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Introverts networking, approaching events like they’re building a rocketship to go to space. They are methodical, attentive, and interact with scripted purpose- and that is how the new-age introvert is conquering networking events and developing lasting, meaningful connections.
Matthew Pollard, the Founder of Rapid Growth Coach moves on to his second book in this 2 part series podcast. The Introvert’s Edge to Networking challenges our preconceived notions toward introverts networking through Matthew Pollard highlighting the following;
- Why introverts make better networkers
- Channeling your superpower
- You can’t please everyone
- We all tell stories
- Our differences define us
- Speak to the right people
- What to do in a room
- The step everyone forgets
- The feedback factory
- The Digital Frontier
If you tuned-in to last week’s episode, you already know that Matthew Pollard is responsible for five multi-million-dollar business success stories, all before the age of 30. His humble beginnings, the adversities he faced, and his epic rise to success show that anyone, with the right motivation and the right strategies, can achieve anything they set their mind to.
Today, Forbes calls him “the real deal,” Global Gurus lists him as a Top 30 Sales Professional, Top Sales World Magazine named him a Top 50 Speaker, and BigSpeak lists him as an international Top 10 Sales Trainer. He’s also the bestselling author of The Introvert’s Edge, which hit the Amazon charts as the 8th Most-Sold Book of the Week, appears on HubSpot’s list of the “Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time,” and was selected by BookAuthority as the #2 “Best Introvert Book of All Time.” His soon-to-be-released second book, The Introvert’s Edge to Networking, has already received endorsements from Harvard, Princeton, Neil Patel, Michael Gerber, Dr. Ivan Misner, and Marshall Goldsmith.
George: Welcome to this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast. It is a two-part series which we will wrap up this week with Matthew Pollard, a top 50 keynote speaker. Forbes called him the real deal. And after listening to last week’s episode, you can see why. Top Sales World Magazine named him a top 50 speaker and BigSpeak lists Matt as an international top 10 sales trainer. This week, we are going to cover his second book, “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking.” And when I read that title, I’m like, oh, introvert and networking. Like walking the floor of a convention. Don’t introverts just not like doing that? Well, Matt is gonna show us how introverts might have the superpower to be even better at it than us extroverts. We’re gonna learn all about it coming up next with Matthew Pollard on the Conquer Local Podcast.
We are back, episode number two of this two-part series of the Conquer Local Podcast. Matthew Pollard joining us once again. Matthew, great having you on the show.
Matthew: I’m ecstatic to be here again. Thanks for having me back.
George: Boy, I learned so much in our first episode around your book, “The Introvert’s Edge,” written way back in 2018. Actually, that’s not even that long ago. It does seem like 2018 was a long time ago because of that last year that we had.
Matthew: I think 2020 was so long, right?
George: Oh, that’s the problem. What a year. So in the early part of 2021, you released a new book, “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking,” and I was fascinated by the title. And then I got to read the content afterwards. And, you know, I work with a number of introverts. Thank you to you, I’m learning more about introverts every day, and I’m sitting here going, yeah, networking introverts. I wonder how the hell that even works.
Matthew: I think he did an amazing job in the first interview because you didn’t ask me what most extroverted hosts ask me, which is I’m hearing you speak and there’s no way that you’re an introvert based on how many stories you’re telling and all the information you’re sharing, because people naturally assume that introverts just can’t do this stuff, they can’t have dialogues. Now here’s what’s interesting- it’s not that I can’t do it, and it’s not that any other introvert can’t do it. The difference is it just exhausts me. Now, it doesn’t even mean that I don’t enjoy it. Like I actually really enjoy doing podcasts like this now. I really enjoy going to networking events. I love speaking from stage. It doesn’t mean I’m not a little bit terrified before I go on stage, but once I’m up there, I’m having a blast. But like a kid at Disneyland, when I come home it’s like I hit a wall and I hit the pillow and I’m out. I wanna go to sleep or I wanna just do something that allows me to just relax and chill out. So for those people that are listening to this and you’re like, “Well, maybe he’s a different type of introvert.” And in truth, there is a spectrum. In the first episode, I said you can confuse it as much as you like. But in truth, if you just charge up from being by yourself, what you really need to do is practice and prepare before you go. Now let’s just make it clear why introverts come across as terrible at networking rooms. What happens is they say, “You know what? I need to go networking.” You know, “I just lost a customer” or “I just lost my job” or “My pipeline’s looking too thin. “I need to go network, I don’t wanna go network. You know what? I gotta do it.” So they book it. And they book that networking event. They’re like, “Oh, you know what? I don’t wanna think about it now. I don’t wanna think about it. We’re going next Thursday, I don’t wanna think about it until Thursday.” They get a reminder an hour before the event, and it says, “ding!”. You’ve gotta get in the car in 30 minutes to go to this networking event. We spend that entire 30 minutes trying to talk ourselves out of going, not preparing. Then we get worried about what’s going to happen. We walk in the room and we tell ourselves it’s not gonna work for us. I’m scared to speak to anyone. We recognize someone and we go straight up and we talk to them, and we hold on to them for the rest of the event. Or we walk up to someone and we ask them what they do, we’ve never met them before, and they say we sell insurance. And now we’re stuck talking to an insurance salesperson, which is terrifying for a lot of people. And it’s like, oh my gosh! So we then have a bunch of shallow conversations with people and walk out with a bunch of business cards. We didn’t really have any great conversations. And we say you know what? If they call me, then I’ll work with them. But of course, they never do, and we say networking doesn’t work. Well, that’s not true. Then, and in truth, it’s not true, it’s just you’re doing it wrong. But we look at all these extroverts and we’re like, wow, they’re doing it so well. They’re just so comfortable. But the truth is, they’re not doing it the right way. I mean, they’re doing what I call one of two things. What I call transactional networking, which is, “Do you wanna buy from me? No? What about you? What about you? What about you?”. That is not something that even most extroverts like doing, but the thing is that we see those people as, oh, they’re movers and shakers. They’re closing all these deals, but I could never do that. Well, I don’t want you to do that. That is absolutely what nobody loves. They may close deals, but they’re burning through data. They’re treating networking like door-to-door sales like the old days, where you’d travel into a town and sell snake oil. That is not the way you wanna do it if you ever wanna go to the same networking event twice.
Then you get this other networking group, which is what I call aimless networkers. And extroverts, some of them do this, all introverts do this, which is the shallow conversations. Sometimes they’ll even put down what they do, ’cause they don’t wanna come across as sales-y. And then they walk out, of course, it doesn’t work. None of this is positive. So for me, what I say is for introverts to do it well, have to have a plan. For instance, if you’re going to go and do a networking event- if you’re a PR agent, do not go to the local PR agency meetup. That is not going to have any of your ideal clients. You need to really think about what your niche is, which we can give you some examples in a minute, what your niche is, and then make sure that you’re ready when you go. And what I mean by that is when you actually go into the networking room, it’s already too late. What you wanna do is you wanna say, this is the networking event I’m going to go to. Now, Meetup is connected to LinkedIn and Facebook. Most groups, these days, live groups and virtual, have Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups, all of that. So because of that, what you can do -I mean- even if you go to a conference, most of them now have apps with all the attendees listed in their LinkedIn profiles. So what that means is you can go to an event and you can connect with anybody that is your ideal prospect within a LinkedIn connection saying, “Hey, I’m coming to this event. I saw that you were at the last one ’cause I saw you in a group photo.” Or, “I saw that you registered that you may be going or are going.” Is this the kind of event that is positive for whatever your passionate mission is, which we’ll talk about later? But the focal point then is, firstly- half of the people you’re reaching out to, statistically half of them are going to be introverts ’cause half the population is introverted. So if you connect with them and they don’t really know anybody, but they’re going, what do you think they’re gonna do the moment they see your familiar face, and they’re gonna walk straight up to wanna talk to you? The extroverts will go, “Oh, I know that guy. He said he was coming. Yeah, sure, let me put him on the wing and introduce him to people.” So all of a sudden, it’s not so awkward. You can make networking come across as a bunch of pre-planned meetings, as opposed to this awkward setting where you don’t really know anyone. And then if you know what to say once you get to that point, because you’ve planned and prepared, again, before you even go, then you can be masterful in the networking room- not even as an introvert, but because you’re an introvert.
Planning and Preparation Deeply Benefits Introverts Networking
George: So, Matthew, a question that I’ve been thinking about since we met and since we’ve been recording the episodes is: if I’m an introvert, is it all about planning? Like, is that the thing that makes me feel more comfortable about knowing that there’s a process, about knowing their steps? And is it fear of the unknown or am I missing something here?
Matthew: So, it’s two things. Firstly, Henry Ford has this quote, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” And introverts all think that they can’t, which is why they don’t try. I mean, you think about it, you and I- let’s meet up and we’re gonna go for a race. If I know I’m going to lose, how much time do you think I’m gonna spend practicing and training compared to you? Right? Of course. And how much focus do you think I’m going to have if you and I both start running and I start to feel like I’m losing, I’m gonna go, “Oh, I’ve already lost” right? If you believe that you can, you’ll put in the effort. So that’s why it’s so important right? When things don’t look so well, you’ll push forward- you’ll push harder because you need to believe in yourself. So as introverts, half the journey is just knowing that you can, then yes, you absolutely have to plan because planning is everything. And it’s not that we don’t know what to say, it’s that what happens is we have too many ideas of what to say. So you’ll say- and this still happens to me sometimes- you’ll say a joke that I’m not prepared for, and I had six to seven different things to say. And by the time I figure out which one to say, somebody else has said something and the moment’s passed. Or you’ll talk about a problem that you have, and I’m like, oh, I know how to fix that. And I’m like, which solution should I offer? And then by the time somebody else has already started talking, or I just start blurting out information, you’re, “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot to take on right now.” I was just mentioning that I had a low-level problem. And next thing I know I’m in this coaching session with other people looking at me going, “Does he need that much help? What’s wrong with him?”. So it feels uncomfortable. So introverts, yes, it comes down to planning.
If we are not planned and prepared, we get stuck in our head or we say the wrong thing, which always leads to us later really having a terrible time, giving ourselves such a bad, you know, I just know these nights, I’ve had them, where, actually, there’s a story in the book that I share with. I met this guy when I first moved to the US. I remember meeting a guy in the apartment complex that we were staying in for a short period before we found our forever place. And I didn’t know anyone. I was trying to make friends and I got talking to this guy. And I asked him what he did, and he said, “Oh, I own a gym franchise.” He said, “Oh, what do you do?” And I said, “Oh, I’m a sales trainer”. And he’s like, “Oh, I had a really bad experience with a sales trainer.” And he was looking at me now like I was one step above a scam artist. And I’m like, well, everyone has said that this is what we view networking, right? We say, we sell insurance and like people’s eyes want to explode and they wanna run away from us, right? It takes planning to work out what to say differently to make sure that we don’t get into those situations. But also, I remember the day after, the week later, a month later, I still put myself over the hot coals and why did you say that when you could have said this, you could have said this, you could have said this? So the energy that that takes is exhausting. And I just prefer to use that energy effectively by making sure that I’m ready when I get into the networking room.
Prospects, Momentum Partners, and Champions
George: Well, I am learning about introverts on these episodes, but I’m also trying to understand how might I change my sales process when dealing with an introverted buyer? And I think that I’m definitely learning some items, so thank you for that. I do wanna share- you have a statement here that I’ve learned from you. And you believe that introverts can be better networkers than extroverts. I take exception to that by the way, ’cause I’m a hell of a good networker. So tell me why you’re better.
Matthew: So, I’m- for the same reason like we shared in the last episode. I follow a planned process every single time. So extroverts-
George: Oh, got me there by the way. Okay, you win. Done. Got me.
Matthew: And it’s simple, right? Like it’s not… And the thing is you could learn a planned process, but you won’t because you’re a damn good networker as you just said, right? Why would you take a backstep that feels uncomfortable to fly forward? On the other hand, I’m terrible at networking until I learned the system, and now I get gradually better every day. So here’s the thing I know, if you and I meet and you’re already a great networker and I am terrible, eventually, I’ll become better than you because I’m following a regimented system. The thing that I love about networking with extroverts is, they are just happy to have a conversation. I go in with a plan. So, at the end, they’re happy that we got to an outcome ’cause they were just happy to have the conversation. The outcome’s always what I planned beforehand. If I sit down with an introvert, again, they’re scared to have a conversation. I go in with a plan and we get to the plan. Whoever comes in one thing and knowing what outcome they want, always wins. As an extrovert a lot of the time, the problem that I find, especially when people go to networking events, and this is not all extroverts, a lot of extroverts and introverts have different views on networking. But what I will say is that a lot of extroverts, because they’re more transactional-minded, tend to go into a networking event looking for prospects. And that is a big no-no in my book and introverts don’t like going in with the mindset of I’m gonna go close a deal. So it’s a problem for extroverts mindset-wise and it’s a problem for introverts with actually going to the event because they feel inauthentic.
So, what I actually do is I break up what I call the three types of people that you’ll meet in a networking room. And I talk about prospects, which is what everyone thinks they’re there to meet, right? Prospect, the new future employer, or the possible new client. And I say, this is the least important person in the room, and everyone’s like, “What?” And I say, well, the most important people in the room are actually these other two groups of people.
One group is what I call the momentum partner. Now a momentum partner is someone that says, “You know what, Matt? I really am inspired by your passion and mission for helping people. And I really think that what you do is great.” And you feel the same about them. And because of that, you introduce each other to your networks. Judy Robinett, she’s known as one of the most connected people on the planet, but when she reached out to me, she was struggling closing deals. And I could have seen her as a prospect, but instead, I put her in the momentum partner category and we fostered this great relationship, her and I. And she must’ve introduced me to, gosh, 60 podcast hosts, and now I’ve been on all the biggest shows in the world because of the initial leg-up that she gave me. And I have introduced her to a ton of people and a ton of different podcasts myself because that’s the relationship that we have. Now, we didn’t have a formal agreement. So if you find somebody that just takes from you and doesn’t give back, stop doing it for them. But don’t not try. And if you find someone that’s like, “Oh, I gave you three introductions, and you only gave me two back”, end that relationship because that’s exhausting. But if it’s just that, you know, I care about what you do and I wanna help you and they care about you and they wanna help you, that’s amazing. And those dynamics are actually going to open up so many doors for you. So, this is what I call momentum partners, and this is what I see is your ticket out of the hamster wheel. Otherwise, you’ve gotta keep going back to networking events, right? For Judy and I, every time she was on a podcast, she’d introduce me, and every time I was on a podcast, I did the same. And it was just so easy for us to then blow up our network, a few momentum partners, and all of a sudden, you don’t even need- my whole book, while it talks about networking, it’s all about mastering the networking room so you actually never have to go back to one. And that momentum partners are the key to that.
However, the third category is the category of champions. Good examples of that are people like Ivan Meisner, the founder of BNI. He’s a big champion of my work. I talked about Jim Cathcart, one of the most award-winning speakers in the world. He’s a champion of mine. These are people that I don’t sell to. And in truth, you’d think I’d have nothing to offer these people, but everybody that’s an expert in one thing is an absolute novice at another. So there’s always something you can offer them. And in truth for someone like me, a lot of times it’s just the ability to have a dialogue, but not trying to sell them something. You know, Ivan says all the time, he says, “The amount of people that reach out to me for the first time with a straight pitch.” If I had pitched Ivan the moment I met him, I would have missed out on, firstly, a really great friendship that I have. I’ve been to his house, we had a great time. But also the amount of opportunities he’s opened, I just spoke at the National BNI Conference because he started to introduce me to that world. The people that- these are what I call champions. They’re people that give credibility to the work that you do because they believe in your mission, but they also think incredibly highly of you, and you’ve fostered an amazing trust relationship. So the reason, again, why I think introverts do amazingly well at networking, is yes, we follow a planned process and anyone can know the three categories, but because of our ability to actively listen and empathize, once we meet those right people, and especially we can plan before we go, if we know those people are going, we can foster a much deeper relationship. Again, not something extroverts can’t learn, but they have to go and learn how to empathize and actively listen, just like we have to learn an actual introverted networking or sales process.
“Can We Change?”; Adopting Processes Will Increase Your Networking Battery Capacity
George: I have to ask this question. Can we change? So we start out, and I’ll tell you why I wanna ask this question. You go to a convention. You do keynote speech, you’ve done this. Walk the floor. You go see some booths. And then there’s a networking event that evening and I find myself saying, I’m just gonna go back to the room. The last thing I wanna do is go to that thing. Like you’re always on and then it’s… does that mean I’m changing? I’m turning into an introvert or am I both? Like, what’s happening to me, Matthew? I need some help.
Matthew: So, everybody naturally evolves over time. Firstly, when we get older, we can max out much quicker. Right? And by the way, everyone’s like, “Oh, you know, I used to be really introverted, but since COVID has happened, I’ve been indoors all the time and I just miss people. Does that mean I’m becoming more extroverted?” No. It just means what happens is we get charged up by being by ourselves. But eventually, you know, like the iPhone when the battery’s full, like leaving it on a charger any longer doesn’t make it more full. Well for us as people, we actually overcharge and it actually becomes an anxiety-driving activity. So being by ourselves is great for a period of time, but eventually, we start to feel disconnected and we want to reconnect.
For extroverts, they can go to an event and they get to a point where they’re like, “enough”. Now, you in your 20s would probably be, “Wow, you know what? This was a great networking event. Let’s all go to the bar afterwards and let’s spend some more time together.” However, as you get older, you’re like, “Yeah, not so much. That blanket,” and I’ve got on sitting on my couch, “Is really inviting. I really wanna go back to that.” And maybe used to come home and you’d drive your wife nuts by chatting about all the things that happened at the networking event if you didn’t end up at a bar afterwards. Where now you’re like, “you know what? I just need to go and chill out and have some time to myself.” The truth is it still comes back to where you charge up. But here’s the other interesting thing- while you can’t change the fact that you’re an introvert or an extrovert, and you can change how much those activities deplete you. For instance, when I went to networking events when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, it was incredibly stressful before I got there. It was anxiety-riddled when I was there and it was depressing. And also I beat myself up after I got home, so it was exhausting. Now, I actually have a really good time. I meet some great people, I have some great conversations. I feel like I make some real authentic connections. And because of that, I don’t actually feel like it takes from me anymore. Well, I still am tired afterwards, but not as tired as I used to be. And because of that, I could say I’m becoming more extroverted, but truthfully, I’m just an introvert that’s learned great strategies to make those activities that would normally take from me, less taking from me. Now for you, you may find that there is a lot of abilities that you don’t have that- things like empathy and active listening. If you try to listen intently when you first start, that can be pretty exhausting. But over time you learn strategies and you focus on certain ways of doing that, and it doesn’t take as much energy. Both of us can learn strategies to find it enjoyable. We can even learn to love those activities, but it doesn’t change who we are at a core.
George: Well, I have been super impressed since you and I met on the way that you deliver this content. And I thought that I had an enormous amount of energy. Matthew, you’re up there on the charts, that’s for sure, but I love the way that you’ve positioned this information so that we can understand a cohort. And actually what happened was, I understand myself better after listening to you for these two episodes on how I can relate better with introverts. I’m not becoming an introvert, I’m just getting old. So thank you for punctuating that. But also-
Matthew: I’m sorry about that.
George: No, it’s okay. I embrace that every day. But the other thing that I’m understanding is that there are components that we can learn from both camps and take those things forward. I’m probably going to relate better to my wife, who is a true introvert. I get it now a little bit better. And I hope that our listeners will take on the reading of your two books. So from the first episode, there’s “The Introvert’s Edge,” and then the new book that was released in January, “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking.” Components for you if you were an introvert, but also components if you are an extrovert learning to relate better to half the population. So, Matthew, I learned a lot and I really appreciate the time that you gave us today. It’s rare that Producer Colleen gives us two episodes for a guest, but I can obviously see why, because there is a lot of learnings inside these episodes. So, thank you for joining us.
Matthew: Mate, it was my absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
George: Well, there you have it. I’m finding that I thought I might be turning into an introvert, but actually, I’m just getting old. So, I appreciate the fact that Matt cleared that up for me. And you know what makes a lot of sense? when he dials it in with those 10 items in his book, “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking.” So let’s figure it out. Why introverts make better networkers. And that is because they’ve got a plan. They have a process. They have a defined set of criteria that they go to the networking event trying to accomplish. Whereas extroverts just wanna talk to a lot of people, and get a lot of business cards, and make a lot of connections. But introverts have a very clearly defined set of goals that they’re trying.
Now, I’ll tell you I got a lot better at going to events and networking when I had a very clearly defined set of goals. And we actually talked about that, about, do you want a booth at an event or not? Back in the master sales series. But I learned from Matthew that he’s right. An introvert probably will beat me at networking because they have that very clearly defined process. They’re channeling that superpower. The superpower of having it buttoned up, here are the things that we’re there to accomplish, and we’re going to tick those boxes. We are gonna check each one of them in that clearly defined process. They also know that they’re not there to please everybody. They’re there to find the champions. They’re there to find the people that will give their brand momentum and help them to network and connect with more people. And I also believe that step number four, in “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking” where they learn how to tell those stories, and they realize that everybody uses stories and they continue to refine that process, that’s where introverts are gonna be great at networking. I think introverts, now learning from Matthew, understand that the differences are the pieces that define everyone. But because introverts are so good at active listening, they’re really going to look for those nuances or the differences that people have, whereas I might just gloss those over being an extrovert. And then speaking to the right people again. Making sure that they are finding the people that can move the needle because they’re very process-oriented. They use that entire room and they’re trying to find the places in that room where they’re going to find the right cohorts. They also understand that one step that everyone forgets, and that is the act of listening. When you read the book, you’ll find that Matthew spends a lot of time in the book speaking about active listening. It’s part of that superpower that introverts have. They are not just pretending to listen, they are actively listening. And then finally, they use that room as a feedback factory. They’re doing some A/B testing, and introverts are good at that. They have that defined process. They’re gonna go in and I’m gonna try this and I’m gonna try that. And then they figure out which piece is working better. That entire networking event can become their feedback factory. And introverts and networking using that digital frontier, using the digital channels. Now, when I first read this, I’m like, well, that makes sense. Introverts love digital channels because they’re not really having a face-to-face conversation. But then I learned from Matthew that introvert has nothing to do with face-to-face. It has to do with where they draw their energy. And inside the digital frontier, they’re able to draw their energy from active listening and having that empathy, and understanding what the other person is saying and what their goals are. So it’s really powerful stuff and Matthew’s brilliant.
He (Matthew) has that great catchline that got me right at the gate when we were researching future guests. Half of the world’s population is introverted. And I’m sitting here going, “yeah, I don’t really know how to communicate with them”. So I was really excited to have him on the broadcast to learn more about introverts and how I might relate to them better. But then also what I found was, I work with a bunch of introverts. And how I’m able to help those people to understand and to communicate with those folks what I’m trying to get across. So two great episodes. We learned a ton about introverts, and we really appreciate Matt Pollard joining us on the broadcast and helping to educate us. We left all of the notes on how you can connect with Matt inside the speaker notes for both episodes, and we thank you for joining us on this two-part series around “The Introvert’s Edge” and “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking” from the one and only, Matt Pollard. My name is George Leith. Thanks for joining us on the Conquer Local Podcast this week. I’ll see you when I see you.