Kevin Thompson: Building Relationships and the Power of Strategic Partnerships
Kevin Thompson almost died on a boat as an Alaskan fisherman.
Twenty-five years later, he is a high-level entrepreneur and one of the most well-connected people in the business world.
He even goes by the moniker Kevin the Connector.
Kevin has collaborated on 452+ projects and made $16.1+ million in sales with his partners.
Let’s dive into Kevin’s crazy story and find out how YOU can build incredible long-term relationships and become a world-class connector.
Like a Fish Out of Water
If you know Kevin Thompson, you are probably one or two connections away from pretty much anyone on the planet.
Kevin is a living, breathing example of the power of incredible connections with people.
And the foundation was set at a young age.
He says, “My dad instilled a great work ethic in me. His best advice for me was the harder you work, the more successful you will be.”
Kevin took these wise words to heart.
Trustworthiness became his modus operandi, his calling card in both business and his personal life. And he discovered the value it had in building connections.
Kevin’s journey started in Alaska in the 1980s.
After serving in the military for four years, Kevin was looking for a way to make money to start his own business.
A good friend recommended a job on one of the fishing boats in Alaska.
Kevin says, “Supposedly those guys ‘made all kinds of money,’ and that sounded good to me. I had no idea of the adventure that awaited me.”
Not All Plain Sailing
Kevin met with boat captain John Waddell, who decided to give him a chance.
After just ten months in Alaska, Kevin had almost $150,000 in his pocket.
The money was great, but the working conditions were insane…
Long hours… freezing temperatures…trying to stay on your feet as the boat rocked and rolled beneath you.
But he persevered. He promised John he would not disappoint him, and he planned to keep his word.
Kevin worked in Alaska for eight years before a life-changing incident changed the course of his career.
Eye of the Storm
Kevin attributes many of his business philosophies to his experiences in Alaska.
One of his most affecting memories was in the face of death, when a rogue wave almost cost him his life. That moment, Kevin decided to call it a day, return to solid ground, and start that business he always planned.
He had years of savings and a solid work ethic. And since then, he has weathered many personal and entrepreneurial storms.
And based on his experiences, Kevin notes two key things:
- It’s not about the size of the storm… but how you manage it.
- The storm will pass, so stay focused on what you’re doing right now.
Once Kevin arrived home, it was time to get his business off the ground.
It wasn’t long before a friend from Seattle gave him the idea to start a carpet cleaning and restoration business, which would turn out to be the catalyst to Kevin’s partnership with Joe Polish, founder of the Genius Network.
In three short years, and with Joe’s help, Kevin completely transformed his business into a by-referral-only company.
It became a massive success.
How did Kevin do it and how can YOU do the same? There were two components to it:
1. An irresistible offer
Get your foot in the door by offering a genuine, generous, irresistible offer to customers. You want to add value to them and start the relationship the right way. An irresistible offer as a way of thanking customers will go far in retaining those customers and landing future referrals.
2. Once you’ve opened the door to an incredible relationship, you can work on fostering a transformational relationship (one that will positively impact everyone involved) instead of a transactional one (one that begins and ends with a transaction).
This could be in the form of:
- Monthly newsletters
- And more
Do something exciting with your clients that would spur referrals because you’re giving them such a great experience.
Small Fish, Big Pond
Kevin sold his carpet cleaning business in 2004 but continued to attend Joe’s mastermind group for the cleaning and restoration industry.
“I simply liked the people,” he shares.
In 2008, Kevin joined Joe’s Genius Network. An incredible opportunity – with a $25,000 joining fee attached.
It was here that he met future strategic partner Dan Kuschell, who took a liking to him and suggested they “do some stuff together.”
Just two months into working with Dan, Kevin has replaced the bulk of the 25k right back into his bank account.
Through these dealings with Dan, Kevin learned about the power of strategic marketing, strategic partnerships, and building relationships.
Here are 6 of Kevin’s key insights about building relationships and succeeding in business that you can implement today:
Package your knowledge
If you’re not documenting everything you’re doing inside your business, start right now.
Not only will it make your business more scalable, but this knowledge could also help others. There are plenty of people who are a few steps behind you that would love to hear what you have to say.
Everyone has value
Many millennial entrepreneurs feel like they have nothing valuable to contribute.
Let go of that notion and show up with the intention to contribute if the opportunity arises.
When you go in with the intention to contribute, opportunities will present themselves.
Don’t put people on a pedestal
Operate on a level playing field with everyone, even if it is someone you admire.
Find something you genuinely appreciate about someone, break the ice by thoughtfully showing your appreciation, and it will lead to a natural conversation.
Connect with your heart, not your head
Take your communication to the next level.
Try not to intellectualize the conversation too much. Connect with them like another human being.
Having real conversations is the basis of forming real connections.
It’s not our reputation that’s important
While reputation is important, it’s our character AND how we make people feel when they are around us that matters.
If we communicate with people the right way, long-term connections will follow.
When you are in alignment with who you truly are in your business, you will grow so much faster
Kevin’s can-do attitude has served him well his entire life.
He has built incredible relationships and is one of the most trustworthy people in the business.
How can you be in alignment with where you have always been?
Consider Long-Term Relationships Over Short-Term Profit
Kevin has a unique approach to strategic partnerships. He believes in the concept of a handshake deal.
“I’ve just been a handshake guy all my life,” he says.
“And that’s the community I’ve built with my business partners. I want everybody to have a hand in the community. I want to share in the revenue and the growth through intentional connections and relationships.”
“Remember, it’s about long-term relationships over short-term profit.”
Kevin shares some final thoughts to push you towards success:
- Understand that the value is not in what we do… but in the relationships we form.
- Having the right relationships with the right people can take your business to the next level.
- When you’re in alignment with who you are and how you can best help people, not only will your business grow but you’re also going to have so much more happiness.
No one needs to sacrifice their health, happiness, or relationships for success.
Kevin Thompson is living proof of that.
Once you’re in 100% alignment and make a conscious decision to prioritize the important things, success will follow.