I asked the #1 networker I know “How do you leverage your network?”
He backed up.
Because he said you have to ask yourself WHY first. “Why am I networking?” Is it to get investment opportunities? Business deals? To grow as a person? And become more knowledgeable? Or is it because society tells you to network?
Know your know “why.”
I’ll give you an example.
Scot invested in a company that’s going to replace tasers. And save innocent people from getting shot on the street by on-duty police. The invention will shoot like a taser. But instead of shocking you, it will throw a wrap around your body. The person will be restrained without high injury. Or risk of death.
But to get the idea off the ground, Scot had to know police officers. And politicians He had to know investors who could engineer the prototype. He needed capital from investors. And more.
He had to find these people. And get his passion and vision to pass through them. They had to connect.
Not just “network.”
There’s a difference.
So I asked Scot, “How does someone get started? How do you go from normal networker to someone with an unfair advantage?”
He had a ton of tips. I’ll tell you the first three. For getting started:
- STEP 1. Make a list. Write down your influencers in your real life. Not online. These are the people who know you. And believe in you.
- STEP 2. “Go to them, get in front of them.,” Scot said.
- STEP 3. “Bring your notepad. Be respectful. Find out what they see in you.”
Once you know what they see in you, ask them, “Who else should I speak to?”
Scot calls these “exploratory conversations.” Because they help you figure out your unfair advantage.
And you can do these at any age.
25. Or 65.
“But what if you have nothing of value to offer them?” I asked Scot. “Why would they connect you with someone else in their network?”
He said it comes down to belief. If you start by talking to people who see the best in you, they’ll transfer that belief to the next person. Then your network will be a seed you can water.
Scot has done this for years. And he’s made millions.
But he wasn’t always good at it. He had to learn a bunch of micro-skills like:
- How to filter good connections from bad connections
- How to know when it’s time to cut the chord with someone
- How to read people
Here’s a list of everything we talked about.
And here’s the episode preview – [0:00]
- Scot asks me if I have any idea where I’m going with this interview – [2:24]
- What it means to be a good networker – [4:12]
- How Scot uses his expert ability to network to build businesses – [5:25]
- Scot explains how he moves past “idea” to development, to prototype, to actualized business – [7:59]
- How Scot uses belief and faith to create long term gains later – [9:04]
- Three ways to get started: identify a problem, throw ideas against the wall, talk to people with authority and knowledge in the field about possible solutions – [10:56]
- The importance of vetting your idea with people in the space – [12:16]
- What to do once you start building some momentum – [12:44]
- To find a good idea, you have to have the willingness to quit – [13:55]
- I ask Scot, “How do you know if you’re surrounding yourself with the right people?” – [15:05]
- Why I don’t like meeting new people – [17:33]
- Real networking vs. BS networking that most people do – [18:49]
- How to develop quality connections… not just “networks” – [19:37]
- Look for people who make you say, “I like what they stand for and what they’re doing with their life.” Then consider the power of surrounding yourself with dozens of these quality people – [21:43]
- I ask Scot how he eliminates people – [23:05]
- How to know if you’re growing – [24:19]
- What a good investor offers (besides money) – [26:00]
- How to determine a quality connection and measure integrity – [26:43]
- Why it’s hard to tell if someone is a good connection (and what to screen for) – [29:08]
- The advice I got from Scot’s business partner during the height of the financial crisis – [30:15]
- The importance of cutting your losses & shutting something down – [35:27]
- The latest investment Scot and I made – [36:31]
- How to convince a company to work with you – [38:08]
- Scot says how he got a meeting with the CEO of Virgin Media – [43:08]
- We’ve all heard the saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So I ask Scot how he made the switch from surrounding himself with one type of person vs. the kind that actually helps him grow in the way he wants to – [44:21]
- Networking tip: learn how to judge what (and who) deserves your time – [46:08]
- Some of the bad habits Scot had to change in order to learn how to be successful – [46:38]
- Notice when people change the subject – [47:33]
- How Scot dealt with pain & failure. Scot says, “When you experience failure for the first time in your business life, it absolutely spills into your relationships and your social life. It’s a double hit. It takes a lot of strength to get out of that… a lot of work.” – [47:48]
- Book recommendation: “The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle [48:45]
- Find your bad habits – [49:31]
- How to have a wake-up call… Scot talks about his inner-work, The Hoffman Institute and how he looked back at his family history to discover ways he could grow and have more compassion in life – [49:30]
- I ask Scot for an example bad habit that he had to change – [50:45]
- The fear of not being liked… and why I avoid people – [51:51]
- How we develop our social skills – [53:45]
- How Scot made $30-$40 dollars a day at just six years old – [54:08]
- Scot gives his advice for how you can build a wider circle & generate opportunities from the people you’re connected to – [55:51]
- Determine your purpose for networking – [57:04]
- How to be around great people. Scot gives an example of someone who passes the filter … [59:40]
- Two questions to ask yourself before networking: Do you know who you are and what you want? – [1:01:10]
- Your purpose can change… I ask Scot how he found a purpose at different times of his life – [1:01:37]
- It’s ok to fall off your path… as long as you recognize this and make the decision to get back on when you notice – [1:02:50]
- Why I chose to work at HBO instead of JP Morgan at age 25 – [1:03:40]
- Be willing to be flexible to allow for new opportunities to come your way – [1:04:51]
- To be successful at networking, you have to invest in it.. It’s work. Showing up is only one part – [1:06:10]
- Meaningful connections come from having the drive to make those connections meaningful – [1:08:02]
- Experience life. Experience ideas. Don’t just write emails. Go out there and take the steps – [1:08:57]
- The Dunbar Number… the study that says how many people you can know vs. how many relationships you can really maintain in life – [1:10:03]
- How to separate yourself from the crowd and stand up while making new connections – [1:10:50]
- Goal: build your Avenger’s team for any project you do – [1:12:40]
- The qualities Scot leans on to build teams – [1:13:09]
- How Scot scales – [1:13:50]
- Build a team that has its own unfair advantage – [1:15:17]
- You can fail even if you think you have an edge – [1:17:30]
- What to do if something doesn’t work out – [1:18:00]
- I ask Scot, “What’s a time where someone horrible got into the inner circle and you had to cut the cord?” – [1:18:47]
- Why you have to know who you are as a person in order to read other people – [1:19:19]
- The first 5 things someone at any age should do if they want to start improving as a networker – [1:20:07]
- How to get the ball in motion: start by talking to people who believe in you – [1:22:03]
- Scot recommends journaling after meeting people – [1:22:48]
- I congratulate Scot on getting married for the first time at 50 years old – [1:24:19]
- I thank Scot for coming back on the podcast – [1:26:38]
Links & Resources:
- Listen to my first interview with Scot Cohen – Ep. 237 – “The Best Networked in The World. PERIOD.”