I get hundreds of emails each day. So much so that I use 3 different systems plus a person on my team to filter all the email I get.
This is true for many executives, managers and other people you might want to get to know and build a relationship with. They have a lot going on and coming at them.
So how do you get in touch with people who are incredibly busy that may hold the keys to getting hired at a company you’re excited about, or might be a great mentor for you, or other people you want to get to know to be able to learn from?
More than just getting them to respond, how do you get them to be excited to take your call, return your email, or build a relationship with you?
This is a question I’ve been asked thousands of times so I wanted to bring someone on the podcast to help break down exactly how to do this. I asked Darrah Brustein, founder of Network under 40, Equitable Payments, and Financial Whiz Kids who also contributes regularly to Forbes to come on and share her experience on building relationships with busy people!
Why do busy people want to help me?
People perpetually are worried about being perceived as pests when they contact others. Many of our students when we teach them to build relationships worry and fret about bothering the people that they want to get in touch with and therefore destroy their chances of ever contacting that person.
First of all, if you go too far down this script playing in your head then eventually the very worst thing you can possibly imagine occurs to you and you talk yourself out of trying to contact them in the first place. This of course is the only way to be sure with 100% certainty that you won’t ever get in touch with these people.
Aside from that there is a huge truth that most people fail to realize.
Most human beings that are in positions of responsibility and are busy got there because they truly enjoy helping other people succeed.
This of course means that they would be interested in helping you too, but as strange as it seems most people haven’t mastered the art of making it incredibly easy for them to say “yes” to your request and give you help.
How Do You Make it Easy For Them to Help You?
To make it easy for someone you want to get in touch with to help you, you must have an understanding of them, who they are, their situation and how they think, behave and how they might react.
This might sound like a lot of work, but this is the difference between success at building relationships and getting results and continuing to wonder how some people do this really well.
To make this much easier to understand I’ve broken it down into 3 things that you need to do to make sure that they are much more likely to help you.
1. Take Genuine Interest in them
When I contact people I have often spent hours getting to know them, their work, and as much as I possibly can about their personality and who they are. That’s the difference between just contacting someone as a “transaction” to get where you want to go and being genuinely interested in them.
On the recieving end you can always tell the difference. When someone is genuinely interested in you you’re going to be willing to make time for them. It’s flattering. It’s a gift that you’re giving them.
Here’s an example from Darrah from when she wanted to get to know Julie Agnar Clark, the founder of Baby Einstein.
“I spent hours researching everything that Julie Agnar Clark had ever done or said and was public online.
I sent her an email and I said something along the lines of Dear Julie I’m so admiring of your work and here’s why and here’s where I am in my career. And I have this one specific question for you. And I shared the question. If you’d be so kind as to take a moment to answer that question over email I’d be sincerely grateful and if you’d feel so inclined it would mean the world to me to hop on a 20 minute phone call and expand upon it.
The next day I got a response from her which I was shocked by. She said ‘I’d be happy to get on a call with you’ and we spent close to an hour and then we talked many times after that.
I know deep down that the reason she answered me was because 1) I was kind to her 2) I flattered her which always has to be sincere but it goes a long way. And 3) I put in the work I spent so much time doing the work to make sure that the question I wasn’t asking her wasn’t easily google- able.”
And so the fact that I did those things and came to her sincerely, didn’t presume that she should help me, didn’t leave it so open ended that she had to fish to figure out what I wanted or how long this might take. It made an easy yes for her.”
2. Ask for what you want (but be specific)
I’ve found through observation over the last 30+ years that when you ask for what you want, you more frequently get what you want.
When you don’t ask OR you aren’t very specific OR you drop hints, then you make it less likely to get what you want.
Also the pretext that many people miss here is that to be able to make it easy for someone to say “yes” and be delighted to do it you have to ask for something that they can deliver.
For example, if I ask a Director for their time to “ask them some questions” they have to fill in a lot of the information on their own.
They might think that you want an hour of their time, which they might feel like they don’t have an hour to give you. Or they might think that you want to ask them questions about how you can get hired there but they don’t have a job opening right now and therefore think that they can’t help you.
Instead if I’m very specific about what I want AND make my intent for the outcome known then it’s much easier to say yes to.
Here’s an example of that for comparison:
“Would you be willing to spend 15 minutes with me on the phone so that I can ask you some questions about what you and your team do in Research and Development? It would help me tremendously to learn more as it’s a field I’m considering going into.”
They can read that and understand both what you’re asking (specifically) and why you’re asking and say “yes” I would be willing to spend 15 minutes with you to help you out.
3. Don’t be presumptuous
The last (and possibly most important) key to making it easy for busy people is not to be presumptuous about them, their time, or their knowledge.
This is one of the surest ways to go from being someone who they are excited to help to being viewed as ungrateful before you’ve even begun a relationship.
Here’s an example Darrah gave from our interview:
Her friend Sarah who had recently graduated from a data science program after being a math teacher for about a decade called her and said “I’m making this big career change. This is really overwhelming. It’s always been sort of a lay up getting jobs and teaching because it was a clear trajectory. But here I am in a new space and there is this person who is the hiring manager at this one company that I’m looking to get into. Would you take a look at the email I sent him?
Sarah’s email went something like this:
My name is Sarah. Teresa told me to reach out to you. I’m applying for the job of ______. Can I get coffee with you next week. How is 4pm on Thursday?
I look forward to it.
Darrah took one look at this email and then asked her friend this question:
“What made you feel like it was OK to be that presumptuous?’ And she again said ‘What do you mean?’ And I said ‘Sarah this person doesn’t know you.
They don’t owe you anything and you are asking of their intellectual property and their time which are two of the most valuable things they have to offer. And you did it without any amount of bashfulness or any amount of saying I understand that you’re busy. Or even giving them a real substantive idea of what you wanted from them to show them that you put in the work and you did your research and you were respecting their time.”
The difference between building relationships and bitterness about lack of results
Now that I’ve been teaching this stuff for years I’ve gotten many emails with people saying I’m trying to do what you’re teaching and I’m doing all the things and I’m not getting the results.
I call this the Peter Pan effect.
In the story of Peter Pan when he’s learning how to fly (or later in the movie “Hook” when re-learning) he went through all the motions but couldn’t fly. He couldn’t just jump into the air or just think random happy thoughts. Instead he had to genuinely feel it. He had to *Feel Happy* for it to work.
Everything we’ve talked about in this podcast and article works the same way. You have to be genuine in your interest in them and really care about building a relationship with them.
Otherwise as a tactic alone it is less likely to work. The words you choose to use will unintentionally feel transactional and that will not make them want to give their time to you.
With that said now that you know how to do this who’s someone that you’re really legitamately interested in getting to know.
Give them a call or write them today! And let me know what happens at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t wait to hear!
Transcript from Episode
Scott Barlow: Hey, welcome back to the Happen to Your Career podcast. I am so very excited to be back with you today because we have a rather interesting and rather amazing guest and also I’ve got a number of questions that I want to ask her. Welcome to the Happen to Your Career podcast, Darrah. How are you?
Darrah Brustein: I’m great. Thanks for having me Scott.
Scott Barlow: Absolutely. So before we hit the record button and everything here I was doing a quick sound check and just to make sure that we had our levels right. I asked you to tell me a little bit about what it is that you do and you gave me the easy answer. So I’m curious. Help us understand what it is that you do nowadays.
Darrah Brustein: Thanks for calling me out. So those of you who weren’t on our pre-chat, which is everyone didn’t get to here with I said to take the easy way out. I said answering the question of what I do is something that plagues me a bit. I on the one hand struggle with it because I hate to be put in a box and defined by titles and misconceptions are misnomers that might be attached to them. And on the other hand you know probably like many of y’all listening, y’all I live in the south. I am multi passionate and I do a lot of different things and it’s tough to get out in a quote unquote elevator pitch. So what I told Scott was that I’m half entrepreneur and half writer and he scoffed a bit and said there’s so much more than that. So frankly it depends on the circumstances and the environment; one part how much I think my conversation partner actually is interested as well as the context. So in some places I might just say I wrote a kids book on financial literacy and others I might say exactly what I said to you and others I might say I own a credit card processing company and others I might say I help people connect in real life through events for young professionals through a company that I started called Network Under 40. It could be any number of things. But in general now a platform that I’ve really taken a hold of because I think it’s so important and also pertinent to our conversation is helping people create the life they want through intentional relationship building.
Scott Barlow: How did, let’s back up here for a second because you haven’t always done that. And clearly all of these things that we just went through and you just mentioned not all of those happened instantly. So where did this start for you? What led you down the path to be really interested,you know if we go way back, in living much more intentionally and this idea of designing what it can look like?
Darrah Brustein: I’ve always been doing it I just didn’t put words to it. I didn’t characterize it. So it actually took about a decade of building my own life and career to look back more recently and notice what had happened. Notice that I had been utilizing intentional relationship building and community building skills. Other people call it networking but that’s again one of those words that has a lot of different meanings.
Scott Barlow: You cringe, I know that I do quite a bit but networking is one of those as well as long with the a what you do tell me your job title.
Darrah Brustein: Well I cringe at the latter part. The tell me are job title because that’s typically what people associate with quote unquote networking. I don’t think networking and its inherent true creation then what it’s supposed to be or what it really is bad. I think it’s wonderful. What I cringe at are the people who have taken on the nomenclature of networking and have for lack of a better term bastardized it. So that’s where I start to position myself and say oh I don’t really want to be associated with that if that’s your expectation of it because I don’t conduct myself that way.
Scott Barlow: So what would your definition of network can be super curious.
Darrah Brustein: To me it’s synonymous with relationship building. Plain and simple.
Scott Barlow: I totally completely agree. In fact to the point where often in many other things we do we will jokingly refer to it or like strike out networking working relationship building next to it. And so why do you think that it’s so much about relationship building as opposed to this bastardise thought that maybe some of us have what is networking? Tell me the differences.
Darrah Brustein: In my mind the way people view networking when it’s the word that we cringe at is a transaction based interaction. It is the antithesis of a relationship. A relationship in my mind quantifies the idea of going deep. Getting to know someone for who they are not what they do. Hence the cringe around the hey what do you do right out of the gate question. It’s the idea of pouring in and investing. It’s the idea of this as a long term relationship. So it’s not about taking something it’s about being curious and discovering perhaps giving although, I think that’s a wonderful framework, it’s also been a bit marred as well with oh just be a martyr and give and give and give which is also not I think appropriate. But it’s really about finding people that you truly connect with and resonate with that you want to be friends with and from there a lot can flourish. So if you want to look at it another way networking is friendship building.
Scott Barlow: I like that too. So for me honestly and I’m not even sure I haven’t armchair psychology myself enough to the point where I understand where it came from. But if I go back you know 10, 15 years ago I very much thought about and acted as if building relationships are building friends or anything else as though it was very transactional and that’s that’s how I behaved in a lot of different ways. And although I don’t entirely know where that came from it I had to pick it up and learned that it could be different along the way. So I’m curious you know you’ve been acting and behaving this way for a long time. Where did you first start to recognize that it could be different or how did you how did you learn this?
Darrah Brustein: There’s a few things. One is my dad, my dad is a consummate networker in the good way and the way he’s always been the person out in the world helping other people advance their goals, their ideas, their whatever the thing might be because he sees the world how I see the world which is as a puzzle to put together for the advancement of the rest. And you see the big picture even when the pieces seem like they don’t fit or you don’t even know that they’re on the same board. So he is that guy. And I just saw it my whole life and didn’t know any other way. And then upon going out into the world of the workforce I started my career in sales and just continued to treat people that way. Feeling like you know the golden rule exists why wouldn’t we continue to do that in life in this arena and through a lot of experience of selling whether it was expensive jeans for the fashion company I started working in when I got out of college to other products and services I sold, to starting my first company at age 25 of credit card processing and going off and building that and learning that at the end of the day even though it might take longer the rewards were bigger and I vividly remember telling my twin brother Garrett who is my business partner in that company nine plus years ago when we began I said Listen Garrett everyone in this business is doing the cold call thing. They’re literally dialing for dollars and saying we’ve got a rep in your area blah blah blah jargons script and then we’re not going to do that. I said I’m going to go out and develop referral relationships with people who get our mission. They like me, I like them and it’s going to take a while but once it clicks it will be a snowball rolling downhill. And that’s exactly what it was. But that took patience. It took perseverance. It took belief and hope. It took a lot of things that a lot of people maybe don’t allow themselves the time and space to cultivate. And secondly I think a natural reaction or objection to this would be to say well I don’t have the luxury of waiting when actually neither did I. I was eating through my savings. I was terrified I had bought a house three months before I started my business not because I felt financially ready but because I had a landlord with a restraining order I had filed against him. So I was in a position of feeling the desperation that a lot of people feel when they say why I need to get something now I can worry about the long term later but I still knew that I needed to come out that way because it was going to pay off in the long run.
So no matter your circumstances it doesn’t mean you can never ask for anything it doesn’t mean that you can’t get along the way but it does mean that you need to treat people as people and not people as an outlet to what you want.
Scott Barlow: At that particular time what caused you to be sure enough. Because I don’t think there’s any ultimate assurance for anything anyplace. But what caused you to be sure enough to where you committed to that type of strategy as opposed to what so many people will do with that short term transactional type approach so the snowball versus the transaction? Right.
Darrah Brustein: It wasn’t that I necessarily was comparing the two. But what I was doing was feeling out what’s authentic to me. And that was authentic to me. And I was lucky because of my grooming growing up and just my own natural wiring I suppose that that came more organically. And then in going into the real world and being a young adult in the business community I remember going to Chamber of Commerce meetings in Atlanta where I’m based and meeting people who are my parents age predominantly and who had been in their careers for decades upon decades, and feeling quite intimidated and watching some of them do it, what I consider to be well and modeling that and others doing it what I consider to be not well which is the transactional business card shows not interested in you at all looking at your name tag not in your eyes it’s like that whole kind of jam and feeling so gross and feeling like you don’t think of me as a person. I am just a company, a title, A transaction, a sale, an introduction.
And I didn’t want to do that to other people either. So that only continued to cement and solidify for me why that was what I was going to continue to live out.
Scott Barlow: I think at least describing the less desirable of those two routes that we just talked about. Gross is the right word for that. Absolutely. I haven’t called it gross before and I love that, or love whatever you want to call that. Yes that’s fantastic. So you have I think done a very good. I started to understand a little bit about your past and your story and everything like that I think you’ve done a really amazing job not just building relationships and not just looking at the long term game and not just trying to be authentic to yourself, I also think that there’s something else that I would say that you’re pretty good at that I’d love to talk about here too. One of those things in particular that I think is a question from many of our listeners when they’re interested in building relationships, when they’re interested in reaching out to other people, when they’re interested in getting getting in touch with other people that they want to get to know but don’t want to feel gross about it and they don’t want to create that type of impression. And at the same time they know that it’s important for one reason or another and they really do want to build that relationship. I would love to spend a few minutes and really talk about what is what can that look like how you think about that and some of the ways that people listening to this can do that too.
Darrah Brustein: Absolutely. I’m going to start sort of on the high end meaning when you have someone who really seems to hold the key for you and that can be the hiring manager at the job you’re looking for. Maybe they’re the decision maker of the company or someone you are trying to create as your client. Maybe they’re the celebrity that you just idolize and feel like this person needs to give me advice to change everything. Because I’ve been in all of those positions and I know exactly how each of those feels and just start by saying like these people, as US Weekly would say, are just like us they are people and they want to be treated like people first and you want to think about if I were in their position how would I want to be talked to, interacted with, approached and so on. I’ll start by sharing some of the mistakes that I see happening even. I’ll give you this example my friends Sarah called me from Denver two weeks ago and she has recently graduated from a data science program after being a math teacher for about a decade and she said I’m making this big career change. This is really overwhelming. It’s always been sort of a lay up getting jobs and teaching because it was a clear trajectory. But here I am in a new space and there is this person who is the hiring manager at this one company that I’m looking to get into. And here’s the general email that I sent him and it goes something like this: Dear So-and-so My name is Sarah. Someone told me to reach out to you. I’m applying for this job. Can I get coffee with you next week. How is this time, I look forward to it. – Sarah, something like that. And she said. How is that? And immediately I said Sarah how could you have done that? And she said What do you mean? And and I said Sarah you are so smart, you are so personable, you are so capable. But what made you feel like it was OK to be that presumptuous? And she said What do you mean? And I said Sarah this person doesn’t know you. They don’t owe you anything and you are asking of their intellectual property and their time which are two of the most valuable things they have to offer. And you did it without any amount of bashfulness or any amount of saying I understand that you’re busy. Or even giving them a real substantive idea of what you wanted from them to show them that you put in the work and you did your research and you were respecting their time. So those really are some of the baseline critical things that I think are important. Another example of this is years ago when I wrote my kids book on financial literacy my primary goal was to become the Baby Einstein of financial literacy. So to do that I thought well the creator of Baby Einstein is obviously the person who I need to know. So I spent hours researching everything that Julie Agnar Clark had ever done or said and was public online.
I sent her an email and I said something along the lines of you know Dear Julie I’m so admiring of your work and here’s why and here’s where I am in my career. And I have this one specific question for you. And share the question if you’d be so kind as to take a moment to answer that question over email I’d be sincerely grateful and if you’d feel so inclined it would mean the world to me to hop on a 20 minute phone call and expand upon it. The next day I got a response from her which I was shocked by. And she said I’d be happy to get on a call with you and we spent close to an hour and then we talked many times after that and I know deep down that the reason she answered me was because 1) I was kind to her 2) I flattered her which always has to be sincere but it goes a long way. And 3) I put in the work I spent so much time doing the work to make sure that the question I wasn’t asking her wasn’t easily google- able. Which frankly as I’m sure you know Scott as well is one of the most frustrating situations that if you could find that answer with a quick google search then it’s pretty rude frankly to reach out to someone and ask them to reiterate something that you could have found out more quickly on a basic search or it’s listed on their website or their LinkedIn or an interview they recently conducted or something like that.
And so the fact that I did those things and came to her sincerely, didn’t presume that she should help me, didn’t leave it so open ended that she had to fish to figure out what I wanted or how long this might take. It made an easy yes for her. So make it an easy yes for someone and put yourself in their shoes and think what does this person value. Might they see themselves in me. Might they want to help. Because people want to help. You just have to make it easy for them.
Scott Barlow: That is so interesting and thinking about it at this point. I’ll get literally hundreds of emails in my inbox every single day and I have had so many different emails that are the opposite of that. They are not kind. They have not put in the work. We’ve spent now five years putting content out there where they could literally google it and it would pop up and as much as I love, I absolutely love helping people in the way that we do and that’s why we’re in this business. I also literally cannot there’s not enough time in the day even if I were answering every single e-mail that people sent out to be able to get them that information and when they’re not making it easy it doesn’t even matter if I want to. I can’t. So I love what you have pointed out and you know just reiterating that really quick in terms of being kind and being complimentary or that flattering piece and then putting in the work and then making sure that it is easy for them and I think that’s part of putting in the work too.
So I’m curious since you have actually a couple of different platforms you probably get emails like this at this point too and are not just on the one side of it as well. Right?
Darrah Brustein: I get them all the time. So when I write for Forbes and when you write for Forbes you get a lot of unsolicited people either pitching you their thing in their press release or saying hey can you mentor me on this or can we have coffee or hop on a call to teach me about this or any number of other things or same thing with having a company called Network Under 40 where you know we have 30000 people in a number of mid tier US cities who are a part of our organization. And because of the natural framework of a brand around networking and connection and relationship building there is misguided perception or assumption that you can spend one on one time with every one of those 30000 people which is not the goal. The goal is to help you find local connections that you really click with. And I much like you do this platform send so much free content to answer many of the questions that they have or might have in the future so that I can allow them to have that access more easily. And I’d say for anyone who gets those types of inquiries there’s a few ways that can be really useful to handle them because saying no can be really awkward. However I don’t love to ignore people. The only times I really ignore e-mails is if I feel like it wasn’t personal to me whatsoever like you sent out a bulk press release and wanted to just send it to every person who’s e-mail you could extract off the list somewhere.
But beyond that I think it’s again in that human relationship piece that even if I’m unwilling to do the thing that you asked I’m still going to try my best to be gracious to you and tell you no. But from there my hope is that you as the recipient will respect that, because I’ve had many times, and I say this from a me perspective but hoping that this will resonate with some people who struggle with this as well, that there’s many times where you say no and the other person does not take that well and they look at you like what a jerk, or how dare you, or I was entitled to that when none of us are entitled to other people’s time and resources it’s generous of them to offer them. So in those moments choosing to respond and say whatever it is you choose to say. For me it’s typically something like I’m at capacity but really appreciate you reaching out or you know and these are templated e-mails. In some cases you can create and put I use a tool called MIXMAX. which has a ton of robust stuff in there free option where you can do everything from calendaring and e-mail sequences and a number of other things. But in this case have a drop down menu within your inbox of templates of email. So I have one called No. And it’s something along the lines of my focus right now is on X Y Z and this doesn’t fit within that and I really wish you all the best. Thank you for reaching out. Hope our paths cross again in the future or something along those lines where it’s gracious.
It’s honest but I didn’t ignore them and make them feel like they didn’t matter at all. And maybe you don’t have the capacity for that and that’s okay. But all I can then do is know that I did my best to keep true to my values and my integrity and handle that situation how I think is in alignment with those things. And then it’s up to that person and this is where I struggle to not take it personally to know that it’s up to them. However they translate that and how it lands with them.
Scott Barlow: That is a challenge for me as well because one of the reasons why I got into this business is I want people to be helped and it almost feels like in some ways and I know this isn’t true. Logically you see it as we’re talking about it now. I don’t get to control the reaction and what comes back but I have ways. If I am not careful I will feel pain if they’re not having a great reaction I have to remind myself of exactly what you were talking about. Here’s what I’m super curious so let’s flip this around on the other side and look at here’s what happens here’s the situation for a lot of people that might be harder to get hold of and I think it’s really important to understand what’s going on the opposite side. Like if there’s somebody like you who you’ve got a few different organizations and you get a lot of e-mail and there’s lots of people that have different perceptions around your time with what you’re doing and everything else that’s going on. But let’s say that we want to contact somebody like you in that situation or we want to contact the hiring manager or anything else. Aside from that couple of elements that you just laid out being kind being complimentary you’ll make sure that you put it in the work and make it easy. Yes. What else can we do or how else can we make it an easy Yes so that we don’t get the no email because I’ve got several variations of those too.
Darrah Brustein: It may seem obvious but the best way always is to be introduced. Having the ability to ride on someone else’s reputational equity will always benefit you and doing so comes with a lot of trust and expectation that you are going to treat it well and not be damaging to that hopefully continue to elevate it. That is always the best way. And now more than ever. We live in a time where it is so much easier to figure out who knows whom through all of the social media tools that we have at our free disposal and access that everyone’s constantly updating. Like for example I always say that LinkedIn is like my CRM that other people updated first. For those who don’t know what a CRM is its customer relationship management but in this case it’s basically just a living breathing Rolodex that other people are constantly updating with where they are , what they’re up to and who their connections are.
So if you’re talking to a hiring manager and you’re looking for someone or you’re wanting to talk to a hiring manager you’re looking for someone to make that introduction go to LinkedIn go to Facebook see where the mutual connections are there 1 2 3 degrees away and start to get introduced to that person because then you open the door. There is a study I maybe bastardizing this as well but it’s I believe it came from Stanford and it’s called the idea or something along the idea of the power of loose ties. And it talks about how most things happen.Weak Ties. Thank you. Yeah and it’s how everything really happens statistically through weak ties. So it’s not always are often the first degree connection but it’s the second third or fourth where someone introduces you to someone who introduced you to someone who then makes that introduction that you’re looking for or someone who you don’t actually know super well but they feel good enough about you that they’re willing to make the introduction because it can actually work against you sometimes when you know someone to well where they think well actually know too much about you and I know you’re good and you’re bad and maybe I’m less inclined to make that introduction for you because they know so much about you whereas that person that you met at a conference or a cocktail party or a dinner party or on an airplane you might feel like that interaction they had with you for five minutes or 20 minutes was positive enough that they’re willing to open the door for you.
So there is so much power in those and we should never underestimate them which is why it’s really important to follow up when you meet someone to make sure that when you meet someone in the first place that you’re doing so thoughtfully and you’re making a great impression that you’re continuing to nurture that relationship over time because there likely will come that time where you’re going to want to turn around and ask for something. And it’s never a good time to ask for something when you’ve let the ball drop and you’ve not been in touch and suddenly you want something from someone who barely remembers you or your name.
Scott Barlow: So let me ask you this then if we know that one of the best ways to be able to make this happen and reach people that we want to reach is through introductions. Let’s see that we’re in the situation where we have somebody we want to get introduced to we know somebody who knows them. What can I do to make it even easier or more successful.Let’s let’s break this down even a little bit more. What can I do from there?
Darrah Brustein: Similarly you’re going to want to make it easy for someone to say yes in this case I think you can craft e-mails like a one paragraph e-mail that they just can tweak if they feel like it doesn’t match their tone or their writing style and say hey here’s a little example of something you’re free to use. So it makes it super simple and just spell it out do it directly and easily. So if they say no problem or they can just forward it on and then the e-mail knowing that whatever you’re saying that you’d be more than happy for that other person you’re looking to get connected with might read.
So again just creating this template situation where that person can say no problem. Copy paste send it over or forward send it along. Took them 10 seconds or less but they feel really great about it. You got the outcome that you wanted and needed and then hopefully you can get the yes.
Scott Barlow: What if you if you don’t get the yes? I am curious where have you had a situation in the past where you didn’t get the yes. And what ended up happening from there that you were able to either overcome it or something else good came from it.
Darrah Brustein: So the first thing that comes to mind is something that happened very recently which is I’m in the moment of planning a virtual summit called Life by Design not by Default. And in doing so I’m booking talent and I’ve got about 60 speakers even Deepak Chopra involved. And I really wanted Scooter Braun to do it and Scooter Braun is someone with whom I went to college but we only casually knew each other. So I reached out to a friend of mine who is very close with him. And I said Tom I know that Scooter is someone whose relationship you probably protect quite dearly because he is in high demand and I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t feel like this was something that you’re going to look good for doing it’s not going to put you in a weird spot but more so if this conversation goes no further than my asking of this I completely understand if you don’t want to ask him at all.
And he got back to me and said I’m actually going to see him this weekend up the march in D.C. So this was a couple of weeks ago and he said I’ll ask him. But here’s the thing. I never heard from Tom about it again. And I’m completely ok with that because to me that means he didn’t say yes. He’s not interested. And that’s OK, and maybe Tom didn’t even ask. I have no idea but I didn’t want to push Tom because there is a place to be persistent and there’s a place where you’re annoying. And I didn’t want to push Tom because my friendship with him comes first and the outcome of if he can get me an introduction to Scooter or reintroduction to Scooter was not more important to me than the quality and the consistency of my friendship with Tom. So even his silence while it may be a yes one day or maybe it’ll remain silent. I took it as a No or at least a no for now. And I’m okay with that and I have other angles that I can massage to get to scooter if I so choose. But I’m not valuing my own goals and outcomes over my relationships ever. No matter how big the goal.
Scott Barlow: Here’s why I love that we started out talking about the difference between networking and building relationships and ultimately the difference between valuing relationships and being transactional. And I love that this is such an illustration of putting that into practice. And so kudos to you for walking the walk. Way to go.
And here’s where I’m curious and I love to ask you one more question about you know for people that are in this place and they are not considering themselves necessarily amazing relationship builders. But they want to really get started . They’re interested in doing this and it’s more on the on the beginning stages for them at least thinking about it than this way. What advice would you give them?
Darrah Brustein: For starters you already have a network no matter where you are beginning and people often underestimate that. For example I sit on my university’s board and I talk to college students all the time where they say who I don’t have a network how am I going to get a job. Everyone talks about value adding before extracting and taking but I have nothing to add I’m just a college kid who has had an internship maybe what am I going to add to the world. But no matter where you are you’ve had classmates you have family you have friends you have your friends family. And this is your network and they don’t have to be the biggest names they don’t have to have impressive shiny titles but they can also be valuable to you and valuable to the people that you’re going to interact with for a number of reasons.
So start there start where you are and then don’t be afraid to ask because the people who are the perfect testing grounds are the perfect resource pool to go to are the people with whom you already have depth of relationship where you already have trust, where they already like you and they’re going to be interested in helping you if you ask them in a gracious way instead of just going out into the world thinking well crap I’ve got to build an entire network and work towards my goal at the same time. So instead you can go where you’ve already been sowing your seeds which sounds weird but like planting seeds and growing a garden of the relationships you already have and you’ve been watering those just through the friendships and family you’ve been building over the years and start truthfully and honestly approaching them and saying here’s my challenge or here’s my goal. This is what I need. Do you have any ideas? And that’s a really low pressure way to get someone’s buy in to assist. So sometimes it can feel daunting when people feel targeted. So instead of maybe saying hey I know you know this person or you’re in this industry can you open a door for me to just allow someone to do something most of us naturally enjoy which is to share advice and counsel and be helpful. So if you open it up more open endedly to someone who already knows likes and trusts you to say what do you think about this. Do you have any advice or any ideas for me. And then generally they will draw the dots together and say Oh well let me introduce you to so-and-so or have you considered this and in some cases if they’re not getting to that conclusion you can walk down that path and then say Would you be willing to make that introduction in which case they generally say yes or they’ll say no it’s not a good time or here’s why that person isn’t a good idea.
But that’s all great knowledge and data points for you to keep taking into other interactions. And it’s also great practice to be unafraid to ask to be unafraid to be authentic and vulnerable in those moments about what it is that you need because what you’re also doing there is deepening the relationship. And if this all comes back to true networking is a relationship thing then make sure that no matter even when you are let’s say there’s a bank account and while I don’t look at it this way really. If for every two times you give you extract one time to make sure your balance is always positive then you’re still generally not only keeping the balance positive in the 2 to 1 nature that I just mentioned but you’re also keeping the relationship equity positive because you’re valuing this person you’re investing time and energy into the relationship and you’re just demonstrating through your actions that you care and this is an important relationship to you in the first place. Otherwise you wouldn’t be approaching them.
Scott Barlow: That is amazing. I firstly am refraining from making a joke about sowing seeds. And secondly, Thank you so very much for taking the time and making the time because this is something that I think is really one of the most useful skills in the world in my opinion is building relationships authentically and doing so in a way where you feel comfortable and very practiced at it can even do so in a way that’s helpful to other people. So I really appreciate you taking the time and coming and sharing your experience with us.
And the other thing I wanted to ask you about to is take a moment, you mentioned the Life by Design summit coming up here but take a moment and tell people what that is and where that is partially because I get the opportunity to participate in it too. I think that that is something that can be useful to a lot of folks as well.
Darrah Brustein: Well thank you. It will. It’s all virtual all which is cool you can be anywhere watching it from your bed or vacation or your office or wherever you choose. And it’ll be two to three days in late May. We haven’t officially announced in order to find out about it. I say the easiest way because it’s not public yet is to follow me on Instagram which is just at Darrahb. And I will be sharing about it and it’s going to be amazing because one it’s free, two we’ve got some powerful speakers like Deepak Chopra, Ronny Turiaf from the Lakers and Miami Heat and two time Olympian, Adam Grant the author of Give and Take and The Originals and Option B. We’ve got Kat Cole who’s one of the biggest bad asses in business she’s number two at Focus Brands she’s a humanitarian she is for Fortune’s 40 under 40. And we’ve got about 50 other speakers as well. And there is just so much value in it for the cost of zero dollars so I hope that everyone will stay tuned by following me on Instagram and I will be letting you all be the first to know via Instagram when it is live and how you can register.
Scott Barlow: And we will link it up as well happentoyourcareer.com/231. You can find it there too. Head on over and follow her on Instagram. And where else can people find you if they’re interested in have more Darrah?
Darrah Brustein: Well that would be lovely. Darrah.co is my Website again, where you can learn more. Get free resources online my articles are there there’s a 27 video series on A Guide to Better networking which is absolutely free. You can e-mail me through there. So I try to do my best to be a person in the world that gives more value than I extract. So that’s a really good place to find it.
Scott Barlow: Very very cool hey I really appreciate it.
Darrah Brustein: Thank you so much. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you at the virtual summit.