How to Build a Network of Opportunities without having an Agenda with Jordan Harbinger

Networking is like marmite. You either love it or you hate it…and if you’re an introvert, it’s probably the latter. Attending networking events can seem daunting, especially if you associate them with pushy and overbearing people.

So, how can introverts (like you and I) build a network of opportunities without having an agenda?

Jordan Harbinger, often referred to as “The Larry King of podcasting,” is an interview talk show host and a communications and social dynamics expert. It’s safe to say that Jordan is somewhat of a networking genius, which is why I invited him to join me for an insightful conversation about how you can build a brilliant network that becomes your tribe – without having an agenda.

Jordan’s experience with imposter syndrome

If you have imposter syndrome, it can consume your entire thought process because you’re constantly doubting yourself and your abilities. Many of us have experienced imposter syndrome at some stage in our lives or careers and Jordan Harbinger is no different.

Before he became ‘the Larry King’ of podcasting, Jordan was a Wall Street lawyer. To get there, he had to work really hard and study harder to make sure he was the most prepared person in the exam room. However, when he got to Wall Street and became an attorney, everyone worked hard, and he felt like he lost the competitive advantage he once had.

Jordan battled with a constant fear of ‘getting the ax’ and losing his job. This turned into imposter syndrome, which is something Jordan talked about openly during our discussion:

It feels like you’re the only person who slipped through the cracks and you don’t really belong here. And, it’s only a matter of time till you get found out.”

Jordan suggests that imposter syndrome is often triggered when we look at people who we perceive as being successful and “compare our blooper reel to their highlight reel.” This is magnified when our cognitive biases come into play and we assume everyone is as great as they seem. We end up “smoothing out their flaws” and compare ourselves to the polished version of others that we’ve created in our minds.

Jordan was so sure that he would be ‘found out’ that he thought the best way to avoid public humiliation was to work from home.

If I was able to work from home, it would take them longer to find out that I didn’t belong there.”

Eventually, Jordan discovered how to generate business by working on himself and his personal brand. He learned how to sell, read books on psychology, persuasion, and influence. A huge inspiration for him was Tom Hopkins who wrote the book, ‘How to Master the Art of Selling Anything.’

Jordan and others from his law school learned together. It wasn’t long before Jordan began teaching a small class that focused on the power of networking and how to build a network.

I started to break down the nonverbal communication. And they were like, Oh, so you can read people’s nonverbal communication. This is fun. Let’s do this!

“…and then the podcast started to take off because I started to give these talks…. I started to put the files on the internet, and that’s when I really started to see that there was magic.”

The truth about sales meetings

Many people assume they hate sales meetings because they see them as a shirt and tie event packed with awkward conversations whereby one person is actively selling something to the other (or others). This might be true in some cases, but the majority of modern-day sales meetings are not like this.

The best sales meetings happen outside of the conference room. They happen while enjoying a beer at the bar, having a nice meal at a restaurant, or a game of mini-golf.

Essentially, the best way to sell something to someone is by making a real connection with that person. People want to work with people they know, like, and trust. And, if you’re coming across as a sleazy salesperson with a terrible pitch (and an even worse attitude), you’re going to have a hard time selling anything.

It’s better is to sell to people that already know, like, and trust you, and you don’t have to have a formal meeting to do that.”

However, you must have a genuine interest in helping the other person and getting to know them. Jordan emphasized this more when he said, “you can’t dupe people into a sales meeting. You shouldn’t have to pretend to be social with somebody and then trying to sell to them.”

The best way to create a sales meeting is by doing business with people you know, like, and trust. They should know who you are, and it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to either of you.

You have to be very careful about that because people can really smell when they’re being sold to. But you also can’t and shouldn’t try to make everything super formal, because you’ll end up with fewer meetings, or people will cancel because you’ll be last priority.”

How to create a sales meeting

People who can create connections with others early without the expectation of anything in return, tend to make the best salespeople. Building relationships is so important. As Jordan said during our discussion, you need to “dig the well before you’re thirsty.”

In other words, take the time to cultivate connections and build relationships before you need them.

Yes, you do well by playing the numbers, but you really do need to be using and creating relationships before you need to use them.”

However, if you’re serious about building a network of opportunities without having an agenda, you need to create those relationships without the expectation of something in return. You need to make sure that you are not trying to figure out how to use your network to get something from it only looking at what’s in it for you, because you won’t create any opportunities for yourself that way.

At that point, you won’t see most opportunities from other people coming because even they don’t know that they can help you. You have to generate a relationship with people before you use it.”

Dealing with imposter syndrome & building connections

If you thought you’re the only person with imposter syndrome, think again. I asked Jordan who was the most ‘famous’ person he knows who has experienced imposter syndrome and his answer was comedian, Howie Mandel.

He told me that he often thinks about that or he often used to think about that.”

It’s not easy for successful people to admit they have or had imposter syndrome at some point in their careers. When Jordan knew he felt like he wasn’t good enough, he discovered that the magic formula of networking had three key components:

1. People need to know you

2. People need to like you

3. People need to trust you

Jordan invented a system to get people to know, like, and trust him. It involved becoming a lot more charming, funny, entertaining, and adding value in social situations. Building trust is about helping others and providing them with real value without necessarily wanting anything in return. Even if it was as simple as connecting two other people that he knew would work well together, he did it, and slowly, he began to build trust.

Help people without the expectation of anything in return. That is a formula that works for everyone. If people think it doesn’t work, it’s because they’re doing it wrong. There’s no scenario in which being known, liked, and trusted doesn’t result in business or opportunity.

How to be a great networker and avoid the ‘wrong people’

Jordan firmly believes that the best networkers give without the assumption that they will get something in return. If you want to be a great networker, you need to do the same thing. The more you can actively help others and provide value in this way, the more you can build ‘referral currency.’

But, is there such a thing as being too generous?

Of course, you can’t keep giving and giving to the wrong people. You can’t and you shouldn’t continue helping ‘takers’ who refuse to respect your boundaries. These are the type of people who keep asking you for favors but whenever you need them, they’re nowhere to be seen. It can be difficult to spot these people but usually, they’re the ones who are repeating the same type of behavior over and over again.

You can tell who these people are because they’ll repeat the same behavior.”

A person like this might ague ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t receive,’ which is true in many cases. But Jordan made a very good point when he said…

If you don’t give, you don’t get.”

Giving creates the foundation of a relationship. You won’t get very far in your career if you aren’t giving. Jordan advises that you stay away from ‘enablers’ and instead seek out people who you can make connections with and build real and meaningful relationships with.

To learn more about Jordan’s incredible work and take part in his free course, ‘Six-Minute Networking’ go to: https://www.jordanharbinger.com/courses/

Listen to The Jordan Harbinger Show here: https://www.jordanharbinger.com/podcasts/

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