Networking Advice from Elliott Bisnow

Updated: Jul 5

Today's mentor session was an entire hour of networking Q+A with Elliott Bisnow, entrepreneur legend and founder of Summit.

Q: How important is content creation when it comes to networking online?

It depends what kind of network you are trying to build. There are a lot of ways to build genuine relationships online without having a huge social media following. One friendship leads to another, which builds up to a substantial network over 10 years.

Q: How do I reach out to people I want to build relationships with?

You could send a message on Linkedin, which is the lowest barrier to entry. Because anyone can do it, you have less likelihood of getting a response this way. Although it's kind of basic, I will say that this method has worked for me, even to meet Alex Banayan for an interview.

Cold emailing is the next step, this has a lower chance of working if you don't have some connection or in-person contact. When Elliott was sending out cold-emails for one of his projects, he would stop by the office buildings of those who didn't respond, to hopefully meet in person. He would say "I was just in the building and just wanted to check in, have been trying to connect with them through email."

The next step up is making a thoughtful video. In doing this, you can explain a little bit about your story and show how you are special. This is above the lowest barrier of entry of a simple message, so you are more likely to break through.

People have space for Others who have what they are looking for in that moment.

Q: How can I make people more likely to respond?

Bring them value. Instead of just asking to get coffee, think about how you will bring value to each relationship. Be specific about how your interests or skills directly relate to the person you are looking to connect with.

Q: When you are first starting out, what sort of value can you bring?

Find like minded people at your level. Really focus on friendships, bring good energy, be compassionate, a good listener, and show up as a friend.

Don't be picky and choosy with your value, the best types of people want to help everyone because they're just being a good neighbor. The best relationships start with people who are your peers. No need to be so focused on those way more successful than you. Invest heavily into relationships with peers, and then years later, it will be those people who are doing incredible things. Plan 10 years out.

Q: How do I build relationships with people in my network?

Don't always ask for something. Send things that make you think of them, like a Spotify playlist would be a unique idea. Keep in contact from time to time, bringing value when you can, without always including an ask. Be a giver!

"The best time to build a relationship with someone is when you don't need something from them."

Q: What if you are young, will people take me seriously?

Be yourself and share who you are authentically. Older people will know that you don't have their wisdom, but they also understand that you are a part of the next generation and are actually on the ground a part of a movement. Even if you don't know what you are going to do, that doesn't matter, what you are interested in does. Start doing that.

Successful business people don't want to meet other successful business people, they want to meet the next generation.

Q: What's the best networking method?

There are many great ways to network, but an introduction is the most powerful. If both you and your fiend get a speaking gig, say to the organizer "I have the best speaker for you." Referrals are the best way to increase and strengthen your network.

4 Ways to Network

  1. Hunting - cold emailing, social media outreach

  2. Trading - exchanging names with people you know, recommendations

  3. Farming - planting a seed and payout will be later on, like doing podcasts, guest appearances

  4. Trapping - becoming known as the expert in a field, so that others come to you

Q: How do you network for a best friend?

Go about your life in a way where you are always open to new friends. Have the mindset that there are always new friends out there for you. Don't assume others just want something from you, assume people are amazing and be more curious about getting to know them. Think about everything through the lens of "How can this be a fun adventure."

Try this:

Embed 2 compliments into every question you ask, it'll help open up your conversations. Ask more meaningful questions that people actually want to answer.

This post is in relation to Alex Banayan's Third Door Mentor Sessions.

Topic for Wednesday 6/17: How to Find a Mentor

You can find posts on past mentor sessions, as well as sign up to get weekly recaps here.

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