Today we have another incredible guest on the show, Jordan Harbinger. Jordan is the co-founder and host of the Art of Charm, one of the top 50 podcasts on iTunes with more than two million downloads per month. He was named by Forbes as one of the 50 best relationship builders anywhere. Ink Magazine called him the Charlie Rose of podcasting. And he's been kidnapped not once but twice while traveling overseas through a war zone. Jordan, welcome to The Science of Success.
Jordan: Hey. Thanks for having me on, man. I appreciate it.
Matt: Well, we're super excited to have you on here.
Jordan: Yeah. I mean, for me, I rarely get a chance to discuss a lot of these topics. I mean, people... Don't get me wrong, I get invited a lot, but it's hard to find shows where I actually can make a little bit of a difference, and I know you have an audience, so I'm excited to take part.
Matt: So, tell me a little bit about your background and how you became interested in the field of relationship development.
Jordan: Sure. So, I used to be an attorney on Wall Street, and I got hired by this guy named Dave, who's one of the major partners at this big firm. And I thought, hey, we're lawyers. We bill hours in six minute increments, and Dave was never in the office, and a lot of the other partners were. So, one day he took me out for coffee because H.R. kind of made him do that, and it was really interesting. He told me, "Ask me anything," because he was banging away on his Blackberry, and for me, I thought, all right, this is my chance to really dig in, and he thought I was going to ask him about real estate finance and all that good stuff, but instead I said, "Look. How come we're supposed to bill hours but you're never in the office?" And he kind of put down his Blackberry, and this point I think I'm probably getting fired in front of all these people at this crappy Starbucks in an office building. He said, "Well, look, I bring in a lot of the deals. I have a lot of relationships that the firm needs, and so I am able to kind of write my own ticket on that," and that changed the way that I look at work forever, because for me, I was getting outworked by a lot of people in this firm, simply because there were people there who left their families in India or Russia to take this job, and no matter how much you think you've got the idea that you want to get ahead, you're probably never going to be as hungry as somebody like that. And, in addition, there were really brilliant people there, and as you know, it's hard to make yourself smarter and it's hard to feign interest in a topic that you don't care about. So, there were people that were just somehow passionate about real estate finance and these kinds of deals. So, for me, I thought, I'm never going to be able to motivate like these folks and work as much as these folks, despite good work ethic and habits. And so, I found this sort of secret, hidden path--third path, I should say--to the top, and I had previously thought, okay, you work your way to the top, put in your time, and then you get introduced along the way to all these high level people and you start hanging out and throwing each other deals, and it turns out it kind of happens the other way around. You make the connections first very consciously, or you can wait for it to happen, and for many people it simply never does. And, if you actively, proactively go after this, you're going to have a much easier time, because Dave was indispensible. I mean, he was a dude from Brooklyn with a tan, so he knew something other people did not, and that was that you can write your own ticket. If people need you, of course, you become more valuable. And the way to do that is to not just be another drone working 2,000 hour years, billing 2,000 hour years, working God knows how many hours to get that in your billing docket, but being able to create those relationships and maintain those relationships that get the company work at the firm deals. That's the key, and most people can't do it, because people are willing to work hard. It's a matter of putting in hours. People are willing to study the material. It's a matter of motivation. But developing relationships is a whole different skill set that's a lot harder for a lot of bookish people, and so it makes it harder for people like that, often for people like that to make these connections. So, I figured I had a really good competitive advantage, and I just learned about it right in the beginning of my career, whereas at the Art of Charm, what I'm finding now, since we've been teaching this skill set for the better part of a decade, most people find out they need this skill set somewhere where they're hitting middle to upper management, and they go, oh, wait a minute. I'm not getting promoted because I don't have the connections. I'm not making the connections that other people are making. I'm not getting it done. And that was really interesting for me, because I thought, okay, well, everybody knows this skill set. Everybody knows how to do this. At some point they learn it along the way. But, as I told you, I figured this out early enough, and now I see the guys coming through the AOC boot camp, and some of them are 50 and they're like, "Look, I'm never going to be a partner unless I get this handled. It's just never going to happen."
Matt: That's a fascinating story. So, what do you think some of the things... Like, why do people struggle with... whether you call it networking or relationship building or whatever it might be?
Jordan: I think a lot of people don't want to do it, and I don't blame them, because it can be really awful and annoying. And I think also, a lot of people don't have the aptitude for it. It doesn't mean they can't learn it. It just means that it hasn't come by them naturally. Especially smart, high performers. A lot of them deprioritized social skills for their whole life, and then they get in the working world and they're thinking, ha, I win, all you jocks! I'm the guy who knows how to program the computer. I'm the guy who knows how to work the machinery. I'm the guy who worked his butt off in law school or medical school, but then you get to the point where the soft skills matter a lot more. And you go, uh, okay, and then you try to learn it or you try to think about learning it, but the fact is you can't just pack in a lifetime of social skills in a couple of weeks of book reading. So, this is a skill set that's learned in a completely different way than people are used to, and it takes an entirely different path than most of hte people who got to where they are now are used to. There's a book called... I think it's called What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Have you ever heard of this?
Jordan: And that's a perfect analogy or a perfect way of describing what this phenomenon looks like, because what got you into the Wall Street firm is not necessarily going to get you to the top. What got you into the top medical school or to whatever medical school, it's not necessarily what's going to get you to become chief of surgery. It's two totally different skill sets, and I used to, when I was younger, I would meet guys occasionally who were like, oh, chief of surgery, U of M hospital, and I'm thinking, this guy's like this pretty cool, outgoing, charismatic dude. You must learn how to do that at some point before you become chief of surgery. And the truth is, that guy was probably always outgoing and charismatic and magnetic, and he went to medical school, and then he got promoted way up the ladder because he was a leader and he was able to forge alliances. Most of us, we never learn this stuff, and that's what holds us back eventually. And a lot of folks right now might even be going, well, I don't know about that. If you are ignorant of this, willfully or otherwise, you're simply voluntarily becoming oblivious to the secret game being played around you, and that's what a lot of professionals find out really late in the game.
Matt: That's great advice. So, I can already hear somebody listening to this saying, "Oh, I'm not that kind of person." Do you think that this is a learnable skill set? Is it trainable?
Jordan: I know it's trainable, yeah. It absolutely is very trainable, and I know that because I do it every single week at the Art of Charm, and we've seen some results of it. It's not just like, oh, I tell people I can teach them this stuff. I mean, we teach this to not only AOC clients that come in who are in college or in a regular profession, but we've had intelligence agents come through from various countries. We've had special forces come through from the United States and from special air service and other countries in the Commonwealth, and in the five eyes, if you will. We've had a lot of people come in who are already very high performing and we've had people come in who are in need of a little bit of scraping off some of the rust, and we see everybody go back with major, major results. Of course, you can't necessarily get 100% with everybody, but the people who come in and actually want to learn and are willing to do the work after they come in as well as the prep work we give before have huge shifts. The only time we ever see where it's like, ugh, that didn't work out so well for them, is when people come in, they haven't done the prep work, and they're simply not willing to do the follow up, and they kind of expected a magic pill that was going to happen over the five days they were here, and that's unrealistic. So, those people's results are obviously not as good.
Matt: Changing gears a little bit, one of the things you talk about is the idea of giving value first instead of having sort of a transactional mindset when you think about relationships. Can you extrapolate on that a little bit?
Jordan: Sure. I think most people--and reasonably so, understandably so--focus on what they can get from other people, and that's why you see a lot of the common networking mistakes, and these mistakes include things like... and we can go over these in depth, as well. Actually, you know, let me back up a little bit. We can illustrate this concept by using networking mistakes, but I want to sort of define it a little better. A lot of people look at what they can get out of an interaction instead of what they can give, and that's reasonable because we're, at the end of the day, trying to survive or thrive or grow our own business or whatever. We're looking out for ourselves, completely, totally human and very rational process of thought. And you end up making a lot of serious mistakes with networking because you fail to think about how this looks from other people's perspectives and you fail to, as another book title states, you fail to dig the well before you're thirsty. So, that leads us to the first mistake or sin of networking, which is not digging the well before you're thirsty. I know a ton of people early on in the Art of Charm, the history of the company, who made the mistake--now retrospectively big mistake--of doing things like... Well, here's a great example, and I won't throw this person under the bus by using their name, but I originally started the show in 2007 and nobody knew what a podcast was, and I didn't really know how to promote things online. I mean, that wasn't something I was good at. I didn't understand how it worked. And so I would text friends and I would post things on people's Facebook walls, like, "Hey, I started this new show. Let me know what you think." And I got a lot of semi-negative feedback from friends, not about the show itself but people saying, "Hey, I haven't talked to you in, like, three months and then you just randomly post this thing on my wall. I wasn't sure if it was spam." And I'm like, "Sorry. I'm in law school and I was working on this side project. Yeah, I do feel bad. I do think about you wand wonder about you," and stuff like that, and they're like, "Oh, cool. Yeah. Let me have a listen to your show and I'll let you know what I think." So, we had a lot of that in the beginning, and I sort of learned that lesson really early on. Like, oh yeah, duh. I'm being really selfish here. But where it really hit me, and where I really started to notice it, wasn't the candid feedback from friends, but when other people did it to me, and I remember reaching out and asking this guy who was my friend, "Hey, would you be interviewed on my podcast? It's really going to be super helpful and I know you like to help people out, or at least I hope you'd like to help people out, and you wrote this book on..." I don't know. It was something to do with sex, I think it was, back in the time, and I thought it would be cool and fun and controversial, and he texted back, "Lose my number. Don't ask me for crap again." And I was like, what the hell? And so, I emailed him an apology and I was like, "Hey, sorry about that," and he was like, "You know, this is something that I get paid for." And I was like, "Oh, wait a minute. I didn't go out of line by asking you to do this. You're just an a-hole who thinks you should be compensated for every time you fart, and that's ridiculous. You should be thankful for the opportunity to speak to an audience." I mean, this is a person who would give lectures to rooms with 12 guys in it. Now, I'm offering... At that time we were new, probably only a few hundred people listening to the show, but when have you ever packed a room with that many people? Never. But, you know, to reply with, like, "Lose my number," that was just a ridiculous... Well, fast forward a few years later. His PR people emailed me a request for him to come on the show, because a lot of people had heard of us and we were... At that point, we had really snowballed into something in our little niche, which, at the time, was dating-focused. And I found the conversation. You know iTunes and iPhones, they just keep everything frigging forever? I just did a search for his name and I did a screenshot, and I wrote, "Here's why I will not have him on the show." And his PR person was like, "Oh my gosh. I don't blame you." And this is a person who works for him, right, who's just like, "I got nothing. If you reconsider, that would be great. Maybe he was stressed out." And I was like, "No, I emailed him about this. He had plenty of time to cool down. And then he replied that he needed to be paid for it." And I go, "So, how much is he..." and I didn't even consider this for real, but I said, "How much is he willing to pay to be on the show?" And the PR person was like, "Let me get back to you." And he did offer to pay to be on the show, and I said, "Nah, we're worth a little bit more than that." I can't remember what it was. He would have had to offer me, like, the price of a car to get on the show at that point. And, you know, looking back, it was kind of a petty thing to do. This was probably six, seven years ago now that I did that. It was a little bit petty and I wouldn't respond in that same way, but I will tell you what. I don't care how enlightened someone is. If you act that way towards them, they're going to probably want to do that. They just might not have done it. I did this when I was probably 27, right. Now I'm 36, so I'd like to think I'm a little bit more mature. But I will tell you that even though I went through and did it back then, there's a lot of people who would think about doing it and would instead just say, "You know what? I'm going to pass for now," or something along those lines. And the reason is, look, you've got to dig your well before you're thirsty. This isn't just about him blowing us off in a rude way earlier. Perhaps a better example are the people that launch a book, and this is something we're all familiar with as thought leaders now, whether you've written a book or whether you're a show host like you are now, Matt, you know those people that launch a book. You haven't heard from this schmo in your years. You've never heard from this person, and then they reach out personally or their PR person reaches out and it's like, "Hey, saw your show on the top of iTunes. Would love to get schmopity-schmope on your show now that her book is launching in September," and you're thinking, who the hell are you and why? What's in it for me? I emailed so-and-so a long time ago and they never replied, or I've never heard of this person. Why are they suddenly reaching out? I mean, I get that they're doing a launch. PR is a fact of life. It's a real thing. But there's not that much value in me having the same guest as 87,000 other freaking podcasts, and this person never reached out to me before. So, the reason I'm doing your show and I'm spending an hour with you is, and I know you've got a great platform that you've just told me about five seconds before we started recording, but I did it because we have mutual connections and you and I had had an exchange before, an email, which was, and I looked at it just recently after I asked you how we knew each other before, oh yeah, this person. This is Matt. Okay, got it. Now all is well, right, because you didn't just email me out of freaking nowhere and go, "Hey, can I have you on my podcast? It's new."
Jordan: We had a previous connection, and, had I said no, I know from watching interactions with you and other mutual friends that you wouldn't be like, "Jordan's such a dick. I'm going to treat him like crap now." You know, it was like, "Oh, I'm just reaching out in order to get something. There's no outcome dependency on this." And that leads to the second networking mistake. So, first of all, that's what we call dig the well before you're thirsty. You have to be out there helping people get what they want, helping people out, creating relationships before there's an agenda on the table, otherwise the default thought that I have is, what do you want from me? whenever you reach out. And that's what I have, no matter what, and that's what most people have. So, if you reach out and I say, "What can I do to help you?" and you go, "Actually, nothing right now, but I saw that you were looking for guests for your show and I happened to be friends with so-and-so. Are they interesting to you?" If I'm like, wow, okay, that's cool. So your whole agenda for this email is to help me? And then later on, you know, maybe you'll need something but maybe not, but it doesn't matter because we're not even talking about that right now? That's digging the well before you're thirsty. But it leads to the second networking mistake, which is keeping score. So, what a lot of people do is they do this weird tit for tat, and there's kind of a fine line here when it comes to dig you well before you're thirsty and don't keep score, and we can get into that in a second, but a lot of people, they do the following: "Hey, Jordan. I would love to introduce you to Tom Cruise. It would be great if he were on your show." And then I go, "Cool. You know him?" "Well, know, but my friend's friend's cousin's friend's uncle's buddy does, so let me see if that can happen. And then you try and it doesn't pan out, and then I go, oh well, and you go, "Well, now that I've got you here, can I ask you to come speak at my event for free?" Or even more likely, "Hey, look, I've got this thing that you don't really want," and you cold email it to me. "Here's a copy of a book." Great. And then, you know, "Can you come on and do this other thing for me?" And then I start to realize, since the proximity of the give and the ask is so close together, I start to think, oh, I get it. Matt--to put you in the devil's seat--Matt only gave me that introduction because he wanted me to do something in return. And that's the first nuance of keeping score, and it leaves a really sour taste in someone's mouth. Like, suppose after this interview, you're like... And people do this to me all the time, Matt, and it's super annoying. They'll say, "Hey, can I have you on the show?" And I go, "Okay, cool. Yeah, why not?" And then right after we're done, probably haven't even flicked off the record switch yet, they go, "So, just let me know. When should I come on your show? I'd love to talk about my skincare line," or whatever, and I'm thinking, "Oh, I get it. I get it. You had me on your show not because there's value in this for your audience, but because you wanted some sort of BS give so that you could then come on my platform, so now I get to look and feel like crap when I say no. And I have since become a little bit inoculated to that, where I now just say, "Yeah, I don't really see that as a fit, but you can talk to my producer, who I've specifically delegated the task of viciously vetting any hosts that come on the show. So, even if you, at the end of this, did say, 'Hey, look, I've got this thing. I think it would be great for Art of Charm,' I would say, 'Great. Here's a pitch form that you can everyone else uses and my producer gets it and he will reply in three months with a yes or a no and then go from there, and that's a beautiful thing, but I've literally had to build that around myself because of the frequency with which this happens, and I get why people do it. Because it seems logical, right? Like, instead of just asking for what we want, which seems really one-sided, we decide to do some sort of give, but the give isn't real. It's kind of a bait and switch. Even if it's a great give, like, look, you know, my friend has a lake house you can use in Tahoe, and I show up and then afterwards they go, "Hey, can I come on your show?" That's kind of unfair, right, because I do owe you one, but I don't owe you a big chunk of my business, or I don't owe you 100,000 people's time, which is the audience of the Art of Charm. I don't owe you their time, right. I don't think it's a fit, so you're literally asking me to waste all of their time and my time and resources doing that. That's not really a fair trade, because it's a covert contract. You're waiting for me to accept what I think is a favor, and then you bait and switch and go, "Just kidding! It's a trade." And now I have to deal with that on my end, and that's sort of the first part of keeping score. Does that make sense?
Matt: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. The concept of using an intermediary to say no is something that I use even with a virtual assistant to schedule my meetings. So, she has ruthless parameters about when I'll meet and what I'll meet on, and I'm just like, "Great, thanks for connecting. She's going to book a meeting." And then, you know, she always... She's the bad guy in that situation.
Jordan: You know, it's funny, because I had to use the same thing. I had to actually undo that with... I think you rescheduled this time for whatever. It was probably...
Matt: I did.
Jordan: And Jenny goes, "Matt Bodnar has to reschedule." And I remember this now very clearly. I said, "Oh. Can you make sure it's not, like, four months down the line?" Because the default parameter is, if somebody reschedules and it's not for a great reason or I don't know them or whatever, they just go to the absolute back of the line. And that line is now really long, because it's not like, oh, I'm just so busy. It's just that I devote such a small amount of time to doing things like this generally, and I said, "No, no, no. Just let him pick something and move stuff around, as long as it's not another appointment." And she did that, as far as I understand, or at least made that available to you somehow.
Matt: Yeah. No, it was super smooth, and honestly, the reason I rescheduled is I had an epic case of food poisoning and I couldn't even get out of bed.
Jordan: She said something like... Because I remember being like, "Why?" and she said, oh, well, you know... I think she told me that you weren't feeling well and I thought, okay, that's probably real. I don't remember exactly now what it was, but I remember making sure that happened. But look, had you been anyone else, I would have simply said, "Sure. Whatever." And there are people that I talked to recently. Last week I talked to somebody, and I remember thinking, like, this guy's name sounds so familiar. They scheduled it in January. And I thought, holy cow, that's ridiculous. But it's fine for me, because otherwise, when I didn't have these parameters in place, there was one week where I did 20 hours of other people's shows.
Matt: That's incredible. That's crazy.
Jordan: It sounds great when you're trying to promote something, but when it's literally just there's no filter for whose crap you're doing, because you're on a PR... I was just like, I will do any show. This is probably two years ago, three years ago now, because I wanted to see what the effect would be. The effect was I lost a lot of time doing shows that had nine people listening, but I got a lot of practice being interviewed. That was not good ROI over the long term. But anyway, going back to the keeping score thing, that's the first part of keeping score. The second part of keeping score is on the other end of the equation, which is people hoard their connections, and what it means... It looks a little something like this. There's a woman that I knew from a long ago and I helped her out with a bunch of different things, and then, as it turned out, she knew somebody that I really wanted to interview, and I can't even remember who it was now. It's probably not that big of a deal compared to where we are now, but back then I was like, this is such-and-such person! It was some Hollywood person, like an actor. I thought, this is going to be super cool. I'm just going to ask Kathleen for this introduction and it should be a no-brainer. I mean, I've helped her a lot. And on the one hand, I was keeping score. So, I said to her, "Hey, Kathleen. I would love to be introduced to so-and-so." And she said, "Sorry. I'm eventually going to have to use that connection for something myself one day." And so, looking back, we both made a mistake, because I was annoyed with her for not making that intro, but that's because I was keeping score. I thought, I've helped you so much. Why aren't you going to help me? And her reason for not doing it was also really bad, because your network is like a muscle. It atrophies when you don't use it, and when you work it out well, when you make good intros, it strengthens that connection. If I introduced you, Matt, to a bunch of really awesome guests, you're going to be like, "That's awesome. Thanks, Jordan. I really appreciate it." Of course, if I introduce you to a bunch of junk food guests that waste your time and have nothing to offer, that connection between you and I sours a little bit, because you're not mad at me. You just think I have crap judgment and introductions and you won't take them anymore. Now, with Kathleen, she was being stingy because she thought, well, I don't want to email this person because if I do, they might eventually not want to take my email anymore, which is a ridiculous thought. That's not how relationships work, generally. You're not asking that person for a favor. You're having them meet somebody who's got mutual value. It's completely different, right? So, we were both keeping score, and that didn't work. I learned the lesson, though, and decided not to be mad when people wouldn't do things, and I still help them anyway, up to a point at which I think I'm being used, which is actually very rare. And she kept doing that. I remember years later, there were other things that I had asked her to help out with or introductions to be made, and this is somebody who I thought was my friend, and it was always, "Well, I don't know. I have to think about it, because I might want to ask them for the..." And it was always like this farfetched idea, and eventually she lost her position in Hollywood, and I would imagine that it had a lot to do with the fact that she wasn't developing relationships properly, because that town is all about relationships. So, if you're hoarding everybody that you come across and you're not strengthening that network, well, if you treat everybody like I got treated, then yeah, there's a lot of people who won't want to deal with you anymore. And so, she eventually had to move back home to the Midwest, which sucks. And a lot of people do this keeping score thing. They do it a whole lot. And again, it creates covert contracts, right, where, "Well, hey, Matt. I'm going to introduce you to a bunch of guests," and then I do that and you're like, "Hey, if I can ever help with anything..." and I'm like, "Funny you should ask. I'd love to bring my family to your lake house in Lake Tahoe." And you're thinking, uh, wow. I really don't want to do that, because I don't know you that well, or I don't want your dumb kids in my swimming pool, or whatever. But now you feel like you have to say yes. If you say no, right, which is normal in other relationships, the question is, if I'm not keeping score, I just think, that's fine. Totally reasonable. But if I'm keeping score, I get angry at you, right. Secretly, usually. Because few of us have... We know when we're doing this. Few of us have the audacity to go, "But I introduced you to this guy and that guy and that woman and this other person. How dare you say no to my totally unrelated request?" That's when you know you're keeping score. So, the way to tell if you're doing this, if you're not really that self-aware with it yet, is if you do a lot to help other people and they don't help you, how much do you care? Do you just think, oh, that's kind of strange they wouldn't do it but they must have their reasons? Or do you think, that son of a bitch. I've done so much for him. Because if it's that, you're keeping score and you should stop doing that right away.
Matt: That's great advice, and I think a lot of people fall prey to keeping score, even sometimes at a subconscious level.
Jordan: It usually happens subconsciously. Most of us aren't like... Actually, I shouldn't say that. A lot of people are subconscious with it, but you're right. There's a lot of people who have designs that sound like, all right, here's my plan. I'm going to help Matt get a bunch of guests and then I'm going to ask him for a bunch of his products for free, and he'll probably say yes because I hooked him up. That's a good plan. And, you know, I get it, kind of, and it sounds okay on its face. Like, we're just making a trade. But the problem is, one, you end up with that resentment on both sides of the equation, and two, I don't want the... you really don't want the calculation in your head to be "Should I help this person, because what will I get in return?" Because you cannot plan for this. Actually, I have a really good example of this, if you still have time for another nail in this coffin of keeping score.
Matt: Let's hear it.
Jordan: So, when I first moved to L.A., I had a toothache. I just got one out of the blue. Never had one before and I was like, ugh, this is... I don't know if you ever had a toothache. It's the worst frigging pain ever. It's annoying. It's inside your freaking brain, you know. It's awful and invasive, and so I kept calling dentists, like, "Can you see me tomorrow? I got a toothache." "Well, actually, we're booked." "Oh, we don't take new patients." "Well, yeah, but we're super uber far away and you don't have a car yet because you moved here yesterday and it's going to be a $90,000 cab ride and we'll see you between 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. So, all these dentists kept saying, "Go to the ER." And I thought, there's no frigging way I'm doing that. They're just going to tie a string to it and slam the door. That's not going to work. And so, I posted on Facebook in desperation, "Look, I have a toothache. I'm in this part of L.A. Does anybody have a dentist they can recommend? And some guy I don't even know, because I have my settings set to public, he said, "Yeah. My aunt's a dentist and she works in XYZ neighborhood. Is that close to you?" "Yes, it is." He goes, "Yeah. Let me know. What's your phone number? I'll call and I'll ask her for a favor," and I was like, "This may or may not work," gave my info. He called me back right away and said, "Look. She's going to see you tomorrow at eight. Is that cool? It's pretty early. She's got a full docket. She's just going to show up early and help you." And I thought, that's amazing. Yeah, I love you right now. I could kiss you. So, I went there, got my tooth fixed, got a fair price for it, and wrote the guy back, "Hey, look. Anything that I can ever do to help you, just let me know. This was huge for me." And it would be really convenient if that guy needed something from me that I could actually provide, and it didn't happen that way. What happened was he said, "I've got a graphic design portfolio. I know you've got a website and stuff. Please keep me in mind for any jobs." That's not how it shook out, but what happened was I said, "Yeah, sure, I'll keep my ear to the ground," which, you know, I'm not going to go looking for jobs for him, but I will keep my ear to the ground. It was an unrelated thing. He wasn't keeping score. He just thought, well, sure, since you're asking. At least, that's the way it came across, and so I didn't feel super obligated to help him with this totally random thing, but I thought, he's a great guy. I would love to help him if I could. Four days later, I get an email from someone that says, "Who does your website? Mine needs redoing and I can't find anybody to do it." I emailed that guy and said, "Look, I know you're graphic design and not web design, but do you think you can help this person?" And he said, "Actually, I can totally do web design. I just don't like it as much as graphic design." So, he ended up with what later turned out and evolved into an $80,000 a year full-time job managing a portfolio of websites, and he got that because he gave me a connection to his aunt, who was a dentist in L.A. Now, you can't plan for that. You can't plan to hook up somebody with a dentist that doesn't even run a company in which you're looking for work and you're not even sure if you're looking for work in that area, and then magically find a job four days later. You can't plan for that, but if you're keeping score, if you're agenda is, I'm helping people that can give me things that I want, he would have missed that opportunity, right. It wasn't even remotely on the horizon. It wasn't on the radar at all. It happened through chance, and the reason that the chance ever happened at all was because he helped me without expecting anything theoretically in return, and I gave him something in return that I didn't even realize was going to be exactly what he wanted. But if you're keeping score, that's completely off the table. There's no way you can plan for it, and therefore you would say, "I could help him, but I don't really feel like it," and then that's the end of the transaction, because it's transactional instead of being relationship based.
Matt: Yeah. There are so many examples that I can think of in my own life of people that I've connected to each other that somehow ended up... You know, somebody gets a job offer, finds a new career, or whatever it might be. But you can never foresee that ahead of time.
Jordan: Think about how most people meet their wife. It's very rarely like, "Well, I was at this one dating event where we were talking with other single people and she happened to be a match." That happens more now because of the internet, but back in the day, look at anybody who's your parents age, and even our age, the vast majority of people, they still meet people through their circle of friends. They're not going out with their friends every day like, "Hey, Melissa. Can you introduce me to all the single females that you think might be available to me?" That doesn't happen. You just go out with your friends and one day Melissa brings her cousin and you guys hit it off. You don't do that, you don't go out with Melissa merely because she always has... And maybe you do have this female friend, but you're not going out with her, chances are, because she has attractive friends that one day you might be able to meet and get married to. That's pretty fricking rare, right. You don't really plan for that. And yet, we do that all the time in our personal lives, but man, try doing it for business. It's like people have never heard this concept before. And I understand it. I had to learn it myself the hard way.
Matt: So, changing gears again, are there any other networking mistakes that people should avoid?
Jordan: Man, there are tons, but I think keeping score and not digging the well before you're thirsty are really the two sort of top that I see. There are other mistakes that I see. Being very transactional, as I hinted at before, instead of being relationship-based where things have to be tit for tat, which does dovetail into keeping score, or where people really often only think about what's in it for me and they don't actually... they're not looking at the other side of the equation. You've heard always be closing, right? ABC, always be closing. What we say at Art of Charm is always be giving, ABG. Not quite the same ring to it, but a better message in my opinion. What that means is always be looking for ways to help other people without worrying about what you're going to get in return, and when you constantly make that the practice instead of angling on how to get things from other people, you inevitably end up getting things back because of, one, the law of reciprocity, which is a real psychological concept, a la Cialdini. And two, the idea is, look, if I keep helping people get what they want, even if some people become more takers, the people who are giving all of that help, they tend to be happier, they tend to make relationships better, and also, it's very scalable, right. Because a lot of times... Well, here's a third/fourth networking mistake: thinking you're the one that has to deliver the product. And what I mean by product is you're the one that has to help everyone. For example, the guy who gave me the dentist in L.A., he didn't get hired by Art of Charm as a graphic designer. I merely made an introduction to someone else. So, if you're thinking, oh, well, I can't get anything from this person, or I can't help this person, if you're looking at ABG, right, and you're thinking, ugh, I can't help Matt because I don't know any good guests for his podcast, and that's what he's looking for, hypothetically. I can't really help him, so I guess I won't really try. It doesn't matter. You might know someone else who can provide that service and is looking to provide that service, whether for free or it's their job. So, if I say something along the lines of, "Man, you know, my house is such a dump. It's such a bachelor pad..." It's not. I live with my girlfriend, but hypothetically, and somebody goes, "Oh, man, I wish I could help Jordan but I'm not a decorator and I don't really know any good cleaners and I don't really have any good artist... I'm not an artist, so I can't help him out." Well, you're out of luck, and even if you are that person, you have to then do it yourself. Very time consuming. It's going to be very tough to help more than a couple of people every month, right, because you got ish to do. You got life. But if we're looking at it in a scalable way, you might say, "Oh. I know a great cleaning service if that's of use to you. I got a great interior decorator that might be able to provide something really cool for your studio. My friend is an artist." You make those intros via email and then we do the rest. You just helped me out in three ways in 13 minutes. All you did was connect people inside your own network, and a lot of people don't think about it like that. They think, hmm, well, if I can't help them directly, I'm out of luck. That's a problem, because even if you have a really great skill set like, oh, you're a marketer, you can help pretty much anybody. Well, that's great, but here's the problem: it's not scalable. It is scalable if you continually connect people in your network with each other, because as you do that, your network grows and those relationships grow. So, instead of you owing one to the guy who helped you out, those two people who you connected to each other, now they feel reciprocal value towards you, and so, you end up being able to really connect a lot of different strings on the web together, and those people all have good will towards you. You can do that every day. You can make introductions every single day. You can make ten every single day if you have the time. And so, what we recommend people do is, look, start out doing one a week, and actually, eventually, people start finding it hard to only do one a week. They end up doing three a week because stuff just keeps falling to them as they become known as the guy who knows everybody, guy or girl who knows everybody, and that's a great place to be because it takes you 30 seconds to think, "Ah, you need a new website? I know a great guy for that. Oh, you need a new marketer? I know a great guy for that. Oh, you know what? This thing on your site is broken? I actually have a guy who runs a product. Just came out, nobody knows about it. It fixes this problem for entrepreneurs. Do you want an introduction and free trial?" I mean, that stuff happens to me all the time now, but it took years to build it up. I never could've seen that coming, though. I just kind of gave this an experimental try, and I recommend that everybody listening do the same.
Matt: Yeah. Introducing people is such an easy way to provide value. And, you know, when I sit down with somebody new that I've never met, I usually leave with a list of five or six people that I want to introduce them to.
Jordan: One caveat/technique before we wrap here is when you're making introductions or when you're going to, do what's called the double opt-in. I don't know if you've heard this before or talked about it. We talk about it a lot at Art of Charm, especially when we teach networking. The double opt-in is you might have that list of 10 or 20 and you're like, I got to introduce Matt to Jonathan! That would be such a great match! Well, you need to ask Jonathan first and I want to reach back out to Matt--you--and ask, "Hey, would you be open to meeting this guy Jonathan? He does x, y, and z," because of three or four small reasons, a few of which I'll explain here. One, you might already know each other. I don't know about you, but, for me, I feel like people look kind of dumb when they introduce me to somebody that I already know and they just didn't ask me. And I realize it's an innocent mistake, but it's kind of a dumb, awkward situation that's super avoidable.
Jordan: I guess I should... Maybe I'm judgy, but I feel like it's kind of a silly thing. It would be like if you and I were standing near each other at a party and someone comes up and goes, "Hey, Matt. This is Jordan." You're like, "Yeah, I know. We're eating right now, together, at the same table." But in the virtual world, you can't really tell that. So, it's just kind of a time waster for all three parties when you do something like that. And then I have to, what, reply and be like, "Hey, Matt! What's up, dude?" The other reason is that what if you don't like me, right? What if you get introduced to me or to Jonathan... Whatever. I just blew the analogy of the story. What if you get introduced to me and I'm like, oh, yeah, great. Another [INAUDIBLE 00:40:58] to Matt! And you're like, oh, frah, Jordan again? Oh, I was so avoiding this guy. I've avoided him for three years. I've successfully avoided him for three years and now suddenly Mitchell over here decides you should meet Jordan. Great. Now I got... And I'm all, "Hey, Matt, when are we going to do your show again?" or whatever annoying thing that I did that caused you not to like me in the first place. Now you've got to play that off again, and I've got to get...and I might even get offended by that. Like, oh, you introduced me to Matt and he didn't reply, or you introduced me to Matt and it wasn't fruitful. You look bad either way doing that because now I'm annoyed that I got introduced and nothing came out of it, and you're annoyed because you had to sort of bat me away yet again or humor me or whatever because of that person's unauthorized, unsolicited introduction. So, those are two really good reasons not to do that. And the third reason is just what if I'm really busy right now? Or there's some other reason why now's not a good time? And this happens to me a lot, much more than the first two, because I don't mind most people and it's usually not a big deal, but a lot of times people do the following: "Hey, Jordan! Was just talking with my friend Alex and he'd be a great fit for Art of Charm. Alex, Jordan is cc'd on this email." And then Alex replies 13 seconds later: "Thanks, buddy! Hey, Jordan, great to meet you. Really love what you're doing of The Art of Charm. Here's my ebook that's published on Amazon. I have no audience and I wrote it in two days and didn't spell check, but here it is. Let me know when to book your show!" And now I have to go, "Yeah, right now we've got a pretty full roster," and insert excuse here about why I can't book somebody, and it goes back to why I have an entire production staff whose job it is to go, "Hey, Alex. Looked at your big. Not a great fit for what we're doing. Good luck in the future!" and all this other stuff. But now I look kind of like a jerk because I had to go through that funnel, and Alex goes, "Thanks for the useless introduction," right? So, there's a lot of really fine points that can...and little barbs that can completely be filed off and avoided if you just ask me and you just ask the other person. You'll find out if we know each other; you'll find out if one of us doesn't like each other; you'll find out if the timing is good or not. And there are other reasons, too, but most people never bother doing this even though it takes about 30 extra seconds to send an email to each one of us: "Hey, would you be interested in an intro to this person?" And the only time it gets tricky is when one person says yes and the other person says no, but it's lucky when that happens before you make the introduction because now the monkey isn't on my back to say, hey, now's not a good time. If I reply no to the intro that you were going to make with somebody else, all you need to do is then say, "No problem. I got it," and then you reply to the other person who you offered an intro. And either you can ask the person who you think is most likely to say no first--that's a good one--but barring that, you can also say, "Hey, reached out to Jordan. He's slammed right now, but I'll circle back in a few months." And then you just let it go. And the other person might follow up in a few months, and you can try to repeat the process or you can even be honest and say, "Jordan doesn't want any new intros right now. He's a really busy guy. But we can try again later, maybe (smiley face)." That's completely understandable. If anybody gets angry with you for that, they're being unreasonable, in my opinion. So, the double opt-in is huge. It's key. It shows you know what you're doing. If I see the double opt-in, I'm so much more likely to trust your taste in the future simply because it's sort of that little kind of, like, wink and a nudge, that you get what...the value of my time and you get the value of the other person's time; and you also understand that you're doing us a favor and you're willing to take on the burden of kind of making...facilitating it, rather than just "I want to look good by making an introduction!" and then you take a steaming pile on the living room floor and then run away, which is what a non-double opt-in intro can look like when things go bad.
Matt: Yeah. The double opt-in is a critical tool, for sure. Circling back to something you said earlier--the idea of kind of building scalable relationships--one of the things, personally, that I struggle with is: How do you keep up and kind of manage so many different relationships in a way that you can still be authentic and not have it be sort of too robotic and kind of automated?
Jordan: Yeah. So, a lot of people ask me this question, or something along the lines of: Hey, how do I systemize a lot of this so that I remember to keep up with people? Like, after this interview--I'll be perfectly honest--there's a really good chance we won't talk again or see each other unless one of us randomly comes across something, until we have one of the hangouts for a group that we're in, right, or some online interaction. It's unlikely that I'll be sitting around one Sunday or that you'll be sitting around one Sunday and you're like, "I'm just going to send Jordan a quick text and see what's up." It's just... There's too much stuff going on. And, also, it's not that necessary, in my opinion, and I find that people at our level... You know, I'm friends with a lot of different I guess you'd call them online influencers -- guys like Tucker Max, for example. And maybe he's not the epitome of manners that we want to mention on a show like this, but, frankly, him and I talk pretty regularly, but usually it's when one of us has a question for the other person, a request, or something like that. And I don't think less of him or our interactions because there's always an agenda on one side or the other because it's not a negative agenda, right? It's not like, "I want to get this thing from him, but I don't want him to know." It's like, "Hey, Jordan. Can you introduce me to this person?" Or, "Do you have any ideas about how this might work? Because you're good at this." And I might say, "Hey, Tucker. Can you introduce me to this author? I emailed him and I didn't get a reply." It's fine. It's okay to do that. I don't really want a lot of small talk, generally. Don't get me wrong: If I go to an event and Tucker's there, I'll sit next to him for three meals in a row and chat. It's cool. I enjoy that. But that's what that's for. I don't need to use email and phone and all those other things like that. It's actually just... It's not required to keep that friendship going. It's just not. And so I do use automation tools, like the CRM that I have. I recommend things like Contactually for people who really have a problem keeping in touch. But, honestly, I don't love the idea of automating everything because then it gets to be a little sticky, where you start to see these patterns the more you use these tools where it's like, yeah, so-and-so's quarterly check-in. "Hey, let me know if there's anything I can do for you!" "Okay, I will. I know that your CRM software sent this out and you didn't even know. I know that you programmed this eight months ago when we first spoke." You know, and it's less authentic and, quite frankly, I don't remember ever replying to anything like that. And it's almost like a waste of time to say, "Hey, I'm good right now, but thanks." It's just... It's not useful. And so I prefer just the much more organic approach, and I don't mind if somebody pops out of the woodwork and says, "Jordan, it's been a really long time. We haven't spoken. I was thinking about you the other day because my friend started a podcast and I was wondering if there was a resource that you recommend." I don't have a problem with that. I'd much rather that than that person checks in every three months just to say what's up, unless we're actually really close, personal friends and we have some other bond. You know what I mean? I just don't require that kind of maintenance, and I know some people do, but I'm not one of those people and I don't know a lot of online influencers that are hurt that I don't tweet at them or email them regularly just to say hi. It just... It doesn't make sense. If I find something of value... Here's my guideline. If I find something of value for that person, I will say, "Hey, Clay. Random thing here, but I just thought of you." Or if someone on a social media outlet says, "How do I do this thing?" and I think, oh, I know the guy for that, I'll tag them in it. That's fine. I'm offering a value. I'm not just posting on their Facebook wall, "What's up, buddy? Haven't heard from you in a while!" It's just not that valuable, and if you're doing it for business, just do it when there's something in it for the other person. Don't do it just to "just pinging you to touch base!" I don't know why that's a little bit irritating, but I think it's the... I don't think it's one occasion; I think it's the frequency with which it happens and the scale in which it happens. Guys like Tim Ferriss, for example -- can you imagine how many people just ping him out of nowhere, that he's never met in his whole life and they're just like, "Just wanted to say what's up. Good work"?
Matt: [Chuckles] Yeah, that's so true.
Jordan: And it's cool. Don't get me wrong; I love when people say, "Hey, I love the show. Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know you changed my life." That's different than "Hey! Let me know if I can ever do anything for you!" Because I'm like, who are you? Why would... I don't know what you can do. I'm not going to think of something that you can do. You know, offer me something and I'll do the same for you. But if you're just reaching out for general "let me know if I can ever help with anything", it's like, well, I guess. [Scoffs] Sure. But I'm not going to take action on that.
Matt: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.
Jordan: Like, if the next time you and I talk is in eight months and you say, "Hey, look. I wonder if you could recommend some other guests for my show," I will not be annoyed by that. It's fine if that's the next time you and I have contact, right. It's not going to be a big deal. I'm not going to think, oh, this guy doesn't reach out all year? He forgot my anniversary, and yet here he is, wanting an introduction? I mean, it's completely legitimate to do things that way, in my opinion. It probably sounds a little bit contra to dig your well before you're thirsty, but, as far as I'm concerned, we've already established some value here, so it's fine. And I think a lot of people get obsessed with "I want to make everybody think that we're really personal friends so that when I do need something, it's not weird," but that's not what you're doing. It's inauthentic. You're just sending me an automated thing so that I think we're personal friends so that then you can ask me for something later. It's still keeping score, but it's just kind of painted with this nice veneer of BS on it. I think that's why I find it irritating. Does that make sense?
Matt: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, you're such an expert in this field that it's great to hear your insights into what a lot of people might consider kind of a common practice.
Jordan: It is. And don't get me wrong. Look, if your practice is to say happy birthday to people on Facebook to see if they're still alive, that's totally fine and that's totally legitimate. But I think the one thing that irritates me is just when it's fake and it's for the purposes of "maintaining the relationship", but, really, you're not behind it. It's just a system. If you think of me randomly and go, "Hey, dude, I saw this hilarious, random meme that reminded me of you because of that random conversation we had two years ago," there's a little bit of value there because there's a laugh in there or something. It's not just "Hey! How are you? Please reply to me and spend time when you get a chance so that I can not read it, so that we seem like friends." It's just... That happens so often that when it starts to happen with hundreds of people, you start to see those people in a separate category as you would genuine folks.
Matt: Yeah. Well, wrapping up, what would one piece of homework be that you would give our listeners?
Jordan: For me, I think, start introducing people in your network to each other. And if you don't know what kind of network you have, make a list of everybody that you met at the most recent event and start reaching out to them; thank them for being cool or whatever; say that you're glad to have met them; find out what they might need so you can keep your ear to the ground or what they're working on; and start introducing them to each other. If you know somebody who's new in town, introduce that person to your friggin' barber. Tell them about good restaurants in the area. I mean, these are... There's not a lot of rocket science here. It's just a matter of finding out where you can be valuable, and the answer is not asking them how you can be valuable because the reply to that is: I don't know, but thanks for the offer, because you're putting the monkey on their back. So, start looking and figuring out for yourself where you can be valuable to other people and start giving it without solicitation.
Matt: That's a great piece of advice. One of the things that I always...that kind of annoys me is when people are like, "Oh, what can I do? What can I help you with?" You know what I mean? It's like...
Jordan: Yeah, because the answer is: I don't friggin' know what you can do and it's not my job to go to your website, figure out what you're good at, request that of you, and then you go, "Meh." Oh, gosh. Here's something... I'm sorry. We're, like, ranting away on your show, but here's a perfect illustration of that point. I got an email from somebody who was like, "Hey, I would love to intern for Art of Charm. What positions do you have open?" And I said, "We don't have anything open. What do you have in mind to do?" And he sent me this outline of "Here's this project I'd like to do. I'd love to be able to read books and then write reviews about them." And I said, "Sure, you can send those along, and if they're great we'll publish them." And he goes, "Well, no, I'd need you to fly me out there and give me room and board and pay me for this."
Jordan: And he goes, "Well, no, I'd need you to fly me out there and give me room and board and pay me for this." And I'm thinking, nah, I don't really need that, because that's a ridiculous request. First of all, I can hire anybody to do this bit of content, which, by the way, doesn't fit into any marketing plan that I have. You thought of it and emailed it to me. And I gave them another chance because they were ex-military, which usually those guys know better, but I gave them another chance and I said, "Here's what I actually need done." And he goes, "Nah, I feel like that would be a waste of my time. Let me know if you reconsider my project."
Jordan: And I was like, "Are you kidding me? I'm not hiring you. I'm so double, triple not hiring you now. You don't want to do the work that I send you. You only want to do the work that you want to do, which I told you was not that valuable, and then not only do you insist on that, but you insist on doing it at absolutely ridiculous terms that are completely unreasonable." And it was just like, people do this all the time because they're not thinking about it, and I guarantee you that guy's having trouble finding employment. I would imagine there's just no way that you can write anybody and talk to them like that and expect a good result. And you're putting the monkey on someone else's back if you ask how you can help them. It sounds kind on its face, but you're doing exactly what that guy did, which is, "Read my mind and find something that I will want to do to help you, and then maybe I'll do it." That's not my job. I hire people when I need stuff done and I hire the best. So, if you've got an idea, not only should you present that idea to me, but you should present that idea, do a massive outline of what it'll look like, and ideally, if I reply with a yes, you should reply with the first couple of steps done and they should be just home runs. That's how you get hired at a company that hires high performers. You've got to kill it. Because otherwise, why am I trying to figure out how you can do your job that I don't even know exists yet? That's ridiculous. Yet people do that all the time.
Matt: Well, Jordan, thank you very much. This has been a fascinating conversation about networking mistakes and pitfalls, and I'm sure the listeners have learned a tremendous amount about things that you shouldn't do and some great stories about why you shouldn't necessarily pursue a lot of networking strategies that people might think are the right path forward, or think that they're chugging along and doing the right thing when really they could be completely self-sabotaging their networking efforts.
Jordan: Totally. Yeah. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Matt: Well, thanks for being on The Science of Success.