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How To Connect With Anyone with Larry Benet

You are in for a very special treat because we are talking with Larry Benet who is known as one of the most connected guys on the planet. He is a fellow Florida State Seminoles.

What's interesting about this show and what you're going to discover is how you can connect with anyone on this planet. I know that sounds crazy, especially for introverts. We talk about the formula for connecting. It's a five-part process for how you can build and create relationships. It's a powerful one. It's one that I've leveraged to get to this point in my life to build relationships across many industries.

It's fascinating to get insights from one of the top in the world. This guy has connected with former President Clinton. Larry has connected with the who’s who in all sorts of industry in sports, in business, in entertainment and even former presidents.

Don't be star struck because this works no matter your industry, no matter who you're targeting. At the end of the day, this show is how you build relationships even if you don't feel you’re the best person. There is a system. There are tools and resources.

We talk about this and we also talk about how to get access to people that you could benefit from by joining charitable organizations and by setting foot into the nonprofit world. We talk about how to be seen as a trusted advisor. Even before you get there, how do you get someone's attention? I'm super excited to serve this show up to you. With that said, let’s get to it.

Dustin
Larry, you've been called one of the most connected people on the planet. You've connected with Tony Robbins, Tony Hsieh from Zappos, Paula Abdul, Stephen Covey, Richard Branson, Larry King, Peter Guber who’s the owner of the Golden State Warriors and many others. I heard a story that you connected with President Clinton. Is that true? How did you do that?
Larry
That is true. It was Brendon Burchard, myself, Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan. Joe told me I could pay $2,500 to meet President Clinton in a small group environment with twenty people and ask questions, but that's not what happened. I showed up thinking that was going to happen. The president ended up running late or something. It would have been cool to ask him a bunch of questions. It turned out it was a photo op. There were hundreds of people. It was in Chicago. I still remember there were three levels of stairs of people. The Secret Service pushed everyone into a single file line. As we got closer, they told me, “It's a photo op.” This is not the most ideal situation to go meet the president.
Dustin
What were you thinking? Did you go into connection mode like, “How am I going to get my angle?”
Larry
About an hour-and-a-half before I knew I was going to meet President Clinton, I asked myself a better question, “Who did I know in my network that knew him?” Keith Ferrazzi knew him. Ken Kragen knew him. I'm like, “I'm going to call Ken Kragen. Ken, tell me what you know about President Clinton.” He’s like, “He’s got an amazing memory and this, that and the other thing.” Ken created We Are the World and Ken, also with Quincy Jones, did his inaugural ball. I said to Ken, “Can I invite President Clinton to the We Are the World recording with Lionel Richie, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé and all these amazing people?” He goes, “That's a great idea.” I said, “Can I invite him to play saxophone with all these superstars?” He goes, “I can't make that decision.”
Dustin
How hard is that to have a president coming to play saxophone?
Larry
Tap into someone's passions or tap into someone's interest no matter who they are. If you're the president of the United States or past president, you've had a lot of amazing things happen in your life. I don't care who you are on the planet. Being at the live recording of We Are the World with that amount of superstars in a room. The first time they did it, they had Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen and everybody. The second time, it was the new generation of superstars. I was in line and I said, “We have a mutual friend, Ken Kragen.” He goes, “How's Ken doing?” I said, “He's doing great. His daughter is now in college.”
We converse and I said, “I wanted to invite you to the We Are the World live recording with all these amazing superstars. Would that be something that would be of interest to you? I know you love playing the saxophone.” He goes, “That'd be great.” That's when he told the people and the Secret Service. They came over and gave me his card so I could follow up with him. The big takeaway from that is whether it's the president of the United States or a CEO or anyone, in terms of connecting, you want to make a personal connection. If you could bring something of value, that's huge.
Dustin
You've been in tech, you've been in finance, you've been on the board of numerous charitable organizations and you work with thought leaders. When you were graduating from FSU, did you see this vision for yourself at FSU? Were you a mini connector back then?
Larry
If I look back to my high school days, I knew the guys on the football team. I played tennis in high school. I knew the guys on the yearbook. I knew the kids that were the druggies. I knew a little bit of everybody and I was one of the few people that would connect or go out and try to connect with all different types of people. When I went to college, I did not know anyone. I went down to Florida State and did not know a soul. That was eye-opening.
Dustin
You are from New York. How did you pick FSU?
Larry
I wanted to play tennis. I was going to go right into financial services initially. After my Bar Mitzvah, my dad gave me some of the money and we picked stock. The US telecom, which became Sprint, was the first stock I ever invested in. I studied up financial planning and what to save for life insurance and sales. I don't think I would have thought where I'm at now.
Dustin
From personal finance, you then go into tech space.
Larry
I failed miserably in financial services in the late 1990s. I tried to buy an airline when I was 25.
Dustin
Why an airline?
Larry
Kiwi Airlines’ board approached me. They were having issues. I reached out to Richard Branson and some others. They had a great airline, but they were run into the ground by management. Kiwi is one of the best customer service airlines. It was an employee-owned airline, but the management made some poor decisions. I was the boy wonder trying to connect and make things happen. It didn't come through or come all together because I wasn't paying attention to the financial dashboards of my business. I had some great promise and great opportunities. I hired a lot of people. One of our business partnerships didn't work out and torpedoed me. I try to buy an airline and a couple of weeks later, I ran out of money. I ended up going to work for DialAmerica doing telemarketing. It was soul-crushing. I’m having to cold call. I've made it and lost it more times than I can count. I’ve battled depression. I've been bankrupt. I remember years ago a good weekend was getting Chinese food and a Blockbuster Video. That would have been a good weekend to stay in because I had no money.
Dustin
You are connecting already. When did you understand the power of networking and building value and connecting? I didn't realize you were doing that early on.
Larry
In the late 1990s, I left financial services. I was reading articles about SAP at the time and these sales guys were making $1 million plus in income. I was like, “These guys are killing it in software.” I tried to get into the tech industry. I realized I didn't have strong connections and relationships to introduce me to these companies and it was frustrating. I felt totally out of control. One day I got lucky. I was at some meetup and some lady says, “We're hiring. I’ll introduce you to the hiring manager.” They took a chance on me. I got hired. I eventually went to work for a company called the Gartner Group. I was in sales and at the time, I volunteered for the Southeastern Software Association. The part that I volunteered for was to put on the meetings. Even though I was in sales, I would call the CEOs or the VPs of sales of these companies.
Dustin
Did you know that it was going to elevate your game when you joined that association?
Larry
One of the guys I knew, Steve Bachman, has been a mentor and advisor now for years. He was the guy that encouraged me. He was the president at the time and he said, “Do you want to join the board?” I'm like, “Sure.” I was volunteering to help. Going back to where I figured out this connecting thing, I know now years later. I'm codifying in speeches and training. Back then, I was in sales. There was a company in eCommerce. One company changed its business model. They were a publicly traded company and they went from a poor stock and then the stock went straight up. My other client or prospect, his company was going in the dumps. He lost a couple hundred million dollars of personal net worth. The first time I ever met him, he was depressed. He had his hands in his face. I said, “I can connect you to another guy that I know that's a client. Why don't I connect the two of you and you talk?” That one guy joined each other's board.
I started to connect resources and be valuable. I become a trusted advisor to CEOs, to the senior VP of sales and the CMOs of these companies. If they needed a sales guy, I'm like, “I know someone. I knew a guy.” That's what I was doing back then when I was in tech sales. I became the most connected guy for this company called the Gartner Group. I was the number one sales guy in my little area. I was number two out of the region. Worldwide, I was one of the top guys. It was because I was constantly adding a lot of value. I had more C-level access than most of my peers combined.
Dustin
How did you balance that? You speak to the corporate person where they have to be at their desk from 9 to 5 or whatever it is. It's hard to make connections at your desk if you want to go to events. How does that guy or gal win when they build that value or build their brand when they're stuck a little bit?
Larry
They got to remove that mindset of being stuck. Even if you're working at a corporation, you owe it to yourself. It's your brand and you need to be a value add to your own corporation, whether it's selling, customer service or whatever. Sometimes, the person without the title might be the most influential person in the room because it might be the assistant that has relationships with everyone that can get something done. They might be able to get the executive to return the phone call.
During those days, I was always nice to executive assistants because they control the gateway to the CEOs and the chief information officers and the people that I was calling on. In terms of getting out, you can go to a networking event. You can go to a breakfast meeting. Sometimes you have kids so you can't go so you got to get up a little bit earlier and go. Most people make the mistake. All they do is flip business cards and tell people about their company and service. That's the worst thing to do. To me, it's learning about the fan and figuring out what's important to them.
Here's a perfect example. Julian and I were walking at Traffic & Conversion. I bump into Joe Polish who is a super connector in his own right. I hadn't seen him in a long time. We only spoke briefly. It was a couple of moments. He mentioned that he and his guest wanted to go surfing. I said, “If you go up to Malibu, Santa Monica, LA, I can hook you up with people that are big time in surfing.” Four feet away was my other friend Jim Bunch. I go say hello to Jim. I'm talking to Jim for a few minutes. I've known Jim for many years. I met him in Atlanta when he was working for Tony Robbins many years ago. I said, “You're a surfer, aren't you?” He goes like, “Yeah, I got nine surfboards.” I'm like, “Joe, Jim will hook you up with any of the surfing spots that you want and he's got nine surfboards.” That was four feet and I took the time to ask the question. To me, it's all about being curious about other people. If there is a way to help them in some way, shape, or form, you should do it. Build more connection capital.
Dustin
Let's talk SANG. You founded a group. To me, it sounds like making all these connections and that can be a full-time job. You’re on the phone a lot. Why not put them all in one place? Is that the story behind it?
Larry
The way it went down was two-fold. I cold called Chet Holmes. He wrote the book The Ultimate Sales Machine and he was speaking for Harv Eker. I reached out to his office like, “Can I meet with him before his meeting?” He and I have dinner and during dinner, he said he wanted to help his daughter with her music career. The other thing he told me that was important to him at the time is that if he could find a call center that had great salespeople, he could scale and grow his company. I knew I had strong relationships, but I started reaching out to people like Randy Garn, Mike Filsaime and other people. I’m like, “Who is the best in the call center space that drives sales?” He gives me a couple of names. I go back to Chet and I go, “Chet, these are the two best call centers.” I didn't have to do that, but I wanted to be a resource to Chet. That was step one. I got selectively outsourced from my last corporate job in 2006 or 2007. They said I was doing too much networking, which is crazy.
Within about 30 days, I went to The Learning Annex event. Donald Trump was speaking. I was dressed in a suit or something and they said, “You're dressed very sharp. Would you like to ask a question for Mr. Trump?” This was when The Apprentice was at the top of the ratings. I'm like, “I'd love to go ask Mr. Trump.” The question I asked him was how does he handle adversity and pressure because I just got let go. I had little money in my bank account. I had no idea what I was going to do. I was stressed out of my mind. The next person behind me says, “Mr. Trump, what are you going to do if you lose all your money?” Trump says, “I'm going to be rich. That's all there is to it. Next question.” Within 30 or 45 days of that, I met Sir Richard Branson at his fundraiser. I bumped into Larry King at a charity event at a fundraiser. I met Bill Bartmann, the self-made billionaire who used to be the 23rd wealthiest man in America. Bill went on to become my client. Larry King invited me to breakfast after about 60 seconds and Richard Branson gave me his private email after about 30 seconds. It all comes down to being a value.
Let's break down Richard Branson. I saw him at a charity event of Sara Blakely, the lady that created Spanx. Before that event, I did a lot of research on Richard. I figured what questions could I ask him or what's one thing I could say in ten seconds that could offer me a second opportunity to follow up with him. At the time, he was giving $3.5 billion away of money towards the environment. I said, “Mr. Branson, nice to meet you. There's a special event for CEOs that care about the environment. Someone from Virgin should be there. Who would I follow up with?” He gives me an email. To my utter shock and amazement, it was him personally that responded. To this day, I respond from time to time. I don't abuse it because he's one of the most successful billionaire entrepreneurs in the world. He's created a ton of companies. With Larry King, we had a mutual friend and I eventually wanted to help him raise money for his charity. I've raised money for Richard's charity too, the Virgin Unite charity. I also raised money for the Clinton Foundation as well.
Dustin
How did SANG come to be?
Larry
I connected with Chet and then Stephen Pierce had a party at his house. Tim Ferriss, Yanik Silver, Harv Eker, Jay Abraham and all these rock star internet marketers, thought leaders, info marketing guys were all there. Stephen Pierce calls me and they want to get Bill Bartmann to go. I'm like, “Yeah, I told Bill. This is probably a good event for you to go to.” I call Stephen back and I'm like, “How do I get invited? What if I run the networking thing for the event?” I’ve never done it before, but I also knew some of the thought leaders. I invited Chet Holmes, Christine Comaford, Janet and some other people that I knew in my thought leader community. I invited them to the event. I also ran the networking, which was a value add.
After that event with Stephen and Chet, I'm like, “We should do something in a more formal arrangement.” The first thing that we ever did was we had a call. We had ten thought leaders on a call. There was a lot more listening. Jay Abraham, Michael Gerber, Dean Graziosi, Yanik Silver. They’re some rock stars from our world all on one call that we need to get on for five minutes. Jay was like, “I get $10,000 for a seminar. If you want to come, call my office. We'll send it to you. You can come as our guest.” The next guy would get on, “I've got a program for $5,000. If you want, you can get it for free. Call the office.” It started with the genesis of giving. After a while, Stephen and Chet didn’t want to do the event any more or do the calls because it was becoming time-consuming and a little challenging. I’m like, “Why don't we just put an event together once and then we'll pull the plug?” Jack Canfield was the most famous guy that came to our first event. Also, Vishen from Mindvalley. There's a ton of other people I’m forgetting.
At the first event, 35 people showed up. At the second event, Tony Robbins flew and paid his own way. Paula Abdul came. She paid her own way. All of these superstars like Les Brown and these amazing people. Even Les, who I looked up to and idolized for years, I'm like, “Les, if you come, I'll let you speak and I'll put together a dinner with the top online marketers in the world for you.” Les said that it was the single most transformational day of his business career. What does Tony Robbins get for a speech? He flew on his own jet and paid his own way because there was value in that room that could help Tony. Russell Brunson, Brendon Burchard, superstars, mass influencers were in the room. Peter Guber flew 30 hours. He owns the Golden State Warriors. He owns part of the Dodgers. He used to run Sony Entertainment. I can't even afford the jet fuel for that guy. I’m like, “I can't afford to pay your private jet but if you come and speak, I will make sure I introduce you so when your book Tell to Win comes out, we'll help you with super influential people.” That book hit the top of the New York Times because of some of the influential people we were able to connect him with.
Dustin
The big lesson is to research. You did a ton of research to understand or you situationally knew what that person was most looking for and most interested in. You just figured out a way to put all those pieces together.
Larry
It was a lot of a one relationship at a time and figuring out what was most important. Sometimes you do research and other times you're asking them. Why do robbers rob banks?
Dustin
That’s where the money is.
Larry
Why do the top entrepreneurs in the world or top investors follow up? It's where the money is.
Dustin
I want to get into networking skills so people can benefit. Larry, some people may feel intimidated like, “What value do I have to bring? What if I see a celebrity? What if I see a sports person that I maybe looked up to? How can I even approach someone like that?” What do you say?
Larry
There are different levels. Here's a simple formula for connecting with anyone. Make an authentic connection. Find out what's most important to them. Help them get it if you can. Value creation can take a lot of different formats. The robbers rob banks because that's where the money is and that's why the best entrepreneurs and the best investors follow up. You've got to have a good way of staying in touch and following up. That's the formula at a super high level. Here’s a perfect example. I met someone in line. He's not a celebrity, but he's successful in business. He's the co-owner of the Boston Celtics. I was at the NBA All-Star Game and he was the guy in front of me. He mentioned he's got two daughters trying to make it in Hollywood. I'm like, “How are they doing?” He rolled his eyes and sounds like he might still be supporting them a little bit. I’m like, “Let me send them my eBook.”
Let's say I didn't have a book. I could say, “I read a great book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I read a great book by Bob Beaudine, The Power of Who. I read a great book by Bob Burg, Jeffrey Gitomer. Let me send that book or you should go get that book. Here's an article that I read from Jeffrey Gitomer on networking or Larry Benet.” I can go talk and connect with a homeless person, to the CEO, to an investor, to a billionaire. It's the same blocking and tackling. I'm an introvert. I've worked my muscles on the extrovert side. It always does come down to being a resource in some way, shape or form. The biggest mistake people make is they ask for things that they shouldn't be asking for. If I'm in a room with a celebrity, most people come up to the celebrity right away and they want to get a photo. I was at the Oscar after-party with Jamie Foxx, John Legend and some of these people. Quincy Jones was there. People were falling over themselves to try to get a photo with Quincy.
I'm trying to say, “Quincy, we have a friend in Ken Kragen. I met you at We Are the World at the live recording.” I'm always trying to say, “What's your favorite cause or charity?” There was a guy behind Quincy Jones and no one was talking to that guy. That is Quincy's full-time security guy who's with Quincy almost all the time. Another day at the NBA All-star weekend, I'm at lunch and having a conversation to the guy on my left and say, “You are dressed to impress.” The guy had an Adidas white and black hat, sweatpants and sneakers that all matched. We hit it off. I told him a little bit about SANG and what we've done or whatever. He goes, “Have you ever had Magic Johnson?” I'm like, “I have a mutual friend or two that know Magic. I've never met him. I admire Magic. I would love to meet him.” He goes, “I'm his head of security.” Within a span of 24 hours, I bumped into that same guy four or five times.
When I first met him, I found out he liked poker. I found out he likes smoking cigars. I found out he likes golf. I found out a bunch of information and I put this on my phone. He also lives in LA. Next time I'm in LA or next time there's something with golf or maybe the Masters or cigar or whatever, I'll look up like, “He likes cigar. Maybe I'll invite him to a cigar party. Maybe I'll introduce him to one of my friends.” I don't even smoke cigars. That's how you connect. I didn't say, “Can you introduce me to Magic Johnson?” I want to go build a relationship with him. I'm sure when the time is right and it's appropriate, I'll be able to get connected to Magic or whatnot. 
Here’s another example. Wolfgang Blitzer and I were walking out of the NBA breakfast lunch. I know who Wolfgang Blitzer is. I've seen him every day on TV. I like watching CNN. I said to him, “I'm a big fan of your work. By the way, do you still stay in touch with Larry King? Do you ever eat at Nate 'n Al’s because that's where Larry likes to eat?” That started the conversation and then I transitioned and I said, “I noticed you were here last time. Are you a big basketball fan?” He goes, “I love basketball.” We talked about that. He's Jewish and I'm Jewish. I'm respectful. I'm trying to be aware of my surroundings. He was willing to engage. If they're not willing to engage, I'm going to back off. You’ve got to be situationally aware.
Most people do not have situational awareness. How often do you see two people at networking events having a conversation in private? The person is famous, they blot in and go, “Excuse me, can I get a photo?” You should wait for your turn. Most people don't even think that way. In the end, I'm like, “Do you ever do emceeing or speaking by any chance?” He goes, “Everything gets approved by CNN. I do few engagements.” I'm like, “If I could ever refer you a speech or to emcee something, who would I follow up with?” He could have said, “Here's my agent at CNN.” That's not what he said. He gave me his personal card.
I'm the lobby of the Weston. You don't have to go to the game. In terms of networking, you have to figure out who your perfect client is or who your perfect partner is. You've got to figure out the bait. You and I both are friends with Dan Kennedy. What event are they in? I've noticed when I go to an Oscar or Grammys or Super Bowl or the NBA All-Star Weekend, it tends to attract some superstars. I'm at a small table. I am sitting across from a guy. At the back of my mind, I'm thinking, “This looks like Dr. J.” I don't want to ask him, “Are you Dr. J?” That would be weird. That'd be a doofy question. Last time, I got a picture with Dr. J and I met him. I said, “Do you know Kevin Willis?” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “I believe I met you with Dominique Wilkins, Kevin Willis and Ralph Sampson.” He goes, “Good to see you again.” He probably didn't remember me, but that's okay.
Instead of me saying, “Are you Dr. J?” This was a better approach. I didn't know who his wife was at the time. We were all chitchatting and then he eventually leaves. Later in the night, I connected. Now I'm speaking to the wife and Dr. J was my neighbor in Atlanta. I'm like, “Where do you live in Atlanta?” He goes, “I live in Sandy Springs.” I'm like, “That's where I lived. Where in Sandy Springs?” He lived a couple of blocks down from me. I had no idea. We bonded over that. There were a lot of people that were just coming up to him asking him for photos. I waited for the right opportunity and time and I finally was able to engage with him on a more of a conversation later that evening. I said, “If I can ever support you and your favorite cause or charity, please let me know how. I’m a big fan of yours. I don't know if you do speeches, but I’m happy to refer those to you.” He gave me his card too.
Dustin
Do you close with, “Can we get a picture?” You post a lot.
Larry
If I feel they're not willing to give the photo, I'm okay with that. A lot of times, they do. What I'll do is I'll take my camera and then I will snap and then when I email them, text them, I send a greeting card.
Dustin
I learned that from you. That's classic. Get a picture so that you can follow up. They almost feel obligated a little bit.
Larry
Than Merrill had a boy. I sent a greeting card. What I did is I took the picture off of Facebook of Than, his wife and the newborn baby. I sent an oversized greeting card to the baby. What I said was, “First of all, congratulations on being born. You are adorable. I bet you're even more handsome in person. I look forward to getting to meet you in the near future. By the way, congratulations on being smart for picking such amazing parents. I look forward to meeting you in the near future.” I guarantee you Than got a lot of gifts. I guarantee you he got a lot of cards, but Than even showed me that the card was on the desk and he goes, “It was unique and different.” The other thing I sent is that same photo and I sent a little picture holder for the phone. It's about being creative. It's about caring. It's about being curious about other people. It's about giving. If they don't remember anything else about this interview, I hope you remember one thing. Give first, add value always and always aim to make a difference.
Dustin
In this day and age, everyone wants to talk about tools and apps and cool things. I get a hunch that you're old school. You don't complicate things. Are there any magical tools that you use to keep all of this info organized?
Larry
I do use different tools. Let's say you have your phone and you don't have money to go invest in other tools. You could put it into your notes. Let's say I met you for the first time. You're from Florida State. Maybe I might ask you what your anniversary or your birthday is and I’ll put this on my phone. You have children. You’re a podcaster, an author, a speaker. You live in San Diego. You're friends with Than Merrill and you work with Than. I put all this stuff on the phone. I also put this stuff in a CRM. In my case, I'm using Nimble, but you can use Salesforce or Infusionsoft. There are a lot of different apps that are out there. Some of them are free and some you got to pay. I use a greeting card system. I use a lot of custom creative cards. The company I use is called SendOutCards. If they hit me on Facebook or however they want to get ahold of me, I’ll teach them some more stuff. Those are some of the tools that I personally use.
Dustin
For the person that says, “I'm a little hesitant to introduce people because I got introduced to somebody and the deal went south and all that.” The whole conversation about when deals go bad and you're at the center of them. How do you handle that?
Larry
After doing this for a long time, I like to do business with people that are socially conscious. I like to do business with people that are of integrity. I like to do business with people that are easy to get along with and that are humble. Take Than Merrill. He fits all those criteria. I would have no problem referring you. I've known you forever. I'd have no problem sending over an investor. There are a lot of people that do similar things, but I would send them to you because I trust that the values are there or our values aligned. You can't always control everything. You've got to make the best decision on when to connect and when it makes sense.
If you and I were at Traffic & Conversion event, if I introduce you to someone, I'm going to properly introduce you and tell you how great you are like, “He's got this podcast network. He's got this new network teaching people how to be healthy in fitness and wealth and all this stuff.” I want to introduce the other person properly. A lot of times people say, “This is Dustin. This is Julian.” You've got to properly introduce Julian. That's the key there.
Dustin
We talked a little bit about charitable organizations and foundations. If people are interested in this conversation, it's likely they've heard that. I'm here with a legend. What does the charitable organization play? What's the charitable or foundation play? Who hangs out there? If someone is interested, what do they need to know?
Larry
There are two things. Let's work backward. If you're going to build a network, you want to invest in the network first before you need it. Everything should be based on your goals. There are a lot of people that I stay in touch with that I have no earthly idea if anything is ever going to come from it. If I want to have a bestselling podcast, it helps to have relationships with other people that understand podcasts or other people that are influencers or whatever. If I want to have a bestselling book, it might be a separate group of people. If I want to raise $100 million funds, the people that can write a check for $100 million funds are different than the people that have a bestselling book. That's what I found out. It comes back to what are your goals.
When you're looking at charities, are there people that I want to influence? For example, I want to build a relationship with Lady Gaga, Elton John and John Legend. I love their music. I love who they are and what they stand for. I'm going to go raise money for all three of their foundations. I told Elton John’s foundation, “I hope you raise at least $1 million going forward from my network and myself.” I have huge respect for Richard Branson. We did an event at the Sundance Film Festival and all the proceeds went to his foundation to support homeless kids at the time. I try to do as much to help the homeless and I try to do as much to help the military vets as possible.
Dustin
Do you believe we're only six connections away? Is it less?
Larry
It's a lot less. It could be a lot less with LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. There is a famous movie producer. You've watched his movies. He's won Oscars. He has less than 2,000 people following him on his Instagram account. When you look at the comments, there are ten to fifteen comments. If I keep on commenting and I'm one of the fifteen people that comment, do you think he's going to notice? It is much better to have a relationship to introduce you to the person. If you're starting out and you're coming out of college and you have no network, you might be a couple of people way. We're talking networking. I'm talking to a lot of different skills, not just networking. It’s strategic.
We started SANG and at our second event, we had Tony Robbins and some of these guys. If we weren't strategic about doing it and having the right people in the room, that would've never happened. One of the keys is whatever you do in business and in life, whether it's the charitable side or whatever, can you connect with key influencers in the space and the category? Can you volunteer? Can you help? Can you add value? Can you serve? Can you make a difference for those people? If you can, you're a relationship or two away. These days, I'm one phone call and one connection away from almost any person on the planet due to the network I have. When I try to get into technology, I couldn't even get in on my own because I didn't have the right network.
Dustin
You rode in with someone else.
Larry
I got lucky. I was at a networking event and this lady said, “I'll make an introduction.” I was in a room with technology executives. I put myself in the right environment.
Dustin
What are you working on now?
Larry
I love speaking. I want to speak strategically. I want to share this message of connecting, giving first, adding value and serving others. The more connection currency and the more connection capital you have, the better. We're going to be launching my own podcast in the near future. I'm going to be interviewing a lot of moguls that are super socially conscious. People used to call SANG one of the best events they'd ever been to. I've taken a break. I’m on hiatus for that. I will do one thing a year. I'll announce that soon. I'm looking to teach, connect and do more deals. I want to find socially conscious cool companies who would make a difference, business models or cool technologies or celebrity brands that I can scale, take a piece of the action and grow and make a difference. That's where I'm at.
Dustin
Larry, I want to move us into WealthFit round. It's our rapid-fire questions. What has been your most worthwhile investment?
Larry
It’s the investment on myself. Going to seminars, reading books. I've been to Tony Robbins events and I’ve been to personal development over the years. I've made it and lost it a bunch. If you know how to do something and you have a blueprint or you've learned from mentors, that's invaluable. That's the best investment. It’s the investment that I've made in myself in going to these events and learning from others.
Dustin
What's that investment you don't want to talk about? What's that misstep you took?
Larry
I did a crypto deal. I raised a couple million and unfortunately, a couple of million dollars walked off. I was not responsible but I was the one that raised a couple million, so a lot of my money went with it.
Dustin
When life is good and you want to treat Larry to something nice, what’s your guilty spending splurge? What are you into?
Larry
I like to travel. I like concerts. I like events. I'm not overly materialistic, but I do enjoy going to concerts. I go to a lot of those. I've been to Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, the John Legend thing after the Oscars. That was fun. I like to do that.
Dustin
Thanks for sharing that. I was like, “You're there and you're only a couple of feet away.” That seemed exclusive and private.
Larry
That's the reason why I want to help his charity so I can bring him to a future event.
Dustin
What have you become better at saying no to?
Larry
There are a lot of people that request things of me that are takers. There are two types of people in the world. There are givers and takers. Which one are you? People have friends and business relationships. Do you have a lot of givers in your network or a lot of takers? If you continue doing business with a lot of people that are takers and have no integrity, I don't think life is going to change anytime soon. If you are building a network of people that are socially conscious, that have integrity, that do what they say, that's it.
I was with a billionaire at the NBA All-Star thing. Here was a random guy sitting and I didn't know who he was. To make a long story short, he's a billionaire and he owns a professional sports team. I'll leave it at that. I googled him afterward and he's the wealthiest guy in the whole state where he lives. He's worth billions. I asked him, “What was the greatest lesson?” He’s like, “My dad passed and inspired me to write a book called Leadership Lessons From Mom and we'll do another one called Lessons From Dad.” I asked, “What's the lesson you learned from your dad?” He goes, “Do what you say.” If I'm hanging out with people that keep their word, keep their commitment and our integrity, it’s much easier. If I say I'm going to be here by 12:00, I'm going to be here by 12:00. I'm going to do your show.
Dustin
Fear and self-doubt prevent a lot of people from connecting from the business of their dreams. It’s playing the game of life. Do you experience fear and self-doubt? What do you do when you recognize that it's there? How do you push through it or navigate around it?
Larry
After my father died, it was like, “Life is fragile.” At this point, I don't care what other people think. I am comfortable in my skin. If I know I have something of value whether it's a book idea, a podcast or an idea for your company, I'm going to go share it. People are too worried about what other people think about them. At the end of the day, you're going to die so let's get this done now and not tomorrow. I was doing a speech in Orange County, California. I woke up at 4:30 AM and went for a walk. At 5:30 AM, a car came on the sidewalk and almost ran me off the road. I was jogging and another car came in. I tried to push the girl out of the way and I ended up taking a huge spill. Fortunately, I was able to fall correctly but I hit the ground hard. At the end of the day, you don't know. Let's take action today and not tomorrow. Focus on that. Don't focus so much on all the fear. Whether you work out, move, meditate, or whatever you’ve got to do, take action. Take that next step.
Dustin
What special routines or rituals do you have to make you perform at the level that you perform?
Larry
I do notice that when I'm in the right rooms with amazing people, it energizes me. It de-energizes me when there are a lot of people that are trying to take from me. I would love to tell you I'm the guy that meditates every day, but I'm not. I am focused on some of the goals and the dreams and stuff that I want to do and make them happen. I am looking at the relationships that I have and the goals that I want to achieve. It's a who game. Who do I need to help me on social media? I need an executive assistant who will travel the world with me. I need a video person who will travel the world. I need a whole company that will help me build my brand. I take this methodology and everything that I've learned over the last many years to the world. It's a who game and that's where I'm gifted at. I’m connecting, staying in touch and adding value to those people.
Dustin
Larry, what is your biggest defining moment? When I say defining moment, I'm talking about now you have awareness looking back and you said, “I made that decision. I'm here now, but if I had gone that way, it'd be a whole different thing.” What is it?
Larry
I got selectively outsourced in 2007 and if I had not, I'd stay with that one company and kept on making good money. I ended up moving and I changed my direction and my whole career. We built SANG and Tony Robbins to Guber and all these rock star people ended up coming through the network. Having Tony Robbins come to my event, that was a big deal for me. That was a defining moment looking back at how things could have gone. Also, with my dad passing, that was a huge defining moment. I will look back years from now and I will build many things. I'm going to look back and go before and then after and it's taking things to that next level now. It's go time.
Dustin
Larry, thank you big time for sharing your wisdom. I'm energized and excited. I've got a ton of notes to share with our tribe here. If people want to keep tabs with what you're up to and connect with you and build value as they should, what is the best way for people to do that?
Larry
If they want a free book, go to LarryBenet.com/Ebook and we'll teach them how we connect with all these amazing people and how they can do it too. Maybe follow me on Instagram or Facebook. I add a lot of value every single day through videos, through interviews and I'm always trying to help other people.
Dustin
Larry, thanks for being on the show. I appreciate you and sharing your wisdom. I can't wait for people to read this and then light up social with comments.
Larry
After they read this, they should share what they learned with others. They should share it on their Facebook and their Instagram with other people that can benefit. Email their clients and prospects because the more relationship capital they have, whatever someone else wants they're going to get it a whole lot faster.
Dustin
Thanks again, Larry.
Larry
I appreciate you.

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