679: 4 Things You're Doing Wrong When Creating Business Relationships w/ David Burkus

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to David Burkus, best selling author of Friend of a Friend.

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... a podcast, interview your ideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because if your ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance the rest of your audience will care about it too. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the BE TOB growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show. This episode is sponsored by Directive Consulting, the B Tob Search Marketing Agency. We're here today with David Burkis. David is a keynote speakers also the best selling author of friend of a friend. David, welcome to the show. Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to have you on the show. We are going to be talking about and one of the things that you know we we put a premium on not only on the show of course, but in our own business is is that relationships make business better, so that today's topic is going to be the four things that you're actually doing wrong when creating business relationships. So I think it's a fascinating topic. But of course, before we get into that, David, maybe you can tell us a little about what you and and your team er up to these days. Yeah, so I am, I joking, refer to myself as a recovering academic. So I went to graduate school, was in a professor still still technically have a professor appointment that I only teach about one class a year, and really the reason for that was that I felt like there's a lot of really good, well research stuff going on in social science. There's my background organizational psychology, etc. That wasn't making it out and getting into the hands of practitioners. So I've made it my goal to get good ideas out of the ivory tower and get them into the corner office or the coworking space or the coffee shop, wherever you're doing work, so that they can be more practical and applicable.

So for the last two years plus, maybe a little bit longer, that's been the primary driver my incomes dream in the primary business. It's a little I'll be honest, it's a little weird because it's sort of like I'm the business. But it's been it's been a really cool ride and we've been doing we've been spreading a lot of those good ideas, new one in the form of friend of a friend, which, as you said, is an important lesson because, I mean, business runs on relationships. It is still the fuel, even in two thousand and eighteen. Yeah, yeah, you know, the the the way in which we have communicated and are able to communicate, obviously, has has changed dramatically. So, you know, you know you have to stay current if to stay relevant. You have to be able to adapt to the way that people are communicating. But at the end of the day, you know, those relationships are so important, however you are creating them, establishing them and adding value to those, to those relationships. One of the you know, it's big cornerstones, of the keystones that work we talked about here is, you know, add value first and I think for a real relationship that has that's one thing that we always keep it the at the front of our mind. So I love the fact that we've got you on the show that we're going to be talking about it. You're obviously an expert in this field for things again, for things you're doing wrong when creating business relationships. So, David, why you why you take it away? where? What's number one? Where we starting today? Yeah, so number one is the biggest thing is really a mental model shift. The biggest thing is thinking that you have a network. Right like that. Let you'd like that you own people. But really even just this idea that when we say, okay, I have my network or need to build my network, we tend to then use this mental model of like, okay, your network is the contacts on linkedin or the number of email addresses you have in your phone or something kind of ridiculous like that. The truth is that you don't have a network. You exist inside of a network. There is already a network of the industry, the company, the clients, all of those things that networks already going on. Your job isn't to just run up the numbers on your contacts. Your job is to figure out where you are in that network, who you need to meet, who's connected to WHO and what the best way to navigate it is. And that's an entirely different thing. It...

...runs from like a twodimensional list of names to really thinking about the entirety of the network as a threedimensional thing that you provide value to and extract value from by figuring out how to navigate. That's I mean, that's obviously it's a small tweak in how you approach it, but very important. I mean, you know, it can inform the way that you, you know, participate in in this network. Know exactly right. The mental model you use to sort of describe it affects how you're going to treat it. And so when I say that I have a network, I'm thinking about it like that contact apple. I'm thinking about what it can get for me. If I say that I exist inside of a network, I'm thinking about like I mean you said it earlier to I'm thinking about how am I providing value to that network? But I'm also thinking about who is in interconnected to who, how far away certain contacts are, because some are close and some are far, etc. I'm thinking about all of these different dynamics that really don't get represented by just scrolling through your address book APP on your phone. Uh Huh. Yeah, now, do you have a couple of what yet, one or two pieces of advice that, you know, as people are trying to reframe the way in which they think about the network that they're a part of. You know, are there a couple of quick and easy things that people can do just to get in the habit? So I guess the biggest thing would be to actually start getting read on now. Now here's what I think is interesting, when you're actually starting to get a read on it. Most of us do this in our personal lives, like if you think about your friends, you know who's a close friend and who's a far away friend, who's connected to do all of that sort of richness of your friendship network. And then, I don't know, because maybe the default and Linkedin is just named company name and email or whatever. You don't don't think about that richness ahead of time. So it's really just that reminder, like this is why we called the book friend of a friend, not business contact of a business contact. Just reminder that that all of those names are actual people and they have relationships to and your job is to sort of figure out the entire complex picture rather than that. So if we want to say there's a trigger, right like whenever you're scrolling through your phone, start thinking about who do I know on...

...this? That's connected to who? That's at least going to add like two point one dimensions. We want to get to the point where there's a threedimensional image in our mind when we think about our network. Yeah, yeah, that's perfect. Okay. So well, you know, speaking of you just mentioned, you know, your close personal friends, point number two. We were going to be talking about that. Only tapping into your close network is also wrong. What it? Let's expand on that. Yeah, so, you know, we have this tendency to when we have a problem or when we need advice, when we're trying to grow a business, trying to get more sales, trying to find a new job, whatever it is, we have this tendency to only really share that information with our close contacts, are close friends, the people we can trust, the people, I mean, the people who be motivated to give us help, which makes sense, right. We probably don't want to spend all of our time with people who wouldn't be all that motivated, but the truth is, I mean people are good people. Most of them have some level of motivation and even if your further out contacts in the sociology research we call them weak ties or dormant ties. These are people that you know but don't know well, or people that you knew well but then you moved or they moved or switched jobs or something like that. These people are still motivated, I'll be a less than your close contacts and good friends. They're still motivated to help you. End They have access to information that you don't. They're a different part of the network, they're in a different geography. Sometimes they're in a different industry, they see the world differently, they know different people. They have information that you need that those close contacts usually don't want. One of my favorite terms to describe the phenomenon of close contacts who all sort of think a like, act a like and know each other is that they are redundant. Runald Bert uses this term to describe at the redundancy effect of your network. How many of those contacts are redundant? You you don't need. Those people may be more motivated to help you, but they can't help you as much as the week endormant ties, because they have new information and new contacts for you to meet. So failing to tap into those week endormant ties is a huge mistake you can make in your relationships. Yeah, yeah, you know, it seems like a almost an obvious piece of advice, but a powerful piece of advice because...

...it does force you to a little bit, not only get outside your comfort zone, but I think you also have to tap into this first point thinking, you know, about being part of a network and then, and beyond that, providing value. I mean it's not just okay, you know who is outside of my close network and how can I use that person? All these points, I feel like are are going to start overlapping right. No, no, that's true. And so here's the tip of the takeaway for sort of how to do this right is is that most of us don't. Most of US ignore them entirely. Those few of us who do, like I'm not the first person to say reach out to your week ties. So those few of us who do actually take that advice, often we wait till we need something instead of making it a habit to regularly be checking in with those people. And you can use whatever method you feel comfortable with, whether it's knowing to send certain people an email every ninety days or a text message or sharing an article with them, whatever it is that they would find useful, but having a system in place, whatever system works for you, where you're constantly reaching back to those people so that you're providing them value, helping them, and when the time comes that you might need help in the form of advice or an introduction or something like that, it's just one more in a series of regular conversations that you have with those weak ties. Right, right, we're we're out here in in Orlando and it's funny, one of the one of the long standing jokes, I feel like amongst the the Disney employees, as you know, they have people that they haven't talked to you in years who will reach out randomly. I'm like, Hey, what's up? Are You still working at Disney Aka? Can you give me a ticket or get me into the park? It's it's that automatic. You just you're just being used and it puts you on of course, you know immediately the defensive, like you're just you're just using me, you're just trying to get something out of us. I love the the idea that you know, I mean contribute, be regular, be authentic, be genuine, and then you know when there is this opportunity to to collaborate or work together help each other out. It's much more genuine. Yeah, no, exactly right. So...

...so now imagine you're doing on a regular basis. You're you're sending articles about Disney that you heard or expansion to parks or some cool announcements or what have you to that person regularly, and then the time comes when you're like hey, we're actually going to be in town, like and that's the nineteen conversation you have had every sort of like ninety days. Most people will just straight up off for you, like hello, you're gonna be in town, let's look, I can get you in the back door. We can do this free right, like. Most people will straight up off for it, because you've taken the time to value that. I love sharing growth stories and I have a good one for you today. It's about a company called Sentinel One. This challenger Cyber Security Brand was set out to disrupt the endpoint protection space. Their brand was topnotch, their product was innovative, but there were struggling to gain traction online in an already developed industry. Then they found directive consulting a BB search marketing agency. Within the first quarter of working with directive. Sentinel one was able to increase their organic traffic by a hundred and twenty eight percent and over a lead volume by an outstanding two hundred and fifty one percent. I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for you too, so head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get to this interview. Yeah, absolutely, okay. Well, let's let's move on a point number three. I think it is one this. This one tickled me even when I even when I was reading of the first time. Is that going to networking events? It's wrong. Let's let's talk about that. Yeah, so this is one of the messages inside a friend of a friend. I think people were most excited to see. Right, you officially have my permission to never go to one of these networking mixers again. Like we've all been the one, right, and we've all hoped we're going to meet that a bunch of New People, some of whom are going to immediately be valuable and all that sort of thing, and then we end up like standing in the corner of the room stirring our drink, talking to somebody we already know, right, and the truth is it's not. It's not you. I mean it is...

...you, but it's actually all of us. All of us is humans. When we're at events, when we're in situations where the only purpose is meeting and talking to New People, we default to our comfort zone, we default to the people who are like us, we default to the people who we already know, and we end up not taking the most advantage of that right. And it's not to me. It's a it's a bias issue, it's a cognitive issue. Some people managed to overcome it, but most of us. We need to be looking at better events. We need to be looking at what my friend, the sociologist Brian Uzy, calls a shared activity. A shared activity is anything that draws people together but then asks them to do something greater than just meet each other, something that is high stakes, right. So this could be volunteering for a nonprofit board, it could be a pickup sports league, it could be a hobby, it could be building, building a house with habitat for humanity. My favorite example, because it's so simple but so brilliant, is a one of my friends. John Levy throws these dinner parties where people have to cook their own dinner. So they come in and you're not allowed to talk about work for like the first hour. You're paired with someone else, you're given a task and collectively we're all going to cook our own dinner. So there's something at stake. There's a reason to have to connect with that person on a deeper level than just that little script of who are you and what do you do and and because of that, people leave the dinner more connected than if they had spent the same amount of time just sitting around the table talking about who they are and what they do. So these shared activities are far more valuable use of time and a way better way to get some diversity in your network. I love that example. I think that's I mean, that's got to be one of them like the favorite things that I've heard on this show, like in terms of creating a genuine connection and and sort of deepening that relationship. I mean well, like you said, work isn't even being talked about for the first hour. You just you're invested together. I love that. Yeah, I mean, people are, we know because we know this in our friend life. People are multifaceted, complex individuals. When you boil it down to like, so what do you do? Here's what I do. That's one dimension. You're just not going to get to know people on the level that you really should...

...in order to create value, which is that multifaceted level. You're only going to do that if you're ignoring the what you do chat for a time, and if you're focused on doing something that's high stakes, that's drawing you to having to get to know that person right, because if you don't, then you're not going to work well together and the dinner is going to suck. You focused on something more high stakes than that, you end up building that deeper relationship because it's multifaceted and because it's focused on something bigger than either of you. Yep, it's perfect. Makes a lot of sense, a lot of it. Point number four, and I think we're as we're probably going to overlap again a little bit with this idea that you had mentioned earlier of redundancy. So what is what's number four? Is the fourth thing that you're doing wrong. Yeah, so, so point number four is exactly that. It's the redundancy piece. We all know that we need to be surrounded not by likeminded people but by a diverse set of people. Point number four is it that surrounding yourself of those people is wrong? You know that's true, but you're doing it more often than you think really. So what happens is it? In sociology they use this term called hommawfully, love of same, and one of the things they find is that there is that initial push to be around people who look like us, think like us, act like us, have the same shared work history as us. There's that small initial push. But over time, what happens is it? If you're just focused on meeting as many people as you can, if you're using that mental model of the contacts APP versus the whole network, then all of the people you're being introduced to are also self similar. They're also like the people who are like you, who happen to be like you. So it's almost like the lack of diversity as a network effect. If you're not doing it deliberately, if you're not deliberately paying attention to the people around you who's too similar, you're not getting the information that you need. So the takeaway here is really to be deliberate about where you go to search out new connections. I coach a lot of people to ask the question, who do you know in blank, with blank being that industry, that sector, that ideology, that ethnicity, whatever it is that you don't have enough diversity in your network of. You can't just ask all the people that are currently in your network for introductions because they're going to serve you people that are similar to you. You have to...

...ask them proactively. Who Do you know in blank, with blank being that those groups of people that you need to get to know more of, and then that'll trigger their mind to think a little bit more broadly and introduce you to some of those folks that you're missing in your network. Yeah, yeah, I love that, David. One of the things that we've been in really enjoying, especially in two thousand and eighteen, is asking our guests. You know that they're their industry leaders, they that you know they've started businesses, they're like but much like you. There's their speakers and authors. These these are people that are are very forward thinking. One of the questions we love to ask, and David, I'm going to ask you, what is the kind of legacy that you are hoping to leave behind, whether that is personally, professionally or even a combination of the two. Yeah, I mean, you know, if, on a personal note, I have two boys, they're six and there for and I'm a husband and the my bar has gotten consistently lower over time because I've seen how hard it is to just know that, like okay, at the end of my life, if those three people think I'm a good person, then that's like I see I want to be behind. That's difficult enough, you know. Professionally, I mentioned that thing about getting ideas out of the ivory tower and into the corner office at that's really what I would love to be known as when people think about my writing, my work, my speaking, the courses that I build, all of that sort of stuff, I'd love to move like wow, that was really helpful because it helped me figure out this complex idea. It helped me put a handle on it and learn how to use it properly, like a tool. So that would be the big professional legacy. That said, I'm spending most of my time on that personal one. That's hard enough. It is. That is it does take a lot of well, you know, you have to be very deliberate about. I mean it's something that you have to constantly be be fueling, and so it's, you know, it's not a necessarily a destination. It is definitely a bit of a journey. So we've again, we've been talking to David Berg, has speaker, best selling author, a friend of a friend. He's been walking us through all these things that you're doing wrong when creating business relationships. David, if any of our listeners are interested in connecting with you after today's episode, they want to...

...find out more about today's topic and want to find out more about your book, or they you know, they like you, would just say they want to maybe even connect with you to personally. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Yes, so that absolute best place to connect with me would be David Burkescom be R Kuscom. I mean, obviously I hope you would type that name and Amazon and, like you know, buy a copy of the book for you and all your friends and friends are friends. But but truthfully, I care more about like, let's keep this conversation going. Let me know what was you useful to you. Let me know what you can push back on. You go to David Burkas Thatcom and every possible way you would want to connect, whether it's on social or email or whatever, is there, as well as some really cool resources takeaways from the book that are yours free, whether you buy it or not. So, David Burkescom is definitely the place to go. That's fantastic. Well, David, you're definitely speaking my language in terms of adding value in terms of relationships. So again, it really was a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much. Oh again, thank you so much for having me. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the be tob growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a be tob growth dinner in a sitting near you go to be, to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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