Joey here. I was doing some reflecting on the LAUNCH conference and wanted to share one of the most valuable things I took away, how to network correctly. One of Justin’s best traits is his amazing ability to network with others. He single handedly has crafted all of the amazing opportunities OnCompare has been given through his understanding of building relationships with others. I saw the impact of this first hand at the LAUNCH conference and decided I needed to learn more about his craft.
Here is a manuscript of our conversation about networking. You definitely will want to read through this one.
Joey: When you go to a networking event, what are the things you must have before stepping into that event?
Justin: fat stack of business cards (preferably w/ a blank matte finish on the back) , a pen or two, some energy, a recognition that everyone at a networking event is there for the same thing you are – to meet other people (that makes it much easier to walk up to strangers and start a conversation)
Joey: You definitely schooled me on not bringing a pen around, but what’s the value of having a pen or two?
Justin: For writing notes. It’s a trick I learned at healthare conferences where 75% of people write notes about who they are meeting on the back of that person’s card. I’ve found, without a pen to take notes on the back of their business cards, I can never remember what people do or how i can help them. Note: this isn’t about collecting cards, this is about paying it forward.
Joey: That is awesome! Most people go into events thinking about themselves, but you seem to always ask how you can help others. Mind going into a little more depth about that?
Justin: For sure. When I started networking, I thought it was all about how many people I could talk to in a room, how many people I could tell about what I was up to, and trying to achieve my own goals. Problem was, that was “networking” not “relationship building.” If you need a hand with something, no one you simply traded business cards with at a networking event is going to be there for you.
On the other hand, someone you’ve built a relationshp with, someone you’ve honestly and sincerely went out of your way to help, is often more than willing to return the favor.
Also, when hinting that you’ll try to help someone out, always under promise and over deliver.“Let me talk to my friend who is an angel and see if he’s interested.” is much better than “I’ll introduce you to my angel friend.”
Joey: Definitely, because I think that is something a lot of people do at networking events, they tend to over promise to make themselves seem like a better person for your network.
Justin: Yeah, the event is just where you flirt. The emails and conversations afterwards are where you build the actual relationships.
Note: there’s a balance of course. This isn’t quid pro quo. And you should never, ever, ever say that you’ll do something in exchange for another favor. Any relationship you establish like this going forward is always going to be tit for tat and not genuine.
Joey: Now, one of the toughest things is actually making that first effort to meet a complete stranger. Can a shy person, be a good “relationship builder”?
Justin: For sure. remember the pre-req’s for walking into an event, “everyone there wants the same thing you do,” they’re just too afraid to talk to you about it. So, make it easier for them. I’ve never had anyone with an empty hand turn down a handshake (my batting average at clubs is the inverse of what it is at events)
Joey: Haha! There is something there, though. At clubs, most peoples pre-req’s aren’t to meet people.
Justin: That’s right! For dudes it’s to bang people. For chicks it to tease people. At networking events, what you’re looking for matches, so it’s not really as scary as it might seem.
Joey: Going a little bit off the club thing, what’s one time where you tried to “help someone” at a networking event, and it went horribly wrong? Got any funny stories?
Justin: I was having dinner with some new healthcare friends, all ladies in their 40’s – 50’s and I’m in my late 20’s. They had asked me to be on the board of their special interest group and wanted to head out to dinner to celebrate (which I was stoked about!) Couple of glasses of wine in, and at some point the topic of names comes up. Despite having spent maybe a collective 4 hours with these ladies of the course of two years, I decided it would be a good idea to share my alternate name with them “Justin Cider.” Not only did they not get it immediately (say it out loud slowly) but when they did get it, they were less than impressed. Lesson learned: don’t make sexual jokes with older women you’ve just met who aren’t from Craigslist
Joey: haha thats classic! Last question, what’s one sentence to think about when you’re going into a networking event?
Justin: Who can I help tonight?
Joey: Thanks Justin, awesome session.