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In Part 1 of the traveling to network series, we talked about the benefits of meeting new people and making valuable connections that can serve your business in tremendous ways.
But networking isn’t just for meeting new people, it’s also for deepening relationships you already have! Maybe you have a friend you met online or someone you don’t get to talk to in person very often because they live so far away.
Getting together in person will accelerate that relationship many times the speed at which you could facilitate it online.
Forget meetups and conferences—once you understand the value of the right feedback and insight from the right person at the right time, it becomes a no-brainier to spend a couple thousand bucks Just to fly out and meet even one person because you know that you’re going to get tens of thousands of dollars in value from that one interaction.
In fact, I’m doing just this. In the episode, I share the story of spending money to go on a retreat with some guys I’ve never met in person but have online relationships with. I explain why it’s an absolute no-brainier of an investment for me and what I expect to get out of it.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Build relationships with people, because you never know who you might meet.
- There’s nothing like that in person connection where you get to be face-to-face.
- If you see everyone who does similar things to you as competition, you will never have community.
- You can’t afford not to network in person because of the value you will get out of it.
- You don’t remember the purpose of a meetup, you remember the people.
- Stop thinking about conferences and traveling to network as an expense, think of it as an investment.
- Going to conferences is not losing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars—it’s that one conversation that’s going to change your life, business, or career.
seanwes meetup in San Francisco
Matt and I will be flying out to San Francisco just to have the opportunity to meet people. We have no agenda other than getting to connect with people because we understand the kind of value that comes from these kinds of interactions.
On Saturday, October 31st we’ll be hosting a meetup in SF. So if you’re within driving distance, we’d love to have you come out! It’s going to be an incredible time.
You’re not going to be able to predict who you’ll meet or what you’ll get out of it, but I promise—if past experience has shown me anything—you’re going to get a ton out of it and it’s going to be an experience you won’t soon forget.
- 01:08 Sean: Initially, we’re trying to get people out of their shell. It’s great; you’re going to get a lot out of it. I want to hone in a little more on deepening the relationships you already have and how meeting in person can facilitate that. I’m excited about this one. We did promise people a payoff on the burger story. A guy bought Matt at $100 gift certificate to Whataburger, and Matt can take it from here.
What Are Relationships Worth?
- 01:53 Matt: One of my ex-coworkers from my day job where I used to work, a guy I had poured value into and had been encouraging, wanted to meet with me one day. I told him I’d love to but I really just couldn’t. One day, this guy gave me a $100 gift card to Whataburger. This guy is serious if he paid attention to my love for Whataburger. It kind of shocked me and made me think, “I actually have to make time for this guy,” so I did. I made time for him. First, I gave him a hard time for giving me that kind of gift card, because who in their right mind wants to give that kind of money for a burger?
- 02:50 We met up and we talked, and he told me about what he felt he wanted to start doing. He actually had a little pitch where he wanted some help from me. It just so happened that I already felt like I’d gone on a few dates with the guy, so I helped him out. He wanted to start a construction business, which I have. He had some jobs lined up, but he needed everything. He had already built a relationship with me and I had encouraged him to do this. I couldn’t just go back on my word and say, “You’re on your own pal,” so I helped him get these jobs knocked out. He ended up telling everyone in that building what happened, so now, everybody is sending me gift cards and asking to meet up.
- 04:04 The crazy part of is this, right before I quit the day job, they all know I do real estate so I was telling them that there was a house in downtown that I was thinking of buying, but I was kind of low on cash and I didn’t want to have to use my last $100,000. They said, “Maybe you could raise the money?” I said, “It’s not worth my time. It’s only $10,000 or $30,000.” They said, “What if we raised the money for you and we got it? We give you the finances and you do your thing?” For the time I was investing in other people, I actually got a return on it. They ended up raising enough money with everyone in the complex, because everyone knew the Lambo guy.
- 05:24 These guys ended up raising enough money to buy the house and pay for all the renovations. Some people were mocking me saying, “You can’t take their money. These are people working hard jobs.” I said, “Are you kidding me? These people are investing. They believe so much in me and my mission that they’re willing to trust me with their finances.” I ended up using their money to buy this house, renovated it, then I held onto it for a few months and the value skyrocketed because it was really close to a tourist area. All the profits from that project was given back to the people who raised the money, and they all got four times what they put into it. The moral of this story this:
Build relationships with people, because you never know who you might meet.
- 06:30 These people didn’t know what a kid can do. I was the youngest person working there; the others were all 30, 40 years old, and I’m just a little 24 year old. They gave me money, and I gave them four times as much. Now, they’re all storming at my gate saying, “Let us in, we have money for you.”
The ROI of Traveling to Network
- 07:20 Sean: Matt, why are you and I just randomly up and going to San Fransisco? Is there a special event we’re going for? Why are we making this trip? Saturday, October 31st, 2015 we’re doing a meetup in San Fransisco. We don’t have exact details yet, but check out our Twitter if you’re in San Fransisco or within driving distance in California. It’s going to be worth it. Why are we flying out Matt? We’re acting like there’s this thing going on, but there’s only a thing going on because we’re there.
- 08:14 Matt: I don’t even know if anything is going on in San Fransisco. I haven’t talked to any of my employees or friends over there. We’re just going to meet people and network. There’s a ton of great people that I know and there’s also a ton of seanwes Community there, so we’ll just start there. It’s crazy how you go to a meet up or make your own, and those people introduce you to other people, so by the time you know it you’re in some other social media building at their party. The last time I was there, I went to meet up with some employees, and somehow we ended up at MailChimp’s crazy party just by talking to people. We’re just going to meet up with some of our Community member people, and we’ll see where we go.
- 09:20 Sean: It’s not just Community members, but that’s an example of knowing these people from the seanwes Community and we’ve talked with them, they listen to the show, but we haven’t met them in person. This is a chance to go and deepen relationships. In the first part of this series we talked about creating connections, but in this part, maybe you know people but you haven’t met them in person. Yeah, you could follow each other on Twitter, tweet at each other, or send emails or IMs, but there’s nothing like that in person connection where you get to be face-to-face, read the person, and go deep on something. That’s going to accelerate that relationship in a day or two as much as it would take six months to a year online with an internet-type relationship.
Meet in person—it’s an accelerator of a relationship.
- 10:12 Matt: I don’t care how fast you type. There’s nothing like that face-to-face interaction where, you never know, you might hit it off and be good friends. Even if you do just text and chat it up in the seanwes Community, you might have just established a new friendship there, and you never know what that could lead to. Or, you could just bounce ideas off of each other. Something that Sean and I do that is really beneficial to us is whiteboard time. Even if we weren’t doing this podcast and we just met up and did coffee, chatted, and then did whiteboard time, that would be one of the best friendships ever. My business would grow 100% every time I would meet with this guy.
- 12:35 Sean: We used to get a lot of value out of our whiteboard sessions, which we don’t really do anymore so that we can do this show. It is worth it to travel to network for your business just to deepen relationships or to create a new connection. You go to some place or event, and some new person you meet could be the best connection you ever make. Maybe they know someone that makes a huge difference; that’s a new connection. Or, you meet someone you already know, you have somewhat of a foundation already so you get to jump to the next level, and you can deepen that relationship and have a life-changing conversation.
- 13:17 Cory, we did a meetup in Dallas. We also went to a conference. You met people you had never met before and you also met people you knew before. Can you tell me if you had any kind of conversation with someone you already knew online, maybe from the Community or some other place? Were you able to take an existing relationship to the next level or have a discussion that changed things?
- 13:48 Cory: Yeah, absolutely. One of them was Kyle Adams. I’ve met him in person before, and I’ve met him at a couple conferences as well. He’s a very giving person, and he always gives advice. I was able to talk with him more and deepen that. I’m not as good at the deepening part, so I’m actually excited to hear the rest of this episode. We got to do that, and that was really cool.
The Mutual Benefit of Relationships
- 14:22 Sean: Matt, I’m going on a business retreat. By the time this episode goes out, I will have already gone on it. It’s going to be with Nathan Barry, as well as half a dozen other guys. We’re going to Idaho and renting out a place up in the mountain area. It’s purely a business retreat, so we’re going to relax but also work on our businesses, focus on each person, and it’s going to be really good. I’m looking forward to it. I had signed up for Nathan’s newsletter, and he teaches marketing, so I had learned a lot from it. At the time, I was gearing up to launch my first Learn Lettering course. I used to use MailChimp and they would say, “Here’s the people who have joined your list in the last day.” I was getting 100 sign ups a day, so I got this digest that just shows five random people and tells you that there are 95 others. Randomly, one of the five people that signed up was Nathan Barry.
- 15:33 Out of the 100, he just happened to be the one that day. I thought, “Hey, I know him. I subscribe to his newsletter.” I composed a new message to him and said, “Hey, I saw that you signed up for the Learn Lettering list.” I wondered if he looks at his subscribers and is checking up on people and seeing what they’re doing. I didn’t know, but I wanted to reach out and say that I hadn’t had a chance to say thanks. I bought his book, Authority, so I said, “I got a lot out of your marketing materials, so I just wanted to say thanks.” He reaches out and said that he saw a shot I had that was on the front page of Dribble, at the top. He clicked through to my landing page, and he said that his thought was, “This is exactly how I would do it,” and he signed up to see what I was doing.
- 16:23 A relationship got going, and we start talking a little bit. He gives me a piece of advice on my courses that ended up making me tens of thousands of dollars. I thought, “I could pay him $1,000 for that one email,” so I decided to pay him back. He came out with a course later on and launched it. I knew it was coming—I actually guessed the url of it before he even announced it. I just scrolled down his landing page, I didn’t even read it, and when I found a package that was $1,000, I bought it. I just wanted to give back. Since then, we’ve talked more, we’ve done podcasts together, I’ve interviewed on his podcast, and long story short, we’re starting to build a little bit of a relationship.
- 17:19 I noticed just last week that he was doing a talk somewhere on the east coast. Someone tweeted a picture of his talk, and there was me, up on his slide. He was using me as an example, giving me a shout-out. I’m just showing you how a relationship can form randomly and how you can deepen the relationship. I’ve never met Nathan in person. I feel like I have because we’ve talked before. I’m very familiar with him and he probably feels like he’s met me because he’s seen my videos, we’ve talked and Skyped. He invited me to go on this business retreat with a select few others who are going to be helping each other grow their business. These are people who are successful guys, and we’re all getting together. It’s the community vs. competition thing.
If you see everyone who does similar things to you as competition, you will never have community.
- 18:14 We’re getting together and saying, “Hey, let’s just share and learn from each other.” It’s going to cost me about $1,000 to fly out with costs, but all said and done, as we record this four days before I fly out, I have no doubt that I will get tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars worth of value from this event, from going and meeting this people. I know some of them online but have never met them in person. I am going to deepen the relationship, and that is such a worthy investment to me.
Networking is an Investment
- 18:51 Matt: As you’re listening to this podcast, everything that Sean just explained, try to do that for yourself. Find some other business person, a Nathan Barry in your life, and maybe he has some friends or you have some friends, and do a little business retreat together and learn from each other. Use what Sean and I call “whiteboard time.” Chat with each other. See what their strategy is, share your strategy, and don’t just try to take from them and use it all for yourself. There’s plenty of business out there. This is going to be huge for Sean, and this could be huge for you if you took advantage of an opportunity like this. If I was listening to this podcast, I would be waking up right now. Everything we say on this podcast, you can go and do yourself. Everything we share is to help other people do in their life and get something out of it.
- 19:53 Sean: I want people to change their mindset. People who haven’t gone to meetups, conferences, or flown out to meet one person don’t understand the value. They think, “I can’t afford to go to a conference because it’s $300 and I have to buy a flight and a hotel stay. I can’t afford that.”
You can’t afford not to network in person because of the value you will get out of it.
- 20:26 Colin went to Creative South, and he said, “It probably cost me $2,000 to he here, all said and done. I’ve no doubt gotten $2 million of value from this experience.” That is what I’m talking about. You have to pay to play. You have to put money in to get money out. Stop thinking about conferences and traveling to network as an expense; think of it as an investment. It’s not $1,000 out of your pocket, it’s $1,000 investment so you get $10,000 back. That’s how you have to think about this.
- 21:01 Matt: Plan it out. Budget, do whatever you need to do, to get to that. If you really wanted something for yourself, you would figure out a way to get it. Don’t put yourself in a bind or anything, but give yourself a little leeway to save up and get to that.
seanwes Community Conference
- 21:29 Sean: Seanwes is putting on a conference next year, October 2016 in Austin, Texas. There’s something very special about this seanwes Conference; just like the Community, I don’t care about numbers. I’m not saying, “Get all the people in.” I’m not talking about price. We are going to charge for this—it’s not going to be free. The numbers I’m talking about are attendance numbers, actual people. Just like with the Community, I don’t do cheap entry prices or free trials. Everyone is trying to get all the people they can in with no regard for the kind of people that are in.
- 22:22 We care about quality. We want the right people who are invested, who are serious, not the kind of people who want to just pay $1 to peek around and say, “Hey, go check out my thing. Here’s my business card.” We don’t want that. It’s the same with the seanwes Conference; I’m not all about numbers. My goal isn’t to get hundreds or thousands of people to come to this conference, it’s to get the right people together, even if that’s 40, 60, 80, or 100 people. That’s fine. The value of those connections is huge. To be able to go to seanwes Conference, you have to be a Community member. This is an exclusive event for Community members, and it’s an opportunity to level up. We’re talking about deepening relationships in this episode—you get to meet these people in the Community. You can chat with them. People have been talking for months, and some of them have been here since the beginning, 2013 or 2014. They’ve been talking, maybe they’re in another country, but this is the chance to come meet these people you’ve been talking to in person and deepen that relationship.
- 23:33 Lifelong friendships are being formed, business partnerships are being formed, podcasts are being started, and courses are being made. Businesses are starting, things are happening here. Products are being developed. Awesome things are happening, and I’m really exited about seanwes Conference because it’s bringing everyone together. The awesomeness that will happen here is going to be unlike any other. It’s going to be an explosion. Our minds will be reeling and our heads will be spinning for a year after this thing. I’m telling you. We get together with just five of us, when Cory and I have beanbag time, Aaron and I get coffee, Matt and I do whiteboard time, or all of us get together at the hustle party, big things happen. Even if it’s not hundreds of people, if just 40 of us got together, think about how incredible that would be. This is going to be world-changing.
Going to conferences is not losing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars—it’s that one conversation that’s going to change your life, business, or career.
- 25:01 Matt: My mentor told me something when I was first starting out and I didn’t want to spend money on conferences. I like that Sean mentioned that the seanwes Conference is going to have more socializing without loud crazy music in the background. You’ll be able to interact with anybody there. We’ll have plenty of time to interact, too. That was something I was initially scared of for these conferences, but then I started to learn that everybody else going to these conferences is going to meet you or another person. That’s what they’re there for. It makes it a whole lot easier than walking up to somebody in a coffee shop and saying, “Hey, how’s it going? What do you do?”
- 25:46 It creates all these crazy opportunities. Even if you don’t go in there with a mindset of getting an opportunity out of it but you go in there to learn, you can learn so much from somebody else and what they’re doing. Maybe they’ve made some mistakes along the way and you can avoid those. Maybe there’s some success stories there that you can learn from.
Networking is About Relationships
- 26:08 Sean: Emily says, “I used to live in small-town Texas and could not for the life of me find community, or create it. Everything fizzled out. So, I travelled to Dallas and Austin to network. I don’t remember the meeting topics, but I’m still in contact with a lot of the people I met. People feel valued when they are pursued. Make an effort to see them and ask them questions.”
You don’t remember the purpose of a meetup, you remember the people.
- 26:38 That’s something we’ll be doing at seanwes Conference. We will be having speakers, we’re still deciding on workshops, and maybe some breakout sessions to focus on different topics and get some group discussion. We might do three speakers in a day, not eight speakers where you can barely go to the bathroom and have conversations. We will have more down time, which is really the point—getting people together and having those conversations.
- 27:16 Robert asked, “What do you do if you want to reach out to a connection you made a long time ago at a networking event without having it feel awkward or out of left field? For example, maybe your focus has changed in your business and you remember someone that you met a year ago who would be interested in what you’re working on now. How do I reach out and not have the reaction be: ‘…and you are?'”
- 27:39 Matt: Hopefully you made an impression on them so they remember you. I actually just had an angel investor contact me the day before yesterday. I hadn’t seen him in a year and a half or something. He asked me, “Hey, you want to grab some dinner and catch up?” If I didn’t remember him, I’m sure he could explain to me, “We met at whatever.” Then we could go get dinner.
- 28:14 Sean: Lead off with, “Hey, you may not remember me. If not, that’s okay.” Put them at ease and then get to your thing. “Last time we talked, I was doing this.” Tell them a little bit of a story. “I shifted to this and I thought of you.” I’d be open to something like that. Emily says, “If you don’t naturally stay in touch with a far-away connection, what are ways to make sure you don’t lose touch without sounding needy?”
- 28:47 Matt: I don’t get to meet up with a lot of my investor friends very much. We just exchange money. We’ll just send a text message every now and then if it’s their birthday or something. This goes back to building the relationship—you should, by this point, know something about them to chat about. When I was in Austin this last weekend, I sent Sean a picture of fake $100 bill confetti. It made him laugh. I could hear him laugh as soon as I sent the picture, before it reached his phone. You should know something about that person to make them laugh or to keep in touch with them. That’s what I do with these investors I never see; I just send them funny things every now and then, or we have two or three texts back and forth. That keeps our relationship going.
- 29:39 If I were to go into their town and say, “Hey, I’m in New York City, let’s meet up,” we’d be great friends again because I’m keeping in touch. One of the guys does real estate, so if I come across a deal that might be helpful to him, I’ll send it to him. He’ll say, “Thanks Matt.” Send them stuff, funny stuff, tools, an article related to a conversation you guys had. Be creative and keep in touch. It doesn’t have to be once a year; try to be a little more frequent. If it is once a year, if you built that relationship with them, you should know something to spark a little conversation.
- 30:33 Sean: She had also asked, “Is it good to let stagnant connections fall away, or should you always try to maintain a connection on your end?” It’s a two-way street. If it’s stagnated because you’re not trying on your end and they’re not trying, it’s no surprise. You didn’t invest in it.
If you’re trying to invest in a relationship and it still stagnates, then it’s time to move on.
- 31:01 Matt: If they’re not sending stuff back, it’s time to move on and find your friends.
- 31:21 Sean: Cory Miller said, “Traveling to network is one of my favorite things to do. I used to feel like it was a vacation, and I took tons of pictures and wanted to capture the moments. The last conference I went to, I took zero pictures because I wanted to be 100% invested in the people I was spending time with. Pictures are fun, but the moment you put away the phone or the camera and dedicate true time to the people you’re with, all of the value you give and receive increases exponentially.”
- 31:49 I said, “How did you feel after this recent event having not spent time on the pictures and capturing and more investing in the people?” He said, “It was absolutely incredible. I wasn’t pulling my phone out every five seconds to take a picture, I wasn’t getting in anybody’s way because I had to get that one shot. I was talking with people and looking them in the eyes. My job requires that I communicate with people primarily through a screen, so the time I actually get to engage with a human being face-to-face is precious to me.”
- 32:19 I said, “What about the ratio of deepening existing relationships to creating new connections, in terms of the time that you spent?” He said, “I probably spent 60% of my time investing and deepening existing relationships, 30% of my time connecting with new people, networking, and hearing stories, and 10% lying on the ground exhausted, trying to recharge before the next onslaught of people.”
- 32:46 Matt: I hate when people go to conferences and they have their phones out taking pictures or checking Instagram. Look, you’re here to chat. If you want to take a selfie with me, let’s do it, but initiate a conversation. Don’t be looking through your phone; you can do that later, you’re here for a purpose.