We going to see first hand what it does when you go all in on digital with my friend Rob Tavi, Managing Director of IBS Electronics Group. His company deals with microchips and brokering electronics parts and ever since he went all in his business has boomed. Join Rob and I as we touch on this subject.
In this snippet of the Modern Lending Podcast....
- Learn about the power of digital in another industry
- The most important thing about going digital is not going viral
- Return on relationship is better than return on investment
- You need to have an opportunity at the table
[Alec] What's up, everybody. Welcome to another live episode of the "Modern Lending" podcast with me, Alec and man, today is gonna be fun. We're gonna talk about digital, but in a whole new way, something that you're not even prepared for. A really good friend of mine, a guy I've known for almost like a decade plus now. I know we've worked out together. We've owned side businesses and side hustles together. I love this man as a human being. I wanna bring on , Tavi, Tavakoli, Rob, you got so many different names. I gotta freak you out. But this is the managing director of IBS Electronics. And I want to have him come on, talk about what he does, but he went all digital in a totally different world, a totally different space than direct to consumer sales and mortgages. And it's totally radically transformed, not only his business, but the culture inside his company. I'm watching it on digital, it's amazing. And so let's bring on and let's talk about what going digital really does when you commit.
[Rob Tavi] What's up Alec?
[Alec] I'm actually mad at you because somehow you got me on your podcast first and I started podcasting first and you beat me, but dude, Rob, okay. So, so much to talk about, but before we dive into all the fun stuff, dude, explain to everybody, what your business is, what you do, like give them the groundwork. Cause I want them to understand who you are in your space.
[Rob Tavi] Well, let me simplify it because as I always tell them, oh, we're a distributor of electronic components I tell it to a lot of friends, but they're like, what do you sell? Cell phones, computers. What does that mean? Well, I'll simplify and break it down. We're basically into engineering, supply chain logistics. I'll categorize the components that we deal with into like three different categories. So we have the active components, which are semiconductors, all the chips we do, then the passive components, which are, let's say capacitors, resistors and LEDs, all this stuff and the little PC boards. And then we get into the interconnects electromechanical, which all the switches, push button switches connectors so that. And then there's the hardware side of the screws and nuts. So we get into all this of distribution and selling to the manufacturer. So the companies of industries we sell to is space, defense, aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer power. So all these gadgets and all this hardware we have has all these little components in it. So what we do is we supply that, we're a distributor. So we're coming in on represent manufacturers. And we have design teams. We have logistics teams globally, and we're heavily based out of Asia. A lot of we have about 10 offices up operations in Asia. We are headquarters for 40 years. It's a 40 years family owned business. I'm second generation in this company. And we've been very focused in the last, I would say, 30 years in Asia. So that's really in simplifying, really what we do is we are the foundation and the hardware of all gadgets that we use today.
[Alec] So, and this is funny, you mentioned Asia and I know you used to travel all the all time, all the time. And of course, COVID just shut that down and forth. Another complexity into your business, cause you were in Singapore and Philippines and China. I mean, you were everywhere.
[Rob Tavi] I was traveling for 20 years since I really came to the company and started working, was in my early twenties. I was traveling to Asia. That's really where our bread and butter is, a lot as you guys know, a lot of offshoring happen in electronics. A lot of things got design innovations happen in the States or in Europe. And went to Asia, to China, to Southeast Asia production. So we would follow that and have our boots on the ground and people on the ground to make sure that business logistics, supply chain is there. And I would spend about three to four months a year traveling over there before I was married with kids and things have changed a little bit, but I will still travel as you've known me for 10 years, you know, hey, where are you going off? I'm gonna be in Singapore. I'm gonna be in China this week.
[Alec] I never knew where you were.
[Rob Tavi] You never knew where I was and yeah, so I would spend a lot of time out there and it was fascinating cause I'm always in front of customers, always finding manufacturers. You have to be with the people with the business and the people are at and the main our customers are there, right?
[Alec] Yep, so then COVID blew that up. Transformed the environment, transformed the world. And what, how did you, I mean, now you're so digital. So now you're like you're running a podcast, you're having these great series. You're doing "Real Talk," which is kind of even a more fun conversation inside your industry now. And talk to everybody, why did you do this change in your business in life? I mean, you were so relational meeting people. That's how you did business. What made you make the change?
[Rob Tavi] Well, I can start from breaking it down. We've, our business has been very successful in Asia base, even though we're a US based company, 80% of our revenues is really driven from the Asia side. So about three to four years ago, we tried to expand the US basis. Who are we? And try to build a presence from honestly from not really everybody knew the brand name. Everybody knew us in Asia because we're in front of the customers all the time. But I mean, building in US was challenging for for few years, three, four years. I'm like, okay, what do we do? Go to trade shows. And there's a lot of gorillas out there. How do we get in front of the people? How can I show I'm the David, there's the Goliath out there? How can we build the branding? And starting about a year and a half ago, which I wanna start with, two, is I wanna thank you, which I thank you, Alec, is you what you've done. You've been a leader and you really influenced me and been a mentor of doing this. So about a year and a half ago, when you said, "hey, why don't you go digital? "Why don't you show everybody here?" This is before COVID, this is about a year and a half ago. Once you go, you're such exciting life, you travel these places. Let's just put it on camera, show what you do, visit the factories and do this. So I started that, I started taking my iPhone and I'm like, you know, I'll do a little presentation about what our company is. I started with that probably did a hundred takes. I could not talk in front of the camera. My life depended on it.
[Alec] Like when they first start.
[Rob Tavi] It was very challenging, so I tried to break it all down. It's like, how do I do this and put in the reps and put in things. So I kept challenging myself and going through this process and taking videos. And then I start traveling last half, last 2019 and taking videos of the factories where I was, the team just playing.
[Alec] I remember in some of those videos that you would be in the factory or with the PA and you'd have your camera on or your phone on. And you'd be introducing people to like somebody who is sitting in there and they were like, oh, they were terrified of the camera. I gotta imagine, like, what effect did that have on your employees who are international?
[Rob Tavi] It built a lot of the branding and it built the, as I said, you lead by example and really comes to be is like, everybody looks at me like, what is he doing? Why is he coming in with a camera? What does he have like logging? I have my iPhone with a little microphone on it and the little stick and running around and putting it on, like, what is he doing? I'm trying to, hey, everybody get in here. And as you know it, most people are shy like myself to get in front of the camera. They think they look different on camera than in person, which doesn't make any sense because that was my challenge. I'm like, oh my God, my hair, my this, that, but we all look the same. So I started doing that and doing a little documentary and start making more videos and content and really putting in the reps, as you would say, putting in the reps, trying to put out there and say, okay, how can I build this branding? And come COVID as we come to COVID. So come to the first Q1 of February, I was at a trade conference where I was supposed to build branding, where I was trying to build, who is IBS with all these top C level people from all these companies that are hundreds of companies and much bigger than us, a hundred million, billion dollar companies. And how can I network with these people as a small company and build an image, build a brand. And we went in there. I was a little more outspoken than most people were on. I started videoing, that's where it first started.
[Rob Tavi] I went to that conference and I never done it. I was nervous. Every day. I did a recap of the show. And let's go back to electronics industry. I'll give you a little people too are listening. The electronics industry is an exciting as the bottom, but the demographic, yes, there is an older demographic. It's very heavily male based. It's about 80, 20 split cause it's engineering. I mean, we're the nerds and the geeks of developing, innovating all of this stuff. So it is, you walk in there and everybody's wearing like, the suits as you call the suit. And it's very, as a newcomer coming to this thing, it's very challenging. How do you get your space? How do you get the time to talk to people? So all I did was I was the guy with the camera and I just start building more like, what's he doing? I put a recap, I put it on LinkedIn. All of a sudden within that 24 hours, I had 2,500 views of that video of the first day. And all the people that was within this, I'm like, oh my God, cause people saw. I was like, what happening?
[Alec] That's sounds like the aha moment when you realized, because you couldn't have met 2,500 people walking around inside that conference and then you had 2,500 eyes on you recapping the day, that had to had been like a, oh crap, I found something here.
[Rob Tavi] So I found that what I was doing is I'll just meeting everybody, many people, I could get their cards and I would just find them on LinkedIn. And I'll link to all of them. And I'll link to all of them like, okay, they will see my stuff, they will see what's going on. And I can build that awareness by linking to them on a platform even though I don't know that we met, handshake or what you're doing in business or this person, hey, I really wanna schmooze with some of these top level people, but sometimes I don't have that time or they're always busy. So I'll just link up with them.
[Alec] Right, you're just like shaking hands, like, oh yeah, nice to meet you, can I get a card? And you know, and you're out.
[Rob Tavi] So starting from there and I built some videos and then I took the risks and asked the president of the association who put on this whole, can I do a 15 minute interview with you? Five questions. And I'm like, he's like, okay, I had a Bluetooth mic, I had my phone, I'm like, I had one of my marketing guys. Honestly guys, everybody listen, I was so nervous. I couldn't even say it's called Electronic Representatives Association. I couldn't even say that. It was like, I was nervous again, guys. I was nervous. And I'm like, I just ended up saying ERA association because I couldn't get it out. My heart was racing, my mouth was pounding, but then that's just the experience. And I did that interview five questions, 15 minutes. And I posted that and I got a crazy amount of views again. And I started relating to people who is this? Who is this guy? What's going on? What's he doing? And then COVID hit and that was the most challenging part. We didn't know, we're going and through your friendship and we'll be going and what I've been seeing, what you've been doing and staying with consistency, a hundred viewers, a hundred days, building all this stuff, showing up and being consistent. So I said, you know what? I wanna go all in. We're gonna take some of our trade show budget because we have trade shows this year. We're gonna build a studio and I'm just gonna build content and I'm just gonna go for it. And that's from that aspect, I started building content. Of course I was, I'm like, I need my people to also do this. So I'm like, I got to lead by example and start doing this and I start putting my staff in front of the camera. Of course everybody's embarrassed and what's going on and start building branding over time. So that's really what, and it's funny from fast, if I go back to that time to the today, the amount of engagement and people that out there, cause how they always say the first thing they do is like, everybody like, he's laughing at me. Like what's this guy doing? It's amusing to like, what is he trying to do? I don't even know what to say. Like, this is weird. And seven months later, I'm having some of the people in the industry for 30, 40 year C[Rob Tavi]level people, people approaching me, people telling me, great job. I like what you do. And people coming on my "Real Talk" program. Which my following is very, the demographic is just my industry which is very small. And nobody in my industry.
[Alec] I wanna pause on that cause people get confused. Like that's such an important distinction. Like this is not about going viral. This is not about becoming famous and doing, and being like, yeah I'm getting on Ellen, like this is about making connection to the community you wanna be a part of and leading it. And so yeah, your audience on "Real Talk" should be, and hopefully we'll continue to deepen in the people in your line of work in components. And that's who you wanna be hanging out with anyway. And so some people get scared like, oh, I don't know, I have to market this and I'm like, it's not about that. They're missing the point. And this is what I love hearing you just claim it because you have a unique voice in that industry now.
[Rob Tavi] Yeah, I have a unique voice which I didn't know I had a voice, but I'm creating something that's from all the people that, I mean that of course, we all love the positive affirmation, but it's just building awareness. And again, I am not selling anything. I didn't go onto this thing to sell. I just said to, for myself, every person I interview or have a podcast with, it's like a book, right? I ask them questions. I understand what they're doing, their experiences. And everybody wants to know who's the leadership in the industry, who are these companies? What's the trials and tribulations successes. And how did they become this person? And it's fascinating to understand that, it's really fascinating. And I think it's not done enough especially in my industry and nobody in the industry. Of course, audio podcasts, have been around for years, right? But today our psyches and everything, we're attracted to video, video is much more engaging. The human connection is there. Cause you can't get human connection over audio.
[Alec] Not same not the same way.
[Rob Tavi] Not same way, your tonalities aren't the same. You interaction like me and you have interaction. We have our hands, we have a nonverbal, all this interaction builds human connection. I can see you. I can smile. And these are things that can be recorded 30 seconds, one minute clip. But it's authentic.
[Alec] So let me ask you this, you've been, you said seven months, has it "Real Talk been seven months?
[Rob Tavi] "Real Talk." Actually no, it didn't. It didn't start in, I started doing content. The "Real Talk" podcast officially started on Father's Day.
[Alec] That's right.
[Rob Tavi] Because of my father.
[Alec] So how many podcasts have you done since then?
[Rob Tavi] 20.
[Alec] And what has been your experience from what has happened?
[Rob Tavi] I've learned a lot of course, I've learned a lot but what's happened is the engagement has come in. The people around of course, and the beginning, everybody says that people aren't just gonna start coming to you. You have to go out and network with them, say, hey, I love what you do. And I wanna bring people on the show. Of course, I brought people in the close network that I knew and I'm like, I'd love to bring you on the show. I love to talk, to discuss things about you and the industry and supply chain engineering technology. And also to be honest my show is 70% industry, 3% lifestyle, lifestyle can everything going through. Cause I had Alicon he's lending, but what he's done for marketing and digital marketing space for is unbelievable. And he's really showing everyday showing up, showing up every day, doing it and being selfless of showing the strengths and all the things I had to dig in and all the secrets behind it. It's not a secret actually. It's just, it's simple. You can buy this, you can do this, you can have this. And as you guys probably some of you know, my personnel, I've seen Alec solo studio, it's unbelievable. But it's like, how did you do this? I mean that, mean it blows you away the infrastructure by looking behind the scenes, like, and it looks on the screen like, oh my God, doesn't take that much.
[Alec] No, and to your point earlier, it all starts with just a phone, for everybody. Just a phone and willingness be on the camera. And so I wanna ask you this question, I've seen more and more of your employees making content now, has that been organic? Have you been pushing them? What are any experiences they're having they're relaying to you? Like share with everybody that kind of thing?
[Rob Tavi] Yeah, of course in the beginning, I tried to share everything with that and we did some practices. I told everybody, hey, let's up go for 10 days. Let's to problem solution, especially sales people. Let's just record yourself with a problem, solution with a customer challenge and just recording every day for a minute, don't put it out there. I don't want you to put it out there. I want you to get comfortable in front of it, 'cause at the end of the day people are connecting with you because you have, 'cause you can go anywhere online and buy that one component from anybody else. I know that they like to connect with the human connection. Someone that builds value in who they are and being authentic and you can sell them with just being yourself and your personality. Then they can go anywhere else to buy them.
[Alec] I just want every mortgage professional that hears this or watches this later, or listens to this, to understand the point that Rob has made. He working in components. Like you can buy them from a thousand places, right? And you as a mortgage professional, you sell not only a product like a mortgage, but you sell a service and a Consultation that goes along with that. And listen to Rob talking about his salespeople, like humanizing the process, making human connections. So they buy components from them. And it's so crazy that it's the same thing. It's the same thing. Like people do business with people they like, and that they know, and that they trust.
[Rob Tavi] It's a simple formula. And again, I didn't know, I was naive to it. I tried different things building, fancy websites, investing. Of course, that stuff does help for image. But at the end of the day, it's the DNA of who they're doing business with and who's calling them on... And of course, if you have some branding, you put on any, you call somebody, oh, I remember that name. They will give you the 30 seconds or one minute to even engage with them. If they never saw the name, it's just, it's building the awareness and doing it indirectly by educating them, by showing them something that they don't know. And just having fun with it, that this person is real. It's just someone calling on the phone teller is like, make the calls like, hey, what are you doing? Those are your mortgage industry or you need components or whatever it is. There's so much. I mean, we are, again, we're a small potato company compared to these billion dollar companies and they have the branding. They have multimillion dollars of funding for marketing. We don't.
[Alec] But this is what I tell loan officers. Like they're going up against Quicken who's running Superbowl ads. Spending tens of millions of dollars year over year, building consumer brand recognition and a loan officer's like, well what do I do? You do this stuff. You do exactly what Rob did with his business.
[Rob Tavi] Yeah, you build the human connection. Of course, let's go back to the how the employees took it. I started up making them do the phones and I wanted, first started with taking a photo. What you're doing, show your daily routines, put something fun, something educational about you, right? You like sports. You like theater, you like music, whatever it is. Put it out there, of course, through COVID everybody's locked down and LinkedIn again is one of our major platforms these days because everybody in the B2B business.
[Alec] I don't care if you're B2B, like they're just humans there.
[Rob Tavi] They're humans, yeah.
[Alec] It's an awesome platform. I cannot push people more strongly into LinkedIn.
[Rob Tavi] And you know what the best part it's free.
[Alec] Shocker. By the way, so there's premium. But I didn't have premium until like last year. I did everything without the premium. 'Cause I was like, why do I need this stupid premium thing? It just gives you the check mark. And then literally it does. There's nothing else to it. Does nothing else besides a check mark. So maybe you can email somebody you don't know, which is like.
[Rob Tavi] Yeah, I mean limited free is only is only limited amount of prospecting you can do if you wanna do that and look up people. But I think it's, I don't know, 79, nine. I don't know what it's something like in that range, that return on investment as being a, as I say, a loan officer or a component sales person or whatever it is, that ROI is priceless.
[Rob Tavi] Who you have that, I mean, there is, I think there's over 600 million people now on LinkedIn and in my industry alone, 6 million people engineer's technology. That's 6 million people. And out of that, I'm like, wow,
[Alec] You only want a couple of those million.
[Rob Tavi] We don't need it. We don't need that many. As I said, it's not about the quantity, also it's the quality 'cause you can't do business with everybody, but it's just getting the awareness. I don't know that it's building awareness, touching the person, having touchpoints. How come I have more touch points without, because it is the email. We send emails out. We do phone calls. We try to do, but putting[Rob Tavi][Rob Tavi]
[Alec] That stuff is not as relevant anymore, it's not as relevant anymore. Everyone gets a million emails. It's fine, like we don't want that anymore. What we want is more authentic, more connecting, more real and raw. We don't wanna have a candy email that we know you buttered up for us.
[Rob Tavi] Correct. So with my employees, they started posting pictures first. They started doing that. And now globally, it's interesting. My Asia staff, especially my Philippines team and my India team they've really, they took this, they took it, they just went into it. They dug it and then just like you say, dig in. And they start creating content. One of my country managers, she creates content. They did a whole office opening, how they open their office with the staff, what's going on. They have to do all, these are things that showing that we are humans, we all care about our people in what we're doing. And myself too, I think the first five weeks, she did the 12 weeks, one video a week about the current status of our company, where are we going? How are people working?
[Alec] Internal messaging.
[Rob Tavi] Internal messaging and I did it external, and I sometimes took those videos or just threw them on LinkedIn to say, hey, this is how our company's working, we have all our operations, except for, as I say, our Hong Kong and China was the only ones that really didn't shut down for that long, everywhere else has been shut down, like were in the US for four or five months. And then Asia, India, Philippines, Singapore. We're all feeling the same thing going through the same challenges at the same time. So if you can really relate to that and put that down and share it, you'll be amazed the amount of engagement you can get.
[Alec] Well, here's something that I'd love for you to address. And anecdotally experientially, marketing has always had this underlying like ROI component, right? So like you talk marketing and people are like, what's the ROI? I'm gonna do the trade show, what's the ROI, what's the spec, it's gonna cost this much money, what do I think I can get out of it. And even trade shows have been hard to position an ROI. Like what is it? And in digital "Real Talk," podcast and content creation messaging, internally and externally, how would you define the ROI of those efforts? How would you say this has been the return on my investment. What has been the return? And I don't mean necessarily dollars. Break it down for people who 'cause everyone's like, well, you're running a podcast, what's the ROI?
[Rob Tavi] Alright, well, let's break it down to what I said in the beginning, as I said, I wanted to expand my US presence and branding, how I wanted to reach and touch people for about three to four years. I'm like, how can I do this without all this big budgets and the digital aspect, let me do something and touch more people, and then trade shows and anything I wanna do by just building a brand digitally, right? Building the awareness of who we are, what we stand for. Of course we have our services. And what we do is we're not selling that. We're just trying to build who we are, what we do, and how we do it and the people behind it, right. The people behind it. So it wasn't all about the podcast, but the touch points, I would say today, we've probably have, in the last seven months, if you wanna say that, probably have a hundred more key customers that we've built relationships. Thousands of eyes are on us, but about a hundred more customers have come in that we've starting to build new relationships, even during the time of COVID.
[Alec] You see, I love this story, everybody, because it's such a direct parallel to you as a loan professional me in my career trying to grow the LoanDepot franchise and meet good people. I mean, it's such a parallel experience from selling components to selling loans. Marketing now is about connection and real human relationships and not about a fancy booth or a cool mailer or a catchy tagline, like that stuff had its day and it's gone. I didn't argue that commercials and all that stuff unless it's the Gary, V's always like commercials are garbage now unless it's the Super Bowl. 'Cause then people pay a lot of money to do the simple commercial there. But it's like, I think that world ended and I think people are still trying to play it and not realizing that there's this whole other space out here to jump into.
[Rob Tavi] There is, I mean, you just have to be, as you say, be where the people are at, right? Be where the people are at, you gotta network where the people are at. And right now, that COVID has caused the pandemic to everything go digital. So we need to be with the people are at. So it doesn't matter if you're in Facebook or an Instagram or LinkedIn, you go where the people are at within that network to be able to build your brand associations and when they need something or they reach out, they have that thought of that person, or they recognize that brand and that person together and say, hey, you know what? I wanna reach out and say, I will give you opportunity, I have a question for you, about a loan or about a component or about an engineer. And then that's where it all starts.
[Alec] Yep. So there's a guy named Ted Rubin who had been following on Twitter forever. Interesting branding, marketing guy, kind of a guru type ask person. And he has had this thing that has stuck with me for, I gotta say maybe five years plus I can't even remember. It's just always been in my mind. And he literally puts down ROI. Just says, don't talk about ROI, ROI is garbage. He talks about ROR, which he says is return on relationship.
[Rob Tavi] Relationships.
[Alec] Return on relationship versus the return on investment. The return on relationship is where the real success happens. Because to your point like Rob, sometimes you don't wanna work with certain customers. They might be great. They might give you a lot of money, but they might tear down your organization and be a cultural nightmare and all of that. You might want to push them to the side. So it's all about relationship, even if you're selling components.
[Rob Tavi] Yeah. I don't think it's whatever you're selling. Of course every customer is not for you. And it's hard to tell that sometimes to the sales, but they don't wanna hear it. But at the end of the day, you wanna fit in somewhere where there's value built and where you both contribute together and build value as a customer and the customer relationship. And it builds a longterm... We're not here for a one deal, one transaction. We're here for the longterm. 'Cause I also would have build this referral, right.
[Rob] In our industry as a small industry as well. I mean, there's a lot of engineers, buyers, commodity managers, and there's a word of mouth, right? It's like, oh, I had a great experience with them. Once you guys tried to go to IBS for this component or to go for this, or they go to other companies, they switched jobs to another factory. And that word of mouth for us was the most successful thing for us in Asia when we grew from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, but then it got more challenging 'cause now we were very well but in the States, we didn't really have that as much. So I'm trying to, that's the thing is to build the referral, built the service and build the education. Again, I'm not trying to sell anybody. I'm trying to educate of who we are, what we do, the service provided and at the end of the day they can decide, but just earning the seat at the table to get the opportunity is all asked for.
[Alec] That is like the defining. If I could get everyone, every loan professional out there to hear that and understand that point, that's the goal. Like you can have the most knowledge and be the best consultant and be the best person to talk to that customer. But if you don't earn a seat at the table, they're gonna do a loan somewhere else, dude. Okay, so you might not have a good answer for this part, but I wanna ask kind of a pivot a little bit.
[Rob Tavi] Okay.
[Alec] So you're seven months into content creation, is mold into a podcast, 20 episodes and on the podcast. So I can tell you're in the fluidity of the whole thing, but where do you see this going for you? Do you have a short term goal, long term goal? Are you just like, I'm just going by, I don't even know what I'm doing. I'm just trying to experientially do this.
[Rob] There were certain goals that I have of course, my goal was to do 50 podcasts by then the thing to build, to me it's like I have to put the reps in to take the training wheels off, to understand the process of this and then build the awareness, but also is to bring on real key influencers, all leaders in the industry to learn from and to build up value in the last couple episodes that I have done with some people that have been in history 40 years there, they've really sold. Like they just keep telling me, this is as a pause, keep doing what you're doing. Don't change, right? Don't change. You are onto something. And the challenge that some of these people, cause I reached out, I reached out to C[Rob Tavi]level people to get them on the podcast. But there's a fear, they're like who is this? And the thing is, yeah 'cause we're the new generation and there is a fear of that because they don't know what's going on. And they're like, how are they doing this? How can they build so much awareness? And for us and compared to different industries, on one thing that was a big awareness, like who are the leaders of all these big companies? You don't see the messaging from them like you in different industries. The leaders aren't very outspoken. Today, a lot of leaders are, I wanna work for that company because that leader is inspirational, right? In the components industry, the leaders aren't the face, it's really the brand and this account amount the components they sell, like the Texas Instruments or like Motorola or these type of things, Samsung, those are the. They associate them with the brand and those components they have, they don't want to associate with the leader. And I'm like, well, the generations are changing. There's succession happening. In five to 10 years a lot of these, I mean, honestly, a lot of the boomers, people are gonna succeed and who's gonna take their spot and they have to lead. And also at least take that wisdom that these people have learned and built these very successful business and share it with a new generation. And I don't see that happening. So that for me is building a platform to give everybody, I think to, hey, the wisdom is out there, the technology innovation. How can I build this and spread the awareness out there for everybody to give a platform to do.
[Alec] Love it, dude, love it missionary, love where it's heading. So, let me do this. You've covered it a little bit before, but I really want to have you just answer this question so everyone can hear you loud and clear. When you decided to make the leap. When you were like, I'm gonna start documenting, I'm gonna use my phone. I'm gonna start documenting. Go through your experience again, go through, did you get any negativity. What was that like, share there where like the real, like what made you keep going? Was there positive affirmation? Experientially, like, 'cause there's so many people on the fence right now in my industry, in the world that are just like, should I do it? Should I get into this space? And so you decided to make the leap, walk everybody through your exact experience?
[Rob Tavi] Well, actually starts from the beginning of our lives in school and stuff. As you say, it's the security and being insecure, right. I was never the most secure person, what's this stuff in school, I always got myself into some type of activity too, so I can, to fit in, right? So I was always trying to fit in and the camera, and I don't know the way I looked, I didn't like the way I looked, the way I sound, my skin is brown. It is these types of things that come in that you feel like you're not part of the group or part of this. And that's really rebuilds when you become older. So when I swore in to put myself in front of the camera.
[Alec] All that stuff came back up.
[Rob Tavi] It came back up and my insecurities came back up, the challenges I face, people trying to make fun of me. People say, I look like this. That's from childhood. You do like this, I was, I'm a middle Eastern. And I had a lot of mustache when I was younger. So now I have a beard but these things that honestly come back and it takes us from childhood to today, I'm in my forties and now I still remember those things. But as I said, how do we overcome those challenges? And just, step forward, step out of that box. And there's much more to it. So for me, I started taking the risk, taking, putting the phone and of course I got a nervous, like everybody else, you put that phone in front of you, you get nervous. And all the words, especially, you might be a great presenter. Like I was, can speak in front of my team, my staff and I just lost it. Some people have it naturally Alec has put in the reps and I think he has naturally, but because you're fantastic in front of the camera.
[Alec] So I'm gonna call out IBS on this and share a little tangent because I hear the same thing all the time. Like, well, I just can't speak like this. And I'm like, okay, here's what you do. I want you to get into your car every morning. And we can't really drive to work, but pretend, and I want you to put the camera on a little thing on your dashboard and I want you to hit record. And I want you to talk to that camera for 275 episodes.
[Rob Tavi] 275.
[Alec] Something like that. I want you to do it for three to five minutes, three to five minutes record. And just talk to the camera about the topic that's on your mind for three, for three to five minutes, 275 times. And then when you go on a podcast for someone's like, on a video, you won't freak out as much, but Rob, you're putting the reps in. That's the best[Rob Tavi][Rob Tavi]
[Rob Tavi] You put the reps in, I had to put the reps in. I had to take that from, I didn't have technology. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to photo edits. I didn't even know how to video editing. I don't even know all this, the filters and this and that. I wasn't very savvy on that. And I was learning it as I was going. And I was trying to figure this out. And I had my marketing guys. I'm like, we have to figure this out, okay. I mean, trust me, I tried to buy equipment, $50 mic, a Bluetooth microphone. I always consulted with YouTube, was like, and it was very challenging.
[Alec] Put this back and get this question answered. Did you get any negativity from anybody?
[Rob Tavi] From that? Honestly, the only people that give me crap is my friends and the family around me.
[Alec] Isn't, that's the worst thing ever. Like everyone thinks that all the trolls are vetted out and it's not them. It ends up being people who are close to us, who we love and who love us, who just dig the nail in a little bit.
[Rob Tavi] You can have 99 likes and one negative. And that one negative will ruin those 99 likes for you, which is something that we have to get over. And like, this is not how it is.
[Alec] You got negative feedback from family and friends. And how did you deal with it?
[Rob Tavi] Of course, insecurities came over me. And then I was like, forget this, forget them. I'm just gonna go ahead. I'm gonna steamroll this. Of course I did read a lot. I watched a lot of the people. Of course, Gary V the latest people out there. Yourself that was doing it. I'm like, there are people, these are my friends will say, I have a close friend of mine doing it. He's just doing it. He doesn't have fear. And the best thing that you did is just guiding people, just put yourself out there. And you've always, as I said, you've always discussed these types of challenges. The insecurities people, people don't care. They're actually, I mean, in my opinion, there's come some jealousy because you're doing something they're not, they're not in the party. They're not putting themselves on video. Like I wanna do that. How do I get on Facebook Live or LinkedIn Live or Twitter, or make a vlog or, and these type of things I wanna do. By the of the day you just have to take that risk and get over what the negative feedback is. Because within three months I did get over it. I learned.
[Rob Tavi] And I kept pushing forward. Of course, was I, everybody listening to this is like, how did it feel? Like, do you keep wiping positive affirmations, positive affirmation? And then I realized, I put in my mindset, don't worry about affirmation. Just keep being who you are. The people will watch. There's a lot of people watching and they will be there and it keeps coming. So now wherever I go, it's funny, seven months later, everybody remembers. I was really, I saw that episode. I saw that clip. I never even knew they engaged with it. I didn't even know what they think, I'm like. You saw, I love what you said. I love the message there. I listened to this and I'm like, wow. And it's coming from those people that were laughing at me, which was my close friends in the beginning. And now they're actually applauding me. Like, that's amazing.
[Alec] And next they're gonna ask for your help. I mean, that's the circle of life right there my friend. Kyle, you do need to get a good wood backdrop. You're way behind. We're crushing you in the content game, have that wood paneling. Oh, she can't do it. Can you really do a podcast if you don't have wood paneling? I think the answer is you can't.
[Rob Tavi] But my theme came from you, so.
[Alec] But that's so true. Like, and I'll share this for people that are listening and maybe trying to figure out how they can poke your head into this world. Here's another way to put reps in. And it's kind of weird and nerdy, but I love it. So when and I hang out, we have a couple other people in our little squad. And we tend now because Max is a maniac. He brings a mixing board, we hook it up. And instead of just sitting around, having bourbons and shooting the breeze, we have microphones and headsets on, and we're sitting around drinking bourbons, shooting the breeze in like a podcast style environment.
[Rob Tavi] Correct.
[Alec] And someone's like, oh God, I'm never doing that. And I'm like, look, it's putting the reps in, like, we're getting used hearing your own voice and being natural and having a microphone here and talking into it so you can hear everybody and it's not. And again, everyone thinks you're gonna go get famous. It's not about getting famous. Even the people that laughed at me and the same people that laughed at you for trying to do this kind of stuff. It's like, they don't understand. I'm not trying to go viral. I'm not trying to be the next Joe Rogan. Like that's not the purpose of this. The purpose of this is to have some fun and connect to other people and get my message out in the world. It's marketing, I used to drop the flyers. That was my marketing. Now it's this and this is way more fun.
[Rob Tavi] And that analogy and what you've done is, as I said, leaders lead by example and you're trying to lead and also show them the way and do it as being selfless with it. I mean, you are doing it week over week. You're showing all your team, all the people in the public, how to do it and saying this isn't rocket science guys. These are the putting in the reps. And just like you said, with our good friend, Max, he's putting in the reps, he brought a mixing board. He didn't know how it worked. So he's trying to figure it out. And we did a three or four of them and he figured out this mixing board, how the sound works. So we put on the reps and we did it internally, but now he's like, okay, now I can use this externally 'cause I figured out how it works. Again, you get a new gadget or you got a new camera. How do I use it? How's it look? How would it look? Like I just don't wanna go live or use this. I'm gonna look like a fool, 'cause nothing's gonna work right. So he's putting in the reps before he uses that piece of equipment. So it can give the best presentation or best sound or best quality. But again, that's the time, is you have to put in those reps and the experience. And again, you go around and have people, friends and family, of course. Friends and family always supportive. Sometimes they can say, what is he doing? Where they're spending money on?
[Alec] Your friends and family that talk crap on you. They just kind of poke like, why are you doing that?
[Rob Tavi] Like, what is he doing, right? Is that real? What is he doing? It's like, it's not, you know why? 'Cause it's not in square, right? We have a square. We're not fitting in the square model of how everything's supposed to be. We're not fitting in the square. So when it's outside the box or outside the square it's what is that? What's going on here? I don't understand.
[Alec] Well, I got a good challenge for you at the 40 minute mark, but I have a challenge for you and your company. I have a ch... I wanna see if you're willing to do this with your group, because you're all over, you're international. And so I did this impromptu, so I hosted my first ever digital virtual sales rally. And I learned with Mikey how to do a virtual stage and how camera changes and you saw some of it. And one of the things I had to do, cause I had to buy time. I went too fast. I needed to like I had 10 minutes of like dead time and that's death in a virtual event. In a live event you get up, throw Frisbee's, giveaway stuff, but in a virtual event it's like, we're dead. So I did this and I wanna challenge you to do this with your entire company. I said, look, everybody has their phone right here, right? And you go to Facebook and you open it up. And there's a little button in the upper left right here, upper right that says Live, right? So everyone had their phone up and on Zooms and there. And I said, okay, here's what I want to do. I want you to, we're all gonna take right now. Right now. We're all gonna stop right now. You're gonna hit the live button. And you're gonna film one minute, minimum of a message of gratitude to somebody in your business life or personal life, just to say, thank you. A mentor, a business partner, a customer, a past customer. Somebody who has helped you in need, a family member, just a minute of gratitude. We're all 600 of us. We're gonna push out, live a minute of gratitude. And number one, I got everybody got, peer pressured into it. 'Cause we're all going. And I look, I know people didn't do it. And of course, but I got so many people came back with a message of, I didn't die. It was actually kind of fun. I go back and look and there's hundreds of comments. There's thousands of views on some of these. Cause they're like, people are like, oh, you're beautiful I miss you, how are you? Like thank you for the message. Like it is incredibly cool. And I bet if you got everybody at IBS Electronics to do a minute of live gratitude at the same time, if you can bring it with all the crazy times, I watched the IBS gratitude, just hit the industry. I think it would rock everybody. But that's my challenge to you and your team next to see if you can hang it.
[Rob Tavi] We are, which is funny as we're gonna do. Cause it's actually our 40th year next month. So we're gonna do a little internal celebration, right? And I'm gonna do a little bit of an internal rally using some of the things similar to what you used. And this is, I wrote it down. I'm gonna pull this off and I'm gonna share this. And I think that Alec, sometimes you say you're paving the path of this, but that's happened. Messaging, gratitude of thinking of being out there. It goes a long way.
[Alec] Well, you you've echoed this. And I have to make sure everyone hears you. 'Cause you've said it three times in the podcast. When you come out and do a podcast or a video, or you put your message into the world, it's never about selling. You've been so clear on that. It's always about giving. It's always about sharing. It's always about collaborating and it's never about selling. And, all of a sudden when I ask people to push a button and say something to thank somebody, it wasn't as scary anymore to be on camera, live on Facebook. And when everybody frames their messaging like you have, and you just start giving into the world and not expecting, an ROI, some stupid BS, the impact you have is magnified intensely.
[Rob Tavi] I a hundred percent agree. And that challenge is it's funny. It's like, everybody's afraid to put something on, but it seems like in our personal life, the Facebook or the Instagram, people take stories of themselves, of their families, of what they do and where they go. There is no embarrassment. They're okay, I guess. But when it comes to I think professional life, they're very afraid to share that. They're I'm like, well, you guys are already doing it. Why don't you just move it to another platform? You don't have to share everything. Just take a little nip, some bits of it, what you're doing and share it family, business, going to work, what you did, a customer or something, whatever you're doing and share that. And of course, you know how to use Instagram or Facebook and you curated or edit the video yourself. So you just take that and move it over there.
[Alec] All right, so we're hitting the end here. Here's the final question. I know it's crazy. Here's the final question I'm gonna ask you. Let's put you in front of a loan professional who is deciding whether or not to go all in on digital. They heard a bunch of stuff. They're like, I don't know. I kinda in a couple sentences, right, like a couple of quick hits. Like why should they do it? What are they gonna experience? What do you got for them?
[Rob Tavi] First thing is you need to be where all the people are at. You need to be where they're reading information and watching information. The second thing is what comes from there is building the awareness and building who you could be in, what you can do of relating. And that's number one thing is you get to relate to the customer base. And all that, it comes back as I said, the insecurities come back 'cause you will get stuck getting affirmation. You start getting likes. People start watching this thing. It turns into a whole 360 machine. And as a loan officer or as a sales agent or whatever you're in these things going on digital, will build the branding. Right now we can't touch anybody. How do we reach out and touch somebody, right? We can't reach out. So building a digital brand, putting your face with the name, putting the face with the family who we have behind you, who you're supporting, who your group is, all this stuff really relates to the customer. They wanna know they can trust you. You come from somewhere, you have a background and they engage with you. And that whole 360 will build and build and you'll build your confidence over and over. But again, it's putting in the reps, going digital. It doesn't take a lot of money. You can use it from a cell phone and that will come. And as I said, be organic, be original. Don't have to cure everything, just be yourself. How many people will be attracted to authentic people that are just themselves.
[Alec] That's it. Man, I so appreciate you love being on the journey with you my brother. You're awesome. Congratulations.
[Rob Tavi] Thank you Alec for everything. Thank you for what you're doing for the industry. All the industries everybody's following you. And you're selfless. Your personality is contagious and I love it. And thank you for having me on your show and hope to do more of these with you.
[Alec] You're the man. I will see you later my brother, everybody else peace out.
[Rob Tavi] See you guys.