Notes on “Networking Is Still Not Working”

The focus of the Networking Is Still Not Working episode is about:

  1. Business indifference is a huge issue
  2. Nourishing new relationships versus existing relationships
  3. Dormant ties and what that means
  4. Optimizing a networking event
  5. “Host a different kind of networking event as a way to offer value to the people you already know and work with.”

The guest is Derek Coburn, author of Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections.

The rest of this blog post contains pretty much raw notes. The notes contain a mixture of direct quotes from the podcast, my own thoughts, and sometimes ideas that came to mind while listening.


Leaping into indifference from a software developer point of view, a supervisor might see people as fungible software developers. How to disrupt this? Just going heads down and working harder doesn’t help.

Financial Advisors have a 94% retention rate. 75% of the time it’s because they provide great client service. The way to disrupt things is to focus on providing more value for your existing clients beyond just doing a good job. You can help them network and make introductions.

Strategically and effectively communicating how you are different will give you great opportunities. It’s better than waiting around for people to contact you.

Create a different rung of service that people have ever thought about or ever seen as necessary in their job. Don’t just be someone who does their job.

Derek’s general example: You can be someone who generates trust and rapport and makes the client feel safe by sending them something in the mail. Specific example:

Here are five reasons you don’t have to worry about Brexit.

[or] I’ve already come up with something in order to help you deal with Brexit.

Be an extension of your client’s development and marketing team. Derek positions himself to work with business owners.

Nourish Existing Network

Existing relationships are very important. Among other things, it’s important for job searching. Nourish your existing network. Existing clients are a good place to start. You can say to your client “I want to know more about your ideal client. What are your trigger phrases?” What is meant by trigger phrases is that certain phrases provide a clue that someone may need your services now or at some point.

A trigger phrase would reflect perhaps a triggering event. Perhaps, something that happened in life. You can share this with clients and others. Example: Someone is getting ready to sell a business. They said this 3 to 6 months before they know they even need you.

Figure out good triggering phrases for your business and then help your clients figure out triggering phrases to listen for for their own business. You can teach your clients how to do this by giving examples of what phrases you would be looking for. This also teaches the client to listen for trigger phrases on your behalf. Even though the client interviews are for learning about your clients, you can teach clients and friends how to help you.

Teaching Others How To Help You

Generic questions of “How can I help you?” doesn’t work. Having something ready to share with those who honestly want to help you is helpful.

This is what I am looking for. If you know someone that knows someone that would help.


Don’t just go to a networking event. Go to an event that has a great speaker and content. Invite a client. Tell the client to bring a friend.

Setting Up an Event Yourself

You can host round table discussions. Facilitate events. Examples: Poker or wine tasting events (for a client and someone else.) You can tell them: “Don’t feel like you have to bring a prospective client for me.” This plants a seed. Initially, they thought about their wife or friend. With that seed planted, they may bring a prospective client.

Start with a 5 to 10 minutes idea. You can share an idea and not a sales pitch. Think about sharing a couple things that are not directly related to the thing you provide.

After sharing a bit of information and sharing wine, you’re the thing in there they all have in common.

Hosting a technology event can get you in touch with the recruiters. You’re the hub. You know all the recruiters / head-hunters. Tons of lateral connections or non-lateral connections in your industry.

How often events? Roundtables are easy to set up. With Open Table, you can search for all the restaurants that have private rooms. Contact the restaurant; can they do separate checks? Invite people to come together and have lunch. You can facilitate a conversation about whatever you want to have a conversation about.

You can start with 4 to 5 people and 2 of those people can be your friends to get feedback.

He stumbled into great success with this. He invited a few influencers that are influential in the industry. This made the events very popular.


Lots of good gold nuggets in here. How to stand out and be seen as essential by providing extra value. How to nourish the existing network. How to set up an event. There are more tips in this podcast that I couldn’t capture in this post such as don’t just reach out to someone periodically with a template. I recommend listening to the podcast episode.


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