Influencer Networking Secrets
eBook - ePub

Influencer Networking Secrets

How to Build the Magnetic Influence, Meaningful Connection and Profitable Publicity of a Radically Generous Entrepreneur

Paul S. Edwards

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eBook - ePub

Influencer Networking Secrets

How to Build the Magnetic Influence, Meaningful Connection and Profitable Publicity of a Radically Generous Entrepreneur

Paul S. Edwards

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Table of contents

About This Book

Through a series of stories tied to five key principles (one per chapter), within Influencer Networking Secrets, readers learn how to connect with people, build influence, and get publicity through the power of strong personal relationships in business.

The goal of Influencer Networking Secrets is to help people understand and apply spiritual laws that leverage rapport with others. This bypasses the costs and layers of labor and know-how needed for traditional, paid PR and advertising. By following these examples throughout Influencer Networking Secrets, entrepreneurs can build brands and businesses from scratch. Most people in business hear the mantra of relationships repeated daily. Far fewer take time to observe and apply those laws in their favor. With a clearer understanding and concrete examples to follow, however, more of them can tap into this invisible energy. It's what gives Radically Generous Entrepreneurs a powerful reputation that precedes them everywhere they go.

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My Beginnings: From Awkward, Pushy Salesman to Radically Generous Entrepreneur

To begin this book chronologically would be a mistake. I can’t tell you how I got started without first discussing where I was meant to end up. I didn’t know where this was going when this began, and today I only know some extent of the outcome.
Becoming a Radically Generous Entrepreneur is a journey of faith. You hear its sound, you feel it, but you don’t always know where it comes from. And you only find out where it’s going gradually, in stages. That was the grand scheme of this journey: to discover and become my aspirational identity.
When I wrote “Business Beyond Business,” I decided to make a client avatar out of the Radically Generous Entrepreneur. In hindsight, it was a mistake. That is more like the symbol of where we can go together, whether or not we actually exchange money. The avatar I sought needed to be someone much more concrete in the present moment.
The pathway lies in pursuing deep relationship with a rare kind of person. Usually, I do this by experiencing hundreds of relationships of varying substance. Some never get beyond casual greetings. Others progress out of the shallow end of the pool. But they only go far, often for reasons that make total sense.
Some friendships get into detail and depth. Peripheral to me are a select group of men, mainly fellow Christian entrepreneurs. Most of them don’t know each other. But they mutually know me. We are transparent, authentic and vulnerable with one another. We share our personal and professional lives. We fight spiritual battles together. We contribute to each other’s businesses.
Then there are relationships that go as deep as the bottom of the ocean. These people see in me what I fail to see in myself. They plow right through my humility. They insist on seeing the measure of glory God gives, as uniquely expressed through me. These people are very, very rare. I have perhaps a dozen of them in my life. Most people have none.

Okay, Fine. But What Do You DO?

I do two things well - . You could call me by my occupation—executive ghostwriter. I write content in your voice, which you can plug and play to build connection with your audience. But that isn’t what this book is about. Plenty of other people also do ghostwriting. It’s hardly a new thing.
There are people I know with whom I have relational capital and can call in some degree of favors. I can definitely pour value into them all day long. Sometimes they will reciprocate. Other times, I’ll get my comeuppance from a third-party source that has nothing to do with it. But that’s not unique either. Plenty of people experience things like that.
The gold in this book is this: there are people who know me. These are the hardest people to find. It’s not clear scientifically how you locate them. The chemistry created by two living, breathing stories interacting at profound levels isn’t easy to engineer. You may have experienced it. If you’ve ever been around someone whose interest in you made them more interesting than your own story, you know what I mean.
These people usually fire all key cylinders of the Radically Generous Entrepreneur at 80 percent or better. It took me a long time to find the one that went a thousand levels deep.
But I was meant to end up pursuing an aspirational identity in fellowship with others on a similar path, which brings us to the chronological starting place.

The “Pushy Salesman”

In the summer of 2013, I completed onboarding with Liberty Mutual Insurance in Tumwater, Wash. My branch manager, Abrann Harris, sat me down in his office to review my marketing plan. During that meeting, Abrann said something I’ve never forgotten. “We don’t want you sitting around this office,” he said. “The majority of your time should be spent out in the field. Networking, doing community events, being visible. If you’re here, it should be to bind coverage on a policy, or meet with a client.”
It sounded vague. But I’d been in unclear situations as an Army leader before. I knew it meant something, and it was incumbent on me to figure it out. So I researched local opportunities to network and meet people. I found several of them, and started my journey. The earliest memories I have were in Tumwater Rotary, the Thurston County Multiple Listings Sales Association and the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly forums.
It didn’t take long to notice that people I met at these events felt uncomfortable around me. For one thing, I was a big, husky guy with a deep speaking voice and an intense stare. The soldier was still very strong in me. I wasn’t good at putting people at ease, and I had just left behind a negative, micromanaged work environment in my previous job. There were spiritual knots that would take years to untangle.
What’s worse, I thought my mission was to “sell, sell, sell.” That’s true, if you look at sales one-dimensionally. There’s no “business” if you don’t sell. “Feast or famine” had been the mantra of my previous employer. I knew Liberty would still review my performance at some point. I’d have to sell, to prove to them it was worth keeping me. My business card read “Sales Representative.” At that level, it seemed obvious to me what needed to happen.
But the big mystery was that nobody at any of these events wanted to buy. Not even when I cornered them and they felt pressured to be polite. People began to avoid me. They knew what I wanted to talk about. They knew I was willing to get uncomfortable. They wanted no part of it. I wasn’t afraid of rejection, but I could sense their awkwardness. So I backed off and spent a few months observing.
There weren’t words in my vocabulary at the time to explain it. But I could sense that whatever else people wanted, they did NOT want to be sold.

Digital Advantage

My Liberty career never took off like I hoped it would. But there was a brief “spike” in the summer of 2014. I joined the Agency Alliance Mastermind, with Sean Matheis and Jonathan Garrick. This was the first time, but not the last, that masterminds would change my life.
Both men strongly influenced how I looked at business. Sean taught me how to craft simple, repeatable Facebook ad strategies. Those generated leads for the next three years of my career. Good leads, where I was not competing against other agents.
Meanwhile, Jonathan taught me the game of influence. He taught me how to carry myself in person and on social media. More than anything else at the time, Jonathan’s others-centered approach resonated deeply. It took all the pressure out of selling insurance. As he taught me, “If you’re going to put a video on Facebook, DO NOT talk about insurance. Nobody cares or wants to talk about it.”
I enquired as to what to replace it with. He replied, “People want a chance to get to know you. Talk about your family. Hobbies, interests, places you go, people you meet. They already know what you do for a living. They can see it if you have it listed on your profile. What they don’t know is what kind of man you are. Give them a chance to kick the tires.”
Almost as quickly as I implemented his advice, my connection with the Olympia business community transformed. People no longer avoided me at networking events. Their interest and awareness of what I was up to increased. There was a great deal more enthusiasm at my presence, and several people seemed to gravitate toward me as a leader.
Everywhere I went, strangers would approach me to say, “I love your videos.” I gained new clients who sent me instant messages to say, “I feel as though I already know you, even though we’ve never met in person.” My lead generation on social media brought national attention to the office. I was ranked third overall in lead generation, and got invited to lead a training call for rookie representatives. In 2016, my habit of blogging on LinkedIn led me to my first published work—an article in Insurance Business America.

Boards of Education

I served on several boards during those years. The best thing about nonprofit boards is they’re usually stacked with entrepreneurs. Employees mostly lack the freedom to leave their workplaces to attend. But Abrann had given the order—I was to be a ghost in my office. So I went out and found opportunities to serve.
When I started volunteering with boards, it was awkward. Another task I simply tackled head-on and learned as I went. No two boards or organizations are exactly alike, no matter what their bylaws say. You can’t turn a board into a leads group, so don’t go there with your “me first” hat on.
I learned to use my knowledge and connections to be resourceful to committee members. From there, people often assume you’re an expert in your field. It shortens the steps they take when they need help. They ask: “Where will we get the right insurance coverage for this event?” There are fewer obstacles when a very natural fit with the right answer is in the same room. All the boards I joined helped me make strides, land great clients and open new relationships.
I also discovered that the bigger the charity, the more involvement you get from senior community leaders. On his podcast, author Jayson Gaignard said that “the way to a rich man’s heart is through his charity.” I discovered this was true for some of Olympia’s prominent, well-to-do families. I scratched their backs to help them raise funds. They would turn around and do business with me. Or they’d elevate me into rooms I had no business being in, apart from their invitation.

Preaching and Teaching

I hold no paid ministry role or qualifications. I’ve never been invited to speak in the church I attend. (Probably for good reason.) But I believe I have a spiritual gift of teaching from God. Why else would I have this James Earl Jones voice and love being onstage talking to an audience?
Teaching is the heart of the Bible. The word “Torah,” which traditionally encompasses the first five books of Moses, literally means “teaching” in Hebrew. It’s a great and noble calling, but it also requires humility if you’re going to honor God.
Teaching forces you to be attentive to detail. Business audiences are typically full of “Type A” adults. Hard chargers, high performers and lovers of actionable steps based on sound principles. Teaching adults forced me to think about what I was going to say. How I was going to say it. Whether they were likely to care. How my content squared with reality.
In 2015 I began giving a free seminar, “Networking Intentionally.” I taught it at local leads groups. It helped entrepreneurs become better at building relationships. If you watch the video I still keep on YouTube, you can hear some fundamentals of this book in what I shared. They comprised my earliest attempts at naming the values of my aspirational identity.
In this book, we’ll unpack the Five Qualities of the Radically Generous Entrepreneur:

The Monastic Heart

I am fairly extroverted. I’m not afraid to talk to strangers. It doesn’t take long for me to get a few layers deep with people. If it’s the right person, I can make a lifelong friend of a stranger on a bus.
My maxed out networking habits produced a healthful “paring back” of that outgoing nature. Crowds no longer have the pull they used to because they’re just crowds. “Small talk” at networking groups got stale. I got clearer on my personality. I realized a lot of my “performance” aspirations came from wanting applause. My extroverted side is much better expressed in small groups, especially entrepreneurial ones.
It was tempting to think of my gradual introversion as a liability, at least where networking is concerned. It’s assumed extroverts get the lion’s share of attention. After all, how can quiet people compete against someone loud and engaging?
I love it when people ask that. I’ve been teaching introverted entrepreneurs how to network for years. I’m so persuaded, in fact, that I believe the opposite is true: quiet professionals have every advantage in modern networking. Why wouldn’t they? Our senses are bombarded around the clock by content, marketing and noise. We’re starved for someone to listen to everything we bottle up inside. Who is likelier to get your attention these days—a nonstop talker, or someone who treats interacting with you like an exclusive interview?
Morgan Snyder of Ransomed Heart Ministries appeared on my podcast in late 2018. He’s a powerful mentor in my life. I interviewed him about three primary relational styles. One of them, “Move Away,” describes the introvert. I love how he defined it:
“These people have a reflective heart and soul. They’re contemplative.”
These ways brought enormous redemption to my tired, parched soul. I discovered they were enormously effective in business. I love how they’ve fundamentally changed my posture. Where I was desperate and needy, I can now relax and offer my best self. I’m not in a rush to sell. I don’t feel threatened or disqualified by people ignoring me. And when I adopt the posture of a curious student, I don’t usually elicit disregard.

Pro Bono Publicity

There’s never been a worse time to “toot your own horn” in business than today. We have two succeeding generations flooding the workforce—Millennials and Generation Z. They both see right through it, and have all kinds of convenient ways of dodging the braggadocio.
There’s never been a better time to have someone else praise you, either. Those same generations devour social proof and testimonials online in a way that doesn’t occur to me. My Millennial friends tell me, “If I can’t read reviews or watch testimonials, I won’t buy.” It’s baffling. But it’s true about them.
Early in my first mastermind experience, Jonathan Garrick reminded me of an eternal principle. I first read it in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the Dale Carnegie classic. It states, “We are interested in others when they’re interested in us.” Jonathan reminded me of this by advising me how to use Facebook. He said, “If you’re going to talk about business, talk about somebody else’s business. Not your own.”
Insurance sales made an ideal “training environment” for this. Nobody I knew wanted to discuss insurance anyway! So I started going to real estate open houses instead. I’d whip out my phone and do a video tour to promote the listing. I’d interview realtors and specialty contractors. Then I’d post it as a “Business Profile of the Week.” If you can picture an insurance agent disguised as a journalist, you’re on the right track.
Over time, I acquired a reputation for promoting other businesses. This made my disguise something more than a journalist; I was now a publicist, and one who didn’t charge a fee. I didn’t realize how much people appreciated this until my insurance career ended in June of 2018. My phone was inundated with condolences, offers of employment, business opportunities and people volunteering to connect me. It was a little too late; I’d already “hired myself” the same day I got fired. (Yes, I got fired. For not selling well. I did a video on Facebook about it two days afterward. We tell the unvarnished truth around here; you’ll like it.)
I’d originally tried podcasting as a conservative commentator in 2010. It was a failure, mainly because the fuel was my pride and self-righteousness. But, reborn as an influencer, I figured a podcast would make a good compliment to my first book, “10 Secrets to Networking Success.” So, in the late summer of 2018, after six years of silence, I got back behind the mic.
I had no idea podcasting would become the vehicle to “scale” my skill for building influence. I was just babbling into the mic. My show kicked off with a bunch of solo episodes. The only thing that changed was the content. Instead of politics, I was issuing monologues about a combination of business and spirituality.
Then, in September,...

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Foreword
  6. Preface – Influencer Networking Secrets
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Chapter 1 - My Beginnings: From Awkward, Pushy Salesman to Radically Generous Entrepreneur
  9. Chapter 2 – The Monastic Heart (Be a Magnet, Not a Pusher)
  10. Chapter 3 – Golden (Pro Bono Publicity)
  11. Chapter 4 – The Inroads (Not-For-Profit IS For-Profit)
  12. Chapter 5 – Owning It (How to Network with Dream Connections)
  13. Chapter 6 – Frequency (Persuasion in Print)
  14. Chapter 7 – The Curator (Focusing on the Outcome)
  15. Let’s Work Together
  16. About The Author
Citation styles for Influencer Networking Secrets

APA 6 Citation

Edwards, P. (2021). Influencer Networking Secrets ([edition unavailable]). Morgan James Publishing. Retrieved from (Original work published 2021)

Chicago Citation

Edwards, Paul. (2021) 2021. Influencer Networking Secrets. [Edition unavailable]. Morgan James Publishing.

Harvard Citation

Edwards, P. (2021) Influencer Networking Secrets. [edition unavailable]. Morgan James Publishing. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Edwards, Paul. Influencer Networking Secrets. [edition unavailable]. Morgan James Publishing, 2021. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.