Ep 14: How To Be A Smooth Networker

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In This Episode

Kevin discovers how to network at seminars (without looking like an idiot).


Max asks: When you mentioned the awkwardness the first time with Yanik, I can totally identify… But – how on earth did you manage to go from ’socially awkward writer’ to doing stand up comedy in front of crowds? And appearing on flashpoint?

My answer…

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Showing 6 comments
  • Reply

    Haha, love it.

    And to top off your last point — if there’s one thing they love, it’s when you actually go and act upon the advice they give you.

  • Reply

    Re Max’s question – stand-up (I’ve just done open mics and some shows – I’m pretty good but not in Kevin’s league) is MUCH easier than networking. You’re in charge. You know what to say.

    And you don’t have to get all dolled up. For a female, networking means figuring out an arcane dress code, applying makeup like a pro, and wearing shoes that were developed by descendants from the founders of the Inquisition. When I do standup, I wear sneakers, a nice shirt and pants for a show and jeans or shorts for open mics. The soft light means you don’t need make-up. Much easier than networking!

    I’ve found that I nearly always get clients when I’m the featured speaker, rather than an attendee. Since it’s hard to get speaking gigs these days, a webinar or teleseminar often is a better choice: even if I get lower numbers, I can make an impression … while wearing my sneakers.

    • Reply

      Hey Cathy,

      So true. Men have it much easier when it comes to showing up and showing out. Especially us bald dudes.

      I’d love to see your stand-up sometime.

  • Reply

    Your story reminded me of a “How To NOT Do It” story.

    One of the MLMs I had some success with was based on an appetite suppressing, fat burning product called “Stop Drops.” It worked quite well, and our distributors and customers were pleased enough to want to share it with others.

    One distributor was shy and reserved. He had a good heart, and cared deeply about people. Unfortunately, he had no sales experience and very little conversational skills.

    One afternoon he observed an enormously obese woman waddling across a parking lot toward her car. Wanting to give her the blessing of the product, but having no idea how to engage her he walked up, shoved a Stop Drops brochure into her hand, said “This will help you!” then turned and fled to his car, got inside and sat there shaking from the encounter.

    The woman’s husband, who had observed the hit-and-run approach, looked at the brochure, then followed the fellow to his car where he heatedly educated him about how overweight people are sensitive about their weight, and that morons like him should go through the Dale Carnegie course before they ever talk to anyone.

    My distributor was so shook by all this that he was trembling so badly he couldn’t get his key in the ignition to drive away. He sat there, doors locked, in sheer terror as the husband tore the brochure into little pieces and showered it over his car while screaming obscenities at him.

    Although he made a career decision that excluded him from all sales activities, I got tremendous value from retelling his story as the “what to NOT do” segment of our sales trainings.

    In my experience, successful living is a result of screwing up really badly, noting that we survived, then using that failure as a foundation for different behavior in the future. Thanks for sharing what must still fee a bit embarrassing so that we may all build solidly on your foundation.

    I loved the tip about connecting with people by asking their advice. My greatest networking mentor would walk up to people, extend his hand and say “Hi! I am Gene Lough with Bennett Laboratories. I would like to learn more about how you …” (insert some success or kudo that he had learned about the person, or the organization he was with). 100% of the time those people would light up, move toward him and begin a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

    Usually, after the new friend answered his “I’d like to learn” approach, they would reciprocate with “So, tell me about Bennett Laboratories.” I estimate that a third of those relationships resulted in some form of future business with our laboratory.

  • Reply

    Great stories, Bruce.

    Ya, that one still stings a little, but the lesson was invaluable.

    Now my goal is always to ask questions that help people see the potential in their own marketing to the point where they finally ask, “So, what to YOU do?” As if they’ve just been a volunteer in a magic trick. That’s a value networking win. And so easy to do by just being interested.

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