How to Build Your Personal Brand with Networking w/ Matt Holmes [Episode 315]

Among the many topics that Matt and I discuss are how Matt realized he could teach others about personal branding, some of his strategies to build and protect personal brand; the importance of online networking; and using networking to build your personal brand.

Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is Matt “Handshakin” Holmes, Founder of Handshakin.com,and author of the eBook, Six Networking Strategies for Entrepreneurs: Networking 101 for new startups and first-time entrepreneurs.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Matt learned that asking to interview someone about their success is a good shortcut to networking.

Matt’s shares his favorite “networking with billionaire” story about landing an interview with Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline.com.

Matt defines the critical elements of your personal brand.

The steps sales reps should take to build their brand online.

Matt describes the plug-ins to use with LinkedIn to build a powerful networking platform.

Easy steps all sellers to need to take to perfect their LinkedIn profile.

The three signs you are a poor networker: and how to address them

Matt describes how to measure the effectiveness of your online networking activity.

MORE ABOUT MATT HOLMES

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Paying it forward — giving something of value to the other person before making an ask.

Who is your sales role model?

Grant Cardone.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Low-energy dubstep for the office.

Episode Transcript:

Andy Paul 0:35

It’s time to accelerate! Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you. 

 

Hello, and welcome to Accelerate! Joining me today is my guest, Matt Holmes. Matt is founder of Handshaking. It’s a company that educates aspiring entrepreneurs on the best practices of networking and personal branding. So Matt, welcome to Accelerate.

 

Matt Holmes 1:12

Hey, thanks, Andy. Glad to be here.

 

Andy Paul 1:16

Yeah. So take a minute. Introduce yourself. Maybe tell us how you got your start in the networking business, teaching people how to network.

 

Matt Holmes 1:22

Yeah, hello listeners, and thanks for tuning in. My name is Matt “Handshakin” Holmes. 

 

Andy Paul 1:30

It’s like you got into character there for a minute.

 

Matt Holmes 1:33

I put on my, I’d say handshaking hat, but maybe handshaking glove would be more accurate. Anyway, I got into this business after my first startup in real estate. We bought single family homes here in Denver, Colorado where I’m still based and had a good time. Eventually built a profitable company and grew to actually hate it. 

 

So I sold off most of my real estate and didn’t really know what was next. I just knew that I was going to connect with the people that I really looked up to and spend time interviewing the people that I wanted to be like. They had businesses that I wanted to grow a business into, but I didn’t really know what was next for me.

 

Andy Paul 2:14

Who? Who are these people that you looked up to?

 

Matt Holmes 2:17

The first guests were just friends that I had met who had had some success along the past few years while I was doing real estate. And eventually after we got going and got our processes down, we started interviewing entrepreneurs with hundreds of employees instead of just a dozen, all the way up to venture capitalists, billionaires and members of Congress.

 

Andy Paul 2:39

Very cool. So what’d you learn?

 

Matt Holmes 2:42

So I learned that that, number one, asking to interview someone about their success is a shortcut when you’re networking. Now of course, podcast hosts like yourself, and lots of our friends know that, Andy, but for the aspiring entrepreneur just starting out, it’s a really powerful way to really build your personal brand and credibility online. 

 

Because when you’re getting started, there’s not much content about you being an entrepreneur. And the faster you can make that content, the faster you’re going to establish credibility even before you’ve quit your full time job to launch your startup. And by doing this, I learned that even outside of the video series, I found a lot of tools. And I found a lot of methods of networking in person with people to really get meetings by reaching out cold to billionaires versus incentivizing someone to refer you to someone they look up to rather than someone that they don’t hold in their highest regard.

 

Andy Paul 3:37

Well, so give an example or a couple examples of people you cold outreached to that were guests on your interview series.

 

Matt Holmes 3:46

Yeah, so my favorite one is Jeff Hoffman, who’s the billionaire founder of Priceline.com. And I found him on LinkedIn and loved what he was up to. I really wanted to ask him about his story. I was curious on how he networked and how his community and personal network changed along his journey of launching Priceline. 

 

But I didn’t have a warm introduction to them. I’d gotten pretty good with getting a few other billionaires on the video series by either meeting them in person or knowing someone who had some form of connection to them. But I didn’t with Jeff. So I just shot him a cold LinkedIn message and then followed up with a second one and got a response. And he said, of course, Matt, I’m happy to sit down with you. 

 

And eventually, we had our Handshaking interview when he was in town in Denver. And I asked him, Jeff, why did the cold LinkedIn message work? And he said, Matt, you have a strong personal brand. Within a few seconds, I could see who you were in your videos. And you had blog posts about relevant content that I was interested in. 

 

And that’s when it clicked for me, Andy. And I realized, I need to stop interviewing all these people and help other people build their personal brand so they can get cold meetings with investors and billionaires and high net worth clients.

 

Andy Paul 5:00

Yeah, prospective customers, a whole range of people. So let’s start breaking that down. Because networking, personal branding, these words, unfortunately, are sort of verging on the edge of cliche these days, because I think that people use them so loosely. 

 

So define that for me. In your mind, what is a personal brand? What does it mean to network? And we’ll start from there.

 

Matt Holmes 5:27

Yeah, so with personal brand, I’ll start with that one and then we can talk about what networking means nowadays in 2016 and 17. With personal brand, I think that’s what you look like online or how you come across at an in person event. It’s both. It’s how people talk about you in person or it’s down to the links or the blog posts that they choose to share with their friends about you. 

 

It’s a lot of different things, and it’s big. It’s not just how many followers you have on Twitter, although that might play into it. So some people say personal brand, some people say credibility, some people say reputation. And I think it all is in a similar space. 

 

Andy Paul

Well, you have to be conscious and deliberate about your brand. The reputation is going to, let’s say, be following that, or your credibility and trust and so on. So what are the basic elements of people listening to this, let’s start with sales reps that are listening to this who may also be at some point aspiring entrepreneurs, but really irrespective of what they plan to do, the personal brand is really, really important these days. So what’s the base layer that people need to think about? 

 

Matt Holmes

I think the number one most important thing in basically any personal brand should be transparency and authenticity. For the sales people out there that have a hobby or interest, talk about it online a little bit. If you can use something personal to connect with your professional contacts, that’s one of the most powerful ways to build rapport with them. 

 

Andy Paul 7:00

Talk about something other than work.

 

Matt Holmes 7:03

Exactly. And if you can bring your professional network a little closer to your personal life, you’re going to be a little bit more vulnerable and a little bit more open with your interests. And when you can relate on both the professional and personal, that’s going to make you a much warmer lead.

 

Andy Paul 7:22

Okay, so when Jeff Hoffman was looking at your LinkedIn profile or your website, he saw your video interviews you had done. What else did he see?

 

Matt Holmes 7:31

I think because I reached out to him on LinkedIn, he looked at my most recent blog posts that I had posted on LinkedIn. So that was because that was the first thing readily available to him. Where on the videos, he might have had to click a little bit. But I’m honestly not sure of the exact path that he took. 

 

And that would be an important question. Because then I’d ask myself, was that the same route that everyone else on LinkedIn is taking? But again, personal brand’s a big thing, not just one specific route that someone uses to research you.

 

Andy Paul 8:01

But just to get back to this idea of a base layer, because this is how I encourage people to think about it, regardless of what field you’re in, whether you’re entrepreneurs you talked about, or a sales rep, or sales manager, entrepreneur, existing entrepreneur, people look at you online first and foremost. Before they talk to you in some cases. Or if you’ve done a cold outreach to them, let’s say on a phone call, maybe they’ll talk to you. But if it’s a cold outreach on email, they’re gonna spend a few minutes and look you up.

 

Matt Holmes 8:35

Yeah. Okay, so now I see what you’re asking. The foundation, the online foundation of a personal brand without a doubt is your own personal website. And I’ll tell you why. Of course it’s important to look good on Twitter and LinkedIn and be active and have recent content there. But at the end of the day, your Twitter profile is Twitter’s real estate, and they own it. You can’t have an email pop up on your Twitter account. Because that’s their real estate. 

 

But if you have your own website, that’s your own real estate. That’s the epitome of what you want to be driving all traffic to. And all of the social networks are just a place for you to take traffic from those places and drive them to your personal website where you can really nurture them. 

 

You can take them, you can give them free gifts with that email pop up. You can offer them more information on what you were doing in the past. You can offer them more information on what you’re doing this week. And you can have better control of what you’re showing people online.

 

Andy Paul 9:31

But if you’re a rep employed by a company, you’re not going to direct people to a personal website. So what do you really need to focus on in terms of your own personal brand, the foundation layer within your social profiles? Because that really is where customers will start to look for you.

 

Matt Holmes 9:47

I think so. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to get a personal website to the top. And I’m not sure exactly about sales organizations, but I do think it is good for your team to have individual strong personal brands, too. I’d want to ask you, though, if I were to answer your question, what social network should we kind of start and look into a little bit?

 

Andy Paul 10:07

You’re asking me that question? 

 

Matt Holmes

Yeah. 

 

Andy Paul

Huh, I thought it was my show. So, well, I think if you’re in sales, LinkedIn is the place you start. For a sales rep, that is your personal website. And this is where people you connect with through business are going to start to look for you and you personally, right? You’re an employee of a company, I’ll look at the company website. But then if you’ve reached out to somebody, let’s say, who sends me a cold email and they were intrigued, and they’re wondering whether they should reply, they’re gonna look you up on LinkedIn first.

 

Matt Holmes 10:42

Yeah, I think LinkedIn is a very powerful one. And there’s all kinds of exciting plugins that we can talk about, too, that really allow you to use it more efficiently,

 

Andy Paul 10:51

Such as?

 

Matt Holmes 10:53

Conspire.com is my favorite. And if I were to pull you up, Andy, on LinkedIn, I would use the Conspire add-on for Chrome. And what I’m going to see right below your recent updates or your title is who we both email. So I think we both know Jessica Rose with interview connections. We both talked to her a little bit. You’d probably see that I email her two out of three– they have bars that show how often I email with her and how often you email with her. 

 

So on mine, you’d see like a yellow, a two out of three Wi-Fi signal looking thing. And on yours, I might see either one or three bars depending on how much you email with her. Because LinkedIn is powerful to see who you have second degree connections with if you add someone and you see who you know in common. But nowadays you don’t know how close they are. And Conspire’s the trick to see if you email the same people and how often you email those people.

 

Andy Paul 11:46

So that would work if both people were using Gmail?

 

Matt Holmes 11:50

Yes. So the way Conspire works is I would sign in with my Gmail. And therefore everyone that I’ve emailed, it has that data. Now even if you haven’t signed into Conspire, it knows how much I email you. And then if Jessica signs in, it also knows how much she emails you. So we can still gather that information. 

 

Although, as you can guess, if a lot of people have not signed in with it, it might not work. So it’s a newer tool, but you definitely want to be one of the first ones using it so you’re the first one with that information.

 

Andy Paul 12:20

Okay, so what are some other tools you’re using?

 

Matt Holmes 12:22

Another one for really higher caliber guests or people that I really don’t know how to even start to get a warm introduction with them is anymailfinder.com. And this isn’t one that’s an add-on to LinkedIn, but it does complement it in a great way. Once you find their email user, you can search for them on LinkedIn or not. It’s great for cold email outreach. 

 

And anymailfinder.com allows you to find anyone’s email address if you know their full name and a domain name associated with them. So I think I used it to find Mark Cuban’s email address. I knew his name obviously, and I knew he owned DallasMavs.com, because he’s the self proclaimed outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

 

Andy Paul 13:04

Self proclaimed he is.

 

Matt Holmes 13:06

Yeah, he is. And so that’s a really powerful tool for cold emails if you don’t have someone’s email. And we actually use our virtual assistants to get long lists of– I’ll forward our assistants a 40 Under 40 Forbes article, and they’ll go and find the domains and names and gather the emails that they can, including the first, second, and third best emails that anymailfinder.com provides you with.

 

Andy Paul 13:37

Okay, great tip. Any others on that?

 

Matt Holmes 13:39

I’ve got one more. And this one’s more basic. It’s not as next level and it’s less stalking. It’s more convenience. It’s called Rapportive, which is an add-on. So you’ve heard of it, right, Andy? 

 

Andy Paul

Yeah, I’ve used it. 

 

Matt Holmes

And for our listeners who haven’t heard of Rapportive, it’s an add-on to your Gmail where you simply hover over an email address with your mouse. And if there’s a LinkedIn profile linked with that email, it’s going to show you in a neat, clean sidebar their LinkedIn title, if they have a Twitter handle, and it’ll even show you a few mutual connections right there within Gmail. And it’s a powerful tool, because it puts the information at your fingertips that’s already out there.

 

Andy Paul 14:23

Yeah, it’s a good tool. I think people really should almost be using it as a routine basis. And they agreed. Weren’t they acquired by somebody? I can’t remember. 


Matt Holmes

I haven’t followed them in a few months. 

 

Andy Paul

All right, so Rapportive, good. I’ve not heard of Conspire.com. but definitely will check that out. And you talked about anymailfinder.com. So we’ve talked about personal brand, LinkedIn. Perfect your profile, right? Start with that. 

 

And not to get too basic, but it’s amazing how many times I’m still getting connection requests from people that don’t have profile pictures in LinkedIn. I don’t accept any of them, just FYI. And so if you’re thinking from your sales rep perspective or aspiring entrepreneur trying to make connections with people that could be important for your business, and you don’t have a good picture, especially one that doesn’t look like you took it yourself, that’s problematic. 

 

Let’s start with the basics. The basics really are important. If you have misspellings, if your grammar isn’t good in your summaries and so on, it all creates problems.

 

Matt Holmes 15:29

Agreed. It drives me a little crazy when someone doesn’t capitalize their name, too. And you know, I’m just one opinion, but capitalize your name. Definitely, Andy. I think when we saw each other last at Podcast Movement in Chicago, out of all the action items that I had interviewing just under a dozen guests there, the number one action item that I thought was the most basic but important one for personal brand was get some professional photos taken and use them on all your profiles. It seems so basic, But just to add to your point that having a picture is very important.

 

Andy Paul 16:05

Yeah, I mean Snapchat’s an obvious exception to that. But for LinkedIn and Twitter and especially those profiles where you can have top graphics and so on, pay some attention to that. It’s just we’re talking about how you differentiate yourself. When you reach out to make connections and network, people have a choice about how they spend their time. And they’re gonna evaluate you based on this first perception, based on just looking at your profile. So why squander that opportunity?

 

Matt Holmes 16:39

Agreed.

 

Andy Paul 16:40

So good profile picture is excellent. Good words. Words matter. Make sure you pay attention to the words. The other thing I would say also for sales reps is on your profile, and I would say this is true to a degree with aspiring entrepreneurs when you’re trying to make connections, is don’t put on the bottom that you’re looking for opportunities, like new jobs and so on and so forth. That’s always sort of a bad sign.

 

Matt Holmes 17:08

Yeah, agreed. It’s better to be paying attention to the other person’s needs first. Or if you are making an ask, if it’s really narrow and specific– but again, an ask, a cold ask, is always harder than a cold opportunity to help someone.

 

Andy Paul 17:24

Yeah, well, just show in your profile that you’re committed to what you’re doing. That’s what people want. If they think you’re just using LinkedIn as an opportunity to look for the next opportunity for yourself then that affects your credibility. 

 

So you say there are three signs that people suck at networking. They don’t do it regularly. You always hang out with people you know. And you don’t do it online. So let’s break that down and share with people what they should be doing differently relative about networking. So the first one is you don’t do it regularly. I mean, what does regular mean?

 

Matt Holmes 17:57

Regular, I think, to keep it the most basic, once a month you’re attending an in person networking event relevant to what you’re pursuing in your career right now. 

 

Andy Paul

Once a month at a minimum? 

 

Matt Holmes

That’s the minimum. You’ve got it. And that’s under the assumption that you’re connecting with at least three people at that event. I think that’s a good safe rule of thumb. It’s not going to cost you that much time. It’s gonna make sure you’re not missing any big opportunities that are just screaming out there, and that counts.

 

Andy Paul 18:24

Well, let’s talk about that. So yeah, you definitely want to set goals for a networking event. You just don’t say, my goal is to go satisfy the requirement to go to a networking event. And I can check that off my box. But instead, you have to have a goal for what you want to accomplish. You’re investing the time to go there. What do you want to accomplish?

 

Matt Holmes 18:42

Exactly. And that’s where it’s hard to put an ROI on networking unless you can attach it to a number. If you’re an entrepreneur of fundraising, you’re going to want to focus your networking on closing meetings with investors and finding the best fit of an investor.

 

Andy Paul 19:00

So you have goals set that say I need to meet so many people.

 

Matt Holmes 19:04

Yes, and a specific type of person. You’ve got to put numbers to what you’re trying to measure, you know? So for your sales persons that are listening, they’ve got to put quotas. They can plug their quotas in there on how much are they looking to close or how quickly are they looking to close it. But either way, don’t don’t put too many numbers up there. But at least pick three things to measure. And that’s how you can look at the performance of your networking. And of course– 

 

Andy Paul 19:29

Yeah, sorry to interrupt. But I mean, as you talked about, part of your goal then for going to a networking event is, I want to make three contacts with people that fit my ideal client profile or fit a specific profile.

 

Matt Holmes 19:41

Exactly. And you might wonder to yourself, well, what if they’re only kind of in that profile. But unless you’re measuring that, just keep moving along and focus on measuring your success with numbers, even when it comes to networking. And then we could also talk about online networking versus going to that Meetup group, in person networking. Because those are also two different games.

 

Andy Paul 20:06

So give us some goals for online networking. Again, frequency, what are realistic goals people should set?

 

Matt Holmes 20:14

So I think the online networking can be really intimidating because there’s so much out there. You could measure the viewership of your blog. Or you could measure if you just tweeted one influencer per week. You could measure how many email responses you’re getting from your mailing list. There’s a lot of different things to measure. 

 

And the most important thing is, again, break it down to something really simple. Don’t reach out to everyone on all the social profiles, because that’s actually impossible. But if you just set a goal to try to tweet one more perspective lead per week, that’s suddenly very doable.

 

Andy Paul 20:48

Well, what do you mean by tweet prospective lead?

 

Matt Holmes 20:52

So I guess in my shoes when I was interviewing these videos, I’d get on Twitter. Not much structure. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t measuring it back then. But I would get on Twitter and tweet people who I wanted to interview. And I did that regularly. And I kept pushing notifications on my phone for Twitter, and I kind of ignored some of the others. So Instagram I wasn’t paying as much attention to. 

 

And I was focused on measuring, or having a feel for since I wasn’t measuring it explicitly, but definitely staying in the loop with how many of them actually responded back. And that was a good way for me to get a feel on if the online networking by using Twitter helped me score interviews with high caliber guests or if it was more sticking to Colorado entrepreneurs and in person events. And I didn’t measure it explicitly to write a report on it. But I got a feel. And both can yield success. And with online, you have a greater reach, of course.

 

Andy Paul 21:43

Sure. Well in terms of the number of people you can reach out to, absolutely. So how did you target who are you going to network with through Twitter?

 

Matt Holmes 21:51

I think when we were looking at what qualifies someone to be a guest on my video series, it was just a set of guidelines that were discoverable. Obviously, they needed to have a strong personal brand. They needed to have some form of entrepreneurial success. They needed to be accessible in person, because we did in person interviews. So if they’re in a very small city, it’s less likely that we’ll be able to get them on the show soon. But if they’re in a New York, or Boston, San Francisco, we’ll be able to interview them a little faster. 

 

And then we could just stay in the loop with who actually responded and who didn’t. And the tricky thing with Twitter was it’s not always the same person responding, which leads us to another interesting thing we could talk about, which is Snapchat. Because when I moved over to Snapchat and started trying to find people I wanted to interview on Snapchat, that was very different. Because it’s them holding and recording a video. It’s definitely them. It’s not their branding manager even. So I found that interesting.

 

Andy Paul 22:55

So what happened to your success rate when you started doing that?

 

Matt Holmes 22:59

Well with Snapchat when I was using it to interview guests, it was a lot harder to find that. I added Pat Flynn, and turns out that’s not Pat Flynn. They never post any content. I don’t know his handle, but it’s Pat Flynn and then it has two numbers.

 

Andy Paul 23:15

Some other Pat Flynn, not the one you want.

 

Matt Holmes 23:17

Yes, exactly. And however, Gary Vaynerchuk is very explicit and promotes his Snapchat. And I was able to have a couple conversations with him on Snapchat when he never responded via email. So that’s interesting. Because even when I met him in person, he said, shoot me an email, which I had already been doing, which didn’t work. But Snapchat did work. 

 

And it’s powerful too. He can see me for who I am. He can see if I shaved my beard today or not. He can see what I’m wearing in my office and the background. Where on email, it’s a little bit less formal. So I think it’s a good thing for salespersons and entrepreneurs to really adopt cutting edge technologies that allow you to convey more information. 

 

Because the more information someone has on you, typically the better, more warm a lead they’re going to be, the more open they’re going to be talking to you. Where if a CenturyLink follows you on Twitter and tweets you saying call this 1-800 number, that doesn’t feel personal at all.

 

Andy Paul 24:14

Right, but the Snapchat for certain types of sales is okay. And I’m like, okay, a lot of business to business sales reps that listen to the show, are their customers really using Snapchat at this point? I mean, there’s still controversy about whether you can text a prospect, let alone Snapchat them.

 

Matt Holmes 24:33

Yeah, that’s very interesting. You also have to look at where your audience is. Because my kind of experience dabbling in some of these might be very different than in a larger B2B type of scenario.

 

Andy Paul 24:47

Well, do you see Snapchat evolving into the mainstream that way?

 

Matt Holmes 24:50

I’m not sure. For folks a little younger than me, they use Snapchat more than text because it has the text feature. And they’re already spending more time in that app or so I’ve been told. So who knows where it’s going? And they’re introducing all kinds of new things. 

 

I think any new social network is exciting for some time before it turns into– I mean, Facebook’s a good example of what it can turn into. Eventually, it’s pay to play where the value of the content notifications has decreased for me personally for Facebook versus five years ago when I was on Facebook, it used to be much more exciting. People spent more time there. The notifications were more relevant where Snapchat’s new. 

 

So it’s like when someone sends me a Snapchat, it’s gonna be a friend, it’s gonna be stuff I want to see. Already, today, I’m getting Snapchats from strangers that I don’t really know what they were talking about or the notification value has already decreased a little bit on Snapchat. So I don’t know what to say. I think it can go both ways, you know?

 

Andy Paul 25:46

I want to talk about your conversation with Gary V. then. So how’d you have that conversation? So were you stringing together Snaps to send to him or how’d you work that?

 

Matt Holmes 25:56

Yeah, I think I sent two or three really short Snaps in my office, showing a few other people that encouraged me to interview him. I’m saying, hey Gary, you said reach out to you on Snapchat. I host a video series. We interview top entrepreneurs on networking. And then the next Snapchat, because of course, you only have 10 seconds on Snapchat videos or photos. 

 

And then the next Snap was, here’s just one more value add for Gary, and here’s the call to action, all in a 20 second selfie video. And he liked that. And we talked a little bit there. And the hard part with Snapchat is you can’t track conversions. I can’t send him a link very easily to click. I guess I can send a link through text on Snapchat. But it’s hard to take it off of Snapchat. 

 

Where on Facebook, it’s very easy to click to go to a website. And as an advertiser and marketer, you can track that. So it’s very valuable to be able to measure something, but it’s also very valuable to be able to promote your brand in a newer app that doesn’t allow you to do that yet. Because it’s not as diluted, there’s not as much competition there.

 

Andy Paul 27:09

Okay, I want to circle back because we sort of digressed from the last point of conversation we were talking about in terms of the three signs of bad networking. So got to the first one is that you don’t do it regularly enough. The other sign of bad networking is that you always hang with the same folks. So you’re not talking to new people. So have any quick ideas here in the last few minutes of the show, what you can give people in terms of how to meet the new people?

 

Matt Holmes 27:39

Yeah, well, to quickly go through that one, of course, if you go to a networking event with friends it’s very tempting just hang out with them. And even if it’s not tempting for you, it might be tempting for them to hang out with you. So I would encourage your listeners to go to networking events alone. And if it’s out of your comfort zone, it’s even more important for you to do that. 

 

And if you find yourself at a conference instead of just a local meetup, go and just stand near the speaker’s stage and try to connect with the speaker if that’s someone you’re trying to connect with. And sometimes it can be awkward standing next to two other people that are having a conversation. But if you try to make a little bit of eye contact, you try to laugh if someone says something funny, you can usually make your way subtly into the conversation. 

 

And that’s a difficult skill to develop. And I don’t think it comes naturally to many people. But it’s definitely a really quick shortcut to getting face time with today’s top entrepreneurs and decision makers.

 

Andy Paul 28:31

I agree. So if you’re at a conference, somebody you want to speak with, they’re the speaker or they’re there and they’re surrounded by other people, go hang out. That’s the best way, and eventually they’ll get to you. And as you said, make contact. Assume that you’re somewhat part of the conversation. Chances are, that person is fairly adept at including newcomers into the conversation themselves. So you want to give them that opportunity to do that. 

 

Another tip, last one that I would provide, just had Susan RoAne on the show who’s written the million seller book, How to Work a Room. And her suggestion, which I think is a great one, is if you’re at an event and they’re serving food, go hang out by the food line. 

 

Matt Holmes

That’s a great tip.

 

Andy Paul

You’ll meet everybody. All right, so then the third one is, and we’ve sort of covered this, is you said, you don’t network online. Again, it’s not all about the physical connection. Sometimes you’ve got to network online.

 

Matt Holmes 29:24

Big time.

 

Andy Paul 29:25

Use Snapchat, use the tools that exist. Lots of them exist to do it. Alright, so now last thing in the show, I posted some hypothetical scenarios to you as a guest. And the first one is, you’ve just been hired as a new VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out. And CEO is really anxious to get things turned around in a hurry. So what two things could you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?

 

Matt Holmes 29:49

Wait, I’m sorry. I missed what the company sells. Can you prompt me again with that?

 

Andy Paul 29:54

It’s up to you. You’ve just been hired by a company whose sales have stalled out.

 

Matt Holmes 29:58

Oh, sales have stalled out. Okay, well that’s that’s a good one. I think the first thing I’d do is go and connect with other VPs of sales in similar organizations and ask them what’s working and what’s not. I think the fastest way to the information that you don’t have is in the people that you haven’t reached out to yet. 

 

And then after I connected with those guys, I’d have a direction on what communities to connect with, and lead my team to connect to, and identify three communities and go and network in those communities and measure what had the most success. That would be, in my opinion, the fastest way to get sales back up.

 

Andy Paul 30:38

Okay. All right, good answer. So now some rapid fire questions. You can give me one or two answers or elaborate if you wish. The first one is when you, Matt, are out selling, selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?

 

Matt Holmes 30:53

I think the most powerful sales attribute that I’ve implemented, and all of my guests have implemented, is paying it forward. Give someone something of value before you make an ask. 

 

Andy Paul 31:03

OK, good. Love that. Bob Burg, the Go-Giver. Who’s your sales role model?

 

Matt Holmes 31:08

Sales role model? Oh, probably Grant Cardone. How about that guy?

 

Andy Paul 31:15

Grant Cardone. Okay, good answer. So, next question. What’s one book every salesperson should read?

 

Matt Holmes 31:22

I still believe in classics. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. It doesn’t have the word sales in it, but you do need to have friends and you do need to influence people to make sales.

 

Andy Paul 31:32

It’s a great book. Even though it’s written in the 1930s, it is as relevant as ever. A great choice. All right, last question for you. What music’s on your playlist these days?

 

Matt Holmes 31:42

It would be almost techno, but now we’ve kind of formatted it to the office. So let’s go with some low energy dubstep, some more subtle dubstep.

 

Andy Paul 31:55

Alright, so instead of dance house music, you’ve got some office music.

 

Matt Holmes 31:59

Office dance music. 

 

Andy Paul

Office dance music, yeah. So you have to send me a Snapchat with you guys breaking out the dance moves.

 

Matt Holmes 32:08

Oh, we’ll do that.

 

Andy Paul 32:09

All right, perfect. Well, good. Well, Matt, thanks for being a guest on the show today. And tell folks how they can find out more about you.

 

Matt Holmes 32:15

Yes. So if you’re looking for more networking strategy to implement at your next networking event, please, as a token of my appreciation for listening to Accelerate, go to Handshakin.com/free where you can download– 

 

Andy Paul 32:26

That’s with no G on the end, right?

 

Matt Holmes 32:28

That’s correct. Handshakin.com/free for my free ebook, Six Networking Strategies for Entrepreneurs. That includes you, salespersons. And other than that, I’m pretty active on Snapchat and Twitter. My handle is the same thing, Handshakin without the G. 

 

Andy Paul 32:47

Excellent. Well, good. Thanks again. And remember, friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is to make this podcast, Accelerate, a part of your daily routine. Listen on your commute, in the gym, or make it part of your morning sales meeting. That way, you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today, Matt “Handshakin” Holmes, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your network. So thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling, everyone.