Outbound & Inbound Networking
You've just done networking really well, and the last thing I want to cover really briefly is... And that's only half of networking. 98% of the people do only half of what networking really is. I want to briefly describe to you the other half, so that you have the power tool fully available to you. So networking means, of course there's you and the people you know and the people around you and then there's the person you're trying to reach, so let's say it's that book agent, you know, that you don't know, over there, and the people they hang out and the people that she knows. And how do you put them together? Well, of course, traditional networking, which is outbound, that's what you were just doing, what most people think is the whole story, is who do I know, who do they know and who does that person know, and you know, does my dad's dentist's freshman roommate's golf buddy actually know the woman who runs the thing? You know, and that's where the six degrees of separation works and i...
t works great! But it's only half the story. That's all starting with just you and who you know. How about starting with who they know? Inbound, don't start out from you, start in from them. So inbound is the second half, where you begin, you know, near the, so start close to the person you're trying to reach. You may not be able to even know who the person you're trying to reach is, and much less have access to them. But maybe there's somebody close to them you can get to more easily. And then you just jump over all the space in between and you'll land right close to where you want to be. And in one or two steps, you're there. Example: Young man I'm working with is into film. Wants to interview a very, very well-known independent filmmaker who actually lives here in San Francisco, works here in San Francisco often. But is known as reclusive, never gives interviews, never gives interviews with the public, and really hard to get ahold of. And the young man I'm talking to is terrifically introverted, was raised on a farm, and has no connections whatsoever. His people don't do movies. That's not what goes on in his world. So he's stuck, he's really stuck. What do I do, Dave? What do I do? We go, "Well, okay, let's think about "what, not your problem is, but what your director does "and how does he spend his time in his life "and what's going on." What we came up with was, well, you know, he's in San Francisco and he films, and where does he go and what does he do? We're just kind of imagining his life and who the people are. Is there anyone in his circle that might be accessible to us, that could help us get close? And we realized he films in San Francisco, and when you film in a city, you film outdoors. You film outdoors, you have to close the street. To close the street, you gotta get a permit, right? Oh yeah, so, where do you get the permit? At City Hall. So he goes to City Hall and he goes to the counter, where you fill out the form to close the street to make a movie. So he says, "I'm a film student, you know, "I'd like to find out what it's like "to go through the process of actually filming outdoors. "Is this the place I fill out the form?" "Oh yeah, here's the form, fill it out." I'm talking, "Hey, do you do this all the time?" You know, the woman behind the counter, you know, let's call her Cindy. "Well, yeah." "Great, so you interact with these people "all the time, right?" She says, "Well, you know, I'm a terrified, "introverted young man, and I would really like "to talk to some people in the film industry. "Do you deal with any people "on a regular basis who are nice?" He goes, "Oh yeah, you really want to talk "to the people over at Acme. "You know, you really want to talk to, "you know, Ellen at Acme, she's terrific." "Good, would you give me her number?" "Sure, no problem." So he calls out, this is a true story, calls Ellen at Acme, you know. In no time is into the network of production companies in San Francisco. Within three weeks, gets the screenwriter and the chief assistant production manager for this director, talking to him. Director won't talk to him, doesn't talk to anybody. But that's okay. I got within two feet away from this guy, within three weeks, by going to City Hall. Now, the challenge of inbound networking is thinking up cleverly, who's that person nearby? Doesn't have to be a power... This is the person behind the counter at San Francisco City Hall. That's the power player. It's just access we need, not power. That's where the executive administrator, the administrative assistant, the switchboard operator, there are lots of people who can help you. So just give yourself the chance of using all the networking tools, not just half the networking tools.
Dave, got another story, so, often, famous people have an executive assistant. And often, the executive assistant is just the you know, she's the screener.
Gatekeeper Keeps people away from the famous person. So what do you do?
Oh! So the gatekeeper, gatekeepers have two jobs, right? Keep the wrong people out, and? Let the right people in. So, since a gatekeeper knows who to let in, I don't call the CEO, I don't call the VP. I call, I call the switchboard. "Who's the executive administrator for Annalise?" "Oh, you mean John? "Yeah, you need to talk to John." Great, I call John. "Hi John, this is Dave." "Well, hello Dave, who are you?" "Well I'm a guy who, I had a question for you, John. "There's this thing I think might be interesting, "a conversation Annalise might be interested in having "and I'm not sure it's really worthy of her time. "But I know that she really trusts you "and understands that you have her best interest at heart "so I wonder, could you and I schedule a call "for five minutes, where I tell you what I want to "talk to Annalise about, and you can assess "whether or not it deserves her attention." You have to wait two or three minutes for John to pick himself back up off the floor because nobody talks to him like that. Except there is one person who talks to John like that all the time, who is it? It's Annalise. Who trusts him. And lets him manage her schedule. Because, now I'm already on the same ground as Annalise because I'm treating her employee the same way she does. Not like the right time to call an executive is 7:00 a.m. before the executive administrator gets in. No, that's stupid. Call the executive administrator by name. And frankly, if you deserve to talk to Annalise, John will get you in. John has gotten me in about 19 times out of 20. Now, I'm pretty good at this, I gotta say. But, you could even do it 15. Just call John, "Here's what I think might be, "Do you think Annalise might care?" "Actually, I don't think she would." "Would anyone in the organization at all "find that an interesting conversation?" "Well, Bill might." "Can you connect me to Bill?" "Well, no, not really." "Well, who could?" "Well, that would be Sam." "Can you connect me to Sam?" "Sure." Just pay your dues and it works. So give yourself a chance. People will be willing to talk to you if it's a worthwhile conversation. Even an information conversation just about the story. Okay, so I think we're just about set. Outbound is very easy to do. It's low-threat, cause you know all the people you're talking to, right? (clears throat) It can wear people out if you're using your network a lot, you get exhaustion. The nice thing about inbound, starting at the city counter or starting at the executive administrator, is it's creative, it's highly effective, it doesn't wear people out. But it's challenging to come up with that first step. It takes creativity and thoughtfulness. But it really does work.