No, they are not real people. They are actually acronyms and stand for Top of Mind and Best of Breed. The whole idea here is you want to stay Top of Mind with the Best of Breed. Let’s explore…
BOB – Best of Breed
BOBs possess certain qualities that make them stand out among the crowd. These are the people in your industry or network that “get it”. They understand the value in truly forming strategic relationships / partnerships with others.
BOBs work hard (and smart). They may not always be the industry leaders or the top dog on the food chain, but they hustle. They understand that in order to get where they want to go, they must enlist the help of others.
A BOB is someone who emails you things like:
“How can I help you?”
“Who do you need to meet?”
“What challenges do you face and what is the game plan to overcome them?”
A BOB is more concerned about how they can help you verse how you can help them. They possess the “Givers Gain” mentality of truly giving first in order to gain your trust in return.
BOBs are generally a great source of referrals. A great goal would be to find 6-12 BOBs in your industry or BOBs who are strategically connected to your clients.
For me, I’ve learned that BOBs aren’t always the most talented or highly skilled in the industry. In my experience, some of the best BOBs are those who are trying to make it in their field (but still good at what they do).
Now, of course it goes without saying, that someone who networks well and genuinely cares for others but produces sub-par work and misses deadlines doesn’t equal a BOB. Be careful of these people.
Your turn: Who are the BOBs of your industry or the BOBs that are strategically connected to your clients? If you can’t think of any, you better start hunting.
Now that we’ve identified the BOBs, it’s time to explore TOM.
TOM – Top of Mind
A list of BOBs does you no good unless you stay Top of Mind with them. Staying TOM is fairly easy once you nail down a process.
As cliché as it may sound, creating a “power circle” is by far the best way to stay TOM with BOB. By power circle, I mean a group of BOBs that meet regularly, even if it’s just once a month. The act of getting together at a physical location for an hour every month will help you stay TOM with your BOBs. A power circle provides a great avenue for everyone to discuss their needs, their challenges, and to get to know each other outside of networking events.
I have personally created a power circle of BOBs that range from a graphic designer, printer, business insurance, a tech recruiter, payroll, and a small business attorney. All of which are strategic connections to my clients.
Quick tips to stay TOM with BOB:
- Create a touch point system:
A method in which you stay in front of your BOB via email. This is a whole other blog post, but remember…you’re trying to stay TOM, you’re not trying to annoy your BOB. Your email SHOULD NOT BE “Hey there, just wanted to check in and stay top of mind” You always want to make sure you are providing value to your BOB.
- Engaging in Social Media with BOB:
Watching for posts by BOB where you can reply and provide value. This doesn’t always have to be work-related. Your BOB might be visiting Charleston, SC this weekend for the first time and you know of a great restaurant where BOB should eat. There’s a way to stay TOM.
- Invite BOB to a networking event or professional function:
This is a great way to spend more time with BOB. You’re not only providing value by introducing BOB to more folks, but you’re also getting to spend more 1-1 time with BOB. A win-win.
There are plenty more tips for staying TOM with BOB, but for now try mastering these few before you really go all out! I promise it will do wonders for your business and professional network.