SFN174: Patrick M. Powers On Networking Like An Entrepreneur
In This Interview I Ask:
- 2:35 – So before we dive in any deeper, Patrick, tell us what are you up to in the world right now?
- 4:00 – Entrepreneurs in London: how big is that group?
- 4:30 – Give us a sense of what that group runs on, meaning is that a group that you started on MeetUp?
- 7:30 – What was your original intention when you started that MeetUp group? Was it to actually grow it to 18,000 people and monetize it, or when you got that thing started what was going through your mind?
- 8:48 – What I'm always curious about from entrepreneurs is what it actually looked like for them to start that first thing that blows up. Was there a big strategy and planning going into it? Or did one day you just say, “I can make this better,” and you threw up a group and kind of said, “I'm just going to see how this evolves?”
- 10:17 – What was that first event? What kind of details do you remember about that very first event?
- 11:15 – There's going to be a large percentage of listeners who might have been to MeetUp groups, but they've never started their own MeetUp group. So what kind of event did you promote for that very first one? What was the positioning? What did people opt-in to?
- 13:45 – If you were advising somebody to start a MeetUp group, what are some of the key elements for an event based on what you’ve learned?
- 19:20 – How do you measure the success of any individual MeetUp?
- 21:25 – When you're talking about potentially evaluating the success of a MeetUp based on money, what do you mean? Are these events that you're charging for? Or are these events where you meet great people and get clients?
- 24:15 – Now, from the time of that first event, how many events should I be holding? Like, what's the path for me getting to my first event where I can actually make money off of it in some way?
- 27:35 – Give us some of the overarching concepts that you teach to people about the best ways to network at these types of events.
- 30:10 – What's the strategy around the the pre-networking?
- 35:17 – What kind of thing would you say to the leader of the group if you're contacting them on social media before the event?
- 38:05 – So let's just pretend the listeners are a total blank slate. They are introverted. They're not sure the best way to go up and start introducing themselves to new people. What does that look like?
- 42:40 – Tell me about the follow-up.
- 45:50 – What's the most influential book that you've read in 2016?
- 47:30 – How can people deal effectively with their fear? How do you get beyond fear mode to go out there and take action, rather than what fear mode does to most people, which is it makes them sink back into themselves?
How to Launch a Successful MeetUp Community
- Create compelling copy – be it about who the group is or what it’s going to be all about.
- Let the group grow, until it has about a 150 people, before the first event.
- Once you have a sizeable group, announce that you will launch in four weeks.
- In the title of that event, there's something to do with launch, because people are going to dig that.
- Optional: Keep the event free to encourage registration. If it is popular, you can add a price to the second half of tickets sold.
A Path to Monetization in MeetUp Groups
After your MeetUp group has grown to about 150 people and you are ready to launch your first event, you might want to start looking for a path to monetization.
- Ticket Sales – After you have developed social proof for your group – with either a number of well-rated or popular early events, or with a large number of ticket sales – you can start charging a little bit for tickets. If an early event is picking up steam, you can sell the last half of the tickets for a little bit of money. For later events, start the price at only a couple dollars and raise it incrementally. The early purchasers will give your event and group the social proof it needs to sell more expensive tickets.
- Sponsorships – It is possible to make quite a bit of money through sponsorships, but you have to go out and find them.
- Speakers – It is possible to get a great speaker, even if you don’t have a very large group. If you can prove that you can get a moderately-sized group, maybe 50-100 people, and you can make the opportunity convenient for your speakers (e.g. they’re already in town), then you can attract a great speaker and create an affiliate partnership.
- “We've had one event with a Canadian speaker with 208 people where he closed just over 40,000 pounds”
Tips For Pre-Networking
The first few minutes of a networking event can be one of the most awkward experiences ever. So, to make it easier on yourself and on the people you want to network with, do a little pre-networking. Get in touch with them on a social network or by email and make an introduction.
- Before you contact people, try to establish what you specifically need connections for.
- Laser focus on the people who are specifically related to what you need. If you don’t need anything specific, connect with the people that are the most influential.
- Go in with a positive, open energy and an interest in other people
- Simply ask, “Do you know somebody that has these qualities or what I'm looking for?”
- Reach out to the leader of the group, because they are likely one of the most influential people there, or they are a person everyone will want to connect with. Be very short and concise. Simply ask, “Hey, I found you. You're the leader of this group. You look awesome. Would love to connect with you, I’m going to come to the next event.” That’s it. If they follow up and show interest, then you can give a very short – just one sentence – pitch on what you are looking for. If they do not show interest don’t push them, because this will just push them farther away.
- “You do whatever it takes to find out who's going to be there, and you connect with them on social media. Super, super, super, super powerful and important.”
Preparing And Delivering Your Pitch
Over practice your pitch. Don’t just remember it. Practice your pitch so well that you can’t forget it, like your birthday or phone number. Then, when you are talking to someone, don’t open with your pitch. Ask them questions about them. Then, when they ask what you do, they will be interested.
- “Be the first person to ask the questions so you are right in there and creating trust, because the more questions you ask, the more you listen to them, the more they like and trust you”
- “What you want to do is you want to just try to create trust. Try to create a friendship here. Just go with creating human connection. That's all you're trying to accomplish, and that's one of the big secrets to to networking success. Forget about your pitch, forget about yourself, and truly just try to establish a great connection, finding people that you seem to gel with.”
Common Mistakes in Networking
- Showing up late. You have to show up early, because there are group dynamics being established in the first few minutes. If you show up late, you’re kind of an outsider.
- Pitching too much.
- Being too self-oriented, instead of being them-oriented
- Not following up
- Patrick’s website
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Send Patrick a friend request at www.facebook.com/PatrickMPowers, tell him that you heard him on the Starting From Nothing Podcast, and he will give you a really big, cool gift.
- If you are going to be on London and want to meet the people at Entrepreneurs in London, visit EntrepreneursInLondon.co.uk.
Production & Development for The Impact Entrepreneur Show by Podcast Masters
Frank: So as you guys have heard in the introduction I've got Patrick M. Powers on the line with us today. Patrick, welcome.
Patrick: Thank you so much, Frank. it's really excited to be here today.
Frank: Yeah there's a lot that we're going to be able to cover today, because you've done some things that the audience either is looking to do, so they're going to be able to utilize the tips, the tricks, and the lessons learned to be able to go out there and do this for themselves, because what we're going to talk about today might be something that a lot of entrepreneurs have seen or heard about but haven't actually taken action on. So before we dive in any deeper, Patrick, tell us what are you up to in the world right now?
Patrick: Well I’m living in London, UK and I’m the founder of Entrepreneurs in London, which is the biggest business MeetUp group in Europe. We we do networking events, talks with top entrepreneurs. It’s a pretty exciting place to hang around. It’s just really inspiring to be part of the entrepreneurial community in London, and what I want to do apart from that, because this is not a big big moneymaker – it's something we do for fun and then to be connected to the community. I believe the most important thing in entrepreneurship for small businesses is to teach the power of using the right words, okay. That's part of it. Basically I’m a copywriter but I also teach people use words on a one-to-one basis, when you go networking. Words are everything. Like literally you take one sentence and test against another sentences and they have a massive, massive difference. So teaching people influence, networking, copywriting, persuasion through how to put the right words together, and on top of that I do do consulting for small business owners on setting up the sales funnels, getting the converts right, with the right words, right converts, all that kind of stuff.
Frank: Alight this is gonna be fun. I've got all sorts of threads that we're going to take this down. So first off, Entrepreneurs in London: how big is that group?
Patrick: Just over, I think, 18,300-18,400 people, or something like that (editor’s note: it’s 18,874 members at the time of writing).
Frank: So not a small group by any means.
Patrick: No it's the biggest in Europe. Biggest MeetUp in Europe, and I think we are the third biggest in the world
Frank: Wow, okay. So we're gonna dive deeply into that. For now, give us a sense of what that group runs on, meaning is that a group that you started like on MeetUp?
Patrick: Yeah it's on MeetUp. And the reason why I started me on MeetUp was because, first of all, if you go a little bit back, I started my first pieces at 21. I hated being a job so I just wanted to get out of a job and being a business owner. Went bankrupt, lost my house within a year. Just really, really bad experience to go through. After that I was trying to get into business together, on a part-time basis, starting all kinds of home-based businesses. Fast forward 12 years, and finally have my breakthrough, and became financially free for years to start traveling the world. So actually now, I actually lost the thread I was going to get to. What was your question?
Frank: Yeah, no problem. So I asked you about what kind of the structure the group and you mentioned that you started it on MeetUp. It's over 18,000 people now.
Patrick: Oh yeah, okay, great. Thanks for helping me out.
Frank: Got it.
Patrick: So yeah, so fast forwarded: 13 years of failure and I finally, finally succeeded, and within one year – actually nine months – I retired. I went into a direct sales company, built a team 10,000 people in two years and retired. Started travelling the world, and then after four years I kind of became tired of doing the same pictures over and over again and decided to settle on a position in the company. Now after that happened, things really started to fall apart my life. Like literally, it’s just crazy. Some of the money I got out of the deal I invested in stuff that went belly up. Some of it I invested in scamps. Some large sums of money that I lent to friends suddenly disappeared. Suddenly I was living in this unbelievably beautiful place in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, living on the waterfront and just running out of money. I was just scared for my life. So, had a friend bail me out. Took me back to England with only two and a half thousand pounds – which is probably about 3,500 dollars, maybe about 3,700 or something – restarted my life and my business, and in the process, you know, I didn't have money to market myself, so I thought I needed to create a network. So I looked around, and this was purely to expand my own network, and I found MeetUp. I could just see from the way that they are writing the copy the descriptions about the MeetUp. I can see from the communication that, “Oh my god these guys are complete amateurs.”
Patrick: Unbelieveable. This could be a gold mine, you know? I can compete with this. So you know, out of pocket, like completely out of pocket, so that's the reason why I went to MeetUp.com, you know.
Frank: What was your original intention when you started that MeetUp group? Was it to actually grow it to 18,000 people and monetize it, or when you got that thing started what was going through your mind?
Patrick: Mhm, that's a great question. You know when you start something, you always kind of have big dreams. But you know, I'm like, this is going to be big and whatever... but you know I actually didn't like really believe that. It was not really my intention. At that moment, It was just survival mode. I was literally like, I've got create some connections so I can sell my seminars, whatever. That was always thinking about, you know, expanding my own network.
Frank: Okay, so did you go through some sort of a big strategy about: here's the vision for the group, and here's the type of events that I'm going to facilitate for the group, and here's the way that I'm gonna show up as a leader? Right, so there's that Abraham Lincoln quote out there where he says if I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.
Frank: Meaning that investing an inordinate, almost, amount of time into the planning is what is what's gonna get you the big results, and what I'm always curious about from entrepreneurs is what it actually looked like for them to start that first thing that blows up. Was there a big strategy and planning going into it? Or did one day you just say, “I can make this better,” and you threw up a group and kind of said, “I'm just going to see how this evolves?”
Patrick: The latter, there's no doubt about it. [laughs]
Patrick: You know, I've never really believed in preparation and starving the axe and all that kind of stuff. I didn't have time. I literally didn't have time. You know, I find in my marketing experience, and my understanding all copywriting and all that, I apply that the group and I looked around and did some research. A little bit of research on the competition to see what their strengths and weaknesses were, what would be good name, and all that kind of stuff. So I mean I did, I think, maybe a week of research. Maybe even two before I put up the group, but there was never any heavy research. Certainly not any heavy preparation on the launch, and if I was to start the group again today from scratch then I would definitely spend much more time on preparing the launch and building up to be something amazing. I basically just started the group and said, “Well let’s see how many people we can get.”
Frank: Okay, so I want to hear about that first event. So you go and you create the group, you spend roughly a week getting ready to go. What was that first event? What kind of details do you remember about that very first event?
Patrick: I remember I was quite excited because we had probably about 45 people register, and that was about 23 people showing up, and it was a free event. That's very normal, by the way. Actually, these days. It's getting harder and harder to get 50% of the people showing up for cheap or free events. There's so many more events today than there were just about five or six years ago. But yeah, I was excited. We were just in a pub and we had a small area of the park allocated to just us. It was great. It was fantastic energy. I loved it, and I thought this is a great thing. This could actually become something.
Frank: So what I'm curious about, because there's going to be a large percentage of listeners who might have been to MeetUp groups, but they've never started their own MeetUp group. So what kind of event did you promote for that very first one? You mentioned you've got 45 people registered.
Frank: What was the positioning? Like, what did people opt-in to?
Patrick: Great question. The group itself was actually called Entrepreneurs Night Out.
Patrick: That's actually how was the first one started, and the way that positioned it was to be the most unboring networking event in London.
Patrick: Right. That's because I’ve been to quite a lot of networking events in London and I found them incredibly boring. So I thought there must be a market for people that want to have a little more fun, little bit less rigid structure. Just hanging out and having a drink. Because what I find is, many times, that we go to a networking event with a very rigid structure and so on, the real connections – like real, deep connections, quality connections – is actually happening, typically, after the networking event, or it happens at social events over drinks and food. That's where you create really good, high-quality connections. It's great going to networking events, and you know we can talk about tips on networking as well later on, but if you really want to create those great connections you have to transcend just being at the networking event and interacting with them there. You gotta get them outside somewhere quickly: the next week or two weeks, where you get a chance to have a drink with them, or food. That's where the real connection is happening. So I thought, let's try to create something that is just in the moment, and we have a drink. We have some fun and see where it takes.
Frank: So what I want to break down, right, because you've grown essentially a massive networking group for yourself.
Frank: What I want to find out is, let's say a listener is hearing this right now, and they think, “This is cool. I'm gonna go set up my first event in a week or two.” What are the top two or three things that they should think about or implement when planning that event, so that they can take advantage of what you're talking about right now–
Frank: –where the structure is not too rigid. Just take me through, if you were advising somebody to start a MeetUp group, what are some of the key elements for an event based on what you’ve learned?
Patrick: Yeah, excellent. It’s exciting and interesting to see. I was coaching a lady a couple years after I started – 3 years after I started – and she was massively more successful than I was, because she had that knowledge that, you know. I prevented her from doing all the same mistakes I did. So one of the things we did with her event, which I should have done, is to to wait longer. And I see people do this mistake over and over and over and over again, but thankfully I had a good understanding. I'll come back to that, about what not to do in this situation, but basically I should have waited longer to launch the first event. I said wait until there were more people are in the group. So lots of people they will say, “Oh, now it's 70 people in a group. That's great, we can have a MeetUp and probably 50 people will show up. No. Out of 70 people in the group, you’re going to be lucky if you have seven showing up.
Patrick: So I would wait to announce the first MeetUp, until there’s about 150 people in the group.
Patrick: And then you announce the MeetUp about four weeks from then, so you have proper time to really build up some buzz around it, build up to the hype. Like, this is gonna be amazing. This launch event, and you call it something with launch in it, and people love it. This particular lady, I believe three months after we started group she had her first event, and there were a 160 people registered, and 100 people show up, without a budget.
Patrick: Yeah it was crazy. It was crazy good. So today it's actually probably the most successful launch I’ve ever heard about on MeetUp without a budget whatsoever.
Frank: Beautiful, okay so wait longer for the first launch.
Patrick: Yeah. You have to come up with a name that stands out. It has to be as short as possible. I know Entrepreneurs in London is not very short, but it says what it is.
Frank: Give us an example of somebody that you've advised that's created, like, a really great MeetUp group name.
Patrick: I can't really think of a great MeetUp group name, but I mean the lady I was talking about that was Entrepreneurial Women's Network.
Patrick: So that's also something niche. You can't choose something that is too general and has too much competition, because then you're just going to go up against the competition. You're going to lose if they’re too ahead of you.
Patrick: Right. Unless you can see like that you really have the marketing skills over them, maybe. I mean there's some big singles groups, stuff like that, where you can see that they have no clue. But in general, don't go too general. Narrow your niche down a little, but you shouldn't niche so much that that the group will be very small.
Patrick: Unless, there are people – I’m actually thinking about starting something that I never intend to grow big, but where it’s like really high quality people. Something called the The Influencer Society.
Patrick: And it's gonna be a very small group of very influential people, and so there could be reasons why you want to keep the MeetUp group small, and keep the event small. But unless there's a very specific reason why you need to keep it small – to have really, really strong interaction and engagement between fewer people – you definitely want to go the other way, because if it's just in the middle, in between, where it's just like 15, 20, 25 people, the energy will never take off. That’s the important reason why you want to wait to launch it, because if you have the first launch event and 10 people show up, 15 people show up, there's not going to be a great energy in the room. It's not going to be an energy of like, “Wow this is a great group. There's lots of people here. There’s energy. There's something going on.” So the energy is going to be low, and that means that you’ll probably have low ratings, and people can see on MeetUp how many people were at the last event. So if you don't have stellar ratings from the beginning, and people can see in the history that only seven people showed up or whatever, then they're not going to feel like this is a group that's worth being a member of. Does that make sense?
Patrick: Part of success, you know, you walk down the street and you see two restaurants next to each other. One has a line of people outside and the other one is empty, which one do you want to go into?
Frank: Yeah, so people want the social proof when it comes to these MeetUp groups.
Patrick: Absolutely, absolutely. And that's why you want to wait build up the bus so the first event was a huge success. Put a lot of energy into creating a picture that says out of it.
Frank: Okay, okay. So now I want to go to the flip side. We talked a little bit about what we can focus on. Now let's learn lessons from your most successful MeetUp. So I'd love for you to tell us about what you consider your most successful meet up, and then kind of part two of that: how do you measure the success of any individual MeetUp? So tell us about the most successful one that you had. What are the elements that made up that that event? Like, what the structure is, and then ultimately why you feel it was successful?
Patrick: Mm, that's a great question. That's gonna be really hard one to say. I mean, I can definitely remember a few MeetUps that were extraordinary. Some of the ones – so how I measure success. I mean obviously you can make it from a monetary standpoint: How many people were there, how much money you made up, but I also measure it from the standpoint of the feedback that I get from people, and the energy in the room. How much love there is in the room.
Patrick: Right. So there have been some smaller smaller events where it's like, wow, well I gotta buzz out of it. It was great. It was just a great energy in and those kind of things you can never really prepare for and plan for, because sometimes it’s simply a matter of the type of people that are in the room, for that particular night. But the other ones, where it was a monetary success in terms of people there: we had the five-year anniversary networking event, and the thing that was 380 people registered.
Frank: 380 registered. Five years?
Patrick: Yeah, so that was a fantastic as well. There's a great energy, and obviously people like, wow, like it has 250 people showing up, probably more.
Frank Tell us, when you're talking about potentially evaluating the success of a MeetUp based on money, what do you mean? Are these events that you're charging for? Or are these events where you meet great people and get clients?
Patrick: Both. I do charge for most events, but the ticket price starts very low these days. It's been great competition that has kind of forced me to lower my prices. In the beginning, because social proof, just go out there and get two to three-pound tickets out, to create the social proof that there's people registered.
Patrick: And then raise the price, so the last ticket sold for somewhere between 10 to 15 pounds. It used to be high. We used to start at five pounds, and then end up about 15 to 17 pounds. It’s always 20 pounds at the door to create an incentive for people to book early. So that's obviously one element of, you know. Tickets sales comes in.
Patrick: And the other one: we also do talks with speakers where it depends. Sometimes, the speakers don't really sell anything, they're just kind there to share the knowledge and create a few connections, and sometimes they do sell something, and then obviously there's an affiliate commission involved in that. So we've only had only had one of those. The speakers in the UK we are not very good at closing from stage. So, if you have any American speakers out there that are really good at closing from stage, and you also deliver some really awesome concepts. Man, I want to get in touch with you, and I want to get you an audience over here. Not huge audiences, but if you prove yourself then, you know, we can bring you a big audience. But we've had one event with a Canadian speaker with 208 people where he closed just over 40,000 pounds
Frank: Okay, what kind of product was that?
Patrick: That was basically a coaching program.
Patrick: Yeah. So even with refunds and all that kind of stuff, I made, you know, I made a really, really good night.
Frank: Let's talk about the path to monetization, because I think this is something the listeners are really going to be into.
Frank: Let's say I start my MeetUp group today. So I go out there, I create compelling copy about who the group is or what we're going to be all about. I let the group go until I've got about 150 people before the first event, then from there I wait four weeks to the launch. In the title of that, there's something to do with launch, because people are going to dig that. Now, from the time of that first event, how many events should I be holding? Like, what's the path for me getting to my first event where I can actually make money off of it in some way? Whether that's charging at the door, whether that's having a speaker come and get affiliate commissions. Give people a path here. Like the overall path.
Patrick: It is going to be very individual, because it depends on how successful the group is from takeoff. Now for example, with Entrepreneurial Women's Network, I advised her to do the first event for free, just to get the buzz going. But, I think she could hold 80 to 90 people at that venue, so when she had about a 120 people registered I said, you can see that the registrations could keep on going, so you should start charging for the tickets now. Charge for the rest of them. And she did, so even at the first event she actually had a profit. So it depends on how quickly it takes off, but I would say to typically do the first couple events for free, or do the first half of the tickets for free and then raise the price towards the end. So that's one thing, you know, ticket price. Something that I've never really bothered with, but I know some other MeetUps have quite a significant income from, is sponsorships. But it's just not in my nature to run around trying to look for sponsorships. But you actually can make quite significant amount on sponsorships there. Now, in terms of getting speakers, obviously for good speakers to come, somebody who really can draw crowds and somebody who can close and all that kind of stuff, they would typically demand an audience that is, you know, more than a couple dozen. However I actually have found speakers – like really, really good speakers – that are willing to come and speak for about 60 people.
Frank: So you can get some good speakers even if you don't have a massive group?
Frank: Yeah, absolutely.
Patrick: It is like completely surprising to me, I mean, even this guy – the canadian guy – I said, well, we could probably get a hundred people. He said, no that’s fine, and I was like woah. I was just so stunned by that.
Frank: So did he actually fly to London just to meet with your group?
Patrick: No, he was there before, you know, he was already there to do other events. So yeah, you wouldn't get a world-class eager to fly to a different country, or even within the U.S. to fly into different city, for any less than 100-250 people. And you'd probably have to have proven first that you actually can put a 100-150 people in the room. But if they’re there already, you know, I found that many of them are actually like, “yeah, why not go out and speak for 50-60 people? You know, I'm here anyway, I was gonna going to be in the hotel just watching whatever and in the hotel room –
Patrick: – and killing time. Why not go out and then make some extra sales, you know?
Frank: Okay, so not as hard as you might think to attract a great speaker.
Patrick: Yeah, no. Very surprising.
Frank: Let's take the flip side of this now. So you mentioned a little bit earlier that there are some tips on networking, and you also mentioned that one of like your core competencies in the world, your zone of genius, is persuasion: about using words to convert and attract people, whether that's in copy or whether that is one-to-one. So let's just take the the big hairy concept of a networking event, and let's expand that a little bit. So it doesn't have to just be a MeetUp group. This is any environment where you are in a group of people where you could potentially help them, or they could potentially help you. So this is MeetUp groups, these are conferences that people go to, all the places where you're looking to create yourself as an influencer, and make great connections. Let's break it down from you as the expert. Give us, first off, some of the overarching concepts that you teach to people about the best ways to network at these types of events.
Patrick: Mm, great question. You actually start before the event. That's one of the biggest tips: you do what I call pre-networking, and so you do that by finding out who's going to be there, you do whatever it takes to find out who's going to be there, and you connect with them on social media. Super, super, super, super powerful and important. Because when you go to a networking event, you go walk into this room full of strangers – and you're strangers of them, they’re strangers to you – and it's been uneasy, and it's uneasy for everybody. But if you establish a connection with people before you go to the event, you are not a stranger. So when they see you, it's a relief to them. It's like, “Oh that's the guy I talked to on Facebook or LinkedIn.”
Patrick: So they go straight over to who they recognized and say, “Hi, how you doing? It’s great to meet you in real life,” and boom you've provided an avenue for them to get over the most uncomfortable experience in their life, which is going to networking events in the first couple minutes, because now they’re over that road bump in the road where it's like, who do they talk to? You know, there's a cluster people over there that look really nice. Can I, you know, interrupt them. All that negative stuff going in your head, and nervousness about how to approach people there. You’ve provided an out for them, and you're not a stranger, so they want to connect with you. Does that make sense?
Frank: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So I've got a question about that. The general mindset that I usually have when I'm going to a networking event, or I'm going to a conference, is I just want to meet people, and I have it as a very general and vague sense where I don't know who exactly I want to meet. I don't know if there's specific problems in my business that I want to meet people who can help me with, so what's the strategy around the the pre-networking? Do I just want to blanket as many people as possible and let them know I'm coming, or do I have some strategy of figuring out, “Okay, who do I actually need to meet,” and then laser focus in on those people?
Patrick: Mm, fantastic question. I would be laser-focused, but it depends on, you know, how much you can find out about the right people there. I also believe that the the kind of place that you're coming from, that you're talking about – I'm just gonna meet people and I'll see where it goes – that's a great energy to have, but you just never know. You just never know. Sometimes you have the greatest connections when you just look like they're in the moment, so that's a great place to come from. But I also find that if you have a really strong sense of this is the type of person I'm looking for, you have a high likelihood to find that person. Doe that make sense?
Frank: It does.
Patrick: Like you set an intention: this is who I want to connect with. And then you go out looking for them. And then, in fact, one of my tips is just unbelievably simple, but I'm surprised about how few people use it, is let's say that I’m looking for more podcast hosts to be interviewed by, okay.
Patrick: So I'm talking to people, you know, blah blah, we’re having fun and I'm asking them some great questions to create trust, and all that kind of stuff, and then they'll ask me about what I’m up to and I’ll say, “Hey, by the way, what I'm looking for here are connections that know podcast hosts, or somebody who runs an online radio, or maybe even a television show about business, or a YouTube channel. Do you know anybody? Do you know anybody that might know anybody? So I'll simply ask. I'll simply ask people, “Do you know somebody that has these qualities or what I'm looking for?”
Patrick: And you'll really be surprised. Funny enough, I learned this from network marketing when we were opening in new countries. Like, so let's say we were opening in Korea or whatever. We'd just be calling everybody saying, “Hey, do you know anybody from Korea? Do you know any Koreans that live here?” And I found this to be an incredibly awesome question, we got people that actually knew people from those countries we were opening in, but also it was just a way to open up a conversation, and it was great way to get a conversation started.
Frank: I like it. So what we're hearing here, right, we're talking about, for the audience, we're talking about the steps to networking your best at a networking event or a conference. So the first thing that we started talking about was pre-networking: who's going to be there and who do I want connections with, and some of the implied stuff here that you've actually been going through is that we haven't explicitly said, is you're actually kind of looking before, as a part of this pre networking process, even before who's gonna be there, it sounds like there's some things that you're asking yourself around, “What do I actually need in my business?”
Patrick: Mm, yes. And sometimes there is something specifically, sometimes there's not. If there's not anything specific, I would just, well, you know, I mean, I flex my brain to actually try to be more specific, but if not then I'll just go for the ones that are most influential.
Patrick: I try to find the one with the biggest influence, with the biggest network and so on and so on. The one that seems the most successful, because obviously the bigger influence they have, the more valuable they could be for you.
Frank: Yes, okay. So let's take it beyond pre networking. So we've done a little bit of our homework on what do we need. If there's not something specific, we’re going to target those people who who have got some influence. We're going to send them some messages before the event. Anything else happen after that, before the event? Or now are we at the place where we're in the room?
Patrick: Okay, so before the event, while we’re talking about connecting with influential people, why not start with you the owner or the leader of the group?
Frank: Mm, yes
Patrick: Always, always, always, always. If nobody else, I always talk at the leader of the group, right, because they know everybody else, or everybody wants to connect with the leader of the group
Frank: So what kind of thing would you say to them if you're contacting them on social media before the event?
Patrick: Okay well first of all say, “Hey, I found you. You're the leader of this group. You look awesome. Would love to connect with you, I’m going to come to the next event.” That's it.
Patrick: Yeah, “just really looking forward as it looks like you've been doing it an awesome job building this group,” whatever. If you have heard something about them, great, mention it and say, “Hey, I heard from from our friend Michael that you're an awesome dude,” or whatever. Just, you know, show them some love and and make them feel important, and then just wait for them to come back and and hear what they say, then go with the flow. So they might ask you what you do, and at that point, of course, you have a prepared pitch, but very, very, short. A very short one, because if you go into it like “Oh this is what I’m doing and it’s amazing,” they could be like, “oh no, not another pitcher.”
Frank: How many sentences are we talking about here for like a great introductory?
Patrick: So just a very simple one line about this is who I am and what I do.
Patrick: Yeah. Maaaaaaybe two.
Frank: So keep it short, truly.
Patrick: Yeah, absolutely, and let them let them show if they're interested more. If they ask you and are like, “oh, that sounds really cool.” Let's say they ask, “So what are you up to?” I say, “I’m Patrick, I'm the founder of Entrepreneurs of London, Europe’s biggest business MeetUp group, and I'm an expert on copywriting and conversions for small businesses.” That's it. And if they ask, “Wow MeetUp group, I’ve heard a lot of great things about them, tell me more?” or, “How do you do that?” and whatever. I let them come back and show me or to say, “Wow, copywriting, I'm interested in copywriting. How do you do that? How do you learn great copy?” And so on. So I can go with what they show an interesting, if they're showing interest, because if they don't show interest there's no need to go into, you know, going on and on about what you do, because you will just push them further and further away.
Frank: So clear and concise
Frank: So let's say we’re in the room now, and for the introverts of the world who aren't clear or for the people who are new to networking, it's one of the most terrifying things in the world. That they’re in a room with dozens or hundreds of people that they don't know, and now it's time to initiate a conversation. So let's just pretend like these people, the listeners, are a total blank slate. They are introverted. They're not sure the best way to go up and start introducing themselves to new people. What does that look like?
Patrick: First of all: prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare your pitch. Have a professional pitch that you over, over practice, so you don't have to worry about remembering that, and being, you know– because in this situation, when you're nervous, your brain goes back to default, so if you only practice the pitch a couple times, it will go away. I guarantee you, you will not remember to say it the right way, and you'll stumble, and you'll sound like a fool. Right?
Frank: Yeah, I think they say something in military circles that you'll always execute based on the level of preparation that you've go and the way that you've practiced.
Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. Great. So over practice so you cannot forget the pitch. I'm not talking that will remember it, but that you practiced it so well that you cannot forget it, like your phone number or your birthday or something like that. Then you can sound like you're confident and super, super, super important. People want to hang around confident people, so over prepare your pitch. And obviously, you’re not going to say you pitch right away. That's what everybody wants. You're gonna go against your natural tendencies and completely forget about yourself and just ask them questions about them, and be interested in them. That's it. Just like, “Hey, how are you doing? My name is Patrick, what's yours? So what do you do? So what do you do Frank? what do you do for a living?” Be the first person to ask the questions so you are right in there and creating trust, because the more questions you ask, the more you listen to them, the more they like and trust you.
Patrick: And that's what we're trying to accomplish. We're trying to accomplish trust, not sales. Like amateurs say, “Okay, how can I sell to people,” you know, “how can make them interesting my product?” No, forget about that. What you want to do is you want to just try to create trust. Try to create a friendship here. Just go with creating human connection. That's all you're trying to accomplish, and that's one of the big secrets to to networking success. Forget about your pitch, forget about yourself, and truly just try to establish a great connection, finding people that you seem to gel with. That you are on a wavelength with, you click with, and from then on, you know, once you create that trust, and once you find those people that kind of gel with, when they ask you, “So what do you do?” then they will be interested. They will be much more interested, instead of you coming up and try to pick somebody.
Frank: Got it. Let's take this from another perspective: what are some of the biggest mistakes that people make in networking that turn people off, or just don't get them the connections they are looking for?
Patrick: Okay, well showing up late. You got to show up early. That’s another thing, because there’s group dynamics being established the first few minutes, so if you come on late you’re kind of an outsider.
Patrick: And there's there's lots more going on regarding that, because if you come like really early and then connect with some of the guys there, those are typically the most influential people coming in the beginning, because they know it's important to show up early so they can connect with the leader of the group and so on and so on so. If you are coming in and you start connecting with these guys, the influencers, people coming in and see, “Oh this guy's hanging out with influencers, he must be an influencer.” Right, so showing up late is a
Frank: Okay. Don't show up late, connect early with the influencers.
Frank: Yep, cool, what else?
Patrick: and then pitching. Just go in and pitch pitch pitch. So we always talk about that, and just being very self-oriented instead of like being them-oriented, and then not following up.
Frank: Tell me about the follow-up.
Patrick: Yeah, it's – my god – it’s so much time in the world being lost, productive time. Some people going to networking events not following up. It is ridiculous, right, because see, here's the thing: networking is about creating relationships, not making sales. You create relationships that will turn into business. Later on, like way later on. Maybe it won’t turn into business. Maybe you'll turn into friends, maybe you'll get referrals from it. You never know. I have a great example somebody I met 3 years ago, not at a networking event but another business event. It was actually at a pilot for TV program on entrepreneurship, and we just connected on Facebook and never really actually stayed in touch. Once again, a no no, I should have know this guy's not actually an influencer. I did contact him, probably a little bit from time to time, maybe like once a year twice a year and say, “hey, what's happening?” but not enough. But incredibly enough, about four months ago, he got back to me completely out of the blue and said, “hey do you still do copywriting and conversion stuff? And I said, “Yep, absolutely.” He said, “Great, I want to hire you,” and I was like blown away, but obviously he's been following me in Facebook, so that's another reason why you have to follow up with them. You have to connect with them on all the social media platforms so they can see you follow, you see what's going on, and then just keep in touch on a regular basis. Obviously you can't do that with everybody, you have to choose the ones that you think this could be a major contact for me, and then you you just stay in touch with them. And I'm not talking about like, oh they can see what's going on your Facebook wall. No, I'm talking about getting in touch with them. Sending them a text messages or sending them a message on Facebook. I'm insisting a real message or even call them and say, “Hey, it was great to meet you the other day. I would love to stay connected and hear more about what you do and see if there's any synergies with what we do, and maybe, who knows, we can be of help to each other.” That’s it. And then from time to time you just go back to them and say, “Hey, what's happening? What are you doing that’s exciting?” every five, six, seven, eight weeks, but it makes a massive, massive difference.
Frank: Follow-up is key.
Frank: Essentially, why are you even going to these networking events if you have no intention of following up on the relationships that you went there to build?
Patrick: Yeah, absolutely
Patrick: Yes that's my point is like, wow, you know this like so much time is wasted, so much time. It’s incredible.
Frank: Alright I've just got a few more questions here as we wrap up. The first thing that I've always want to ask people with influence, and I want to laser this in so I don't want you to go lifetime, I want you to go this year, in 2016. What's the most influential book that you've read in 2016? In either for your personal life or for your business, but something that you really just think, “Man reading that got me some new information and got me newly excited about something.” Where you at with this?
Patrick: Mmmm, that’s a great question. I don't think I’ve read that many books like really recently. Let me just take a look at my bookshelf.
Patrick: I kind of tend to forget about what I did yesterday. You know, I’m alive in the now, so I kind of have to look over and see what I’ve got going on. So yeah, what I read last week, I’m already on to what I’m doing today, or I’m going to do tomorrow. I don't really see something here that I've read this year, but I can tell you what I read last year.
Patrick: The Obstacle is the Way
Frank: Ryan Holiday?
Frank: Okay, Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way.
Patrick: Yeah awesome awesome awesome book. I mean, it's something you've heard before, you know, like have a resourceful mindset, and look at the blessing in the obstacles, or trying to try to find our benefits of being a tricky situation. You've heard that thing, you know, many times before, but the boat really is awesome. I mean, really, you know just read it. Just re-read it. It will help anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur or make something out of their life, and I think it’ll help anybody who's in a tricky situation, or they’re stock, or whatever. Read it.
Frank: Okay, The Obstacle is the Way, and the question that I want to wrap up with here, which we're not gonna be able to do justice to the subject. You know about breaking fear. It's actually one of the things that you help coach people through. It's something that you've done yourself, right? So we don't have time to do a full exploration. How can people deal effectively with their fear? So let's even take your specific example of you get back from abroad, you've got roughly 2,500 dollars or 2,500 pounds to your name, you're in fear mode. How do you get beyond fear mode to go out there and take action, rather than what fear mode does to most people, which is it makes them sink back into themselves?
Patrick: You make a decision to take massive action. That's the first thing. You make a commitment that you are going to break this and then you confront fear, right, because the most effective way to get out of here is to confront us straight on, and when the most effective ways to, in fact, get past fears to take massive, massive action. Like once you start taking massive action it really dissipates fear fairly quickly, and sometimes almost instantly. It's just almost magical. There's always a lot of things you can do. You can do some visualization. I also found self hypnosis to be really, really helpful. If you have a massive problem with approaching people or social anxiety, I highly recommend that you you see a very good hypnotherapist. You know, it really can help, and apart from that it is literally just rehearsing in your mind, going through this situation that you're afraid of, and rehearsing that you are doing it and you're doing it successfully, and you know that even though you might actually be afraid of the situation that you're succeeding with it, and yet you go ahead with it. So just rehearse your mind that you go through the event successfully, again and again and again. And then you take action.
Patrick: You have to make decisions before you start all the preparation and it then self-work and self-hypnosis and all those kind of things, you've got to make up your mind: Okay, I am going to take action by this date specifically, and I'm going to take massive action. So you don't get started in over preparation. Personal development just for the sake of personal development. You’re going to take massive action.
Frank: Boom. Okay, so you make the decision. You use tools like self-hypnosis and visualization to actually rehearse what you want to have happen; and then go take massive action toward it.
Frank: Patrick, this has been a freewheeling discussion of a whole bunch of things. Thank you for being on. If people want to go follow you, or communicate with you more, where should they go?
Patrick: Alright, facebook.com/PatrickMPowers. Send me a friend request, tell me that you heard me on Starting from Nothing Podcast, and I will give you a really big, cool gift.
Frank: Alright, I like it.
Patrick: Yeah, and also, of course, they can go to find me on PatrickMPowers.com, and if you're near London or you're traveling to London sometime, and you want to meet us in Entrepreneurs in London, it’s http://entrepreneursinlondon.co.uk.
Frank: Alight Patrick, it's been a pleasure having you on. Thanks for coming
Patrick: it was awesome. Thank you so much Frank.
Frank: Right, you got it.j