7 Secrets to Networking Success

Networking Success

There is a great lesson Zig Ziglar taught that has always stuck with me.
Zig said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you [which is nice, but not very productive], but if they trust you, then they’ll do business with you.”

And that is the one big secret of Nozad, whom I introduced in last week’s article and in my Publisher’s letter of the December issue of SUCCESS. I also promised to pass along Nozad’s 7 networking secrets that has made him a master connector—secrets that any of us can apply.

Secrets that could make all of us as wealthy as a rug dealer.

Let me outline them for you now. I drew these from a great profile piece a fellow editor colleague, Victoria Barret from Forbes, did on Pejman Nozad.

Here is No. 1…

1. Always be willing and eager to help others with an introduction or your time. And do not expect anything in return.

Reminds me of a quote from another master networker, Harvey Mackay. He said, “My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score.”

The profile of Nozad is sprinkled with names of successful entrepreneurs he has backed and advised. What’s missing is what happened in between those meetings. He is constantly having conversations with young people, some still in school, and helping them along. They may or may not end up working at startups. They may or may not raise funds in companies he could invest in. He doesn’t think about it that way. He calls this “one way love.”

 “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
Keith Ferrazzi

Also note that Nozad went to the key contacts—to the influencers’ homes and to the schools the potential entrepreneurs attended. As Scott Stratten said to me in an interview recently, “Are you going to where your customers [or key contacts] are or just sitting and hoping they come to you?”

2. Be proud of where you came from and share that with others. It shows honesty and builds trust.

Nozad doesn’t represent himself as anything but a guy who sold rugs in Palo Alto and then started investing in startups. He talks openly and eagerly about his family’s background in Iran and the remarkable story of how he got to Silicon Valley. People who Nozad sold a rug to ten years ago, and had no contact with since, still felt like they knew and were close to him.  That is the social power you gain when you are willing to be completely human and authentic.

“If people like you they’ll listen to you,
but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
-Zig Ziglar

3. Compliment the achievements of those around you. And do it with a smile.

We all know that awkward feeling that comes with a superficial or flat compliment. It means well, but lands with a thud. Nozad deftly avoids that by focusing on what someone has accomplished and tying it to who they are deep down.

He tells one entrepreneur, “Starting things is in your DNA.” And with that, he nails exactly what this guy is proud of, and makes him feel good about it. His phrasing has so much more genuine punch to it than if he’d just said, “You’re a great entrepreneur.”

People yearn for validation, to feel important, to be recognized for their effort and achievements. You can build great bonds by looking for those things that people are proud of and pointing it out.

4. In conversations search for a common ground. It may take a while, but there is surely something to bring you closer.

This is perhaps the trickiest area for all of us. You meet someone at a cocktail party, and you know just enough about them to know you could both benefit from connecting and then… blah. You struggle to get beyond the “Any vacations coming up?” chatter. Instead Nozad Googled his early rug clients so he knew how to guide conversations. Now his own network of friends is wide enough that usually he can quickly make a personal connection with people simply by suggesting a common friend.

5. Use your Rolodex wisely and only for the right person at the right time, for the right cause.

Several of the top venture capitalists who do deals with Nozad rarely hear from him. That’s very intentional. He knows the importance of valuing other people’s time. People notice when you waste their time. They respond to your emails when you honor their time.

6. Make sure you understand what the person you want help from has to gain from it.

Nozad understands motivations. He knew the venture capitalists he sold rugs to were always hunting for undiscovered treasures: talented entrepreneurs no one else had yet spotted. The entrepreneurs, likewise, were eager to mingle with potential backers. That was Nozad’s “in.”  He knew he could bridge both worlds.

7. Don’t create walls between your personal and professional lives. It is one big network of people.

Nozad starts most conversations very personally. How are the kids? How have you been? It is subtle, disarming, and endearing. Spend more time listening than you do talking. And you do that by asking questions and listening with genuine interest.

I’ve seen this trait in other successful networkers. They don’t exhaust themselves being slightly different personalities in work, family and social settings. They are just as personally helpful and at ease to a work colleague as they are to a family friend.

OK, so let me make this easy for you; here’s your $50 million cheat sheet summary:

1. Give.

2. Be real.

3. Compliment.

4. Find commonality.

5. Use your network sparingly.

6. Think WIIFT—What’s In It For Them.

7. Be authentically YOU, always.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks,
everyone else looks for work.”
-Robert Kiyosaki

It’s well known that 80% of business opportunities are filled through networking. And if you eventually want to become as rich as a rug dealer… then networking is the skill you want to continually work on and master.

What are a couple of your networking secrets? Share them in the comments below.



15 responses to “7 Secrets to Networking Success”

  1. Excellent post. Well planned social advertisingaffiliate marketing can also generate leads & play a massive part in the success of online marketing campaigns. And workfromnohome . But, informative post. thoughts. We’ll return.

  2. Be sure to give people alliances instead of prospective customers. Alliances are going to the same target audience and will “feed back” more customers ultimately.
    It’s really all about expertise and need. What does the person need? How can you supply it with an alliance or Strategic Partner?
    The more people we introduce to each other to build their team, the more profitable they will become. It is my commitment to assisting them in growth. It almost always comes back, eventually.

  3. I love the information. Ensures I am on the right track with being a member of a group who’s basis is building relationships and the “laws of reciprocty”. LIZ-Local Impact Zone. (www.localimpactzone.com) is expanding all over and it’s Free to be a networking member. I have been blessed with meeting some of the most sincere, real people I ever thought I could have. Hope you all have wonderful and blessed futures. I Love Genuine People.

  4. Awesome post and great tips! I found that compliments and encouragement go a long way… and keeping in mind WIIFT keeps the focus on the other person!

    I also genuinely want to make friends… I’d rather do business with friends, and guess what? They do too!

  5. The one more that I’d add is set your intention before you go out networking. Get your mind right about what outcomes you want from a networking activity. If there is not the right intention set, it is just socializing.

  6. @Manuel salaiza,
    Manuel: Me da gusto que coincidas en estos pensaimentos tan necesarios. Siempre he pensado que todo consiste en ordenar nuestras intenciones. Si le vemos al cliente cara de dinero, lo perderemos. Si sólo nos proponemos ayudarle, paradógicamente, el nos comprará y ¡entonces vendrá en dinero a nuestras manos! Gran aporte de Darren.

  7. Great tips! I especially like #5. We sometimes forget that other people’s time is as precious as our own.

    My networking secrets are: (1) helping people without expecting anything in return. This surprises many people, but I loving helping others, so it comes easily to me. (2) listen and be real. People know whether you’re geniune or not. (3) I try to find something I have in common with them or something they’re passionate about. People love to talk about things they’re passionate about.

  8. Hi Darren,

    Great tips on a subject I am not well versed it. I am hearing a lot of people quote Zig Ziglar too, I think I need to find out more about him!


  9. Being genuinely interested in the person you are talking with and listening deeply. Focus more on them, what they have to say and not being stuck in your own head wondering what you should say next. Remembering the details they share about things that matter most to them, things that they value. Example their: Interests, likes, hobbies, children, birthdays, music all helpful for building and developing rapport and the relationship. Remembering personal details will set you apart and leave the person you are speaking with, feeling as though they had a wonderful conversation even if you did most of the listening!

  10. Darren: ¡GRACIAS!
    Estos siete secretos, que parecen salidos del evangelio, tienen una importancia tremenda. Nos despierta de nuestros sueños egoístas y falsos que pretenden hacernos el centro del mundo. Nos libran de la desilusión de nosotros mismos y de los demás. Desde hoy los hemos hecho la ley en este negocio.
    Gonzalo F. Bonilla y S.S.