Oct 21st, 2021
The Mass Business Podcast
Season 2, Episode 13 – Everyone Has A Network, with Julie Brown
My guest today is Julie Brown. She’s a sought-after speaker and networking expert, (my people). She’s a business strategist and author of “This Shit Works”, a no-nonsense guide to networking your way to more friends, more adventures, and more success. It’s a book dedicated to making networking easy, accessible, and even fun. And she’s also the host of the “This Shit Works Podcast”. Julie and I have a fun conversation about networking and we talk about how long you should go between touchpoints within your network. Are you ready? Let’s go!!
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Matt Ward 00:01
Welcome back to the next episode of the Mass Business Podcast. My name is Matt Ward, and I am your esteemed host. I’m so honored to be with you today. But first, a word of caution. I expect that this episode will go into the E category in podcasts, aka explicit. Why? Well, the book title will tell you a little bit more about our guest. But we just let loose, it’s going to be a lot of fun. My guest today is Julie Brown. She’s a sought-after speaker, networking expert, (my people), she’s a business strategist, author of “This Shit Works”, a no-nonsense guide to networking your way to more friends, more adventures, and more success. It’s a book dedicated to making networking easy, accessible, and even fun. And she’s also the host of the “This Shit Works Podcast”. I’m going to dig into networking, and we are going to have a fantastic conversation about networking and referrals. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Matt Ward 01:22
Welcome to the Mass Business Podcast where small business owners, also known as risk takers share their stories about the growth of their business and themselves. Our interviews and our content is focused on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. I say it all the time, and I’ll say it again today. You never know for your next referral will come from.
Matt Ward 01:53
Yeah, hey, Julie Brown, how are you? So listen, I think peoples speakers might explode today with networking and referral conversations like
Julie Brown 02:06
Especially with this coming at them.
Matt Ward 02:07
It’s a hard thing to believe that there’s two networking and referral experts in Massachusetts alone.
Julie Brown 02:13
Matt Ward 02:13
Much less the entire world. I mean, there’s a bunch of people, but if they’re not my people, if they’re not my customer, they’re definitely your customer. So in 30 seconds or less, tell everybody who you are and what you do.
Julie Brown 02:26
I am Julie Brown. I’m a networking and business development strategist. I also, which you said in the intro, I am the author of “This Shit Works: Networking Your Way To More Friends, More Adventures And More Success” and the host of the This Shit Works Podcast. And like you Matt, I am also a professional speaker. Before COVID traveled around the country giving keynotes on the power of relationship building and talking to strangers. How I do that, right here.
Matt Ward 02:53
Right here in front of these lame microphones,
Julie Brown 02:56
And that ring light.
Matt Ward 02:58
And ring lights and whiteboards and bookshelves and a peel and stick wallpaper, which is what I have on the background of this office. You know, look. So here’s the thing. We’re breaking the mold on this podcast episode. Normally I dig into the growth of a business of some of our guests and how they use networking and referrals to grow their business. But this episode is all about networking and referrals. What I’d love to do is share with the audience listening on their favorite podcast platform or even watching on YouTube. Show them the different strategies that we’ve used, that we’ve unpacked over our time how we are similar thinking but also how we differ because I think that there’s great knowledge and understanding in the conflict around networking and referrals. Do it this way, no, do it this way. No, do it this way. At the end of the day, you got to do what works for you. Right?
Julie Brown 03:53
There’s a lot of right ways to do it. You know, people always ask me, what is the one way for me to get leads or referrals? And I’m like, you think there’s one silver bullet to getting referrals and clients? Like, you’re being way too narrow. There’s so many ways to do it. You have to do all those ways consistently.
Matt Ward 04:17
Julie Brown 04:19
Well, um, I guess I would say that I talk to someone in my network, whether that be contemporary or a past colleague or an existing client or a past client, I talk to at least two of those people every single day, like there’s no day that goes by that I’m not somehow interacting, touching.
Matt Ward 04:49
I call them touch points. I like in my business I call them trigger points in touch points, right trigger points are the things that happen that produce a touch point, that thing in your business or process that happens in a way that forces you to reach out and touch someone.
Julie Brown 05:04
Or reminds, you to, you know, a reminder to do and there’s lots of ways to do that we all, you know know what CRMs are. And we could use our CRM as a way to remind us every day to reach out to people. Or it could be more organic, it could be you see something and it reminds you of someone or you hear something that reminds you of someone and using that as a very sort of serendipitous organic way to say, Hey, I was thinking about you today, those words are the most important words, when in networking, I was thinking about you, like, people love that they love to think that they are important and that you were thinking about
Matt Ward 05:44
right so um Joe business owner, Sally business owner comes to you today they reach out to you they say, Hey, you know, I read your book and just wondering, you know, I’m a graphic designer. And I’m not really doing any reach out. I’m not really doing any networking. I’m not really, I’m just kind of in my cave designing. How do I get started?
Julie Brown 06:10
Well, this is a great question. Because I work with designers a lot in the sense of I’m very, very well known in the architecture, engineering and construction industries, corporate where I grew up, my husband’s an architect, he owns his own firm. So I understand that design mentality of I’m really good at design, whatever that’s design is, whether it’s graphic design or designing homes, I’m really good at this. This is where I’m comfortable. I’m heads down doing what I’m really good at. The problem is, is like, unless people know who you are, they can’t refer work to you. And so where we start is thinking about what is the existing network I already have? Everybody always already has an existing,
Matt Ward 06:51
I don’t have a network,
Julie Brown 06:52
you do. You do you have
Matt Ward 06:53
No, I don’t have a network.
Julie Brown 06:55
You don’t have family? You don’t have any friends? So I always say start immediate. Start with your family, your friends, your friends of your family, where you went to college to Are there any alumni groups that are available to you? The power of commonality, which is why alumni groups work, is really powerful, like that shared experience of going to college like, so tap into your alumni group. Like start with the, with things that are close to you like, Is there a chamber of commerce around you? I know that Matt, you have a networking group.
Matt Ward 07:27
Yeah. So, Julie, this is the thing like I bet, I imagine, that’s why I challenged you on that. Because that’s what I get. And I know you get it too, right. I know people are constantly thinking that they don’t have a network when they really do have a network
Julie Brown 07:40
We just have to redefine the word network. Your network is anybody in and around you who is invested in your success, who you have a relationship with. Is your mom and your network? Damn straight, your mom’s in your network. Like is she invested in your success? Do you have a relationship with her? Yes. Like, and people who are, this is a great thing too. But this is also people don’t think about their spouses. Yeah. So Warren Buffett wrote an article A number of years ago said the number one, that the thing that the most successful people in the world have in common is they have a spouse or a life partner who is invested in their success. So look at the person you’re with that person, like my husband, I can’t be as successful without him being invested in my success, he cannot be as successful as he is, without me being invested in his success. And being invested in somebody’s success takes on a lot of different like, there’s a lot of different ways to do that. But for us, it’s not just, I’m his sounding board, I help him but I make sure that I in my life, allow him to have the space to do what he needs to do to be successful. And he does that with me as well. So like, your husband, your wife, your life partner, they’re part of your network. They’re a pivotal part of your networks, you have to redefine what network is, it’s anybody you have a relationship with.
Matt Ward 09:07
And I love that I even take it a step further. I love how you say it’s anybody that you have a relationship with who’s invested in you. But interestingly enough, I think that’s where some people will get the roadblock because they don’t think that someone is invested in them. So I just like to say, these are your contacts, right? And it’s up to you to engage the contact to get them to the point where they’re invested in you and they get invested in you because you’re invested in them.
Julie Brown 09:35
Exactly. So if you think I’m not getting anything out of my network, you really need to look at yourself and say when was the last time I did anything for anybody in my network?
Matt Ward 09:45
I wrote a whole book about that. Right? And, the number one thing I hear about networking groups and why they’re not working, I say, Well, why are you leaving your networking group? Yeah, it’s not working for me. Why not? Well, I’m not getting referrals Well, why is that? Well, they’re not giving me referrals. And so then I say, whose fault is that? Right? It is always the fault of the person who’s in the seat, the person who receives the referrals because they’re not doing the work necessary. They’re not talking about the right things, not building the right relationships. And this goes all the way back, the thing you have to think about about your network folks, is that it’s out there, it’s up to you to tap into that, to engage with that network, to engage with those contacts and get them to engage back with you. They are primed and ready. It’s just up to you. You have to turn the faucet on, you can’t clean your hands and take a shower until you actually turn the faucet on.
Julie Brown 10:39
So here’s the thing, and statistically, we all know the line that people do business with and refer business to people they know, like, and trust.
Matt Ward 10:47
And care about, thank you, I just had to add that. ok.
Julie Brown 10:51
If you know them, you like them, you trust them, inevitably you’re going to have to care about them.
Matt Ward 10:55
gonna care about them
Julie Brown 10:56
Statistically, it doesn’t matter that they know, like, and trust you. Statistically, they have to have more than five interactions with you. More than five quality interactions with you before a person will determine whether or not you are somebody that they would refer or you are somebody that they would work with.
Matt Ward 11:18
So Julie, why do people get so pissed off when they come into these networking groups or they show up to these zoom calls and they try and sell people or pitch people or whatever, and they’re not getting anything in return? Why are they, they clearly don’t understand that interaction process.
Julie Brown 11:36
Yeah, well so here’s the thing. You can’t bully someone into working with you. You can’t bully someone into hiring
Matt Ward 11:45
Or guilt them
Julie Brown 11:47
Or guilt them, it just doesn’t work that way
Matt Ward 11:49
Hey networking group, I haven’t gotten any referrals in the last four weeks. Just wondering you know, I’m looking for XYZ this week, maybe I could get some…. that’s begging, that’s desperation, nobody has trust in you, they don’t have confidence that you’re going to deliver the work. stop that shit now.
Julie Brown 12:06
There’s more to this, this is like an onion. There’s layers to it, there’s like there is the psychology of why people buy things or why people work with other people layered on top of this you know, relationship building thing. But I mean the truth is each relationship is going to evolve at its own pace and this is what I use when I give speeches, this is the what I normally talk about. So here in the northeast, in May I start my garden and I’m putting in all like the shit, manure and everything like getting that on the dirt real nice and I plant everything at the same time. I plant my radishes at the same time as I plant my cucumbers, as I plant my tomatoes Well guess what? I treat them all the same. I love them all the same. I give them as much sunshine and water as every, all the seeds get the same attention. But my radishes, I’m ready to pick them in two weeks. no, I don’t pick them in two weeks and then walk over to the tomato plant and put it in its face and say what about this new piece of shit tomato like Why haven’t you grown yet? Well because you want to know wh,y cuz it’s gonna take 95 days for me to get a tomato because you know what, that’s what tomatoes do. tomato’s gonna tomato Okay, and
Matt Ward 13:23
Tomato’s gonna tomato. That’s the quote of the day.
Julie Brown 13:28
You cannot rush the process of somebody else’s process of getting to know, like, trust. So when you do that, when you are rushing the process, you are keeping score. And you can’t keep score when you’re building a relationship because you’re not building that relationship with integrity and honesty and for the right reason.
Matt Ward 13:49
What’s the story with the keeping score?
Julie Brown 13:56
just like tit for tat, quid pro quo, like you rub my back…..
Matt Ward 13:59
Julie Brown 14:01
No, I think it is even before that. I think very much tit for tat, quid pro quo, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours like and that’s not always the way it works like, sometimes you have to give more to get more down the road.
Matt Ward 14:15
Sometimes you have to give more to get something And be okay with that.
Julie Brown 14:20
Matt Ward 14:21
Sometimes you have to give a lot to get nothing but access through the pearly gates right? So sometimes you, this book is behind me the orange books are Keith Ferazzi’s. Never Eat Alone. And I took away from that. The idea that you would give without the expectation of getting anything return. Why do you think I do a podcast? I don’t sell anything on this podcast. I’m giving out content all the time.
Julie Brown 14:47
Well, you know what, Matt when we give away really good content. I have a weekly podcast. I have a YouTube channel and when I give away that much content, you know what people say? I wonder what she does when we pay her like, that is why like, I have gotten so many clients, from my podcast, speaking engagements Also, I’ve gotten a lot of press, because number one, okay, you can’t just make, let’s just talk about this for a second, let’s just sidebar and say you can’t just start creating content for content sake, like, I’m gonna have a podcast, because then I’ll get more clients more people, like, you have to have really good content. And in order to create really good content, it takes time, and you have to care about what you’re talking about, right? If you’re just creating content, like shitty content, like number one, no one’s gonna pay attention to it. And number two, like, that’s really bad for your image.
Matt Ward 15:40
Right? And I love you know, you mentioned something there, too, that I think is purposeful and important in networking and referrals, which is you have to execute on what you do. And produce content, produce, you know, expand, expel your knowledge, in a caring way, you have to care about what you’re doing so much so that people know that you’re passionate about it. Because if you’re just kind of easing through, we’ve all been in networking groups, where the printer has their sales rep in there, and the guy can barely keep his eyes open, right? And he’s just not engaged. He just doesn’t care. He’s just another employee, making whatever money he can, coasting by to get through a title I’ll never forget, when I had my agency, I had one of my sales reps actually say to me, Hey, I know you guys are making some changes here. Do you think you just find a spot to park me in for another six months? until you figure it out. And we were like, Dude, this is not a parking lot. This is a race track like we’re going and you’re either coming along or you getting out. You just can’t have you can’t be apathetic about what you do, you have to care so much that you do it for free.
Julie Brown 17:01
And you know, here’s the thing that I think is very important. Because I went to an event, one of the first live events I’ve gone to in a very long time in my industry last week and a gentleman in my network came up to me, and he said, I feel like I talk to you every day. I have not seen this man since before COVID started so over 18, 19 months. But because I am consistently putting out content, written, video. And in audio, obviously, the podcast, because I’m putting out, consistently putting out content in my own voice, you have to find out what your voice is, in my own voice, that every week, he feels like he’s talking to me, because like he’s hearing my voice. And he’s seeing my face and us hearing the words that I would say if we were in a conversation together, like, that’s part of my networking, the content, my personal brand, and how much content I deliver to my network is part of my networking so that my network feels like they’re never far away from me. They always are hearing from me.
Matt Ward 18:09
Yeah. That’s here’s the thing about that, I talked about this, in the nurturing process of getting referrals is that if you educate your partners, that they’re going to refer you. The more content you’re putting out, you’re educating your partners. Now they’re trusting you more, they’ve got that greater than five interactions at that point. They know that you’re constantly there and present, you’re engaged in your business, you’re active, you’re not taking a hiatus, right? You didn’t you know, fall off during the pandemic. And so, I think that that’s one reason why I produce the videos I produce every single week. They’re great little tip videos. The number one response I get is, I love how short they’re white. And this is this podcast is much more long-form content. But the three to five-minute video is, is powerful, and it’s just one tip that they can implement that week. And I think that keeps people engaged. And that’s what they tell me that they love. That doesn’t, Some people ask me, Well, does that work? Does that get you business? Well, I don’t know if it gets me business per se. It certainly gives me credibility, which gets me business.
Julie Brown 19:23
This is what it is. It’s layers of credibility. So here’s the thing. Like, whatever you do, I’m sure you went through a process to become who you are. You went to school you either got a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, like by the time you graduated. You’re not dumb, there’s no dummies here. I like to say like by the time we’re doing what we’re doing, we’re very good at our jobs. Congratulations. So is everybody else. Now, what are you going to do to differentiate yourself from everybody else who’s really good at their job? And the way you’re going to do that is by building relationships and having these layers of credibility, which is how can you disseminate information about what you’re really good at? How can you disseminate thought leadership? How can you do this, something like this, be on podcasts, be on panels like, be interviewed about what you do? Like how can you add just layer on top of layer on top of layer of credibility? If you Google Julie Brown Boston, like, do you know how many Julie Browns are in Boston? A ton, you know, who comes up? Me, Because I own the Google page. And Julie Brown, let me say is like a pretty generic name. There’s two MTV VJs that were Julie Browns. Like, we all know this, like I could easily get lost in the weeds there. But I don’t I own that Google page. because number one, My LinkedIn page comes up because it’s always active. My podcast comes up, my YouTube videos come up, articles about me come up, past speaking engagements come up, like, layer upon layer credibility. So if somebody says, Hey, do you know Julie Brown? and then they Google me. I’ve, they already like the trust is built into that credibility because of how hard I’ve worked to be a thought leader and expert in networking, Same with yourself.
Matt Ward 21:19
Yeah. It’s so good. So um, another thing I get asked a lot about is intervals, timeframes by which people should be touching base with other people. What’s your thoughts on it?
Julie Brown 21:34
So you know, my thought on this has changed. When I first started coaching, I was very much into the, let’s do it quarterly, like every season, let’s have a reason.
Matt Ward 21:47
For every season, isn’t a that song or something?
Julie Brown 21:52
song is like a 70 song. And so that was my thing, like, you know, don’t go let more than like, three months, four months go by. But now, and this is also another thing about being a thought leadership expert is your opinions can change over time, more, you get to know things and the more years you have in something, so now I believe that there are relationships in your network who need more than every interaction every three months. And then there are relationships in your network that are so solid, that you can you could talk every eight months, and you could pick up the phone, it was like you didn’t miss a minute. So I think you really I don’t, this is a non answer. I don’t think there’s one size fits all that everybody in your network.
Matt Ward 22:41
So that’s the beauty I was waiting for. Yeah, to me, it flexes based on the contact. It’s not, there’s not a definitive rule, I generally like to say don’t go more than three months. But to your point, there are people that I don’t touch base with for six months, or eight months or nine months. I try not to push it a year. But sometimes contacts slip through the cracks.
Julie Brown 23:03
It is the truth. But herein lies a really good point is say something slipped through the cracks. It’s been 10 months, and you were like, holy shit. I haven’t spoken to Joe in 10 months, I can’t believe it. What you do is you reach out to him with honesty and you say, I cannot believe it’s been 10 months since we last talked. I can’t believe it. I don’t want this to like, this can’t happen again. I’ve been thinking about you. This is why like, be honest about the fact that it’s been 10 months since you talked. Don’t go back and like be like, Hey, what’s up, dude? Like, no, I say oh my god, it’s been too long. There’s been so much going on. Let me fill you in on what’s happening with me and you fill me in with what’s happened to you.
Matt Ward 23:47
Okay, so this is like the third time you said this, and I generally don’t use this line, but I love it. And I think I’m gonna steal it. So I generally say I’ll send it Hey, just checking in, how’s business? That’s my that’s my line. But I love your line. I was thinking about you today.
Julie Brown 24:07
Yeah, this is where it’s more intimate. It’s like I was thinking about you, you were in my thoughts.
Matt Ward 24:15
which is true, because you would not have actually contacted them if they didn’t pop into your brain to contact.
Julie Brown 24:24
For whatever reason. Yeah.
Matt Ward 24:26
So here’s a small task for if you’re listening on a podcast app or watching on YouTube, here’s a small little task for you. Think about the contacts right now in your network that have the first name of Julie. Three, two, somebody just popped into your head. Reach out to them today and tell them you were thinking about him. Let’s see how that goes. Then post in the comments here on social media, or on YouTube, how that interaction went. You’d be surprised, I mean I’ve had clients who, I say alright, send to checking emails today. Just I don’t care who you send it to send two and They’re like, Hey, I sent four and one wants to buy something. And that was never the intent. Yeah. But the timing worked out.
Julie Brown 25:11
That happens more than you know, where I reached out to somebody. They’re like, Oh my god, I’m so glad you sent an email. I was just, I was just thinking about you. I was going to contact you. I’ve had a post it note on my desk for two weeks that says call Julie, like, Yeah,
Matt Ward 25:25
that’s good stuff. Um, how have things changed with the pandemic in your world regarding, you know, networking and what your clients are dealing with?
Julie Brown 25:35
Honestly, I miss I miss live events, I miss shaking hands and hugging people and having face to face conversations like real face to face conversation. I miss all of that. But the beauty of the past 18, 19 months, however, it’s been 10 years, how long has it been? The beauty of it is that I have actually grown my network. Like geographically grown it where it’s so easy now to connect with people in New York. Yeah, I have clients in Seattle now, which I never would have taken on a client and I’m in Boston, I never would have taken on a client in Seattle. If I hadn’t had a year of doing client meetings with my clients here in Boston over zoom. Like, it has actually been wonderful for me in the sense of I had a very broad network prior to COVID. But now I have a geographically broad network.
Matt Ward 26:36
Yeah. It’s interesting because I’ve met so many people during COVID. Right, I met them on zoom, I met you during COVID on zoom. And I have a very good friend I met on zoom, and then eventually met in person. And we’re really good friends now, Jason Cutter. And it’s so interesting how that has all evolved. In fact, Jason moved from California to Florida, to live down near me in Fort Myers, at my other house, and it’s just it’s amazing, like the connections you make with people online. And then when you actually get to meet them in person. You remember those reunions you ever go to? It’s kind of like that.
Julie Brown 27:18
Think about this like anybody who says you can’t build relationships online has never seen an episode of catfish. Okay? Not opinion.
Matt Ward 27:40
Oh my god, I feel like we need to end it right there. So good. So amazing. Julie, how can people reach out to you How can they connect? How can they network and where can they buy that awesome book, This Shit Works?
Julie Brown 27:53
so This Thit Works is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, you just put it in there and This Shit Works it’ll pop right up. Um, if you want to get in touch with me a couple of different ways. I am on LinkedIn. However, I don’t accept any LinkedIn invitations from people who don’t say where they found me. So make sure you tell me where you found me. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. And you could email me Julie@JulieBrownbd.com or you could message me on Instagram, Julie Brown underscore BD on Instagram.
Matt Ward 28:24
Awesome. Listen, folks, if you’re if you’re listening to this on your favorite podcast app, or you’re watching on YouTube, you have got to connect with Julie. She is a hot shit. She’ll make you laugh a lot. She have good times and she reaches out to you when you don’t reach out to her. She’s great at that. And she beat me to it this summer. She followed up with me before I followed up with her. It was so awesome. And I’ll never forget. And by the way, being on the podcast guest on the podcast was a direct result of her reach out to me because I was like, Oh, that’s right. You know what, Julie? Oh, by the way, I’ve got a podcast you should come on it’s and it worked out great. So I’m so happy you’re here. I’m so happy that you’re a friend of mine and you’re involved with NSA as well as I and it just can’t wait to see where this friendship goes. You never know folks. You never know when you’re going to get two powerhouses in the same room conducting a networking session and might be the knockdown drag out networking Fight of the year, it would be the UFC of networking. That would be great we can do it at Foxwoods. Be Awesome. All right. If you’re listening on your favorite podcast app on your phone, make sure that you subscribe and rate us give us a big ol five star rating especially for this episode. And if you’re watching on YouTube, smash that subscribe button and then hit the notification so you get notified every single day we put up a podcast until next time, don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot, and high five everyone around you.
Matt Ward 30:16
Thank you for listening to the Mass Business Podcast where we focus on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. Don’t forget to like on your favorite platform and share out this podcast. This show has been produced by Heather Grant, music by Cailte. Kelley. All rights reserved. I’m your host, professional speaker, author and word of mouth referral consultant, Matt Ward. Don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot, and high-five everyone around you.