Negotiation Mistakes New Businesses Make

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Negotiation Mistakes New Businesses Make

Negotiation Mistakes New Businesses Make With Mark Herschberg

I started out as a freelancer. Grew it from a one-man team, we’re now a 50 man team, but how do you network when you’re a one-man team, and you’ve got no company logo, and you got no company records, you don’t have your receipts. No one knows who you are. And I started out when I was 22 years old. Hence the book CEO of 22.

How do you network well? Cause a lot of people will look at you and say you’re two years. To service my business, you or too inexperienced. There’s a lot of X factors in between. Where do you start?

Mark: Well, first on the note of being too young, being told no. Anyone starting a business, and that can include your personal consulting business. You are going to be told no over and over. ‘I don’t want to hire you. I don’t want to work with you. I don’t want to work for you. I don’t want to partner with you.’ Lots and lots of nos. You need a lot of perseverance. You also need to understand where the ‘No’s’ are coming from, and what’s motivating that.

If they’re all saying because you’ve never done this. Is there a way you can go out and do that? So here in the US one thing, I tell people, when you’re trying to get into a new area and you say, I have no education, no training. Can you do some volunteer work? There’s a great organization called Taproot here in the US. Where they take people and say, you’re going to be a volunteer, but instead of just making sandwiches in a soup kitchen, which all of us can do.

You, if you want to do graphic design work, you can be a graphic designer as we rebuild a website for a nonprofit. And on the other side, he’d come out and say, look, I have helped to create a website or someone who’s interested in doing copywriting. You can do copywriting for the website, or you can be the programmer for the website. And so you start to gain experience. Now it’s volunteer work, but it’s still a real experience you say, I deliver that, look at my work.

But now when it comes to networking, a mistake people make is to think, I only want to network with people in my field. Don’t limit yourself that way, because you want a broad network. Cause you never know when someone’s brother or someone’s neighbor suddenly needs someone with your skillset, but also you want to, when you network put yourself out there.

 I don’t have a website. I don’t have a logo. I don’t have a brand. In fact, the way I landed, one of my clients is because I’m a member of the New York City CTO Club, where a group of CTOs, we come together, and once a month we get together for breakfast. We hear a speaker.

We also have a very active mailing list. On this list, people ask questions. I need help with this, thank you for doing that. Can anyone recommend this? I am very active on that list. I am always answering questions and helping out. This does a few things, one, it just makes me a good person. I help out others but also makes me visible.

Not just that they know my name, but when they hear me answer a bunch of questions on a topic, “Mark seems to know something about that.” In fact, I’ve actually been interviewing these past few years when I’ve been answering these questions. I don’t know with whom or for what job, but I am conveying myself as an expert. This, by the way, is why people will write books, do podcasts, do blogs, put content out there.

It is saying, look at what I know. And so when I said, I am looking to do some fractional CTO work to help out these companies part-time, because I want to do some time marketing my book. I had one of the members of the CTO club reached down and said, “you know what? I have a need. You’d be great.” Right. I was 90% of the way to the job because she had gotten to know me over the years through everything I talked about.

And so all of us do that, put yourself out there. Help others. And that’s how you’re building up your reputation and brand.

Sean: Got it. Really good stuff. So a lot of the, and that is gold, isn’t it? When you just help other people out just by goodwill. And at the same time, you get a lot of exposure out of it because they see that you are doing this and you’re good at it.

Make sure you’re good at it. Make sure you’re you really are giving value, and people would start to talk about you. Is that also something that is important? How do you get people to talk about you? You having that word of mouth marketing, getting that kind of referral, which is, you know, for me, it’s still the number one form of marketing – word of mouth.

How do you start that? And how do you use that effectively for networking?

Mark: One thing you have to remember, there’s some great advice by a man named Harvey Mackay. I think this phrase predates him, but he wrote a book with this title. “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” Too many people think “I need a job, whether they’re full-time employment or I need to find a contract, time to go network.”

Well, let’s think about this. If you need a big favor, you need, for example, someone to help you move. Who are you going to ask to help box up all your stuff and move the couches? Is it someone you met at a bar last week? Or is it someone you’ve known for the past 10 years? It’s going to be the latter. You need to build that relationship long-term ahead of time.

And so when it comes to this strategy where say, put yourself out there and help others, don’t think this is going to work in a month, six months, even a year, this is a multi-year stretch. You might get lucky. Maybe in three months, you said the right thing at the right time to the right person, but it’s just putting yourself out there repeatedly.

And this goes to your question of how do you stay top of mind if you meet someone once we just met, if I say, “oh, by the way, I am looking for this type of job, you know?” “Okay. Yeah. We’ll keep that in mind, Mark.” You’re going to forget about three days. You’re going to meet someone else. You’re going to be on to other things.

But if we’ve known each other for years and you know me well, and he said, “oh Mark, this is his skillset. This is what he does. Oh and Mark mentioned, he’s looking for a job.” It’s going to stick with you longer. And I’m going to be top of mind longer. So you really want to build these relationships over time and just constantly be out there constantly helping people.

I actually host a lot of – pre COVID times. I used to host parties every two months. I’d have a big party at my house. That meant all the people in my social circle, I didn’t send all my professional contacts; well, my social contacts in New York, they’re reminded of me every two months, they at least get the invite to my party.

Some of them come and say, “I haven’t seen you in awhile, how are you doing?” Some don’t, but they’re at least reminded of it out there. So you always want to be putting yourself out there.

Sean: Got it. And when you say that you want to build this relationship and be top of mind, let’s use your – let’s use the party example that you gave.

How do you actually, so that’s once every two months that you have that party, how do you go deep with the person? How do you make sure that when you need something you’re on top of mind with this person, and they’re not going to go ahead and forget about you in three days.

Mark: Because I don’t just hope maybe they saw the invite or showed up to the party. I’m also actively reaching out to each person. I will always wish someone a happy birthday, so I will never go more than a year without, “Hey, let’s, let’s keep in touch. How have you been? I will try to see what they’re doing. What’s going on in there “Oh, I saw your social media posts. It looks like you just got back from vacation or, you know, your kid just graduated from high school.”

What’s going on there or how are you doing? So you can always find reasons to reach out and it’s just making the time to make that commitment. For some folks, that means you literally put a block of time on your calendar every day, right? 15 minutes a day. You’re just going to go through a social media feed or go through your address book and do that outreach.

So it’s been a while let’s get together for coffee. Maybe you ignore me probably most. People’s like, yeah, I’m busy now. And you’re getting lots of nos, but you just keep at it. And a certain percentage will say yes or just might be more natural. I don’t have to block off a fixed amount of time. I just do it as a habit these days.

Sean: What do you say to people who would tell you, Mark, I’m not that kind of person. I’m not too relational, I’m more task-oriented. I like doing stuff, you know, I’m not, I don’t feel I could do it the way that you do, where I just out of the blue, just think about someone and ask how he, or she’s doing and get in touch or reach out.

And I don’t even feel that I’m going to say something useful or say something that would just be a good conversation starter. What do you say to those kinds of people?

Mark: If you’re not as comfortable with the two of us, sit down for coffee and catch up, think about, can you do some activity? Can you say, “Hey, you know what, everyone we’re going to do bowling night,” I’m just getting together a bunch of friends to do bowling, right?

Pick that arbitrarily, pick some event, poker night, or we’re going to go do a picnic in the park, or something. And now you have an activity and there’s something, in particular, you’re doing. And then forget even, “Oh, tell me, how are your kids?” Just, “okay we’re here to bowl.” And conversation will flow naturally.

At some point, someone might mention kids or you might say,”Oh, how’s the job? And let it just come naturally for you in your style. So if you need a more formal activity, go plan that.

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