, dark-skinned African American. People might look at us a little differently. I’m different and I’m good with it.” She and her husband Ron recently celebrated 20 years of marriage.

Having frequented several places of worship over the years, they most recently identify as Protestant and have been attending North End Collective.

Ladson said she witnessed some social injustice in the workplace during her career in banking. A Peruvian teller was the number one salesperson in the bank, exceeding her numbers, yet it was an under-performing white American teller who inexplicably was moved to another location and offered a raise.

“I think in Georgia, Atlanta and in Peachtree Corners, we still have room to grow,” she continued. “I’ve seen a different level of acceptance, if we’re going to call it improvement, absolutely.”

Having been on the receiving end of surprise when people learn she’s of Mexican descent, Ladson wishes people would realize that Mexicans, too, come in all shapes, sizes and colors. “If we just open up our minds a little bit, there’s room for so much beauty and intelligence and so many differences,” she said.

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