3 Steps to Successful, Confident & Reciprocal Networking with Michael Goldberg

Do you want to feel confident when networking?

In this episode, Michael Goldberg, shares his journey from working for a consultancy firm to running his own successful business all through the power of intentional networking. He shares his “one thirder” strategy to making new connections and how networking relies on finding what excites someone. Even if you are introverted, Michael tells us how you too can become a confident networker and create referral partners by having a plan and identifying which connections can be successful.

In this episode we chat about:

Focusing on learning & helping NOT selling when networking

Entering a space with confidence

Connecting without be weird

Balancing business and friendship

And so much more!

Connect with Michael here:


Michael Goldberg has helped thousands of financial advisors, brokers, agents, wholesalers, and field leaders generate hundreds of thousands of dollars to their bottom line. His firm Knock Out Networking has been a speaking and training resource in the financial services industry for over 20 years. His programs and on-demand courses have been licensed by some of the top firms in the industry. Michael is also the founder of THE Networking Group, a national networking organization focused on helping a “vetted” community of business owners and sales leaders grow their business through networking and referrals. Michael is a two-time TEDx speaker, an award-winning adjunct professor at Rutgers University, and frequently volunteers as a speaker at organizations focused on career search. His book Knockout Networking for Financial Advisors and Other Sales Producers is published by Wiley and available NOW!

Check out Paula’s recommended resources HERE!

If you’re interested in working with Paula, send her an email paula@thecourageblueprint.com
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/befearlesswithpaula/

Don’t forget to rate and review The Confidence Sessions and please subscribe if you like what you heard! https://www.thecourageblueprint.com/podcast


(02:55) Michael introduces himself and Knock-Out Networking.

(04:00) Michael’s strategy of “learn something, have fun and make others feel comfortable” helped him make millions for his corporate company by networking and creating relationships.

(07:17) The intersection between fun and strategy.

(09:45) Identifying successful connections.

(12:00) How to confidently enter a networking environment.

(18:05) Networking as defined by Michael is, “a proactive approach to meeting people to learn and help them”.

(18:56) What to do if you feel like you’re contributing and others aren't.

(23:15) How to find the right fit for networking in just 3 steps.

(27:50) Balancing business referral partners and friendships.

(31:00) Michael’s networking group and how it came to be.

(36:18) Michael’s top 2 pieces of networking advice.



people, networking, business, connect, networking event, fun, target market, networking group, talk, introductions, michael, create, person, event, connection, friendship, financial services, meet, pandemic, feel


Michael Goldberg, Paula Shepherd

Paula Shepherd 00:01

Hi, I'm Paula Shepherd, I went to college to get a good job and make a lot of money. Back then, no one talked about doing what you love. And while I successfully climbed the corporate ladder, I felt like there was something missing. So I left the seemingly comfortable corporate world at 40 years old for the freedom of full time entrepreneurship. Today, I get to help ambitious women go from entrepreneur to competent CEO of their lives and businesses. I created this podcast to share what I've learned with you to make your journey just a little easier, and to connect you with other incredible business owners who took a chance on themselves and who they are becoming. So whether you're just getting started, are all in or just when you hear friendly voice. Come on in and sit with us. Now, let's dive in.

Paula Shepherd 01:03

All right, everybody. I am Paula shepherd. And I am back with another episode of The confidence sessions. And today, I have with me, Michael Goldberg. And let me just tell you right now, Michael is a guest, like none other than I've ever had here on the competence sessions. There are so many of you right now that are looking for an opportunity to connect genuinely, not just on social media, you're burnt out. And I'm bringing Michael to you because he is the expert. The I mean, in my mind seriously, he is the expert. His firm knockout networking has been a speaking and training resource in the financial services industry for over 20 years, 20 years. He's also the founder of the networking group, which I'm honoured to be a part of which is a natural national networking organisation focused on helping a vetted community. You heard that right vetted community, not just everybody that wants to come in for coffee and wine of business owners and sales leaders grow their business through networking and referrals. He is a two time TEDx speaker and award winning adjunct professor at Rutgers University. And he frequently volunteers we love that he gives back as a speaker at organisations focused on career search, his book network net, knock out networking, which I have, and it's fabulous, is for financial advisors and other sales producers. And it is published by Wiley and available right now. So you need to go get that we'll talk about that later. Michael, I know I just said a lot about you. But I want you to tell us about you. Who's Michael?

Michael Goldberg 02:49

Wow, what a great intro. Well, I appreciate all the kind words and I'm thrilled to be here, I've got just loads of confidence. Just jumping into this. Paul, just right away, we've already made a breakthrough I've been here for like, we've already made a breakthrough. I just want to be really clear about the book, though. It's not out networking for financial advisors, and also other sales producers. So it's not just in the financial world. So if you're an entrepreneur, or sales producer in whatever realm, it's it's definitely polished in position where you'll get a lot of value out of it, for sure. I wrote it that way intentionally. But most of my experience happens to be in and serving the Financial Services community where I'm typically working with financial advisors, brokers, agents, planners and other sales producers that might be within the insurance and financial services space. That's a mouthful, but

Paula Shepherd 03:34

yeah. So okay, and and the thing is, yes, I've read your book, and I agree with you 100%. This is for this is for anyone. Now what I want to do is break down some barriers, because particularly for women, networking events can be really intimidating when they involve men. When I think of networking, I takes me back to my corporate days, where everybody kind of came in with their business cards, and everyone is positioning to talk to specific people. Why did you develop not work? Not I can't even speak today, knock out networking, and how is it different than that perception?

Michael Goldberg 04:10

I tried to create some alliteration there but our job you know, so here's kind of the reality is, I think that the only goal going into any room, whether it's virtual or face to face, nose to nose, belly to belly is to learn something and have fun and make the people around you that you connect with feel comfortable. That's it. Like that's the My only expectation. And of course, as I get more targeted, where I'm networking with financial services professional, of course, everything that I do becomes a lot more focused. But here's here's really the story is so like 100 years ago, call it I don't know, 25 years ago, when I was a speaker, trainer coach for a consulting company, this was Boston based. You know, I was the leadership guy, that communication guy I was literally travelling the world and hired by big calm Beneath this wasn't my company, this was I was, you know, working for another firm. And I was a leadership communication guy. And I brought in more business than the entire sales team combined for my consulting firm. And the reason that happened is I was doing something that I had no idea about, because I was naive and maybe a bit stupid. But I was networking. And I was I just did a really good job connecting with people. And they kept bringing me back and referring. And I didn't even know what I was doing. And I just kind of went into it naive thinking, what I just shared there is I just want to have fun with people get connected, make them feel good and learn something. And if I can help them through all that, that's a good day. That was my only approach. That was it. It was as simple as that. And that took me into my consulting firms saying, How are you doing this, you are producing, I produced millions for that, not for me, for them, I produced millions. And I had no idea how that happened. But it was really just connecting with people. And then one day I woke up and I just said da winning, I guess I could probably do this on my own. And that started in June of 2000. So I'm 22 years into it. And it was I realised that I have kind of this, this feel for it. It's just so much fun. And that's I think a big part of it too, is networking network feels like work than it is work. If it feels like fun. And you've got a strategy to help other people have fun. And by the way, help them connect, help them do business, help them land a job, whatever it is that they're looking for, then it's really not that much work. And I've developed two businesses that forces me to play. And that's really what I do I play, I create infrastructure, that's really serious. I'm not saying I don't take it seriously, I do. And I've worked really hard at it. But I'm having a blast. It's all the stuff that I want to do. And the seriousness comes from, I want to create a playground for other people to be able to have fun, too. But there's targets around that. Because at the end of the day, beyond the fun, you want to be able to write this, you want to be able to help people you want to be able to land a job, or whatever it is you're looking for.

Paula Shepherd 06:56

Hmm. So you said two things that feel like polar opposites to me. You said, I want to have fun. And I love how you describe it as the playground. It does sound really fun. But you also talked about strategy. And so many times people throw the brick wall up. As soon as we talk about strategy, it gets really serious. What's the intersection between fun and strategy?

Michael Goldberg 07:16

Yeah, great, great question. Yeah. And it's, it seems like a dichotomy, doesn't it? So it fun is you've got to be a fun person. I'm not saying like, like, you know, like duck, duck duck, or that like that kind of fun. You don't, I do. But that's another story for another day, you know, juggling businesses, I suppose. But you know, but if you're a fun loving person, you know, buy an art group. But there's a lot of fun people there. There's also a lot of very serious business people there. But people want to have fun too. And they want to feel comfortable. So I don't mean fun, like in a ridiculous way, although it can be that way. But the fun comes from that you're a fun, positive, open, engaging person, people want to meet that. And even those that are introverted, I'll figure out a way of whatever their version of excitement is. And I don't mean this in a bad way, or in a disrespectful way. What I do disrespect, but what I do mean is that we communicate in different ways. So if I'm looking to connect with you, Paul, and you, for whatever reason, you're an introvert, you're uncomfortable, you're not sure you're or you're just sort of steadfast. And again, it's not good, bad, right? Wrong, I'm going to figure out a version of myself that will hopefully make that person feel comfortable, feel confident, and feel open. So this way, they say, you know, I had a really good time talking to that guy. He seemed pretty sharp on point. And he asked me a lot of great questions. And you know, your whole theme is confidence to me a lot of is helping other people get confident in you. Right, and then after that, other things are possible. If that doesn't happen, nothing else will. It's all about the connection, right? Like a boxer in the ring, my whole brand is about boxing. If I'm not making connections in the ring, I'm not winning the round winning the fight. But it's the same thing not to portray networking as a fight, it's not. But if you're at a cocktail party, chamber event, online meeting, whatever it is, and you can't make a connection, it's over, you're not winning that round of the fight either. And you're not going to gain your confidence either.

Paula Shepherd 09:11

Other different levels of connection, I feel I feel very deeply that, you know, I'm going to walk into a networking event and the kind of person I am, is, is going to connect in a different way. And I'm often able to have a conversation with a few people and go a little bit deeper than others would. How do you know that you're winning? How do you and I and I'm gonna air quote, winning because you know, we're using analogy, right? We're winning in the ring. How do you know that? That event that that connection is a success?

Michael Goldberg 09:45

You know, I'm pretty good at this. And I know lots of other people that are really good at this. And in my experience of only doing this for 22 or so years, I've decided that I only connect with about a third of the people that I meet 1/3 and I don't mean like, you know, at the subway station or in the produce section of Stop and Shop or anything like that, I mean that when the venue is appropriate for business, you know, it's a networking event, it's a golf outing. It's a holiday function, it's a cocktail party. It's like where there's appropriateness I connect about once about what bye bye, connect, I mean, like you had me at hello, about a third of the time, and I refer to that as the 1/3, or dynamic. So if I connect with somebody, and they show up as a 1/3, or for me, I'd probably show up as a 1/3. Or for them. Now, there's also two theatres, those are the folks that you meet, and there's just not a vibe, there's just not a it's just nice to meet you. And it's it just is you know, and that's not good, bad, right? Wrong, either. That's just reality. So in the end, the really the punch line that you see what I did punch line, the punch line there is that we just don't connect with everybody. You know, so to me, it's 1/3. Right. So tooth, the two theatres, if there's not a good vibe coming my way, I know, there's probably not a good vibe going their way too. And again, it's just the way life is. So my, again, my punchline, when I'm working with my clients is just focus on the one theatres, focus on the people that you have a natural vibe and a connection with because it gets back to having fun, because the other 2/3 people, it's just not going to be a lot of fun. It's going to feel like work. If it starts to feel like work, it's going to be work, and it's not going to play out, you know, focus on the 130s.

Paula Shepherd 11:26

What about the people that are listening to you right now and thinking, going to a networking event sounds more painful than the dentist? And how can I imagine even having fun? Or imagine a networking event being a playground when it sounds horrifying? I know,

Michael Goldberg 11:42

I know, I know, people that would rather fake their own death and go into it. But so let me let me give some actionable steps, right? Because, you know, to me, the thing that minimises or sometimes eliminates fear is a plan. And often people are fearful in a situation because it seems like there is no plan or they don't know what the plan is. So I'm going to offer up a plan that might make it seem less daunting and less fearful. So here's my plan is when I walk into a room, and it's about like working the room, you know, I look for people that seem naturally happy. They seem like there's already a steam in their step. They're already they're having fun, like I can see it. So that's my first thing. I don't want to go up to somebody that looks like they're in misery, or they're caught up on their phone, that's not the person I'm going to probably go up to, I'm gonna go up to somebody that's smiling. That seems really happy, upbeat, engaged. And as I go over them, I'll smile at them. And I'll even make a comment. And so I noticed you smiling, I figured I'd walk over and introduce myself. And this is genderless. Right? So this is business professional, it's just a nice compliment. I'd say that to a dude as well. And I'd go over and offer my hand. And I usually make a little joke. Like, are we still doing this? Like, are we still shaking hands? Is it a fist pump? Because you don't know what even now you don't know what people's boundaries are? You know, and that's, it could be a gender thing. It could be the COVID thing. So I make a little joke out of that, you know, and so, you know, if there's an elephant in the room, introduce it. So I just put it right out there. But I make I don't make it a thing. I just make it fun. Are we still doing this? And then we might touch elbows, we might touch Touch gloves, right, we might shake it, whatever feels appropriate. But now it's over. Right? We've now connected. And I'll say very nice to meet you. I often share a story. It's something that might have happened over the last couple of days, it doesn't even need to be relevant. And I'll say something like, May I share a quick story? No, I don't do this around the room and share the same quick story with you know, six, seven or eight people that I meet. Because people have stories, they have things that are going on. But in one instance I made to tape now share a quick story. And I'll share a story as to maybe how I went to shake somebody's hand and and maybe somebody made a good joke out of it or something like that something or something I just got back from LA with my daughter. I was travelling, so I might share that. But I'm not gonna go on and on and on. I'm talking like a minute or two. And I'll say Isn't that cool? Have you had a similar experience? Right away? We're in the throes are they? What are they call it Paula a conversation? Right there? What was the conversation? What the heck is that, but I've already probably connected or I'm on my way to connection Ville. And that person is going to say, you know, I haven't taken a trip with my kid and maybe that all of a sudden we start getting into it. And it's a really nice, light, fun conversation. And that breaks the ice. So not only does that make me have fun because I'm sharing something of myself right away, but I'm also not just making it about me, I'm engaging them. Have you had that experience or isn't that funny, you know, has you know, you know, what do you think of that or Something like that, bring them right in and let them share their stories. Right now we're on our way to 1/3 or vote. And then after that, I'll start off with questions. You know, so have you been to this event before? Or are you a first timer like me? And I just have my slew of questions. You know, if they're a first timer, you know, I'll say, Well, how'd you learn of the meeting? If they've been here? Before? I'd say, Well, what, what's brought you back? It's got to be good reasons. Right? So you know, lay him on me. And I just start like that, what type of work do you do? You know, why this meeting? Why now? Do you have a goal for this event other than talking to me? And just like, but I have those open ended questions in my mind to draw them out. And I know that I'm on the path to 1/3. Or bill, if after they answer the question, they say, How about yourself, as soon as it becomes How about yourself and a back and forth, we're just talking like spar and baby, right. And now this is really fun. So I don't really speak to any one person longer than seven or eight minutes ish without their permission, because I want to respect their time, and also mine too. So and I don't look at my watch. It's just, you know, a couple of rounds, couple of boxing rounds go through and, and I'll just say, you know, you know, I love our conversation so far, you know, you know, you have a couple of more minutes to continue our dialogue, I don't want to hold you up. So it's just permission marketing, because I want to take the weird out of it too. But if we're on 130, Bill, it won't be weird. And if it's appropriate to keep talking, we will. If it's not, then I'll say You know, you know, perhaps we should reconnect, or if there's nothing else to say, it's been great speaking with you. Is there somebody here that you'd like to meet? Perhaps I could be helpful? And then they'll hopefully say the same thing? Well, there's some people I'm looking to meet, you know, is there a way that you might be able to, you know, help, you know, offer an introduction? Nice to meet you. If I could be of help today? You know, call me otherwise, good luck.

Paula Shepherd 16:48

I want to draw attention to what you just said. So what you just said in the end of that conversation was, is there anyone I can introduce you to and on the other side, who might you want to meet? And the reason why I want to shine a spotlight there is that so many people that I know, and I'm sure that you've experienced this, and I have coached people through this and train people through this is they show up to a networking event with the intention of finding their next customer,

Michael Goldberg 17:17

right. So fundamentally, right there, that's wrong. Right? So and I started good, bad, right? Wrong. That's wrong. And the reason doing, don't do it. Yeah, the reason that's wrong is because networking isn't in the sales cycle. Yes. But it's a form of it is a form of prospecting it is, but a networking mindset. And the savvy networkers in that room are looking to meet their next potential referral partner. And if and if they happen to meet a somebody that become a prospect that turns into a client, so be it but that should not be the expectation. Because imagine if everybody in that room had that expectation, everybody was pitching and selling one another? Would there be any room for relationship? Would there be any room for 1/3? Or build none of this stuff fundamentally. So I defined networking as a proactive or reactive approach to meeting people to learn and help them. That's it. That's, that's my definition. That's it, learning, helping, learning helping, like, it's not gonna help and learning help, and that's networking. So if I'm focused on learning from and helping as many 1/3 as as I can, in my target market, how can it not turn into business? Not just for them, but for me?

Paula Shepherd 18:28

So I'm gonna play devil's advocate for a second. So you're, you're helping people, and and I'm gonna go from a woman's perspective, let's just say, I help people, and I'm helping people. And I'm reaching out and I'm connecting people, but I'm not getting that in return from the same people. How does that turn into a referral partnership? If you feel like on the other side, Oh, this isn't working. Because I'm giving, and I'm supporting, but I don't seem to be getting that same

Michael Goldberg 18:56

energy, that that won't be at the event, like at the event, like, it's not like the action is going to happen right there. Although there are introductions that take place. So over time, if you're part of a group and you feel like you know, I'm the one contributing, I'm constantly giving, you know, this person introductions and it doesn't seem like it's reciprocal. There might be reasons for it. And there might be an opportunity to have a conversation, a coaching conversation. And the coaching conversation may sound something like you know, you I'd love some time to chat with you, you know, Paula, and let's, you know, figure out a time to get together, I would love to explore ways that we can best refer each other when this refer each other, you know, more business, or to get clarity around the types of referrals that we might be able to help one another with. So once we get that time, you know, I'll say, you know, I've offered you a lot of introductions and referrals, give me some feedback as to how that's gone. So let's just say the feedback is good, you know, those introductions and the referrals, you know, some actually close it turned into closed business. I can't thank you enough. That's just spot on. Bop, bop, bop, bop BA. You know, when I'll say again, I would love to talk about maybe ways that you might be able to be a resource, you know, for me as well. And perhaps I'm just not clear, you know, but don't make it a tit for tat, it shouldn't be that it shouldn't be that at all, it should just be, you know, I just want to be clear on maybe some ways that you might be able to help me as well. And you can now get very clear on your target market, you know, the types of introductions that you're looking for, and so on. You might also on Earth, why there might be a reason why those introductions are not reciprocal, you know, maybe they have a brother in law in the business, you know, maybe, maybe they just don't know how, maybe they're just not a natural connector, it's just not mindful. And then here's the uncomfortable and maybe they don't know you well enough, or even like all that much, or trust you. Right, that could be a thing, right? Maybe you're there to theatre, you know, and so that's something to on Earth, you know, but often we get a vibe from that, like, if it just seems one sided, but it's worth exploring without making it weird. You know, and that's really just asking great questions and communicating. Financial Advisors share this with me all the time, like I give the CPA all kinds of, you know, business and introductions and pop up, and it doesn't come my way. CPAs are not respectfully known as the best networkers in the world. So it might just be create a mechanism to get them more engaged with what you're doing, how you're doing with home and figure out a way to make it work a little bit better.

Paula Shepherd 21:25

Yeah, so like a framework of here's how you would introduce me to make it simple, like a little fill in the blank something for them, for instance, I know I do that sometimes for people. But I think you're right, it just doesn't come naturally to a lot of people. And there also is that trust factor, I started my business in a different time than you did. And in we were talking about this before we hit record was my business started on social media because of the pandemic. And I'm seeing so many people who really weren't natural connectors who really do want to get back out there. Even the most extroverted few people finding it very difficult for them to get back out. And not really knowing how because the focus has been on creating magnetic content on social media, to essentially avoid conversations and magnetise people to you. Now, the only people you're talking to are for sales conversations. And as an entrepreneur, that can be a really lonely place to be. Yeah, totally. And there, and it's if it works for you, and that's what you want, great. But I do genuinely believe that we as human beings, we need connection, we want that sense of belonging. And for me, that doesn't work. So if someone has started in that path right there, they've they've been doing it that way. They're they're on social media, and they have this kind of very formulaic way of doing things. Now they want to get out there and they want to find these networking events. But they want to not go to the one where it's just a bunch of people sitting around having coffee and cocktails and just be essaying what, what kind of things should they be looking for? Which where should they be searching to find the right fit for them?

Michael Goldberg 23:16

Right. So in my mind, there's the 123 punch to networking, there is the places that you go, the things that you say and the people that you meet. Right. So it's it's the thing that you say, the place that you go and those with whom you connect with, right, that's networking. To me, the more targeted each is the better. So it all starts with the places that you go Location, location, location. And I find that if you have a target market, and you know about the industry profession, market segment, niche dynamic demographic geography that you serve best, and therefore wish to serve most, there's probably a professional association geared towards it. And I marvel at how few people leverage professional associations because they're organised. They're really good at what they do. And they support a specific industry profession, the whole thing. And if that's your target market, that's the place that you go, that's the place that you join. That's the pond that you fish in. But you see how the other two factors now fold out of that. So once you go into the right place. Now, it's a question of what do you need to say in the forms of your question how you introduce yourself and how you follow up the communication of networking, and then finally, the people that you need to connect with. But you see, like in boxing, everything's off the jab that you do. Well, in networking, everything is off the target market. So if you are really clear and really specific about your niche marketplace, then you can create an effective networking strategy. If you can't, it's not that it's wrong. It's just going to be way more difficult. So everything I do is financial services and insurance. So don't you know, I've spoken at pretty much every one of their big events and contribute to their publications with columns and all these different things. Not an accident, not a coincidence. It's part of a strategy in terms of where to go what to say. And with

Paula Shepherd 25:04

you. I think that is the biggest thing for people is the finding that target market and figuring out who are the people that I talked to

Michael Goldberg 25:12

right or, or determining whether, whether they should even have one. Because there's financial advisors, for example, my marketplace, I don't say I can, you know, I can be evaluated anyone, everyone someone, I said, but if you're focused on everyone, anyone, someone that equates to no one or a long time before no one becomes someone if you catch the drift. So anyone like whom, and there's a way I can talk to them and whittle down their target market based on a lot of factors. And when I do that with advisors, it's like the flashbulb goes off. And I was like, why wouldn't you want to target that? So now let's talk about where you need to go and what you need to say, and with whom. And now we create a daily fight plan and a definitive strategy. But I think the fear is, you know, there's all these other people that I'm that I'm losing opportunity with? No, no, you're not, you're not because they probably weren't going to become your clients anyway. And as soon as you become an expert at being a specialist of what you do, and with whom other opportunities will come about, and then it's up to you to decide whether it's that or not. So I'll give an example. Almost all my work insurance and financial services, I'll do work in other industries, but I don't really talk about it. But there are other industries where I think I'm a fit, like real estate, you know, I just got back from a conference that I was a speaker at, you know, for real estate, I've done a bunch of that it's not really my market, it's not my faith, but it's similar to my target market where I know what I do adds value. But if the pharmaceutical world contacts me, which happens, I don't think I'm a fit there. So I'll refer that to somebody else that I think is a better fit for a lot of reasons. But it puts me in a position to make a choice. And the choice is, you know, what's going to be best for the client, what's gonna be best for the end user.

Paula Shepherd 26:50

Oh, my gosh, this is such great information, I hope that if you are listening, please go back to the beginning of this and grab your notebook and your pen and make all the notes because you're going to want to apply these things, you're going to want to take some time to really think about who is my Market? Am I being specific enough and and something that Michael just said was find that specific market, it doesn't mean you can't serve other people, it just means this is the market that I believe that I serve the very best. If you're not sure what that looks like, then it's it's really time to take a moment to think about the kinds of clients that you've served, and, and how they're similar. Now that I want to table that because I feel like we could go on and on and on forever. But something that comes up all of the time. And I don't know how much this comes up for men, but it comes up for women all the time, this idea of I'm going to a networking event, and I'm meeting someone, and yes, there's potential there for that person to be a referral partner. There's some kind of strategic partnership that could happen, or they've introduced me to somebody. But what happens if I blur the line? And all of a sudden, we're both in business, but we're friends to that has always historically been a, you know? Well, a no, no, from what I was taught was, you don't do business with friends. And so I know, as part of the networking group, that there are a lot of long standing friendships as part of that community. So what is your take on that? What is your stance on how you can be friends with someone and referral partners and potentially do business with one another?

Michael Goldberg 28:33

Well, it's, you know, comes back to communication. You know, I just had somebody I won't name who that's about to become a member in the networking group. You know, and, you know, she's somebody I know, for a long time. And, you know, she, you know, she wants to, she wants my help with, with whatever she's doing with marketing and target marketing and the whole thing, you know, and she offered to pay me, she said, What are your fees, and this and that. So I just said, Listen, you're a friend, my deal is, I'm not going to charge you provided that, you know, we're looking at this as if I am your a client, and you've got to agree to do all these different things, as if you were paying for it, because you were paying for it, you wouldn't be doing all these different things, you know, so you've got to treat it this way. You know, and so that's my measure. I'm not saying that's the right approach, right? I'm just saying, I'm very clear about what those boundaries are. And what that looks like, in some other cases, I'll say, I'm going to charge you my full fee. And this is what it looks like. And the reason is, is I don't want the lines blurred the frame between our friendship and the work that you're ultimately looking to get done. So does that work? So I think it's really it's not about the choice that you make, it's about what the communication looks like, and making sure that you're on the same page and making sure that it doesn't negatively affect the friendship. It's a whole other different thing, you know, so that's a long winded way of saying it depends. It

Paula Shepherd 29:52

depends. You set the standard always comes back to Yeah, I heard you say I set the standard. I communicate the standard so that The boundary isn't pushed. And when no matter what you decide if there's a friends and family rate, if there's a comp rate and an agreement, if there's a, I'm charging the full fee, it's possible to be in business and to maintain a friendship as well. And it's also I

Michael Goldberg 30:17

try to be sensitive also, as to where that person is coming from, are they just starting out? Or are they struggling Did something happen because of the pandemic, or whatever it is, I'm sensitive to that as well, you know, so I, again, it just I draw a boundary. But this is what that boundary looks like, you know, so if it's a very successful financial adviser, and he's a good friend of mine, or she's a good friend of mine, I'm going to probably charge full full bore, because I think that's what they would be expecting. And if they're invested in it, they're gonna get much more of an outcome, probably,

Paula Shepherd 30:45

yeah, if they're invested in it, if they're invested in it, I'm not just financially invested in it. Okay. So before we wrap things up, I would love to just chat a little bit about the networking group and how it came to be. So you've been doing this for a long time, you've clearly been part of associations, you're already doing this thing. So why create your own networking group.

Michael Goldberg 31:11

It's something I always wanted to do, I think I kicked off one of the chapters in the book called Create your own networking group, or whatever it was, and I probably said something like, I always wanted to create a networking group. And, and it's been years. And I always wanted that because I as a hobby. You know, I know attorneys do this attorneys will go to you know, different people, different judges, court rooms, and it's almost like they watch TV, they kind of they're looking to learn and collect best practices. That was me a long time ago, going to different networking events is as I would travel and speak. And if I was in Milwaukee, I'd say well, what professional association or organisation as something is getting together during the timeframe, I'm going to be there and I would go, I'd pay and go and, and I, to me, it was just kind of like crashing the party. But I'd always compiled the list of all the things that went really well at those events. And then the things that I thought could be bigger, better, better. And I just thought if I could create a group one day, that has everything in the debit column, like everything that I think was a best practice, and bring it all together, I've got something and that's really the thought that went into the networking group is it was formed in 2014, it was pre pandemic. And we put all these best practices together. And at the time, I did it with a partner. And we launched this thing, it was very successful, it was very event driven, it was every other month and no joke, we were putting 8090 100 people in a room 16 or so breakout tables, it was like it was like planning for a wedding. And then the tables would rotate. So what was like planning for two weddings, it was a lot of work. And, you know, I the staff, and my staff was doing a lot of the event planning with me. And it really was a project. And this was that group, there was a lot of work. And then it became real, because then they wanted to meet every month, and we created a membership model. And within within the month, we had 32 members. So think about that. And we were charging a lot of you know, decent amount of money, you know. And so just like that, we knew we had something we knew we had a formula, you know, and as it continued to take and get real, it became bigger than what my partner wanted. So no more partnership, we launched Philadelphia pandemic head, but the model hasn't really changed and the model and we tweak, you know, it's an IP attack. But the model is really based on what I had believed was some of the best things that I ever learned in other people's networking events. And I wonder what happened if we pull all that together. So in the group right now, it hasn't changed much. But we're very open to when people have suggestions or ideas, I want other people to do that, as you're going to events, if there's something that shows up for you, that you think is fun, valuable, purposeful, on brand, you know, bring it to us because we're nimble enough where we meet every Monday and we decide, you know, what changes because we're always looking to improve people process product. And that's always our, you know, vision is, you know, how can we do that. So have a good idea comes doesn't have to be mine. It could be anybody's, in fact, most of the ideas aren't mine. So it just it just evolves into something as long as it's valuable. And getting back to what we said earlier. As long as it's knowledge base valuable and fun. Right, then it's going to bring it all together. And our group I think is all those

Paula Shepherd 34:22

it absolutely is, I would say it feels like family. Anyone that if you ever need help, there's always someone there who's willing to do that. And I think that there are both friendships and also some great mentors. And people that you just learn how to trust in ways that in my personal opinion, as someone who marketed herself on social media and had a Facebook community of 1400 people and was doing really well in my business. It wasn't the same kind of connection and this like so spidering of potential, that being part of the networking group really did create for me now I'm part of some other groups. But this really is a core group with some brilliant people in so many different industries all over the country. So I, I am so grateful to have been invited into it. And, and to be a part of it, it really is absolutely amazing. If if anybody's listening to this, and you're curious about it, please do reach out to me. And if I think that you might be a good fit, I will certainly give you the opportunity to come as a guest. You know,

Michael Goldberg 35:39

and I'm glad to hear that if it wasn't for that group, we wouldn't be talking right now. This wouldn't be

Paula Shepherd 35:44

me when. So Michael, we're, as we're wrapping this up, I could talk to you forever. But you know, you don't want to talk to me all day you have things

Michael Goldberg 35:53

to do, and nobody would want to tell you

Paula Shepherd 35:55

nothing to do. So as we're wrapping this up, what's what's your like, final bit of insight to somebody who's maybe struggling right now feeling like I did it this way before. And now I need to I need to reach out I need to network somebody, or network with someone and I'm feeling discouraged. What would your like your one nugget of advice to be to them right now.

Michael Goldberg 36:19

I'm gonna give you two nuggets. One is be very clear on what it is that you're trying to do. I don't mean like, I'm trying to generate revenue, right? That's obvious. But what is it that you're trying to do in terms of your business, really be clear on that, you know, so I want to coach these types of folks, or I want to help people with this. So like, for me, it's you know, I want to provide networking and referral tactics with a definitive, measurable outcome for financial advisors and brokers, like that's mine. So whatever yours is, be clear on that. And then the second part of that is, from a networking standpoint, find the person or the people that are already doing that, and had been really good at it. And they're, you know, maybe they're a few yards ahead of you on the ski slope, and start to follow and connect with and learn from those people, there is nothing new under the sun. So find the people that are doing what you ought to be doing, figure out, copy, paste, and just try to do it better. And then everything else will should fall into place in terms of where you need to go, what you need to say and with.

Paula Shepherd 37:24

Thank you for that. So ultimately, here, it's we're going to have fun, we're going to ask for what we need. And we're going to connect with the right people, which means we have to know who those people are and what we want for our business, Michael, thank you,

Michael Goldberg 37:39

right and the glue that holds all that together as collaboration. It can't be one sided, right? It's got to be a collaboration, it's got to be a give and take, or an

Paula Shepherd 37:47

A We are Better Together. I 100% believe that and that is part of my value system. Michael, thank you for being here. Thanks for sharing your knowledge go grab his book, knockout networking, I said it right that time, the link to connect with Michael and also to buy his books are listed in the show notes. And I'm looking forward to staying connected with you, Michael to seeing how this all evolves. With the networking group. It's growing. It's amazing. If you're listening and you're interested in learning more, reach out to me directly. I'm not dropping links in there for that. Just email me at Paula at the courage blueprint.com. And we can have a conversation. In the meantime, I will see you next week on another episode of the competent sessions. Thank you for listening to this episode of the competent sessions. I know there are hundreds of 1000s of podcasts and I'm so grateful that you chose to spend your time today with me. Head on over to the courage blueprint.com forward slash podcast to check out the show notes from today's episode, and grab links to all the amazing goodies mentioned today. If you love this episode, as much as I loved making it, make sure you don't miss out on any future ones by hitting the subscribe button right now. See you next time.

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