059: How to build your circle of influence with Erica Castner


Focused on the art of productivity and partnerships, Erica Castner is a business and breakthrough coach with a successful track record of helping thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs turn ideas and goals into results and accomplishments.

Erica offers workshops, as well as one-on-one coaching services, that are designed to help business professionals influence a group of ideal clients and ultimately enhance productivity, presence, and partnerships.

She has been featured as a guest contributor to over 100 podcasts, articles, and stages including The News-Press Media Group, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Southwest Florida Business Today and Digital Footprint Conference.

Erica is a member of a number of local organizations including Above Board Chamber of Florida, New Press Media Groups’ Young Professional Advisory Board, Women’s Council of Realtors – Bonita/Estero Chapter, Professional Leadership Academy Network, Impact Initiative, and Women’s Network of Collier County, just to name a few.

Erica is married to her husband, Ed. They have two daughters, Lauren and Brooke and a puppy named, Auggie.

Find her on her website at: www.thequeenofresults.com

music by ben sound. com


Hi, I’m Betsy Pake. I’m a reinvention strategist and NLP coach, author and speaker. But really, I feel like I just work with people all over the country to help them be happier, and to help them have a little bit more ease in their life. Today, I hope to do the same for you. Thanks for listening. Now, let’s go live. Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. I’m here today with my friend, Erica Kastner. Hey, Erica.

Hey, Betsy. How are you?

Hey, I’m good. I’m so glad you could be here. Especially because you are displaced from the storm right now. So thank you for still hopping on the phone with me.

Well, I’m super honored to be on your show today. So storm or not, who cares about that dang storm, right? You’re having a condo, so it’s all good. We’re gonna make it happen. Right? That’s right. So tell everybody a little bit about you

and what you do?

Well, thank you so much. So um, I actually started my career in the personal development space back in 2015. But that’s actually my company. But I initially started in the personal and professional development space back in like, 1990, gosh, 1996, I’m kind of dating myself, when I started in the corporate retail space. And I didn’t realize that how much that training in the corporate retail space was going to carry me through was what I do today. And that’s helping people master the art of productive partnerships. So in a lot of ways, we in any facet of business, we’ve got to understand that partnerships, and you know, especially strategic partners, and building relationships, and building rapport rapport with people, is really the gateway to essentially getting what we want in terms of accomplishing our business goals. And so I think a lot of people, even with the, with, with all these fancy things that we do in social media and and and different ways that we can connect with our customers in a digital way, is still all ties back to building that rapport with the person that’s going to ultimately either refer you the business or become a client. So today, Flash forward from 1996, to where I’m at today, it’s been an evolution, but it’s been definitely something that I think building a record building relationships with people is where it’s at.

You know, I find that so interesting, too. Because you when I was growing up, you know, when I was in high school, and when I got in college, my dad would always say to me, like, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And the more the older I’ve gotten, the more I realized that that is really true, because that’s how you can find loads of opportunities that you may have never seen before. Right? And so what is something someone can do to start to create these, these partnerships and and to find people that are strategically aligned with them?

Well, I think it really starts with understanding who you want to align yourself with, I think people understand the concept of building a network, right? If you’re a business owner, or you function like a business owner, so maybe you’re an insurance agent, like my husband, he’s got a big company backing, you know, but he, he has to build his book of business, through all his efforts, like his companies and sending him leads. So there’s like that, like solopreneur, if you will, that solopreneur mindset attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, but like coaches and consultants, and anybody that’s like a solopreneur, they, a lot of it just starts with understanding, like, there are resources in your own backyard. So like a chamber of commerce, like getting involved with your local rotary chapter. Like those people, if you’re, if you’re not doing anything yet to build relationships, that would be a good place to start, because it’s going to at least give you an opportunity to connect with people that are already thinking and in terms of, Oh, I want to meet people that are going to ultimately open up a door, or opened up other opportunities for me to talk about my business, or, you know, get a client or that sort of thing. So that’s that, that interesting aspect of it. And then whatever you might be doing in a digital media space, you know, so if you’re like online social media, or you’re doing some email campaigns, that’s a great way to continue that conversation with that person that you meet, in a in a in person in real life situation.

So I really like that because I think sometimes in our digital world, where we hear all about social media and about, you know, Facebook ads, and you know, all of this stuff, it’s very, very noisy. And if we can step out of that, and go to the local chamber and go to rotary clubs or quanis club meetings, like those kinds of things, and actually really connect with people seeing people. Like, it’s funny that you say that and I’m thinking like, like, I bet I have done some of that, but it didn’t occur to me in this way of really making those connections and, and using those relationships. I think as a an online business owner, we tend to go towards the online, which is very noisy. So so that’s such a great idea of to just go back to old school almost right. Go back to your grass, the grass roots, like getting your the word out there locally.

Yeah, it starts there. Right? You know, because like, obviously, like, you don’t want to just end there, you definitely want to, but I guess what, you know that that part portion of talking to people in your local market, I think it’s so sexy right now, especially, let’s go back to what you said earlier about, you know, how there’s, it’s so noisy online, and then social media channels and in different groups and, and all these ways that we can position ourselves in the market space online. You know, it’s having a conversation with somebody and then saying, looking them square in the eye and saying, you know, what, like, how can I add value to you? How can I help you do what you’re doing right now to either support your business support the cause, that maybe you are, you know, supporting, and that and but like, if you’re, like, for instance, like a nonprofit organization, and there’s a lot of nonprofit leaders. And this is something I actually chat about in other mediums, other podcasts interviews, I’ve been on maybe other articles I’ve written, you know, there’s a lot of value in getting involved with a nonprofit organization and not for the sake of just patting your resume and saying that I represent ABC organization, you really got to dig your, you know, your roll up your sleeves, dig into some of these nonprofit organizations, once that makes sense for you. But you’re going to find that there’s community leaders that are the influencers and the decision makers. And so if you’re listening to this right now, and you’re thinking, gosh, I want to get in front of maybe those decision makers and avoid the gatekeeper. Get involved with the nonprofit, get involved with your local rotary chapter, get involved with your quanis Club, those are where those who are hanging out, because they get that they understand that, you know, building relationships in that arena is is a quieter space, it’s not so noisy there.

Yeah, I really like that. And you know, I’ve done an episode, just a month or six weeks ago on mentorship and finding a mentor. And I think many in one of the things that I talked about is like making it simple for a mentor to actually help you and asking them, like, how can I help and I think going to the nonprofit thing is just such a great way of saying like, you’re not saying Look at me, because of my business, but you’re just saying, like, look at me as a person, right, like, how can I help? What can I do?

And it was one of those things, I think, you know, that that worthy cause marketing aspect? You know, like me how many, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase, Betsy, you know, that, that there’s this element of aligning yourself with a cause that you’re passionate about? And a lot of people are, they’re really like connecting with you because of your story. So yes, what you said about, you know, having that human interest part, you know, them getting to know you and what you’re passionate about beyond just quote unquote, the business. Right, right.

Yeah. And so what are some other ways? I mean, I know you’ve met some incredible people, you have some awesome pictures with you, on your website, and you know, on Facebook page, so like, what are some other ways that you found that was easy to connect with people and to really like, uplevel yourself, by surrounding yourself? You know, there’s that great quote by Jim Rohn, that says, You are the five people you spend the most time with? And really trying to uplevel where you’re spending the most time, right.

Yeah, so that’s a great question. You know, so aside from the Chamber of Commerce event, and I do want to throw this little caveat out there, I think there are a lot of not every Chamber of Commerce is created equal. In my neck of the woods, there are a ton of different chambers, they’ve got different flavors and different like, you know, energies with the type of people that they’re attracting to the organization. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking, gosh, it’d be cool to check out a chamber, do some homework, do your due diligence, most of them are going to let you go into an event or two to kind of check it out on them. So you’re not having no stroke, a check for dues to get involved with that organization until you’re ready for that. But another way I found to really connect with people on a deeper level, and really at a quality basis. I started something. And I’m fortunate because I did come from before I started my company in 2015. I worked for a chamber of commerce. So I did have access to a lot of people within the organization within the community. But what I wanted to seek more regional exposure and now nationally and global, I had to think outside of the box. So I started going to other conferences that were in my niche. So there were other you know, maybe there were other coaching or consulting type conferences or personal development conferences where I can meet other people and connect with them. I would also go to Different trade association conferences. So with me being in the coaching and consulting space, it makes sense for me to align myself with HR directors, because I have a product or service offering that actually helps teams. So I want to connect with HR directors, I also want to connect with, you know, that solopreneur. So I might be going to a financial planning conference and trying to understand the financial planning market, because a lot of those people are building a book of business on their efforts. And so obviously, they’re definitely wanting to build up their pipeline of prospects and referrals. So it’s a good opportunity for me to meet people who might be interested in my service. So going to conferences, and don’t be afraid to hop on a plane and go to a conference. I mean, like most of my most valuable relationships have been, because I live in Southwest Florida currently, but I wasn’t afraid to go to LA to, you know, engage in a conference there and meet some really cool people and get a different temperature and a feel for people that were in that market space. And of course, if you’re going to a big area, like Chicago, or Los Angeles, New York, they’re probably bringing in a lot of different, you know, they’re not necessarily just regionalised. They’re they’re bringing in other people from a national and international basis. So you can build your rapport and network really quickly, in a short amount of time by attending those conferences.

Yeah, I really like that. I think that’s super important just to be able to, to meet people to see what other people are up to. Right. And I think anytime you’re in like a creative environment like that, it helps you start to think a little bit differently. And that can only help you to get better, right? Oh, yeah. Appearances?

Heck, yeah. Because you’re getting that information from other thought leaders, influencers, speakers, that are bringing a different than what’s really cool about this, Betsy, and I’m sure that you’ve had some experience with this. But you take that information back to your local market, and then all of a sudden, like, they’re like, well, where the heck did you get that information? I mean, maybe not. They’re not saying that those words to you. But now all of a sudden, you appear like you You’re, you’re smarter, or that you have IQ.

Yeah, you’re the expert, right? Because I’ve gone out and found all the stuff. Yeah, that’s so smart. Yeah, you’re right.

Yeah. So it’s definitely strategic. And it takes time. I mean, like the things that that Betsy and I are talking about today, as you’re listening to this, I mean, this isn’t easy. It’s simple. It’s not easy. It does take a little bit of courage to get out there and meet different people. But you know, if you’re putting yourself in environments where people are already, like, they already have that mindset that, hey, I’m going to this event or I want to meet really cool people like that you already kind of assumed that that person you’re going to walk up to that complete stranger is going to be willing to at least carry on a 32nd or a three minute conversation with you, if not longer, right. Yeah.

Because you know, the people going there are out to connect as well. Right? So it’s not like you’re just going to the grocery store and hoping to meet somebody, like you’re actively going to a space where other people are wanting to do the same thing.

Although what’s really cool about that is that so one time funny, really funny story. My husband and I flew into Los Angeles, we were there for a series of meetings, and this is about a year and a half ago. And we went into a Trader Joe’s because we always snack with stock up on snacks and things like that to kind of kisser that that track. And literally, I’m in the garage. And if you’ve ever been to Trader Joe’s, you know how long those lines can be. Yeah. And it literally struck up a conversation with a consultant. I had no idea who she was. But we’re now today we’re strategic alliances. She’s out in LA, actually just outside LA, and I’m in Southwest Florida. But you know, it gives you like, if you’re going to these events and conferences and networking events, it builds up your confidence to then go and have that conversation with somebody at the grocery store. Because you never know who you’re going to meet.

Yeah, it’s so true. It’s so true. My daughter was buying makeup at Sephora the other day, and I got into like a big huge conversation about coaching. And, you know, they asked for my card and you just think like really, truly you just never know where you’ll run into somebody.

Yeah. And like and, like how old is your daughter, Betsy?

She’s 15. Almost 16.

Okay, yeah, so my daughter’s 16. And like, at first, she was always like, Oh, that’s kind of interesting that you’re talking to people kind of like in a boring way. But now she gets it because she’s working her first job. And she’s like, Oh, well, like it truly is about, you know, just being nice to people and having the conversation. You never know where that conversation is going to lead to your next opportunity. Yeah, it’s cool to have that impression on the on the kid.

Yeah. Yeah, to be able to see that. And you know, I think to like if you’re truly and I think most of the people that listen to this podcast are if you’re truly out to serve. It’s not about like that conversation I had with the woman. It’s for her. Like, that wasn’t about me trying to get a client, right. That was like trying to give her like a different point of view of something. We ended up striking up a conversation and I said, Oh my gosh, I totally know what that is. You know, like wow. That if you’re coming from that space, people can sense that then you’re not. You’re not, you know, cheesy or slimy or anything like just truly wanting to connect. And you know, I wasn’t saying like, well, let’s start the coaching now.

I’ve got my square with, right on how can I think, you know, do I need to send you an invoice? Yeah, I mean, like, you don’t do that it’s definitely just about like saying, okay, because and that’s, that’s so I’m so glad that you brought that up, Betsy, because I think that the biggest complaint that I hear about people trying to build their network is that they, they don’t get the results that they want as fast as they expected. So they might show up at a networking event, they might join a local Chamber of Commerce, they might do all the things that you and I are talking about today. And then like six weeks from now, they’re like, this sucks. Like, it doesn’t work. And I’m like, Okay, what you’re trying to accomplish in six weeks, it’s taking me 12 years to figure that out. Okay. Like, it’s not like, but But the thing is, I mean, there, there are ways to shortcut that, you know, how you build a rapport. And I think if you can just go into any conversation, regardless, if you’re going to a professional networking event, or if you’re saying in the grocery store line, or the Sephora counter, it’s just to never assume that that person that you’re talking to, is your client, assume that they’re the Pied Piper, of your potential clients. And if you treat them like that, I mean, if you build the relationship with people as if they’re never going to be a client, but they could potentially open up the door for a lot of other opportunities, and you can help them to it’s a win win win all around. I mean, it definitely just makes you feel like you’re more connected to the relationship building process, as opposed to like, you know, feeling Oh, am I going to get my next client from this conversation? It’s just a way different energy.

Yes, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we’re really you’re just looking at connect with people, you’re not looking to sell something, right. Like just looking to form those, those connections. So I think the internet’s amazing. But I think that it has created this culture of like impatience, where I got to have instant gratification. And no matter what it is, whether it’s like connecting with people and building your network, or it’s getting sales, or whatever it is, you do it for, like, three seconds. And if it’s not working, you’re like, Oh, I must have to shift. Right? And so then you shift, but you never give it time to really catch hold, and to develop into what it’s supposed to be. So if someone’s listening, like, like, I know, this is like, you’re like, I don’t know, but like, how long does it take to build a good solid network? Like, how long should someone take before they go? Well, maybe I need to look at reevaluating my, my processes.

Right? Well, that’s a great question. And I don’t know if I have the exact answer that you’re probably looking for. But what I can say is about this, I let me start with this statement before I forget. So I think anybody listening to this interview today needs to go out and get grade as reads book three feet from gold.

Oh, yes. That’s such a great book. Yeah.

It’s an amazing book. And it’s all about I mean, like, as soon as you were like talking through that question, Betsy, I was like three feet from gold, three for gold, like that is a total. Because I think for a lot of us, especially, you know, entrepreneur, if you’ve got that entrepreneurial mindset, which if most of you listening to this probably do it is it we have this, like, oh, we’re gonna wear all these different hats? Or Oh, well, you know, like we heard from this, quote, unquote, Guru that this is the way that we need to do it. I think if we could just slow down, take it back to the most basic form and say, Okay, how many people Am I willing to touch today? Like, how many people Am I willing to have a conversation with today? Like, not just they, Hey, how are you doing in a creepy kind of stuck away like on Facebook or on Instagram or wherever you might be planting your, your social media presence ad. But really, like, literally, this is going to make people pass out but maybe picking up the phone and calling like the people that you already know, and saying, Hey, you know what, like, we haven’t chatted in a while. What are you working on? What’s your current area of focus? How can I support you today? Not everybody is going to be open to like giving you like, you know what they’re working on? Some people will be like, hey, great, this is what I’m working on. And this is how you can help me. It’s not your job to like count how many people actually answer that question. But it is your job to count how many people you’re asking that question of and if you’re not doing that consistently every single day like I have a rule I’m like I’ve got a touch at least 10 people today’s but even if I’m in my office, I mean right now I’m I’m outside of Florida because I had to evacuate five days ago in the storm. But But I’m if it is business as usual, I’m still going out there and saying okay, who am I impacting to Who am I talking to at least 10 people, sometimes it’s 30 people depending on my day, but I’m genuinely having a conversation with with at least 10 people a day. And it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out like 30 minute, you know, Convo, it can literally just be like a quick five minute phone call to be like, hey, just checking in with you. How you doing? Yeah. So if you do that consistently, every single day, like track your results, I would suggest that you say, Okay, if you’re not, if 10 people because you only talk to maybe one person a week 10 people might be like, scaring the heck out of you right now. Try reaching out to just two people a day with these two questions. What’s your current area of focus? And how can I best support you at the moment, if you did that? If you did it for two people a day, three people a day five people, you set the number. But you did that consistently, Monday through Friday, if that’s your typical work week, for the next month, I think people would be amazed at what they would be able to accomplish in a short amount of time if they just focused on the consistency aspect of what I just shared.

Yeah, I think that’s so true. I made a change in my business, maybe like six weeks ago, where I decided I was going to start offering free coaching calls. So people could come to my website and just sign up for a free coaching call. And some of my friends were like, why would you do that? Like you charge a lot of money for your coaching? Like, why would you give it away. And I thought because somebody that needs it that doesn’t have the money for it can now get a free coaching call, right? Somebody that is interested in coaching, but doesn’t really know what it is can get a feel for what it is who can make a decision on purchasing something like that if you don’t really have a feel for it. And then I’m also creating like tons of ambassadors to go out and say, Oh, my gosh, I had this really transformative experience. But I think that’s the same thing getting on the phone. And what it did for me was, it absolutely gave me more clients. But it let me understand better what my audience was struggling with, you know, what kept coming up. And I think sometimes we’re short sighted in not just the time period, but also what we’re giving. Right. And so making those phone calls is just like another perfect example of that, right of like, reaching out and saying, What can I do? How can I help like, I have an area of expertise, I might be able to help you,

which is so powerful.

Yeah. And sometimes it’s not even like about helping them with your area of expertise. I mean, I have a lot of people again, just, I’m kind of a freak show, because I did happen to work for a large Regional Chamber of Commerce. And that did give me a slight advantage.

But you know, now that you know, everybody, right, it’s like, so is that like, you can really connect people? I bet?

Well, I wouldn’t know I don’t know everybody, but I do. Like I said, I do have an upper advantage to somebody that might not be and not have had that opportunity to have that much of an exposure, you know, that like, high level visibility piece in the community. But I have to say this, that, you know, one of the and this is actually for us probably a very vulnerable story. But the first six months of my starting my business, so I left the chamber and 2015 that like the beginning of the year, and it was on very good terms. I mean, I told them two months before I was leaving, hey, I’m going to be launching my own business. And this is what I’m doing. And every you know, my executive director, everybody was very supportive. And like, the minute I walked out those doors, it was like I said, You know what, I’m going to stop thinking local. And I’m going to build this world domination coaching business, and it’s going to be epic. And it’s going to be awesome. And like, I went down that track. And it was like I turned I didn’t intentionally turn my back on my local relationships. But it was like, it was like, Oh, well, that’s, that’s not my focus anymore. So why would I continue to have conversations with them, like on a regular basis. And so for like six months, I just was like, hustling and chasing people down that had no clue who I was, instead of saying, Okay, stop, let’s see who you know, in the local market that might have access to people in the regional market who might have access to an opportunity that’s on a national basis. I mean, like, just start with where you’re at. And so that was my big aha, six, seven months into my business. I’m like, I’m gonna die on the vine. If I don’t get back to reality. So I almost lost my entire really, I mean, that’s how quickly it could happen. I spent 12 years building this amazing network in the Southwest Florida area, because I had just moved to the area back in 22,005. And I almost could have walked completely away from it. And I would have lost it all if I just didn’t like just take a step back and say, Okay, how can I just continue to build that rapport, build a relationship and say, What do you need help with? How can I help you might not be in my area of expertise, but what do you need connected with?

Yeah, I like that a lot. So if you are out if you you know, we go back to the very beginning of our conversation where we’re you’re just out in the community and trying to build relationships with people, then it doesn’t matter if it’s your area. of expertise, like I go to that, because I go, Well, that’s what I can help with. But really, I open up a whole other suitcase of things I can help with. If I get connected, right, if I don’t just stay in my little bubble and try to, you know, try to hit the digital market. Right? Well,

yeah. And I think that, you know, as as a leader, you know, and, you know, to your point, Betsy, I think a lot of it starts with, you know, it allows us to explore to so as your, and I might good friend, Brandon Leopold is he’s a sports and entertainment attorney out in California. And he put it this way. He’s like, you know, look, I was actually embarrassed because one of, I think it was a business manager, you know, who had access to a lot of professional athletes. And Brandon was looking at building this relationship with this particular person, I’m probably getting some of the details, funny, fuzzy, but, but one of the things was his business manager was asking him, oh, hey, I’m heading off to Memphis. And, you know, I need some connections. When I get to Memphis Like, who do you know, and Brandon was like, instead of being like, telling, instead of telling him, I don’t know, he was like, holy crap, I don’t know anybody, like behind the scenes. And then he says, I’d never, I never want to be in that situation where I don’t have a resource for somebody. So I’m just going to go out there and put myself out there, and you talk to a ton of people. And he did it very strategically, I’m not going to get into that whole process. But today for this conversation, because we’ll run out of time. But, you know, I think if we just challenge ourselves to say, you know, what I’m, I’m more than just my business, I have other connections, you know, I have kids or have like this special connection to a nonprofit organization or, like, Whatever makes up your your core. Just trust that you have gifts, and you have information that can help impact somebody that doesn’t have access to that. And I think if you just challenge yourself to think outside of the box, and it doesn’t have to be like, really outside of the box, it could just be again, saying, Okay, I’m committed to going to two local networking events this month, and I never go and do that. But this month, I’m going to do at least two, that that can be a huge game changer because it helps you as the entrepreneur, as the leader. Learn a different skill set or get a different perspective on what’s happening in your own backyard.

Yeah, I love that such good advice. So tell everybody where they can find you online.

Well, thank you for that. So right now currently, the best place to connect with me is over at the queen of results, calm. I have a ton of blogs on how to build strategic partners and a more productive way and increase your presence and your market space. So there’s a ton of free resources over there. So definitely go check it out over at the queen of results. calm.

Awesome. Cool. I’m going back. I’ve been over there I’ve been I’ve been digging through. So I guess everybody jump in there. See what you’ve got to offer. And I know you’ve got a freebie on there for us to on the website where they can get to. Yeah, you have lots of stuff on there.

Yeah, I’ve got tons of stuff over there. So go check it out. Like I said, there’s a ton of free resources for anybody that in any level of how you’re building your strategic partnerships, whether you’re at the beginning level, or whether you’re you know, definitely more savvy to it, you want some advanced techniques, I have tons of information over there. So that would be a good place to get started to to uplevel your success in building strategic partnerships.

Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on. Well, thanks,

Betsy, for having me. It’s been very fun chatting with you.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Remember, you can find me inside my facebook group at SS lB community.com. That stands for start small, live big community calm. And as always, here’s a little message from my husband.

That’s it.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Meet Betsy!

I'm Betsy Pake!

*Ocean obsessed

*Probably hanging out with my dogs


*Deep thinker

Hey There!

About Betsy

Hi I’m Betsy and I’m a subconscious change expert.
By day you can find me digging deep into the unconscious beliefs and identity of my clients so they can move past self-sabotage and lack of confidence and gain traction in their career and life.