A Master Networking Session from a Wall Street Salesman

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Networking still matters.

I'm not talking about social networks but establishing connections with people professionally and personally.

A lot of things in life happen due to relationships. It's how we develop trust, empathy, and connections.

Marc Angelos is a long-time Wall St. salesman who intimately understands the power of value of networking.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Marc takes a deep dive into the keys to success networking and how to make it happen in a digital world.

I'm Mark Evans and welcome to Marketings Bark, the podcast of delivers insight from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches in twenty five minutes or less. When I started my career, networking was an important part of career building. Not Social Networking, but meeting people, connecting and building relationships. With the rise of the Internet, networking has clearly changed. We use zoom, SMS and email to digitally communicate and when covid recedes, it's unclear how in person meetings will bounce back. To discover the secrets and importance of great networking, I'm talking with Mark Angelos, a digital marketing strategist and a longtime relationship builder. Welcome to Marketings Park. Thank you very much, markets pleasure to be here. Let's start by talking about personal branding and the power of networking. For All the talk about digital technology social media, networking as a marketing tool doesn't get much attention. So provide some insight into whether it's still relevant and how people can effectively network in the digital world. Sure so. What people always overlook, Mark, is that networking is the foundational component of social media. Right the whole point of it is to network it, although it gets transmuted at the sales and all that other bit that we know. It is really about people connecting with people. That's not changing. So humans as a social animal not going away. What's different, though, is the connectivity piece. A it occurs in a different manner now, and be the existence of social media. The rise of these channels, these digital platforms, has transformed networking way more than the Internet itself has. People think of it as a dynamic of just technology, but in the old days we're all familiar with six degrees of separation. You could get you know, you can meet almost anyone through the sixth iteration. You're now one DM away from the presidency. Right. When that, when you can speak directly one to one, it changes the dynamic of everything, from sales to marketing and networking. Networking now has to be predicated upon the value delivery component of what I can do for someone else, which is the inverse of way most people look at it right I worked for twenty seven years on Wall Street and the relationship management role and the whole concept there the reason I lasted as long as I did. If you know how to touch base with someone in an additive manner. And then that's the magic what we're all familiar with, especially on Linkedin. I know you're very active on it. The old you can tell right away when there's the transactional feel, when someone reaches out to you, HMM, they want something from you, and that that whole thing is not the way forward. You already know this. Everyone out there is aware of it. The new generation of leaders, I mean this from the Z's on up. It's this BS detector is on ten. There's no more pushing and pounding and pitching. So networking becomes a game of what can I do for you? So you and I are on this conversation right now. In the back of my head I'm thinking what can I do from mark? And that might not be business, it might just be connections to someone. I know some insides on how you're running your show, whatever, but it's something that we will benefit from. So you and I are contemporaries. And back in the day, and I say that you know, ten years ago, fifteen years ago, networking was meeting people for lunch, going to networking events, maybe going golfing with them. It was about personal relationships. In personal relationships, where I gotta feel for you and your body language and just the way that you operate, and that gave me a sense of whether it you should be part of my network and over time, you know, you work your network, you nurture your network. A lot of physical work to do that. Is that still relevant today? Are we still in person networking still relevant? And how do you cross the...

...chasm from digital to personal? It's a it's a multiphase pontypark question here. I'm so we have to get into the definition of personal. Does that mean in person? Because here's why I say this. I've my son is on mine with four of his best friends that he's never met, three of which are in different countries, and that's been the case throughout the lockdown. So now, is that a real relationship? Is that an inperson thing? The point is, will they do for Each Other? Yes, the old days of golfing and dinners and even meaning for a cup of coffee, or my world was grabbing a beer after work at the bar with your customer. That's not going on right now and and will come back eventually, but not for a while. That doesn't mean you can't still develop that direct, one on one personal relationship and bleed or not. You kind of have to like this is a digital world now, for one or for good, for ill. The reality is you can and you should and actually the onus is upon you to do that. I think that what people don't recognize as how to do that right this is now getting into the world, your world, the content world. You, quote unquote, have a conversation every day, whether it's through the podcast, whether it's put your posting on Linkedin. You're very active in communicating your perspective and helpful insights. That helps people develop a relationship. Those of us who didn't grow up in that world have to either learn that skill or and start exercising it or suffer the consequences that if you don't speak in a digital world, you don't exist. So networking really means right now adding to other people's content, putting out content of your own, but again, it's got to be with that value you add approach, you're very familiar with it, of how can I help these people? Yeah, a couple comments. One is that it's interesting that your son has relationships with people in other countries. My Son has these three friends that he's met online. They live thousands of miles away in western Canada and he's got this very intimate relationship with them. In fact, he wants to go visit them this summer for one of them as having a birthday party. And on one hand, in the old world you say that's really weird, but in the new world that's completely acceptable. It's just the way that things are done. One question I did want to ask you is whether the inperson networking is going to come back. Will we meet for Beers? One of the things I ask myself when it comes to coffee meetings is whether that will happen again, because, when you think about it, a coffee meeting is a twohour endeavor. There's about half an hour to get there, there's the hour that you spend with the person and you're not even sure if it's going to work out, and then there's a half hour to get back to your office or even longer. That's a big investment for a first time touch with somebody. I think in some ways I don't want to do that. I agree it's it's just too much risk. Right. So the question is, how much will the coffees, the beers, just getting together people come back or whether we're in a new reality now. So the reality is that it is going to come back right in some form. However, there's got to be a judicious element now to what you just said, to is it worth my time, and I don't mean this is not in the face of the transactional thing I just mentioned. It is that there's there's an element in when you get married, you send out your invitations on very expensive paper, right. Why? Because there's a commitment there that people recognize the high quality and what you spent in the invitation represents something. And that's the same thing when someone invests time to come visit you. My previous jobs about on Wall Street. I was covering customers in Europe, so I was there quite frequently, on airplanes, etc. What that means is you have to make the decision is this person potentially worth the effort? And on the inverse of that, the person that will be there for the meeting is thinking mark is willing to come and make this time in his schedule when he could do this over zoom call, and so it does add a new dynamic to networking. Right, there's this element of are they...

...worth it? I am worth it, depending on whatever side of that table you're on. But yeah, sure, I'll come back. I mean there's going to beers and dinner, as humans are social creatures. One thing I will say is that the value of meeting somebody obviously makes a difference. It shows there's a sense of commitment. So, for example, of I get approached by prospect about a big marketing project and the fact that I'm willing to meet them in person. A year ago that was necessary, that was absolutely necessary, because if you didn't meet with them, you weren't serious. Today I think I could probably jump on a zoom call at their convenience, meet them, learn about what they want, get a feel for whether it's a fit or not and make a proposal, and I don't even think they expect me to meet with them. I think in my world that is the new reality. I think you raise a good point, then, mark, but also don't forget that expectations would change radically with the lockdown. So yes, but going forward I don't think people will be as insulted by those not making the effort. But that also means, on the flip side, that those who do make the effort, when it's tradiciously determined, are going to have that much more leverage in that conversation and I think that's going to be the interesting thing to see how things snap back. I hate the phrase to normal because it's not going to be normal anymore, but how people flip back to their old behaviors. So, whereas before you and I are doing this virtually if this was a prospecting meeting, but in a month, two months, three months from now, it could be the expectation maybe that you're going to come down to meet me and if you're really serious about doing business and me, that's the way it's going to happen. I agree with you. Back to the expectations piece. When we were kids, you there were pen pals. You didn't really have expectations of meeting your pen pal, if they will far away in the world, and you hope to, but it wasn't really on the radar. Now your son absolutely is expecting to one day sit down and meet in person. That's part of the appeal of the relationship. My friend might son's friends. I've asked like where are these guys located? He first few months he's like, I don't know. Some not in America, though I know because the time zone like okay, but this is the world. So I think that people will develop those relationships. In person becomes the secondary piece which touches back on the networking mark. The whole concept of social media and digital engagement like this is merely the entree point for an in person relationship and I think, to your point, not everyone's going to want to make that second step. That's where you figure out as this person part of my tribe, quote unquote. But I do think that this becomes it's a new version of relationship building, but it's still relationship building. One of the metrics when it comes to digital networking is connections, the number of followers you have, the number of connections on Linkedin, and a lot of people equate connections to network. Have I have five thousand connections, I have a huge network. But that can't be the case, because it's easy to connect with somebody, but it's different to have a relationship with them. So how do you explain to people that connections are not is not network, or maybe it is, I don't know. Tell me. So there's an old expression a good friend will help you move, a great friend will help you move the body. This comes down to how what is the depth of the relationship versus the breath of how many relationships I have? Now, if I've got ten thousand connections on Linkedin and none of them respond to anything I post, is that really a relationship? Obviously the answers know. On the other hand, if I only have four hundred and each I'm willing to pay me tenzero dollars for the services I'm offering, that's that's depth. Depth matters. Depth is more important than anything. It always was, digital or not, it's got nothing to do with technology. If you have a connection with someone and they call you up, it's your best friend and he says, Mark, I need you, it's two in the morning. Can you come? You're going to go, you don't ask any questions, I'll be there, versus some Rando who and it kind of knows you and whatever. My point is the...

...relationship aspect doesn't change. The mediums they change, but it doesn't. The human thing is still there, the power of connection, depth over breath. I think that people they don't. They don't see that because the metrics game that social media is introduced to this younger generation and and the older ones has fallen for it as well. It is a numbers game right. This is the everyone loves data metrics, but this is my argument. In the old sales world I came out of its. You got to not conflate the tail with the dog. Right, people will do for you and buy from you and rope and connect with you if they want to. That's it. It's not about how many you already have. I'm probably preaching the choir here. Well, one of the reasons why I think linkedin has worked so well for me and though, in the last year, is that connections are just a starting point. I read a lot of content. Want I find interesting people, I'll connect with them, but the key to my success has been conversations and I will reach out to people because I've got a small relationship with them and I'll say, for example, Hey, mark, I love your content, love the way that you explained this. Would you be open to a zoom call? In many cases and most cases people say yes, and then you jump on a call of someone, you have a thirty minute conversation and all sudden the relationship changes. They go from a connection to a relationship. And some of those are one offs where you talked on them once and that's it, and some of them, you continue to have ongoing conversations and you may jump on another call with them because you feel like you've got I don't know if it's the right word, is friend, but certainly you've got like a real connection, where there are some people that, if I got an airplane I was in their town and I and I pick them on linked in and said you want to meet for your beer, they would say absolutely, because they they know me. Provide some best practices in terms of how to make the leap from connections to conversations, because I think that's the magic of digital networking and networking in general. I'll break it down like this, mark, and here's your actionable steps, your superpower and the reason you've been so successful on Linkedin. I'm talking to you as mark, is because of these three reasons, and these are applicable to anyone, everywhere. Number one, curiosity. Right, you are genuinely curious. When you look at so much content, you chase them down. Most folks don't take the time to really investigate, so curiosity is always the starting point for anyone's success in anything. Number two, active listening. You illustrate this perfectly, but this is an old sales tactic where people get in there and they don't ask any questions other than to answer, than to listen. Rather, they only want to hear and not and you do this, you're paying attention, you're knowing with the with the stream of question you should go. You're trying to figure out active listening, is such a rarity these days. So folks who learn to actively listen and what that means in practice is can I repeat back to you what you just said in my words, and you agree? So active listing is number two. And the third piece is empathy. Right, that's what you are also doing here as well. Empathy means understanding from the other person's perspective, when you're curious, when you're listening to what they're saying and you start to try to see it their way. This is sales on one, relationship building, you can call it networking. It's people connecting, is all it is. And those three things are not taught, not formally, and they're not really accentuated at all by the educational system, which is a whole nother world. But my point is you have to take the active role in learning these things. will call them Eq you skills, will call them soft skills. They're more important than the technology skills that we all value so highly. And I may be biased, but I'm coming out of twenty seven years of selling artificial intelligence software, so I know what I'm talking about here. The ability to connect with someone is the first step to anything, to selling, to relating, to building a friendship, and that's the thing where you need to take it on yourself. What are the steps I need to do? I need to literally spend the time getting on Linkedin and you read people's comment...

...and you go look at their content and then you touch base ask them questions, but you do it in the empathetic fashion, you do it in an honoring, value oriented approach, and that's also a skill. That's that's probably the skill them before they're learning how to communicate in a manner that builds people up so that they want to engage in return. Let's go back to an earlier comment you set about content and the need to give as opposed to take, because there are obviously people on social media that are looking to take. They're looking to sell you something right away, even though they don't have a relationship. The good people, the people who are really effective at networking are producing a lot of content, they're leaving at many comments, they're engaging with people, and do you think that people forget about the value of content and the value of giving when they're trying to drive networking digitally? Yes, I think it's a great point. Value Delivery is the game always in life. Forget about social technology allows you to magnify that, but if you're not delivering value at scale, then you're not really worth having in the network, if you will. And this is not giving to get something, this is giving to give because in a sense, the world we live in now, with that six degrees of separation, becomes one DM thing. We now have people who have to choose to want to do business with you or to engage in connect and if they don't make that active choice, you're out. Why would they choose to do that? Because you give more than you take. Everyone and everything wants something right in life. You know that anyone you meet is looking for something, and I don't mean sales, I just mean there's something that they're looking to do with their life from goal. If you can approach everyone in that regard and deliver as much as you can in the area that you think will help them, even if it's not correct, they'll recognize your intent, and intent matters. Intent is a real thing, by the way. Intent is a weapon. If I really go out of my way to try to help Mark Evans, if I get off this call and I think to myself, you know what, something that dawns on me now, and I go back to you with it, something that might help you, you're going to say this is this is a good guy. That's the game, because there's not enough business to go around. There's not. There's so many channels. It comes down to WHO DO I want to associate with? What do I want to give my business to? Who Do I want to be able to be there if they need me? One of the interesting things about business, and I repeat this on a regular basis, is that people don't buy from companies, people buy from people. In many cases you buy based on the relationship, whether you like somebody or you trust them. When I was a reporter, for example, people would tell me things because they liked me and they trusted me and they wanted to have that back and forth relationship, and I think that's one of the reasons why writing a lot of content on linkedin makes sense because people believe that they get to know you, they get toot know your thoughts and your ideas and you're willingness to help people, and I think that makes a difference. Is that it's still about trust and still about it's still about whether a likability, if whether we like it or not, whether it's digital or in person. I think people don't recognize that what they're selling first and foremost is themselves. So you, you as you, as an individual, whoever this is, is a product on the web, no different from any company, no differ from any widget, and that means your sales front endpiece is your communication. Right. It doesn't have to be formal. It could be informal on the phone, it could be in person but the or it could be formalized in content, but there's a sale that has to happen before you even get to say what you're going to say. And that's the part where the value orientation. When I was on Wall Street all those years and I jumped a bunch of jobs, and they are they're all big firms, you'd know, but it was the same customer base and the reason it was never a difficult for me to switch jobs was because the customer value. The customers knew that was value there, they'd be willing to follow me from the firm. And so that comes down to that.

In real life, it doesn't matter what you do, Mark like, what career you're in, if you decide that you want to give up on podcast tasting and go become a hot air balloonist, if people are behind you, they're in there. They're like, Dude, take us on this journey, let's go, because they they're invested in you. You the person, and so people have to think of themselves as I need a front end on me of communication. It's not I'm not selling anything per se, but you kind of are right. The first thing, the first in impression you're going to have of me is going to be content. No matter what. The first thing anyone ever does is check someone out online, period, and that's it. What's there is what you're putting there. It's interesting. There's a lot of talk these days about account base marketing, or ABM, and it's that the idea that you would focus on a small number or a limited number of customers and you would personalize your marketing to them on a regular basis so that, rather than having a shotgun approach to marketing. It's very focused and in some respects networking is really ABM. We are focused on a small number of people or a limited number of people that we want to have relationships with because, as you say, you it's a give and take relationship. Are always looking for something and I think that's ironic because there's such a reliance on technology to make things happen. Relationships are fundamentally we're marketing and sales happens. I agree with that, because it's all about life, is about relationships. I'm formerly relationship managers sales. I'm not a marketing guy. I'm in the marketing world now. That's what I do for living. I can tell you the whole concept of funnels and lead Jen and conversion rates. People get hooked on that and think that's the game, when really that's the first step. Takes you to what really matters, the relationship piece you reference, and that relationship piece is all that matters at that point. If I'm going to play the game of my tenzero leads go out and I get one percent conversion and I just have to keep doing this and I never build a relationship, there's no business there. How many times have you bought from a brand new online retailer? You know, Amazon's great, you like them, they do a good job for you. You got a relationship with them. That's the way most people want. They nobody wants to switch unless they're unhappy. But it comes down to do I like these people? Do I have a relationship? And firms have relationships. You don't think of it this way, but right now I got Disney plus. Most of us have Disney plots that you can have seven accounts. I've got my friends and family on my account. No big deal, it's all free. At some point I know they're going to convert those folks to start charging them. Now that's manipulative if you think about it, but it's not really, because it's Disney and it's a soft magic company and I like that. But facebook, who's also trying to manipulate me by connections, to try to find that who I connect with. That's Manipulati, an evil. But facebook I think of as this scary beast. So it's a different the relationship I have with facebook is different from the relationship I have with Disney. And so people and companies. It's about relationship let me put you on the spot get your predictions for social media in two thousand and twenty one, particularly around Linkedin, which has had a moment. I mean the last year to eighteen months has been tremendous for Linkedin. I think they're close to seven hundred and forty million users, and the other platform of interest these days is obviously clubhouse. What are your thoughts about both those platforms in two thousand and twenty one? Sure so, I don't do not pay in the spot of all this is a tried and true formula. Linkedin is going the way of facebook. Right. Linkedin is great. I love Linkedin. I've been on the long as you have. It is getting jammed up with content. It's going to move to a pay to play kind of model where they you want your content to have read, you're going to pay for it, and it evolves into the real value delivery folks will emerge, because we just talked about that. That metrics game, the SEO, optimization and keywords like that's not going to play in a world that's too crowded. It's going to...

...become I want to do business with Mark Evans because I like the guy. You just said it the same with your journalist background. So, as far as Linkedin is concerned, it's going to continue to evolve into the real value delivery folks who have real communication skills and are able to attract the crowd because of the value they give to that crowd. I actually I think Garrey Vandertruck is a great example of that. And the world of clubhouse. I've done probably two or three of these a week now for a month and a half, two months, and I can tell you clubhouse is, it's someone called it once, a cross between a conference and a a podcast. Clubhouse is going to get a ton of competition right twitter is introducing their version of it. It's not just going to be the only audio platform. So as the world gets flooded with more clubhouses, and that will happen, it becomes the feature everyone has, you're going to start to see the FOAMO disappear. Right this fear of missing out, which is what's driving a lot of clubhouse right now, will filter away and then it goes back to the same old game of who brings real value. I know you're on clubhouse mark. There's a lot of snake oil salesman in there right now, especially in like the how to build wealth, get rich rooms. Those folks will get flushed and you're going to be left with folks who really bring content and contacts and helpful insights, guys like yourself, and that's going to take probably a year to get to that point, is if you want to really put a time on that. But I think eventually clubhouse becomes common and I think it becomes more of a value delivery game. Life is always value delivery game. Social media was really valuable at one point. Now it's kind of noisy. One final question, and I would be remissed because, having written three books, I understand that they are labors of love at the the very most, and if you sell a book beyond your friends and family, you're doing really well. You've got an a new book coming out called content. Is the new sales. What motiivated this this activity? Why did you embrace the idea of a book, because it's a lot of work, and give us a little snapshot of what the Books About. Sure, so I've years ago and I was working on Wall Street. I recognize the value of bringing content to people right and this is before pandemic, this is before a lockdown. I used to post weekly articles and videos on Linkedin and drove a lot of business and I recognized early on. Okay, contents eight and avenue for selling. But now, as we all know, in the world we live in, it's essentially the only avenue for selling, and so content is now replacing the in person visit, as you referenced earlier. So what does that mean to business? As a businessman, and having worked in finance all these years, I can tell you it means that all of a sudden every salesperson has to become a content producer. Here's the dilemma now, and you'll relate to this, mark sales people are our trained in the content channels. In fact, they're penalized for using them. They're not supposed to be on them. The marketing folks use them, they're very adroit with them, they're great. However, the marketing folks don't speak to the customers daily and so they don't have the customers stories that the sales people have. So what's going to emerge in the world of business, in my view, is going to be this merging of sales and marketing right right now, as it is, it used to be, the marketing did most of the communication on the channels. Sales is going to start to take over more of that because they have the customer story, because they can recycle into look alike content what they've already seen and they'll need the marketing teams help to do that. So I think there's a new version of business emerging. We're going to call it relationship management, digital account manager, you can term what you like, but it's it doesn't exist yet right now in current business. Today, companies are still thinking of it as marketings. Got The channels, sales takes it over from there. It doesn't work like that anymore. When does the book come out? And did you sell published or did you get a publisher itself? Published book will come out and in three months and, to be honest with you, I really feel like it's going to lay out how the process of what companies need to do, like.

What are the action steps you have to take? How do you integrate sales and marketing? What type of content works? The demographics, the psycho graphics of the channels? I know you're familiar with this, but sales people aren't, for the most part, be tob sales folks. They're not given the marketing background that they now are suddenly need to have. And, by the way, with sales shut down for visits facetoface to see sweets, all looking at the marketing folks like, okay, let's make the revenue happen, and marketings like we know how to make the communication happen, but we don't have the customers information. Yeah, when the book comes out, let me know, obviously on Linkedin, and I'll do my best to to spread the word. Well, this is a bit of great conversation. We I haven't talked about networking and the value of relationships in the podcast, so it's a nice change of pace from all the talk about technology. One final question. If people want to learn more about you and what you do, where are you on the web? Sure I'm on all my social handles are mark Angelo's NYC, which is where I'm from, and in Victorscom with an a, is my website. The last thing I'll tell you, mark though, about the networking some action steps for your people to take a daily practice, find some way to make a daily practice of leaving content on people's cut, you know, comments some people's content and ideally posting something value added, because it's so much garbage out there valuable. Where someone wants to learn about what you do, you give him a couple of tips. Daily practice. Awesome, great way to and the podcast. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by Itunes, spotify or your favorite podcast apt. For show notes of today's conversation and information about mark, visit marketing spark dotcom slash blog. If you'd like to learn more about how I help ATP SASS companies as a fractional CMO teachick advisor and coach, send an email to mark. Marketing Sparkcom while talk to you next time.

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