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Don’t Let Networking Waste Your Time with James Evanow
I’m super excited to have a good friend and also an amazing speaker, coach and leader with us, James Evanow. James is one of the top trainers in leadership and emotional intelligence in the field of adventure sales and motivation. He delivers amazing thought-provoking presentations that has everyone touched in the room and creating some great awareness around the limitations that are holding them back. After twenty years of business experience combined with two decades as a sea captain, that’s my favorite part, James is telling his story and coaching around the ability to make major shifts in your life. Welcome, James.
Thank you, Penny.
We’re going to talk about some sales. One of the things you have in your bio is adventure sales and motivation. When we think about taking back time, I want to focus on how we can be more productive and use our time and energy in a much more effective way when we’re selling. Today’s sales environment feels like we’re bombarded all the time. We’re selling and selling. You can’t even go to a presentation anymore without being sold to. What’s your take on that?
I had the honor of sharing the stage with Les Brown and we talked in the green room about that a little bit before I went on. I was lucky to get twenty minutes with Les and I was so honored. I want to bring up what he told me because when we’re talking about taking back time, it’s a great way to say how do we deal with the time management of our lives? It’s all relative. It doesn’t matter. We’ve got X amount of time in our life, X amount of time to reach our goals and to make things happen. Being 100% efficient with that time is obviously the goal. Les said he’s a little dismayed with where the speaking industry has gone with the sales part of it.
Selling on stage. Sometimes they call it a pitch fest. You go to these things, you get one tip and you get pitched ten times.
There are a lot of really good products out there and a lot of really great trainers, teachers, mentors and vendors. At the same time, it’s nice to be able to take in a message and be able to absorb it without feeling you’re going to be attacked. I do believe there’s a trend. How is it relative with taking back time? Number one, you’re at an event that you’ve paid money to go to and you’re sacrificing your time to go to that event to get knowledge. You don’t get any knowledge out of that event except the fact that you can buy something for 20% of what the actual price is according to them, the perceived value, I love that term. Perceived by whom? I’m spending my time to go sit down and listen to these people and if I’m coming out of there with a bunch of brochures and flyers on how to be able to spend my hard-earned money to get knowledge, then that’s not a good use of my time. I don’t consider that a good use.
You should be able to walk away from something like that, something actionable that doesn’t need you. You can always go onto something else, but that you can take action from that.We need to look at the overall picture of what we really want to have in life. Click To Tweet
I’ve gone to two events and I will promote them because they should be promoted. One was the Author Millionaire Weekend with Greg Jacobsen. He hosted that event. There were probably seven speakers and there was no pitching going on. Maybe one person, but it was very enjoyable. Jack Canfield spoke. I can honestly say it was one of the first times that I’ve been to an event where I came out of there feeling clean, for lack of a better word. The other one was the event we did at the Tower Theater again with Les Brown. It was 100% quality. We all have to make money and we have to build our businesses. If we get the opportunity to speak on a stage, which we all want that opportunity to be able to market our wares, then is there a proper way to do that? Of course, there is.
Let’s talk about that in the context of not speaking, that’s something that has become obvious, especially to us because we attend these events and we speak at these events. I see that across any types of sales platform, anybody who is selling and connecting with people. What are some ways that people who are selling can be more efficient and effective in their sales process and not leave people feeling they want to resist?
I like to use two examples for people that are into the cultural awareness piece. I know there’s a term for this but I can’t remember it. There’s a movie called Glengarry Glen Ross with some great actors: Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin. If you’ve never seen that movie and you want a great example, go to YouTube and look up Glengarry Glen Ross. Watch the clip when Alec Baldwin goes in to talk to the sales team of realtors, and it’s a rainy night. It’s an excellent talk. It’s a great use of your time to watch that clip. You’re going to see what I consider to be the old way of selling.
The other side of that would be to look at somebody maybe a little bit more on the spiritual world. Let’s say it’s Eckhart Tolle. How are they selling his products? It’s a 180-degree turn. It’s absolutely the opposite direction. I prefer the latter of the two personally because number one, I’m busy and I don’t want to get spam on my email. I don’t want to be getting constantly bombarded with marketing materials. I want a value presentation and maybe it’s an email once a month or whatever that looks like. I can look at this product and I can say, “This is something I’m interested in,” but it’s using this constant. I don’t know what people are thinking when they do that. Honestly, I don’t know anybody that I know that likes the way that some of these people market. I’ve been taught that that’s how you do it. We’ve all been told that.
I’ve seen people getting up and walking out of events because they don’t want to be sold to that way anymore. They’re tired of it. Is that a good use of your time to be getting constantly bombarded and distracted away from your goals, opening up emails? If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, it looks like you’re constantly getting these ads and I don’t know about you, but I got away from regular TV. I do have Netflix and I love to watch quality programming, but I don’t want the commercials. I don’t get it anymore. If I want it, I’ll do a search and I’ll find a product. I feel that we’ve entered into a new time whether the younger people are coming up through the ranks and they’re saying no to this or it’s got so overwhelming, like an avalanche. It keeps coming off this constant bombardment. This movement went up for at least a decade.
It’s gotten way worse. If you’ve got direct TV, you go through the commercials. If you’re on social media, there’s a ton of advertising. Even if I didn’t sign up for the newsletter, somehow I’m on their newsletter and all of that. I find it intrusive. I’m not happy with it.
Look at the flipside of the coin. Maybe somebody in your audience is doing this. How are your sales going? That’s a valid point I would say that if you don’t sell that way, are you going to be able to sell anything? Are you going to be able to get any type of return on your time if you’re on stage and speaking? Are you going to reap any benefits of any sales of anything? I have a program that I launched. I can get to any station and pump that out but what I preferred to do is put a link on a PowerPoint slide. Let them look at that. If they want it, they’re going to call me rather than play some head trip on somebody in the audience. That’s my outlook on it. There might be people in the audience that are doing that and having great success with it.
They must be teaching it because there’s some part of success about it. Let’s talk about what are some positive ways that people can use their time wisely? Let’s say I’m a salesperson. Whatever it is, whether I’m selling on stage or I’m selling a widget. You talk to audiences around sales? How can I better use my time? What are two or three tips that you can say, “Here’s what you’re doing that isn’t working, the biggest mistakes people are making around sales. Here’s what you can do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of what you’re doing.”
I’m more than happy to answer that because I’m thinking what you’re asking is, why is my opinion valid? Whoever’s reading to this, why would they want to learn from me? I can offer up this. I grew up in a very blue-collar hardcore background. I fished for 25 years. I was commercial fishing captain. It was a very rough lifestyle. The people in the fishing industry, there’s a saying, “The cowboys kept going West until they fell off the edge of the Earth and they became fishermen.” It is still a very black and white industry where people will tell you what they think of you. There’s not a lot of surface gloss or that type of thing. With that said, I grew up underneath a very aggressive serial entrepreneur, my father. He wasn’t your average commercial fisherman. He built a small fishing empire. He had a seafood processing facility, four boats, two seafood restaurants, a fleet of trucks and 150 employees. He did this at an eight-year period.
I get to see somebody that has an endless supply. There weren’t restrictions on anything at that time or limits on how much fish you could catch. It was more of a cyclical thing where some years there would be not very many crabs and some years there would be piles of crabs. It’s what he did with that and how he approached his clients. That’s how I grew up, honest-type relationship building aspect. He collected cards, but he made a point to connect with his customers. The word I would like to use would be a very connected way. It wasn’t over the top. That was his approach. What I’ve seen is when you’re going to networking events, I was flying all over the country going to these events, meeting people, it seems like a whirlwind.
You get done and you’ve got a stack of cards where you’re like, “There’s that person, there’s this person.” If you’re in your local situation like I live in Bend, Oregon, there’s a ton of networking here. I go to some of these networking events. What I started to realize is that it’s more of a frantic type approach to sales where people think they’re going to get all this business if they’re there, if they show up. You’d have to take it deeper than that. You have to nurture your relationship and it takes time to nurture these relationships. You can’t just go and try to sell somebody and more or less vomit on them.
Which is what happens at these networking events. I can tell you that I almost never hear back from anybody from those events. I actually stopped going to them years ago because of the same thing. I couldn’t possibly follow up. I’d rather have a couple of core partners that I’m building a relationship with and really targeted because then I know that we’re going to be a good fit together. I’m going to be able to provide value to them and they’re going to be able to provide value to me. I totally know what you mean. It’s almost like the Facebook effect. Everybody thinks just because you’re connected or friends on Facebook, therefore we have a connection, which no, you don’t. I met you at a networking event and we liked each other. It has to go forward beyond that. Otherwise, it’s superficial and it isn’t going to create any business.
Seriously speaking, there’s an illusion. We’re living in a very illusory society and people are fulfilling their significance by being on social media. They get a feeling of significance that needs to be met. That’s a feeling of connection. This is a lot of what I talk about on my coaching, the six human needs. A lot of people have heard of that. I want to go back to the part I was talking about how I grew up as a fisherman and I transitioned out of that into the mortgage industry. Commercial fishing is not really sales. Although we had the fish company, I wasn’t in sales with the fish company but they sold hundreds of thousands of tons of fish and they did a fabulous job of doing national marketing.
When I made the transition off the water into the mortgage industry, that was a culture shock for me. It was a whole different approach. I found out after going to copious training and seminars and events, there are a lot of really good people out there who are very successful. One of the best approaches is to build that circle of influence. You need to get your key people around you and build those relationships. Now you’re in a position where the referrals are starting to happen and you’ve basically planted a seed that’s going to continue to grow in a very fortuitous manner. At the end of the day, what are you doing with your time? Are you just going to networking events? Where I live, there are people here with money and people here with not much money and there are very few in between. The people that are moving here and want to live here, they want to enjoy the quality of life, but they’re out there trying to get money from other people that don’t have money.If you don't get on board with the big corporations, there's a chance you're going to go out of business. Click To Tweet
It was a very noticeable thing where there’s a lot of frustration. There’s a lot of time being put in that is a waste of time. When we’re talking about taking back time, that’s something for people to look at. Where’s your target market really at? What are you really focusing on? Set that goal and stay in your lane. Try to work towards that goal. It all depends on follow-up and what kind of quality are you bringing to these people? In a nutshell, if you can master those three things: relationship with a clear target, follow-up and building those relationships, that’s a good use of your time.
Define that circle of influence, those people who are really your target market and that you can deliver high value to. Identify them and follow-up. The biggest mistake that people make is they contact people once or not even at all and it’s done.
It sounds corny but the handwritten notes, things as simple as that. Sending a small gift to people and slowing down in this fast-paced lifestyle that we have where it is frantic. I call it the hamster on the wheel, running and you’re moving forward, but not really much. We have a society where we have to be realistic about what’s happening in this country, if not the world. You’re going to get yours and you get shoved to the side. I use a lot of metaphors like this big ship going through this fleet of sport boats and running over sport boats. This big ship is making all the money and all the little boats are getting crushed or pushed out of the way. We have to admit that it’s happening in the farming industry, it’s happening in a lot of different industries where if you don’t get on board with the big corporations, there’s a chance you’re going to go out of business.
I know that for a fact because I’ve talked to groups of farmers that are feeling that they need to keep upgrading. This continual pressure is being put on us. The funny part is that the younger people don’t want any part of that. They don’t want to get up at 4:00 AM and go milk the cows. They want to work from 8:00 to 5:00 and they want to travel. All of my young adult children travel ten times more than I ever thought of traveling. I questioned that at first as being irresponsible, but I started looking at it and maybe they’re looking at me, their parents and people that are our age, maybe we wasted our time doing these things. There’s a balance there obviously.
Americans are becoming more like Europeans. Europeans have always traveled and have always valued vacation, and there are also farmers. I think that the younger generation, they look at life differently. They have more of a sense of purpose, of community and they want to have experiences. They want to see the world. They value different things than our parents valued. That’s all good. That’s how cultures change, societies develop and opportunities are created as well from understanding what the generations are looking for. When you’re building those relationships, bringing it back to relationships, you need to know what is valuable to people. If you have something that you think is great and it’s great quality, but others have perceived value, that means people have to perceive what you’re offering is valuable to them. Otherwise, they’re going to look elsewhere or they’re going to disconnect.
The last thing I want to have happened in my life on this planet is to be that grouchy old dude that’s upsetting towards young people. We all saw that growing up. I don’t want to be that guy. I try to listen. I’m very aware of the mentality of young people. It’s easy to put them all in a box and say, “You’re a Millennial.” I know for a fact that a lot of younger people in their twenties, they don’t want that label, “Don’t put me in that group.” I’ve got a couple of nephews that are in their late twenties and they’re killing it in sales. They both went through university and they’re out grabbing life. You see so many people that aren’t. You can’t judge.
That’s every generation.
They’re definitely being labeled and there’s the advent of other things like legalization of pot. There are things happening in our culture that are way different than they a couple of years ago. We’re evolving and things are constantly changing. When we’re talking about taking back time, I think another relevant point is that you got an X amount of time. As far as I’m concerned, at least in younger people I know, they’re spending a lot more time embracing the quality of life and saying, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to save up X amount of money into a vacation fund to go on a trip, if not two a year.” I didn’t do that. I raised three kids. I worked and that’s the other side of the equation. I don’t think having children is a big of a priority as I grew up.
Taking back time is doing with your time the things that are most important to you. For some people, it might be a family and for others, it might be travel or whatever it is. It’s being able to be in control. The World Health Organization has declared stress as a worldwide epidemic. It’s finding out what it is that’s creating so much stress for us and deciding that we’re going to do things differently, that we’re going to approach things differently. It could be that it’s a mindset thing. It could be the environment that we’re placing ourselves into. It’s controlling your environment, controlling your mind and controlling your body. If we’re not taking care of our body, obesity is a problem and that can create a lot of challenges too.
I’ll be 60. I don’t feel 60 because I’ve done a pretty good job of staying healthy. I feel much younger than that. I remember when I was in my twenties thinking, “I wonder what it will be like when I’m 60.” Honestly, I feel I did that as far as my activity level. I’ve always worked pretty hard. There had been a time when you’re a commercial fisherman and you’re at sea, you get up before daylight and you work until after daylight. It’s the way it is and it’s a way of life. In the mortgage industry, I did the same thing. That might be construed as a workaholic or somebody that’s obsessive with working, but I truly believe you need to have that energy in your body to be able to deal with this.
I know a lot of people are like, “I can’t work that long. That’s going to wipe me out.” Maybe there’s something to look at there. Everything’s relative when it comes to time. We have X amount of time. There’s another thing that I love that I picked up when I was going through these mortgage seminars back in the day, whenever you have a new venture and you’re going into anything, you have to go 90 days hard. It’s called the 90-day burn. I’ve done a couple of hundred 90-day burns. I think I even did a 360-day burn. Sometimes, we have to go that extra mile. We have to put that extra time in. If you’re worn out, you’re drinking too much, smoking too much and that goes for pot as well, you’re not going to have that energy.
It’s important to look at that and say, “How bad do I really want this? How badly do I want to succeed life where is it better to just lay on the couch and watch Netflix?” There is a choice. All you have to do is go to your class reunion and take a look around. What do you want out of life? Where do you want to get at the end of your life? I used this and I’ve had a couple of people say, “It’s harsh.” I don’t think it’s harsh at all, but if you picture yourself at your celebration of life or your funeral, picture yourself there, you have the luxury of being able to stand there and listen to what people are saying. What do you want them to say? What do you want to hear those people are saying about you? That’s truly your destiny. There’s your answer because you can still achieve that in your lifetime, but you can’t achieve it if you’re lethargic, you’re not using your time efficiently and you’re not pushing your boundaries out to where you need to push them and get out of your comfort zone. Let’s face it, over 90% of small businesses fail in the first year. That’s because they didn’t have a solid business plan. Their passion was there but they didn’t have any structure to what they’re doing and they fizzled out.
At the end of the day, focus on the right thing if we were to circle back and bring it back to sales because new businesses are going to survive through cashflow for making sales. It’s focusing on the right things, building those relationships and delivering the value to the people who are going to add the most value to.
I don’t know how many people I’ve met but it’s a ton and I can probably name the people on both hands on all my fingers that were professional-looking and looked like they had it dialed in. They’ve taken that extra initiative to make themselves look professional. Their social media, their branding, all of that stuff is so important because it’s relevant with taking back time. If you’re out there doing things that you look unprofessional, how are you going to get any sales?Watch out for negative people. If somebody’s rocking your boat, you need to throw them over the side. Click To Tweet
You’re wasting your time.
I do have a team that I work with to help entrepreneurs get to that next level at a very affordable manner and all you have to do is check me out. If you want to contact me, go to JamesE360.com. All of my information is right there. You can connect with me but I love seeing entrepreneurs that are focused on picking up their game, standing up and stepping out and doing the things that most people aren’t willing to do because those are the people that are going to make it.
One last thing I want to say is that I use a metaphor in my presentations. I like to look at it like we’re vessels that have been placed on this planet when we’re born. Our vessel is placed on this planet and our souls were poured into that vessel. The question I have for the audience is what is your vessel doing? Which direction is it heading? Is it sitting in the doldrums, sitting tied to the docks, sitting on an anchor? Are you actually on a goal heading somewhere? What does the bottom of your haul look like on your boat? Is it covered with barnacles or is it clean and sleek so you’re moving at a pace towards that goal? All of this stuff is pertinent because we need to look at the overall picture of what we want to have in our life. How are we embracing this time on this planet?
What are we doing to make sure that we’re getting there faster? Take care of that vessel because that vessel is the vehicle that’s getting us there. I like that metaphor.
Back when I was fishing, if you didn’t take care of your boat and your equipment, you don’t catch anything. It’s relative as far as sales and business as well. The other thing is negative people. If you’ve got negative people holding you back, the person not rowing the boat has the ability to rock the boat. If somebody’s rocking your boat, you need to throw him over the side.
It’s like pulling an anchor, dragging an anchor. It’s going to take a lot longer to get there.
Watch out for negative people, take them back to town, take them back to safe harbor and let them sit there in their complacency and pick lint out of their belly button.
James, let’s give people an address where they can contact you and reach you after the show.
If you go to JamesE360.com, you’ll find some videos of me there. You’ll find all my websites are there. The website with the entrepreneurial advantages that’s PaceYourSelf.biz. You can find all of that on that 360 site. I put all of my information into one website.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you all for reading. I know we went with the seas with our captain. We talked about a lot of different things. This is about your success and what you’re focused on, what you need to be focused on in order to reach your goal faster. Stop wasting time and start focusing on adding value, on connecting with the right people and following up and taking care of yourself in that process. Thanks for being here. Take some notes, act on those notes and we’ll see you in the next episode.
- James Evanow
- Author Millionaire Weekend
- Glengarry Glen Ross on YouTube
About James Evanow
James Evanow is one of the top trainers in leadership and emotional intelligence in the field of adventure, sales, and motivation.
After 20 years of business experience combined with two decades of being a sea captain, James’ storytelling ability, using humor and life and death situations help you better understand your challenges and limitations and make better choices.