How to Build Your Brand with Mike Ambassador Bruny

Mike-Ambassador-Bruny-PinterestFinding your business’s personal brand doesn’t mean you have to leave your true self at home.  You should be proactive when finding your brand, after all, your brand is your business’s reputation.  It’s how other people see you, as well as how you want them to see you.

Making sure your brand aligns with your company’s vision is vital to ensuring that your message, and the way that you’re putting it out, resonates with the people that you want to connect with.  One way to help that alignment take shape is to take a personality test, such as those offered by StrengthsFinder and Fascinate, to help you uncover your talents.  

Mike Ambassador Bruny is a life coach and public speaker who created the program, The New Art of Conference Networking: Hashtags To Handshakes, which teaches conference participants and organizers how to transfer online contacts to offline powerful relationships.

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The Blueprint for Public Speaking Success – Hugh Culver

Hugh-Culver-PinterestA good opening is key to setting the tone for any public speaking engagement. A successful public speaker first needs to gain the trust of their audience – within the first 3 minutes – before delivering their material, as well as stay clear of common mistakes that could jeopardize their audience’s engagement with their presentation.

Follow Hugh’s tested and successful model for putting together an amazing speaking presentation. Gain your audience’s trust, engage them, challenge them and then sit back and wait for the standing ovation!

Hugh Culver speaks, consults, and writes about creating real results as a public speaker. By using his speaking “templates” and “Think. Plan. Act.” philosophy, you will now have the necessary tools to be able to put on the best possible presentation.

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How to Find Your Freaks – An Interview with Chris Brogan

Chris-Brogan-Pinterest-2014Do consider yourself a freak? Do you know how to find other freaks like you? Do you know how to let your true passion and personality shine through to make a business out of it?

If not, then you’re not alone. A lot of small businesses don’t truly know how to “find themselves” and their desired audience. By finding and connecting with your desired audience you can find something you love to do while serving people with the same mindset.

This week, we freak it up with best-selling author, business strategist, and public speaker Chris Brogan, to learn more about how to let out our inner freaks and embrace what makes us special.

Big Ideas:

Chris Brogan, are you a freak?

  • Oh my gosh. I am the freakiest freak. I mean, think about it. I get paid thousands and thousands and thousands to stand on a stage and ultimately talk about pee and poop.
  • I’m definitely a freak. Freaks are people who sort of have tattoo level passion about the things that they’re into. They’re obsessed and they want to work with the people they want to work with on the things that they want to work on and really do it their own way.
  • There are freaks in all styles and sizes of business. They’re the people that really just want to do the most amazing job for themselves.

It seems lately that for the freaks, nerds, and geeks, that our time has finally come…that people are finally coming around to our way of thinking. Do you feel the same way?

  • I saw a kid walking down the street the other day with a Legend of Zelda hoodie and all I was thinking was the fact that you can just buy those at Hot Topic continues to blow my mind. Like, that there’s a mall place that you can get nerd video game clothes pretty easy – that’s not hard to get – and then I was thinking if I wore a Legend of Zelda anything in my day, I’d get beat up! No question.
  • I got beat up once, this one kid, Keith, beat me up in 8th grade, winter time. I get smashed into snow bank. My nose is bloody. He takes my musical instrument and smashes it on the ground and I’m like, “what the hell? Why did you? What the hell’s going on?” And I was a pretty big guy and everyone always thought I was really tough but I wasn’t really into fighting much until then. I said, “why did you break my instrument?” and he said, “because you play clarinet.”
  • I was like, “what? You’re mad at what instrument I play?” and he goes, “yeah, it’s a queer instrument and don’t be a queer.” And I’m like, “oh…okay.” So I take my clarinet home and I’m crying at my mom and I’m like, “ahhh, I can’t play clarinet anymore. It’s queer. I need to play saxophone.” Never in my mind did I not think I should be in band. Like, that I wouldn’t get beat up again just for being in band because he really very specifically said it was the instrument.
  • Yeah, I needed a “manstrument.” So, like Bill Clinton and sax. Literally, I grew up the same way you did. I was playing Dungeons & Dragons with all my friends but we would never talk about it at school.
  • This one kid, Chris, I remember it so vividly. I was very much on the outside of my school and these football guys were standing right next to me and he comes running up and is like, “dude, I just thought of the coolest thing I could do with my ranger character.” I was like, “who are you?” I totally rolled over. I in no way owned my relationship with this kid. They immediately stuffed him in a locker beside me and I did nothing because who would?
  • I remember pulling him out of the locker and he sort of just kept going. “Yeah, you know what I was thinking was what if you could be half elf?” I was like, “dude, they just smashed you into a locker! That doesn’t blow your mind?” and he’s like, “oh, that just happens. It’s whatever. I’ll just kill them later.”
  • I thought, “okay, two things come from this. One, always be friends with this kid so he won’t kill me. Two, don’t talk about Dungeons & Dragons at school.”
  • So, you’re totally right. The world has changed. I mean, Dungeons & Dragons is cool. If I played it in Brooklyn, I would probably be a hipster for doing it.
  • But the thing is, that alone doesn’t make anybody any money. What I kind of lay out in the book a little bit is that there’s plenty of weirdos who still live in their mom’s basement, but there’s this magic trick you can do if you are freakish in a way that’s useful to anybody else or that connects with some other methods then you can actually make business from it.
  • It’s not that everyone has to have face piercings and this is certainly not a kids business and it’s certainly not for small versus big. It’s just all about this real opportunity to do good stuff.

So, I’m reading your book and it seems that it’s geared towards helping people who are creative, on the outside, or have amazing ideas, and tells them how they can take those skills or ideas and run a business so they can make money off of it. Would you say that’s true?

  • That really is the deal. What I’m really trying to get done is I’m saying to people is it’s not enough just to be a weirdo and I’m also saying this isn’t just a weirdo’s game.
  • The strangest thing happened after this book came out is that California’s leading trial attorney said to me, “I’m totally a freak.”
  • These two CPAs who do a podcast for accountants said, “We’re freaks. We love this book.”
  • This guy just the other day wrote me and he’s a dentist and he’s like, “oh, I love this book. I’m such a freak.”
  • I just didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect main street America, shingle on the door kind of people, to be the first people to go nutty.
  • I expected rock ’n rollers, face-pierced people, and whatever, but it’s really true. The other thing is that there’s a lot of books on entrepreneurship out there, but they’re written for people that kind of wanted to go to Harvard but didn’t.
  • This book isn’t that. This book is for people who have got their hands in it. I put my email address all through the book with the very intention that people would write me and I’m getting a lot of that.
  • I met a guy who runs a flooring company and he says, “I’m only part way through your book, but I had just thrown in the towel on my business because I just couldn’t make it work. I couldn’t make enough money off of it. So instead I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do this and then your book comes along and you kind of laid it out to me. I’ve gotta go find the kinds of people I want to do business with and then it’ll work a lot better.” I said, “well, merry Christmas and that’s the plan.”

Do you have any advice or tips on how we can connect with our own freaks? How do we find people who are as passionate about what we’re talking about as we are?

  • I’d say the very first thing to note is the reason why there’s bats all over the cover of the book is because I couldn’t get DC Comics to let me put a bat signal on because that would be even better.
  • All these new tools we have and these abilities to do things like blogs, newsletters, podcasts like this one, and that sort of thing, all allow us the opportunity to connect with the people who are like us. People who would hear something and go, “oh, I really definitely have some sort of connection with what this brings up in me,” will then want to do business with you.
  • For instance, R.J. Diaz runs this company called Industry Portage. It’s accessories and stuff for guys, so for instance – duffel bags, messenger bags, and stuff like that. He’s in the construction and architect industry and that sort of thing. His things are kind of rugged looking and have this kind of nice, I don’t know, Brooklyn people would love him kind of look, and (I’ve picked on them twice in one day) I would say that he’s done a great job.
  • When he writes his blog post and whatever, he’s appealing to those kinds of people – the kind of people who like Gentle Mint, which is like Pinterest for dudes, would be his crowd.
  • I think you start to find the community where you feel comfortable. Reebok did it by connecting with CrossFit and they have a huge partnership and they also did it by connecting with the Spartan Race. They created shoes. The all-terrain series is made for endurance people doing these obstacle course races. So then they said, “how do we serve you?” So they found a community where they felt like could serve and then they brought their offerings to them.
  • To me that’s the big opportunity. It’s a matter of then crowing to them and talking to them and saying to people, “here’s what I’m into. Because I think you’re into it to, what do you think?” I guess that’s where the big opportunity comes. We go a little wrong there too because we worry about talking about ourselves too much.

How do we know that people will be attracted to our message? At what point do we need to find that balance between what I want to talk about and what you want to hear?

  • It’s definitely a matter of you will lose some people along the way.
  • Let me give it to you in a really straight and personal way. My business, a good chunk of my business, is professional speaking. I charge quite a lot of money to have people have me come and stand on their stage. The people who can afford me are mostly big companies. So, if I wrote a book like my friend John Chance called Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar, Cisco System goes, “I need him at our sales meeting.” Ford says, “I need him at our sales meeting.”
  • I basically wrote a book called “This Book is for a Bunch of Weirdos.” I wrote a book that says no corporation should immediately think to hire me and I’m going to have to really sell it. So I very intentionally made a book that tells the big guys, “you probably shouldn’t hire this guy for speeches.”
  • My first point to you is you will lose some of your clientele when you really announce who you’re gonna work with.
  • Here’s the game – the game is you must find the people that you can serve and you must make sure they know who you are. By the way, when you make an announcement like this you should be smart and have a little extra money for when the money drops off the floor and you don’t notice that’s going to happen. I did not do that and ouch…financial ouch.
  • That said, what I learned is next time don’t do that. What I learned is that when you start find the people you love to serve they will start finding you in this incredible, strange, magnetic way. This takes work. There’s no part of this that’s “just sit there and life’s gonna be fine.”
  • Here’s the deal. In the last three days I’ve closed business that I’ve never thought I would close with people I really want to work with – a brain surgeon and his wife, a guy who is a sports medicine professional for a professional football team, a whole bunch of really interesting, very successful in their own little niche kind of people who are not the kind of people who should work with Chris Brogan.
  • A guy who was in a tug of war with the U.S. military between the military groups who wanted to keep the military huge and this guy who’s part of this tribal doctrine that wanted to make it small. Who is written up in several government documents good and bad who had a great time talking with me because we had a mutual friend in Steven Pressfield. All that’s happened since my declaring exactly who I want to do business with.
  • Believe me. I would love Sony and all those guys who’ve spent money on me in the past to call me up and say, “we’ve got a bag of money with your name on it here, can you come deliver value?” But I’ll tell you. The magic trick, the beauty of everything that I’ve been doing is that I found exactly who I need to do business with, Rich Brooks. That’s priceless.

When you say you’re working with these people. Do you mean you’re consulting these people that you mentioned?

  • No, I did something even crazier. I started a super small private mastermind group. The goal is not to make me the center of this gooey thing. It’s that all of these people contribute.
  • My brain surgeon talks to my other friend who’s a lap band surgeon. The person who is doing the sports thing talks to other people in the group that have a fitness mindset. We all sort of work cross-pollination with each other on any of our business challenges. Because if all they had to count on was my brains that’s pretty finite.
  • We quite literally developed a brain trust. Two dozen or so in there and it’s just growing a little bit a time because I have some requirements. One is that I’ve had to spend some time with you in person and all that. In that process that little tiny brain trust I’ve built this business that’s a lot of high energy. There’s a lot more work to it. We don’t built it and then pay no attention to it.
  • It’s just ridiculously rewarding. The experience I’m having in there is very different than “let me help you build a webinar to get some leads.” It just goes so much deeper at all levels. So, I’ve been having the time of my life with this mastermind group and along the way I’m building other stuff that will help the people who aren’t the right fit for that kind of group so that I can still deliver value there, but still the whole way through serving freaks.

And this has all come about from this book and basically you planting your flag in the ground and saying, ‘this is who I am. This is my type of freakiness” and then through the nature of the universe people have been drawn to you?

  • No question. I asked a few smart people. It’s really funny because just sort of watching Twitter as a background noise while you and I are talking their names are both side-by-side in my stream. So, Kamal Ravikant who wrote a book called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, who’s done a lot of investing and startup type projects and things like that. Fascinating guy and looks like an anime character. James Altucher, who’s known for having done a lot of interesting business deals, and made and lost a hundred million bucks a couple of times over and that sort of thing.
  • I asked them questions like, “listen, I don’t really seek advice from very many people because it’s usually horrible advice but I think both of you are weird enough to give me the right advice.” And they said exactly the same things. They said, “just go with this. Go as deep as you can with this because it’s going to make your world better.”
  • I’ll tell you that it’s been a magical thing because pursuing exactly what the premise is of the book. If I boiled the entire ocean there’s three things.
  • Number one, business is about belonging. Find the kinds of people you want to serve and serve them deeply.
  • Number two, the manchu is the media. Manchu is an Okinawan word and it means “one family.” It’s sort of the people that you would choose as your family versus the people you just get as a family. It doesn’t mean your client base. It doesn’t mean your peers or your mentors. It’s the people that you’d most want to see succeed in life no matter what format.
  • So the manchu is the media is saying make all your storytelling about the people that you serve. That’s changed my business deeply.
  • The third one is a hair more esoteric but it actually drives to what you need to make these kinds of things happen which is commit to clarity and integrity. Which is to live that brand inside and out.
  • Which is that thing I was saying that fear of needing to serve big business because they have big wallets really held me back for a long time. I had both communities in my world for six or seven years but I was only serving big guys. I was just kind of gently loving on the little guys because I didn’t want the little guys’ money. It’s too hard to take.
  • I couldn’t see immediately how I was going to do both and then I finally found a way when I decided to really commit to the clarity of my vision and the integrity it takes to deliver it. That’s the whole book in a nutshell.

Last question – who is your favorite character in Guardians of the Galaxy?

  • That’s a toughie! It’s Drax the Destroyer. He’s just so mean and angry and he’s just got so much going on and I just have a feeling that he’ll be the one to watch in the movie.

Juicy Links:

Rich Brooks
One of us, one of us…

Why Your Networking Is NOT Working – Derek Coburn

Derek-Coburn-PinterestAre you attending networking events and not generating any business leads? Do you know how to utilize social networks to extend your networking to relevant clients? Do you know how much time to dedicate to your networking efforts?

If not, then you’re not alone. A lot of small businesses don’t know how to approach networking in an effective way. By using certain tools and techniques, you can get the most out of your time and effort and quit wasting time at the same old events.

This week, we bring in Derek Coburn, author, financial advisor, and networking expert, to talk about how we can get the most out of all networking opportunities and give us relevant leads and connections.

Big Ideas:

How did you get to be known for networking and how did you end up writing this new book?

  • Wow, so we’ll be skipping over a lot to get there! Ha ha…
  • I am still relatively unknown, and that’s fine, but I had a wealth management business that I had built up and primarily was successful in terms of qualifying for certain events and hitting certain thresholds in that business.
  • People in that industry would say, “okay this kid is doing really well.”
  • I mainly got to that point by being great at cold calling. I sort of joked to say that the reason that my business took off was that I was better at dealing with rejection than anyone I knew.
  • I got to a point that I was working 80 hours a week for eight or nine years and had a lot of clients that I don’t like working for and I don’t like the arrangement we have. I wanted to put myself in a position were I could find people I had more in common with and people that I could better serve.
  • Networking and going to these events was sort of the natural next steps and backing off of cold calling.

You seem to not like these giant networking events. What is not working when going to a network event for you?

  • I think that the biggest problem with networking events is that the larger ones is that most people show up for completely different reasons. Whether you’re there to look for a new job, to land a new client, to meet a couple of great professionals to collaborate with – none of those answers or reasons are wrong per se, but when you have a lot of people converging on one location for different reasons it’s gonna be hard for anyone to consistently get value and feel like they’re using their time wisely.
  • So, for that reason most people network, and unlike cold calling when they go to these networking events, you don’t feel that rejection.
  • I know so many smart people that in my industry or another industry had to go find something else to do for a living because they couldn’t handle slamming the phone down and getting stood up for meetings multiple times a week.
  • With networking events you can go to them three or four times a week and have relatively nice conversations with nice people and because you’re not feeling that ouch factor, just continue to do it and waste so much time.
  • In some cases people never realize how much time they’re wasting because they never really get that negative reinforcement to remind them that it’s not the best use of their time.

Let’s say we’ve come to the conclusion we’re just not generating enough business from these networking events. What do we do? How do we fix this?

  • So, I make an attempt to redefine networking at least for the purposes of my book and what I do with Cadre in Washington, DC with my wife.
  • I define networking as any activity that increases the value of your network and the value you contribute to it.
  • I think that’s a pretty good definitely of networking for professionals who aren’t looking for jobs who recognize that it’s not a place to go to pitch your goods and services. It’s a place you go to connect with other professionals that are at a level that you’re at or maybe interested in the same things you’re interested in.
  • The problem is that most books and advice around networking centers around this sacred cow of a large networking event. The advice is sometimes good, but it’s normally “get a higher quality grade paper for your business card,” and “only drink for the first half hour,” and “when you follow up, use this word and not that word.”
  • I think that because networking events are sort of already past the point where we’re going to fix them or change them. What I have found to better a better solution is to not go to them all together.

If the networking events aren’t working for us then what should we do? What did you do when you decided to create a new type of networking?

  • Well, my reasons for networking were to develop these relationships with other professionals and get together to find ways we could potentially help each other out.
  • I compare networking to dating. If you’re approaching networking from a long term perspective and looking to develop relationships the right way with other professionals, the dating equivalent of that is looking for the love of your life.
  • If you were to buy the best dating books on how to find my soul mate, how to find the person I’m meant to be with, none of those books start off with “continue going to bars and night clubs every night.” It’s more about leveraging your friendships, hosting dinner parties, doing things that were the complete opposite of what you were doing.
  • I started figuring out ways I could borrow form the dating world and apply some of these strategies to what I was doing with my clients and as an extension, some of the people they knew and the relationships with related people.

In your book, you mention a “connector.” Tell us a little about the connector model.

  • The connector model is a series of strategies, a lot can be applied individually and I’ll share a few of them with you, and I think they could work really well on a one off basis for just about anyone, but when you put them all together it takes you through the strategy I use.
  • What I ended up doing was putting together my own networking group that consisted of about twenty five professionals. They were some of my clients that were great clients but also business owners that would perceive this as a value extension in terms of what I was bringing to the table by facilitating introductions and making connections between them and other clients and professionals that I knew.
  • Then I would go out and find others that I would hand pick and find ways to bring them into the fold.
  • I would host a variety of events and would focus on ways that I could add more value for them and to a large extent my networking events are always successful because they start and end with, “what can I do to make this really great for a current client of mine.”
  • I find ways to incorporate networking and events and interacting in different types of settings where, worst case scenario, my client enjoyed themselves, but best case scenario, I’m going to be in the same room with other people that could end up becoming clients of mine.

So, rather than go the traditional networking route, you brought your own core group of people you knew and trusted and you brought them together to try to get as many valuable connections as possible.

  • Absolutely. “Clients” is the first part of the “connector” acronym. “C” for “clients.” It’s really about, “what can I do for my existing clients,” which is a way to go above and beyond the core deliverable that I’m providing them.
  • I had an experience, a story that I share in the book, with a client of mine (names are changed of course), I refer to him as David the landscaper in the book.
  • David called me up back in 2009 and said, “hey man, I received a call from one of my best clients and they have a family member who’s getting into the wealth management business” and they want me to take meeting with them.
  • I let them know how great our relationship is and I wasn’t looking to make any changes, but they said, “just take a meeting with this person” and I’d be doing them a big favor. I said, “no problem, thanks for letting me know.” I gave him a summary of what he had with me and he called me up a few days later after the meeting and said, “Derek, so I met with this advisor and I got a bit of a pitch that took about forty five minutes and at the end he revealed a portfolio that had I been investing my money with his firm for the last couple years I would’ve averaged two or three percent more per year than what I had by investing with your firm.”
  • His reponse was, “Derek’s referred me to really great clients over the past two years that have generated me over two million dollars of revenue for my business. So, in theory, Derek and his firm could’ve lost half the money in my portfolio (which we didn’t do), and from a net perspective I would’ve been better off working with him.”
  • What I realized was that I was doing this sort of thing for my clients on a regular basis but what if I could, as an extension of what I was doing as a financial advisor, almost become an extension of my clients’ business development and marketing departments? Because hey, who doesn’t love to receive a great referral?
  • If I was able to focus my networking efforts and outreach to other professionals when identifying the opportunities for my best clients, then they would love me even more and would be more receptive to introducing me to more people that they knew.
  • So that was at the core of a lot of what I do.

Do any social networks fit into your networking plan, or is that something completely separate?

  • I love Twitter. The reason I love it is that I use it and approach it as if it is the world’s best networking event in terms of its size. It’s always open. You get to see who’s there and who you want to connect with.
  • I just shared a story with you that highlighted how my focus and networking efforts would be focused on my best clients. What I talk about in the book and what I’ve mentioned before, is let’s say networking 1.0 is all of us showing up at networking events and we thought we were going to meet clients when we went to an event.
  • For most of us, that wasn’t going to happen and we changed gears and unfortunately there are still a few people out there practicing networking 1.0.
  • So then, networking 2.0 is this idea of, “hey, we just met for the first time and I’m really interested in you and how I can help you,” which I think is kind of weird. I think that people that use this approach, and I’m all for paying it forward, but if you’re at an event and someone comes up to you that you barely know and they say, “hey, what can I do for you, how can I help you?”
  • I always say, “what’s going on with this person and their business that they’d be so willing to go out of their way to help somebody that they just met?”

I get squeamish when somebody comes up and says, “how can I help you?” at a networking event. It comes off as disingenuous.

  • Yeah, there can also be problems with these people when they approach networking they approach it from a quid pro quo perspective. If I give this person a referral I’ll get one, but you really have to be careful about who you introduce, especially if it’s a good client.
  • If you’re putting a good client of yours in the hands of someone you don’t know that well in the hopes that they will do a great job for your client and then pay you back by giving you a referral, the risks far outweigh any potential rewards.
  • What I call networking 3.0 is when you’re meeting people (and this is what I do on Twitter a lot) it’s me showing up at these places thinking about my best clients and what they currently need and are interested in.
  • So, if I were to go to a physical networking event and I meet someone and as soon as the person says, “what do you do?” I say, “I’m a financial advisor,” there’s always this really quick excuse, “I don’t have any business cards and I never want you to call me.”
  • Somebody may say to me, “I’m currently saving up all my money to buy a new house and I’m not really in the market for a financial advisor,” and I’ll say, “that’s great,” and what I immediately think about are real estate agents in my network that I can connect them with.
  • I’ve found this to be one of the more effective and productive ways that you can connect and develop relationships with people because in this scenario, if I introduce the person that I just met to the person I have more of a relationship with, like my real estate agent, I’m potentially setting something up really valuable for my real estate agent.
  • I’m not really putting myself in any sort of scenario where there going to be mad at me. I say, “hey look, I just met this person and they say they’re in the house for marketing.” Now, they could’ve been lying and potentially wanted to blow me off, but if they were being sincere then I’m doing them a favor by connecting them with a great real estate agent and if they end up working together (and that sometimes ends up happening), they remember you as the glue that kept it together.
  • Obviously, I’m going to be the person they reach out to once they buy their house, they’re in their house, and now they have some money to potentially invest.
  • This is really easy to do on Twitter. So, the next time you’re on Twitter, a lot of people show up and say, “what do I want to push out there about myself or how can I do this for this person.”
  • If you think about some of the best clients have, or prospective clients you’re trying to work with and just listen to what other people are saying, you can really do some effective networking and meet prospective clients by just listening and making those connections.

In the book you mention using LinkedIn to find some people. Walk us through that process.

  • Alright, for LinkedIn, if you are sort of buying in to what I’m talking about and being this connector and being somebody people are turning to in your network as a resource, you want to make sure you can deliver as much as possible.
  • What I mean by that is if someone came to me to say, “hey, I’ve been to you for two other things and you’ve been really helpful, do you know a really great chiropractor or a really great interior designer?” If I say, “no,” then I’m really lowering the potential they’ll come back to me again the next time they need something.
  • One of the strategies that I use that has really worked well for me on LinkedIn is I would send InMails to professionals who were in industries where I didn’t really know anyone.
  • A good starting point for me was if I had clients or individuals that were part of my networking group say, “hey, do you have a recommendation for ‘x’?” and I didn’t know anyone I would reach out to them and I would say, “I’m looking potentially for a great ‘fill in the blank’ to refer my clients to.” This is all coming from a point of complete authenticity.
  • There are ways that people can manipulate this, but I would simply say, “hey, I’ve been asked recently by clients or otherwise for an introduction to someone who does what you do. I currently don’t know anyone, but based on our mutual connections and what you’re doing on paper it sounds like you’re doing a great job and I would love to schedule a ten minute phone call to learn more about you. If I get asked this question again going forward I’ll know if you’re someone I feel comfortable recommending that I could help.”

How much time should we be dedicating to networking?

  • The first thing that I’ll share is regarding time. I hosted six wine tasting events – one per quarter, spanning a year and a half, and I ended up generating about $150,000 of revenue from new clients that I previously wasn’t working with, that attended these events.
  • I know that your show is all about helping your listeners find their ideal clients and to leverage different types of marketing, so I’ll walk you through the process for how to do this.
  • I would reach out to my best clients and tell them we’re setting up a networking event and let them pick the best dates for all of them. I would say, “we’re putting this thing together. We’re going to serve some good wine, we’re gonna have good food. It’s gonna mostly be about connecting and catching up and having a good time, but there’s also going to be 10-15 minutes of some sort of information, something that’s relevant to our industry that we think will be good for you to hear.
  • Every invitation to my clients was for them to come, and in some cases their spouse, but also they were able to invite up to two more people to join them. While they could invite anyone they wanted, I really tried to encourage them to bring their partners, fellow board members, or best clients. We’re not going to do any pitching, but if you feel like they may be an ideal client for us that would be great if you could bring them.
  • What would happen is that people would show up. There wasn’t a pitch. There wasn’t any expectation. I would spend about 10 minutes giving an overview of a topic that in all likelihood would be new or interesting, or something they probably haven’t heard from their existing financial advisor. It wasn’t like a get rich quick thing. It was more of something to make them think like, “I wonder why my financial advisor hasn’t brought this up to me before?”
  • So, what would happen at the end was I don’t have to sell in that environment because I have 15 clients and 15 guests, so my clients are talking us up, hyping us up and what we’re bringing to the table.
  • What would always happen was people would leave and in the worst case scenario they would say, “you know, I like my financial advisor fine, but I’ve never been invited to a wine tasting event and been able to hang out with some of my friends. So even if Derek and my current financial advisor are equally skilled in terms of what they’re providing me, this is a cool little tie-breaker.”
  • The second component is that it would usually shake them. They’d show up thinking everything was fine and I would raise an issue or a topic that they might not have addressed. They may go back to their existing advisor to address it or they may think to themselves, “why didn’t they come to me about this in the first place?”
  • Having all these variables and different moving parts created a scenario where people were showing up thinking that they were just have wine and spend time with their friends who were my clients, but without me following up, without me pitching, a number of them after each one were reaching out to me and say, “hey, can you give me a call because I’d like to learn more about whether we’d be good clients for you.”

Are you using any tools or can you recommend any tools that we can learn in terms of the networking process?

  • Yes, so there’s one that’s amazing, but first, have you heard of SaneBox?
  • The primary way SaneBox works is that imagine you show up at the end of each day and someone has sorted through your physical mail, and not junk mail. Here are bills, here are invitations, and things you don’t have to deal with right at that second, but will have to deal with at some point. So we put those in a separate pile and we only leave the things in the primary pile that are really important and have to be looked at right now.
  • Every morning I wake up and check email. SaneBox uses an algorithm based on whether I’ve ever responded to them, similar to what you’re seeing right now with Gmail and the promotions tab, but if I haven’t responded to them and there’s a frequency for how often I respond, they just won’t show up in my primary inbox.
  • I used to have 25 emails in my inbox when I woke up at 7am and now I have seven and they’re all really important.
  • The other thing I like is that it’s got a boomerang-like feature where I can blind copy 3 days, 6 days, 10 days, 3 weeks, 2 months, at and I’ll get a reminder at the top of my inbox if the person hasn’t responded. It’s a great way if I’m connecting people together and I can introduce Rich to Joe and blind copy 5 days at and neither one of you responds to the other then I can give you guys a hard time and say, “come on, I made this introduction. You said you wanted it. Let’s get on it.”
  • Contactually is actually a really incredible tool that I’ve been using a while now and they continue to roll out new features that I’m just amazed by and all of them are really relevant to me and anyone who makes connections and who manages a lot of personal relationship via email.
  • The first thing that’s really cool about Contactually is that they have a bucket feature. With the bucket feature you can throw – clients, prospective clients, centers of influence, people that are really important that you just want to ping from time to time – and you can create these “buckets” and a certain time frame associated with each one.
  • For my clients, I have them all in a client bucket with a 30-day follow-up requirement. What that means is that it’s running in the back of my email that if I do not email a client or they do not email me over a 30-day time period, then I’m going to get an email saying, “okay, you wanted to keep in touch with this person every 30 days and you haven’t actually done that.”
  • The cool thing is that unlike a CRM, where you can set up these reminders every 60 days or every 90 days, is that is if that client emails me into the new 30-day window the 30 days resets automatically so it becomes 30 days from that last point of contact.
  • In fact, I will have those reminder emails go to my assistant so I don’t even get them. It has team functionality, so if you have four or five or twenty or however many people you have on your team you might not necessarily be the one that’s following up with your best clients every 30 days but you want one of four people on your team to be doing so. Then, if none of them respond to the person inside of 30 days you can have that email reminder go to the team leader and then they can say, “who needs to follow up? How should we handle this?”
  • It’ll link up to Twitter and LinkedIn and they even have an app for your iPhone that if they call you from a number that’s tied to their contact information and vise versa that it’ll count it as a contact automatically.

Any other tools you have for us, Derek?

  • Yeah, it’s more like an extension of Contactually. They just rolled out this feature called “scale mail.” I tell people all the time in my network that if you get an email from me it’s very likely that I didn’t send to just you, but at the same time I don’t send out mass merge emails to a hundred people at a time. I will send out maybe 8 to 10 different iterations of a particular email acknowledging certain information or certain actions that you’ve taken.
  • So, if you are a Cadre member and we have an event coming up and you have not RSVP’d for the event then you’re getting one type of correspondence from me acknowledging that you haven’t signed up and let’s get rolling. But if you have signed up or you have signed up and have also invited a couple guests, then a number of different things happen.
  • You might get an email from me and I’m fine with you knowing that it went out to more than one person, but it’s always going to be relevant.
  • Contactually’s scale mail feature allows me to create templates or emails where the body of the email is the same throughout but then I can customize each one and add a blurb that’s very personal to each one on an individual basis and then send out 20, 30, 100 of them at a time.

Juicy Links:

Special bonus! Check out the two infographics that listener Laura Elgueta made based on this episode!

The Conector Model - English

Conector Model - Spanish

Rich Brooks
Takes the “working” out of “networking.”

Online vs. Offline Networking: A Human’s Guide – Susan Baroncini-Moe

Susan-Baroncini-Moe-PinterestAre you better at in-person networking than online networking? Do you follow the same robotic script when meeting people at conferences or through social media? Do you have an assistant handle some or all of your online marketing?

If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone. A lot of us have completely forgotten how to humanize and connect with others on a personal basis and turn off our “marketing brains.” We focus on getting business and not making a meaningful relationship.

This week, we bring in Susan Baroncini-Moe, author of Business in Blue Jeans, to talk about how we can focus on marketing ROI and be humans while doing it.

Big Ideas:

  • So, what world record do you hold?
    • I hold the Guinness World Record for the longest uninterrupted live webcast since 2012.
    • The trick is you have to keep your stream going and be live the whole time.
    • The record was 24 hours when we broke it and we broke it and ended up at 36 hours and 16 seconds.
    • If you’re going to break something, really break it!
    • There was a guy who tried it last year in England, and it didn’t go so well.
    • We may embark upon another adventure and we may try to break our record someday, but for now it’s holding strong.
  • You’ve written and spoken about “business in blue jeans.” Tell me a little about that and why you decided to write a book on the subject?
    • I’ve been doing business consulting and marketing coaching for a long time and the fact of the matter is that it started in a place where I really didn’t want to wear a suit.
    • I wanted to be comfortable and do business in the way that I do it which is rolling up my sleeves and do what I need to do. I do that best in jeans, yoga pants, and pajamas.
    • I realized it’s far more than just a brand the represents me, it’s also a philosophy of doing business that is really about creating a business that has the properties of denim – it’s stable, long lasting, and it’s flexible – and like that great pair of jeans it makes you look good and feel comfortable about yourself.
    • We want business to be friendlier. This is the big push right now for me.
    • We want business and marketing to be approachable so businesses need to be thinking about that. “How can I reach my consumers and employees and be human and friendly.”
  • What’s better for small businesses – online networking or conference networking?
    • They’re different animals and there’s no one right answer. There’s no one right answer for all small business.
    • It’s really dependent on your target and where you’re going to find them most and how you behave and how you handle the medium.
    • If you tend to be introverted, then social media may be easier and manageable for you.
    • If you’re extroverted, then certainly in-person networking makes sense, but there are pros and benefits to each side of that coin.
  • Let’s start with online networking. What do you say when you hear people say “social networking sites are stupid or a waste of time?”
    • If you think social media is stupid or a waste of time, then it’s one of two things – either you don’t get it yet and see how it can be applicable and useful or your target market isn’t there yet which is becoming less and less likely.
    • Everybody doesn’t have to be on every social media platform, and there are some platforms that make more sense for others.
    • You have to find the social media platform that makes the most sense for your business and your personality and you have to approach it with “I’m gonna play this game the way it needs to be played and the way it makes the most sense to play it and effectively play it” and see if I win.
    • I’m not going to just dismiss it out of hand. It’s extremely useful.
  • How can small businesses and entrepreneurs get the most bang for the buck when it comes to social media networking? What do you say to people say they want to get going and know social media is important, but aren’t sure where to start?
    • The first thing is to figure out where your target market is and to understand that each platform has its own culture.
    • You’re not going to go to LinkedIn and post the same way you do on Twitter. You’ll post too much and make everyone crazy. You use LinkedIn a different way.
    • The first thing is to say, “am I B2B?” If you are then you’re most likely you’re going to want to be on LinkedIn. If you’re more B2C then Twitter, Facebook, more platforms may be more appropriate.
    • The first step is  – where should you be?
    • And the second step is – how can you understand the culture of that platform so well that you can leverage it – and when you do that you’re going to be able to make connections with complete strangers, start to forge a relationship, build a connection, and then over time that can turn in to a lot of opportunities.
    • I have spent the last couple weeks focusing on LinkedIn because it’s some place I haven’t spent a lot of time, and not only have I secured some speaking engagements, a couple of clients, I also am in talks with a production company.
    • There are a lot of opportunities out there if you just know how to wield the right tools.
  • How do we understand what the culture is of any given channel?
    • Google! It’s not like the information’s not out there.
    • If you want to know “how do I use Facebook most effectively” look for blogs you can trust, read the blog – does this blog have information I can use?
    • Find out what they have to say about that social media platform and find out what the consistencies are and what people have to say.
    • You don’t have to throw a stone very far to find a blog that will tell you if you want to be on Twitter – here are the things you need to do…be friendly, be approachable, don’t just follow everybody – these are the things you need to be focusing on.
    • Same with LinkedIn, Facebook, any of those social media platforms.
  • I think people would be more interested in LinkedIn if you told them how you got your speaking engagements. How did you get business out of LinkedIn? What exactly did you do to achieve that?
    • One of the reasons people don’t like LinkedIn because it is structured in a way to minimize fluffy social media interaction that you see on Facebook and to maximize the more old style business networking.
    • You have to figure out a way to negotiate that. A lot of people look at LinkedIn and go “hey, I’m not going to accept a connection from someone that I don’t know, who are you?” LinkedIn is kind of set up in that way, but there are a lot of ways around it.
    • You have to play around in the tool and find out ways to get there. I can click connect for a lot of people and not have to say where I know them from.
    • The way I use LinkedIn is that I humanize it. You can’t make it a mass tool.
    • No social media is successful if you try to do everything with mass quantities of people. Just remember these are human beings and you don’t like spam in your inbox so remember they don’t either.
    • So, instead of sending a million connection requests, find people that make appropriate connections for you and send them an actual personal message like, “hey, I’m looking to expand my relationships and I’m looking to meet more people and you seem like someone who would be interesting and I’d like to get an opportunity to talk with you.”
    • You can actually set up a phone call or set up a time to chat.
    • One of the things I’m doing now is building relationships locally because I haven’t done that a lot and I’m reaching out saying “you seem like you’re in the know, let’s have a conversation.” That’s yielded some really incredible conversations.
  • So, when you are reaching out, personalize it so you humanize it. Have a conversation with people in the same way you would have a conversation at a networking event.
    • Exactly. That’s the other piece of it. I could send out a million connection requests and if you approve it, so what. We haven’t built anything there. That’s just an invisible connection that we’re never going to remember.
    • On the other hand, when I have a conversation with someone on the phone I take notes. So, not only do I remember what they do and who they do it for, I also remember their name, their business name. I’m really thinking about that person and I’m really thinking about ways in which I can bring value to them.
    • Do I know somebody that might be an interesting person for them to talk to?
    • I think that we have to be thinking in terms of “how can I bring value to them?” and not how can I get business for me.
  • How do we measure the ROI of our online marketing? Do you have any tools or techniques that you use to see if the time or money you’re putting in is paying off for you?
    • Man, I’m so unscientific about this.
    • For me, I just get a feel for it. If I’m using a tool and I’m getting business from it then “yay, it’s working.”
    • I am not great with numbers. I’m much better at marketing, so I leave the numbers to people who understand them, but I tend not to think too much about that unless I’m putting a lot of time into something and it’s not working.
    • We should all be doing those sort of general calculations whether they’re with actual scientific data or a feel what you’re putting your time into and say to yourself, “look, am I putting time into stuff that isn’t working? If not, I should stop doing it and find something that is working. Replace that.”
  • A lot of people outsource their online marketing and social media networking to a co-worker or a virtual assistant. Are there advantages or disadvantages?
    • My assistant is local, and not virtual, but my assistant does not manage my social media for me.
    • She does some outreach for me in terms of setting up, guest blogging or podcast interviews like this one. She’ll set up different opportunities for me and do outreach and schedule things for me, but she does not handle any of my social media.
    • I feel strongly that for me, because my brand is so closely to me and my lifestyle, that it doesn’t make sense for me to have someone else posting for me.
    • It takes more time for me to set up a list of things like tweets to schedule than to just do them myself.
    • Unless I’m traveling, my assistant might be scheduling a few things for me, but other than that it’s all me.
    • There are times when it makes sense to have an employee do it if they can adequately represent the brand. In larger businesses that makes sense, but for me, because my brand is so tied to me, I do it all myself.
  • Are there any things we should be avoiding when it comes to online networking or social media networking?
    • My god, how much time do we have? Ha!
    • Yeah, I have a whole blog post I wrote – “Social Networking, You’re Doing it Wrong!”
    • I think that’s super important because realistically social media is so tricky and so many people are doing wrong because they’re really just looking at it as a place to advertise. That’s not what social media is about.
    • It’s not about advertising and spamming and trying to get get get business. It’s about connection and conversation and building relationships.
    • If you keep that in mind and stick with that.
    • Focus more on the giving and not the getting.
  • LinkedIn will say 500+ connections if you’re over, but any less than that it’ll say your exact number of connections. Sometimes you need to have a critical mass to let people know you’re taking a channel seriously. Right?
    • Getting to that 500 mark in LinkedIn. I don’t know about that because I’ve been past that for a long time. Is that a thing?
    • I agree but we just have to be careful how we’re getting to that point.
  • There’s no point of being on LinkedIn unless you’re looking to network with other people who are in the same business.
    • Yeah.
    • I had an acquaintance who once said that LinkedIn is kind of like that grandfather that you never talk to.
    • I thought that was funny because you’re in business. Why are you not using LinkedIn? Because everyone who’s there is IN business.
  • My problem with LinkedIn is that it has just become a place where I can promote my latest blog post. I think more controls and settings would be more valuable. After a while everyone is promoting there but nobody actually goes there to read anything. It becomes like drive-by marketing.
    • Yeah, I don’t spend much time in LinkedIn groups. I spend my time with one-to-one connections.
  • So, if I’m nervous, what can I do to best prepare for a conference for a networking opportunity for something like Social Media Marketing World?
    • Okay, so the first thing I always tell my clients about stuff like this is no one knows that you’re nervous.
    • Now we KNOW you’re nervous, Rich! This episode is “Rich tells all.”
    • I think if you start with the premise that no one knows you’re nervous and you don’t have to tell anyone you’re nervous.
    • Not only that, but everyone else is, to some extent, a little nervous as well. That’s the first piece.
    • Knowing that you can talk to anyone. There’s no reason or barrier saying you can’t and everybody else is there to meet and connect with other people and have those conversations is almost a little bit freeing.
    • I like to go without someone. I typically travel with husband but if I’m going to go to an event it’s easier for me to go by myself because I don’t have the crutch of being with someone and then kind of doing that thing where we hang out together the whole time. You don’t get as many relationships built when you do that.
    • I suggest going alone. I also suggest starting to use the online world as a way to start forging connections in advance.
    • Some of the best experiences I’ve had are when I’ve gone to an event where I knew a lot of people who were going to be there, but only from online.
    • When I would get there, people would run up to me, “oh my god, it’s you!” and I wouldn’t know who it was and it’s kind of weird and you don’t really know them. But if you do it intentionally and you do it in a smart way that makes sense, you get there – it’s basically like you’re going to a party with a bunch of your friends and they’re already there and they’ve already started the conversations, so you get there and you continue to forge that relationship and strengthen that bond you’ve already started.
  • One of the things people fear the most is making small talk. People are just terrified by it. Do you have any tips on how we can get over something like that? What can we talk about when we go to these conferences so we can start a meaningful conversation?
    • I like to avoid talking about people’s work. I will start almost any conversation I have I almost always start with my favorite question (which I will eventually have to change because everybody’s going to be using it) – I like to open a conversation with, “So, Rich, I’m really glad that we’re talking. What’s your story?”
    • The most important thing is that you open up a question that allows them to have the freedom to talk about anything that they want so they tell you a whole lot about who they are and what they value.
    • It also creates a conversation and you’re going to find out an awful lot about that person just in the first couple of minutes.
    • I love that question. I tend to ask people about their lives because I want to know who they are. I’m not asking about their business because I know we’re going to get to that eventually, naturally. If I start out with “what’s your story” we often don’t even get to business and it forges a relationship a lot quicker and a lot stronger.
  • Is getting someone’s business card still important? And if it is, should I be trying to get their card, should I exchange cards, should I be trying to make sure they walk away with one of my cards? Or, do I just not care about this anymore?
    • Business cards are still relevant. I don’t care who says they’re not. They are because you have to be remembered and you want to have an easy way to give people your contact information.
    • I think they’re still relevant unless you’re at a super techy conference, then you could just bump your phones or whatever.
    • Wait, is bumping an old way to do that? Ha ha…you can tell I don’t do that a lot!
    • The real question is, “why are you giving them your card in the first place?”
    • I only like to give people my card if there’s a reason. If we have a conversation, I’m not going to be super anxious to hand them my card. It’s more along the lines of having a meaningful conversation and then if we agree we want to have a further conversation or communication after that and I feel like that you’re somebody I want to get to know, then I’ll say that.
  • What should our goal be for one of these in-person networking opportunities?
    • I think it’s really important to understand that we’re all human beings.
    • If there’s a business connection to be made, that’s going to merge organically. You don’t have to force it.
    • The goal should be, “is this someone I want to get to know? Is this an interesting person? Is this a nice person?”
    • I make it a practice to not do business with people that aren’t friendly and kind. I don’t like spending my time with anyone else.
    • I don’t want to work with somebody who’s unpleasant, so I need to ferret it out whether you’re going to be a person I’m going to want to be working with in the first place. That’s the initial part of the conversation anyways – it’s getting to know the person.
    • Not only that, there’s so much more to each person than their business.
    • As you talk to people it’ll really emerge what they do. If you’re an accountant, it’s not like that’s rocket science. I know what you do and I can just ask you, “so who are your ideal clients you do accounting for?” That’s not hard either and we’re going to know whether there’s a business relationship here for both of us or I might know somebody that I can refer you to so I’ll ask you for card so I can can give it to someone else.
    • We want to know why we’re asking for cards. We want to be looking at what the relationship is and what it could be, but we don’t want to make any snap judgements because you don’t know who somebody knows or who they’re going to be a year from now. They might be looking for you.
  • If I’m speaking at an event, how can I maximize my networking opportunities?
    • Good question. I really like to connect with my audience before I speak. It allows me to tailor my speech a little bit and know what their concerns are. “What’s your story” gets a lot of that out there initially.
    • Even as you’re speaking you can reference someone’s conversation with you earlier and reference that to have that connection.
    • After your presentation, stick around and talk to people. Don’t be a snob.
  • As a conference organizer, how can I make it easier for my attendees to chat and network?
    • I haven’t seen anything that blew my mind, to be honest.
    • Obviously, you want to set up hashtags.
    • Having a LinkedIn group for business related opportunities if it’s that kind of conference.
    • Having a LinkedIn group or Facebook group can be a great way for people to connect.
    • Having Twitter chats in advance.
    • Having some of those opportunities to have online engagement before the event can help.
    • Making it easy for people if they want to share rooms, that kind of simple stuff, is a really great way for people to connect.
    • Having some virtual networking events before the actual event really helps.
  • At the end of the day, what’s drives more ROI – online or offline networking?
    • I think that it is a combination of the two. I don’t think that there’s one or the other.
    • For me, online is great and has a huge ROI.
    • I have a lot of clients that really high ROI with offline events.
    • I don’t think there’s a right answer for that, it really depends on you and your business.


  • Juicy Links:


    Rich Brooks
    So, what’s your story?