For most people networking feels like a chore, but strong connections can impact every facet of your life, especially your business. In this episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street talk to Jayson Gaignard about how he builds himself up by building up his connections. He shares networking tips that can apply to the most introverts as well as advice on how to build successful relationships with mentors and peers.
Jayson Gaignard is a Canadian entrepreneur, networking specialist, and author who founded MastermindTalks, an invitation-only conference for entrepreneurs, in 2013.
Lunch Hour Legal Marketing
The Power of Real-Life Connections
Gyi Tsakalakis: So Kelly.
Kelly Street: So Gyi.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Are you familiar with the great country that is a neighbor to our north known as Canada.
Kelly Street: Yeah, I am. So here’s a thing. If I could have chosen where I was born, I would have chosen to be British because why not. I think everything sounds better with a British accent actually. So, it’s my preferred way of speaking, but I’m not British, so it would be very strange if I were to talk like that all the time. But, if I couldn’t have been British I would have liked to have been born Canadian because they say things like process and A.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So, Canada is your number two choice?
Kelly Street: It’s my number two choice. Also everyone I have ever met from Canada has been incredibly nice, just like incredibly nice like if you’re like, oh, I’m hungry, they’re like, oh, well, you know what, I know a cafe around the corner, let’s go and I’ll get you something to eat and that’s a bad example, but they are all just like is so incredibly nice.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Where are your favorite places to go in Canada?
Kelly Street: So I’ve only been to two places in Canada. Toronto and a little spa outside of Toronto. I actually went there with today is a guest on our podcast.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Oh.
Kelly Street: Yes, so yeah, Jayson Gaignard who is of MastermindTalks and a kind of master networker just also all-around nice guy from Canada. He organizes for the entrepreneurs in his group, organizes little kinds of outings and get-togethers and one of the outings that I was lucky enough to go on was a spa weekend. An hour outside of Toronto and it was delightful and Canadian, so thus, a more lush, nice, kind experience.
Gyi Tsakalakis: What did you guys have for lunch during that outing?
Kelly Street: Oh, the food, every single meal was a three-course meal, and so for we would have our lovely appetizer and then an entrée and the dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, I don’t remember exactly what we ate. I just know I ate a lot and it was good. What did you have for lunch today?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I haven’t had lunch yet, but I was going to share that I’ve had so thinking of food in Canada, Winnipeg; not many people have been to Winnipeg and I’m now blanking of course on the name of this place, but there is a place in Winnipeg.
Kelly Street: Oh, really, there’s a place in Winnipeg?
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, looking it up right now and I can’t find it, of course.
Kelly Street: Do… do… do…
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, we’re going to have to come back to this. But, there’s another place called Montréal.
Kelly Street: Oh yes.
Gyi Tsakalakis: And several great places to eat there.
Kelly Street: Oh, in Montréal is that where they do chocolate, which is like the melted — oh, I really got throaty there, did you notice that?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I did.
Kelly Street: Where they do the melted cheese and they scrape it on to your food. Did you have that when you were there?
Gyi Tsakalakis: You know what, I didn’t. I’ve seen that. I didn’t know that that was an iconic Montréal dish. I had — there are like a lot of French places, French-ish, French — Francophone. They have — they do a lot of poutine.
Kelly Street: Oh yeah.
Gyi Tsakalakis: They also do Montréal smoked meat.
Kelly Street: Did you have smoked elk or any —
Gyi Tsakalakis: No.
Kelly Street: — interesting Canada meats?
Gyi Tsakalakis: I did not. I had — it’s more like a – I think it’s like a pastrami, it’s like Deli’s — Schwartz’s, that’s one and there’s another place that I went to as my friend recommended, it’s super-good, but if you’re ever up in Montréal or Winnipeg look for great food.
Kelly Street: And don’t ask Gyi for recommendations because he does not remember them.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I apparently can’t remember anything anymore, so.
Kelly Street: Alright Gyi, let’s get to our guest.
Intro: Welcome to Lunch Hour Legal Marketing, with your hosts Gyi Tsakalakis and Kelly Street, teaching you how to promote market and make fat stacks for your legal practice, here on Legal Talk Network.
Kelly Street: This is going to be an incredible episode of Lunch Hour Legal Marking because we get to talk with Jayson Gaignard who is a serial entrepreneur, a master networker, a Canadian; and thus, as a result of being Canadian, a very nice person.
Jayson Gaignard: Well, I hope I live up to the expectation, however the introduction for that matters. So, thank you for having me on.
Kelly Street: Yes, yes. So, Jayson, why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself and then they will get to hear why they should keep listening as well?
Jayson Gaignard: Sure. Yeah, so I mean, in a nutshell. I run an invite-only event in community for entrepreneurs specifically called MastermindTalks and to date we’ve had just over 16,000 entrepreneurs apply for an event that’s capped at 150 people annually. So, it’s a fascinating group of individuals across various different industries and various levels of success and that has been built over the last four or five years without penny spent on traditional advertising. It’s all been through word-of-mouth and it’s very much a high-touch service-based business and my goal and hope is that I can be very open and transparent with your audience today and maybe there could be some takeaways and best practices that they can apply in their own lives.
Kelly Street: Yes. So, just for our listeners, I was introduced to Jayson through my husband Aaron Street of Lawyerist and got to know this MMT crew and Jayson and just the incredible relationships that are built I can absolutely attest to.
So, let’s dive in. Gyi, I know you had some questions. So, I’ll let you start off with yours.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Well, you really just put me on the spot there.
Kelly Street: I did.
Gyi Tsakalakis: I’ve been super-impressed with the community made podcast. That’s kind of where I wanted to jump in. I encourage all listeners to go check it out but one of the things that Jayson talks about especially through the course of — I think it’s season two when you’re talking about growing, nurturing and amplifying your business relationships. After all, most lawyers recognize that getting business as a lawyer it’s fundamental to build relationships and develop a great reputation in your community and one of the things that we hear a lot about particularly with lawyers going to networking events is, I go to these events and the magic just doesn’t happen. You talk a lot about this one of your episodes and I thought that would be a good entry point. Talk about your experiences in choosing networking events. What kind of tips do you have for choosing them? I really liked your 40/20/40 rule. I think diving in some of that stuff would be very helpful for folks that are maybe have tried networking events but have been if either they haven’t worked for them or maybe they didn’t participate or they’re at the wrong ones, what can you tell folks about that kind of stuff?
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah, well, most industry networking events tend to be a little stuffy and I’m again very kind of transactional in their nature where it’s a lot of business card fleeing and that kind of stuff, and generally speaking, I mean, the best “networking” is when you don’t know you are networking. So, when you’re handing out business cards and schmoozing, oftentimes it’s not necessarily when you’re building the best and most kind of genuine relationships.
So, if you are going to an industry event, I mean, one of the best ways to make the most out of that experience is that philosophy you touched on which is the 40/20/40 and the premise behind that is that most people go into an event without any prep work and don’t do any post work either. They really kind of focus the bulk of their energy on just showing up and winging it and generally speaking that’s probably why they don’t get a lot from most events from an ROI perspective.
So the 40/20/40 philosophy is, is you try to allocate 40% of your energy or bandwidth towards kind of pre-planning or preparing, 20% of your bandwidth towards the actual event itself and then 40% of your bandwidth towards what happens post, which is a lot of follow-ups and checking in and those kind of things.
So, in the pre-planning process some events will provide some kind of rolodex of who’s going to be in attendance and most people identify themselves as introverts and I identify myself as an introvert as well. The only thing I would say that helps kind of curb introversion is to walk into a room, or walk into an environment somewhat prepared.
I know, I guess, my introversion tendencies kind of flare up. When I walk into a room I don’t know anybody and I just feel like, I have got thrown into an ocean and don’t know where to swim to, so to speak. So, if you’re given some kind of agenda that’ll help you kind of navigate, what you’re going to participate in and those kind of things. Potentially manage your energy as well, especially those who identify themselves as introverts, sometimes it’s good to be — I’m the type of individual that can be like all in socially so I could be in a networking setting and I can own the room but then I need to go out and be completely alone.
So, if you do have an agenda in advance, for example, you can kind of plan like you’re going to go to this session, you’re going to play full out, you’re going to be all in, but then you’re also going to take an opportunity during a different session or maybe there’s a break that you’re going to take an opportunity to kind of recharge.
So, there’s that kind of component to planning, there’s the component of if you have a rolodex of those that are going to be in attendance you can do research on people in advance so that you don’t go into any conversations cold because it’s easy to meet somebody new and then you just go through the whole, what do you do, where are you from, all that kind of stuff and those are always kind of awkward and that’s probably what’s most awkward is when you’re talking to somebody and then they answer the question and we don’t know what to ask next and then there’s that dead spot in the conversation.
So, the nice thing of being able to like research people in advance maybe potentially prioritizing who you want to connect with, what I try to do is if there is a hit list of 15, 20 people I plan to connect with then I can create two or three questions in advance and have them in my back pocket so to speak so that if I run into them, I can kick-start the conversation and it can kind of flow naturally as opposed to us trying to figure out just going through the murkiness of the beginning of a new conversation with anyone.
So, there’s that kind of planning component as well and then ultimately you know when you walk into a new setting where the conversation is going to start is, again, what do you do, and having a strong kind of introduction is important. I mean, oftentimes, if you don’t have that “down path” it’s very easy to kind of mumble and probably talk a little too much and lose somebody’s interest and for me practicing that is really, really important and kind of holding that, so there’s different ways you can do that.
One of a friend of mine has a philosophy called the Six-Word Introduction, which to me just works really, really well. I can easily be customized in virtually any setting and the premise of it or the baseline of it and that there is different versions, but the baseline is I helped [blank], so whatever that customer is or client is achieve what result.
So, for example, like for me it’s I connect fascinating entrepreneurs or there’s a friend of mine Tucker 00:11:45 people who create books and his could be I help people’s ideas come to life or those kind of things and again there’s different frameworks to introduce yourself, but the idea is to be as quick and concise with it as possible and have them leaning into wanting to learn more, and again, when you don’t — there’s no reason why you can’t plan and prepare the stuff in advance. When you don’t, it just — it makes it much more difficult.
So, the planning process is to me kind of really crucial when given the opportunity to again to have the rolodex in advance and have the schedule in advance, and those kinds of things.
During the event itself there’s a couple of things there, but again, it’s your — you’re pretty much playing full-out during that experience and then post event it’s really important and this is where a lot of people drop the ball, it’s really important to follow up.
I think that’s where most of the value is because you meet a lot of people during the event, there’s a lot of noise and that kind of stuff, you may meet people 20-30 people, but very rarely the people will actually ever do the follow-up. So, for me follow-up is a kind of crucial component and in a follow-up I’ll either reach back out with like maybe some contacts that I promised in conversation that I would loop back with them on or maybe some resources that I promised or just making some touch points about like the conversation that we had.
So, maybe it’s, hey, it’s great to connect and it’s awesome to hear that your daughter is doing so well in softball or those kinds of things, the more personal you can make it the better. But usually what I like to do is, is having that follow-up because it creates almost like this email chain so that later on down the road should you ever need to, I guess “reactivate that relationship” you have an email chain to go off of, which works just exceptionally well.
So, again, the majority of people don’t do any pre-planning, don’t do any post event work or what have you and allocate all their energy during the event and I think oftentimes that’s missing the mark or missing the best opportunities to make the most out of the experience.
Gyi Tsakalakis: So much great stuff in there. I mean, one thing I just wanted to highlight though that I think will really resonate with lawyers in particular in terms of going to these events and choosing even focusing on like which ones do you go to, one of the things I think that really resonate with me that Jason said is choosing the events more based on who’s actually going to be at the events than the content, right? So, many lawyers will go on and say, oh, I want to go because this is the content that’s going to be there versus who is there that I want to meet and then doing all the things I just talked about.
So, tons of great stuff in there that I think if you had bad experiences with networking events, spend some time doing what Jason talks about planning and spending more energy in the planning in the follow-up than just showing up kind of like and shrugging.
Jayson Gaignard: I’ll just say real quickly that like — to really elaborate on what you’re saying. For me the best learning doesn’t happen in the conference room; that happens over conversation.
So, yeah, being very clear on who is there with me, and it makes very little sense to invest a couple days out of your calendar to go to an event and sit passively in an audience, to listen to a speaker when you can listen to that content in a podcast like this or a YouTube talker or those kinds of things. Content is abundant in today’s day and age but connections are rather scarce.
So, when it comes to me and how I kind of get opportunities to go to events and if it’s worth my time and all that kind of stuff, it really all comes down to the quality of people that will be in the room.
Kelly Street: Yeah, I want to just say one of the things that I think you do really well speaking of the conversation is curating dinners and curating those groups that you know will — they will have some commonalities but you’ll get some great variety of conversation based on the group that you’re putting together. And so, I think that’s one thing that you could do as well at an event is maybe if there are people you want to meet say, hey, can you — can we all meet and go for dinner? And I know that’s kind of how you got MastermindTalks started. So, can you talk about that a little bit and how to get that sort of dinner, that conversational aspect going?
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah, so I mean that is very much how MMT started. I used to be in a traditional kind of e-commerce business before, but I realized after doing that for seven years I built a business I hated to enable me to buy things I didn’t need, to impress people I didn’t like, and I was rather unhappy.
So, like most people I kind of built my business at the time at the expense of my relationships or just really a big sense of not investing aggressively, I guess, you could say in relationships.
So, I started these things called Mastermind Dinners where I would invite eight entrepreneurs up for dinner with the core focus of connecting them and the first one I did I almost canceled two hours prior, because I’m like, nobody’s going to see value in this, they’re going to think I completely wasted their time, but thankfully, it turned out to be a great success and actually how I got the idea of hosting and facilitating these dinners was somebody gave me a ticket to go see Seth Godin in New York, and Seth is a — I guess has many, many best-selling books under his belt and just is very — just a very smart guy and he was facilitating this workshop.
I didn’t even know what it was about, but I had no other obligations at the time, so I decided to go to this workshop and take advantage of the opportunity, and it turned out the theme of it was the connection economy and how there’s huge value connecting like-minded individuals, and during the two days there was a story that he shared about an individual named Thornton May who was the business development guy for a IT firm that was starting up and he realized kind of early on that in order for his IT firm to be successful he had to attract the Fortune 500, so to speak, but he knew that if he could attract the Fortune 500 and surface the Fortune 500 client base they would be like the 800-pound gorilla in their space.
So, what he decided to do was almost like this tour where he’d go to Houston and he knew that decision-makers for services were the CIOs of these organizations, so he’d fly to Houston and he’d reach out to the CIO of Coca-Cola and the CIO of Texaco, not knowing, but would say, hey, I’m doing a breakfast for a bunch of other CIOs, here’s the people that are going to be here. If you’re interested in joining us here’s the details. And inevitably, like we all have a deep desire to be connected to the like-minded individuals, so the CIOs ended up showing up and there was no kind of context to the breakfast, it wasn’t like, hey, we’re here to pitch you on our services or any of that kind of stuff, but inevitably when you put a bunch of similar people together they’ll start to talk shop, I guess you could say, and they would start to talk about maybe some pain points that they’re facing in their business when it comes to may be IT solutions, and inevitably they would kind of turn to Thornton and say like, hey, is there something you guys can help with and he’d write it down in his notebook and he’d kind of follow-up, and lo-and-behold after a few years they became one of the largest IT firms in United States using that one simple kind of business development tool.
So, I kind of leverage that and applied it in my own kind of personal life, where I just want to connect with fascinating entrepreneurs and I didn’t have a business model behind it, I just love being around fascinating people, and it ended up leading into MMT in the community, that is MMT and all that kind of stuff. But, I was talking to one of my lawyers actually recently and we were kind of talking about this philosophy, and I’m like, you service other fascinating people, I would love to be in a room with other people that you service, because they are very similar to me on some level.
So, there’s a bunch of different ways that you can position these dinners or what have you. It could be, you are surrounding yourself with peers or it could be that you are connecting your kind of client base, but ultimately to me they are the highest valued thing you can do, like the way I look at it is that I can spend a thousand bucks to go to an event or I can spend a thousand bucks and host 20 people for a dinner and build far deeper relationships than having surface-level conversations at an event.
So it’s just another approach but to me it’s by far the best way I invest in my relationships and build a foundation of strong relationships.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, it’s good. And one of the things I don’t even know if this is like a so much a question but maybe you just kind of I think something that you do particularly well that is lost a little bit in the kind of digital content production age is the connection with the people and so — and maybe you can just kind of — there’s only so much time in a day and we know that amplification, being online allows you to connect with a lot of people, but maybe not build the same connection.
So maybe you can talk a little bit about how you prioritize the balance of not getting on, I think you use the phrase which I really liked, the content production hamster wheel and balancing those face-to-face dinner connections and then how do you take those relationships online and manage all of that?
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah, so there are a couple of different things. I mean in today’s day and age we are drowning in contacts, but we are starving for connection. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, all that kind of stuff almost give off the illusion that we have lots of friends, but social isolation is showing up in every single study you can imagine when it comes to mental health, longevity studies.
There was a friend of mine who wrote a book called ‘Who’s Got Your Back’. He wrote another book prior called ‘Never Eat Alone’. But in ‘Who’s Got Your Back’ they interviewed a thousand people at random and they asked one question and one question only which is, who has your back? And surprisingly 55% of people felt like nobody had their back. Even more surprisingly, 60% of those people were married.
And there’s a lot —
Kelly Street: That’s scary.
Jayson Gaignard: Scary, I know. There is a lot of studies like that, and again, the illusion that we have, all these friends is simply scary. I mean people fall into that trap and ultimately it doesn’t matter how many friends you can count, it matters how many friends you can count on.
And at the end of the day we only have so much bandwidth and some people are not — don’t like the idea of “prioritizing relationships”. But there is something called Dunbar’s Number, which is the number of stable social relationships that you can kind of manage and that’s capped at around 150 and that’s just from an evolution perspective, like tools like Facebook and all that kind of stuff enable us to reach more people, but we can only hold so many people I guess in our head from a social perspective.
So for me, I have to be very selective. I am very careful as far as who I allocate bandwidth to and I put people in different buckets, so to speak, which helps me out tremendously.
So the first bucket is core relationships. So core relationships are the people who have your back and this could be your family or your super, super close friends. Ultimately the way I look at these people are they are individuals that would never let you sleep on the street. In the worst case scenario, you could sleep on their couch type thing. So those are the people that have your back.
And then I have the next bucket of folks that I nurture, which are the connectors and that’s basically, I have come to see it in my kind of world that if I wanted to connect with people in tech, I could go out to tech events and meet 500 people or I can find out the two or three people who are the major influencers and connectors in that space and just build really deep relationships with them. And they could be that catalyst to everybody and anybody in tech. So I have people in different industries who are “connectors” that I nurture those relationships.
Then we have community, which is usually around 100 people, which are the relationships that — are people who are relatively kind of similar to me. We all have a deep desire to be connected to like-minded individuals, so these are friends and those kind of things.
And then we have fans, and fans are relationships with people that if I ask them hey, would you mind hopping on the call, I need some feedback on something, they would hop on a call, no problem. They are not close enough that they would let me sleep on their couch per se, but I do have that rapport with them.
And then there is fringe, and fringe is really those who build like a larger kind of personal brand, whether that be through Facebook, LinkedIn, those kind of things, where it’s, if I post something to LinkedIn, they may comment on it. So if I say hey, I need a connection to so-and-so, does anybody have any leads, they may comment and they may help me. And that is again a kind of a fringe relationship.
So fringe relationships generally are just nurtured through, again, social media updates, those kind of things. The fans relationships, how I nurture that is actually something I have implemented recently and it’s been amazing, which is I kind of capture all these folks and I use a CRM, but it doesn’t have to be anything super complicated.
But my goal is like there is a philosophy called a 1,000 True Fans Theory which was, I forgot the guy’s name, he is from Wired Magazine, Chris Kelly, yeah, I think, Chris Kelly, something like that, I am pretty sure it’s Chris Kelly. And the philosophy is that if you have a 1,000 true fans and you are an artist of any kind, whether it be a musician, a magician, whatever, if you have a 1,000 true fans, you can have a very comfortable life.
And to me, I am always looking to kind of foster my 1,000 true fans and how I nurture those 1,000 true fans is every quarter I send out an email to them just with an update, as far as like what’s going on in my life and those kind of things, and I also invite them to email me back and let me know what’s going on in their life as well.
And you wouldn’t believe I had — the last email I sent down, I think it went out to 770 some odd people, that email was opened over 2,000 times. So the majority of people opened it more than once and I had probably about a 100 or so reply back to that email with what’s going on in their life. So that was a great way to just kind of touch base with those “fans”.
Community are people that I try to touch base with once a year, kind of face-to-face. And then core and connectors are people that I try to have a higher frequency.
But again, like I know a lot of people need “networking space” that they use all these elaborate CRMs and they nurture 5,000 relationships at a time and all that kind of stuff and I have never seen it work effectively. I have seen them nurture maybe fringe relationships perhaps, but ultimately, again, what’s more important is how many friends you — instead of how many friends you can count is how many friends you can count on, and to me that’s been the best structure to nurture like super core, like important relationships, all the way out to the fringe network.
Kelly Street: Yeah. Just in case anyone is wondering like oh, how do I, thinking about building relationships, how do I translate this to my law practice or law firm, Jayson’s business is relationships. And so having a CRM to manage your relationships is just akin to having a CRM to manage your client base.
And then Gyi and I have talked about this before of reaching out to former clients or clients whose cases are closed once every six to eight weeks just to check in and say — make sure that you as a lawyer or law firm are staying on — kind of in the back of their mind in case they have anyone who could use your services or need a lawyer or even need a referral. That’s the kind of thing about managing relationships that will keep people being engaged with you and keep people really excited about just staying connected.
Jayson Gaignard: I will just say, if you don’t mind, real quickly, just to elaborate on that because it’s 100% great advice. I mean ultimately we are all in the relationship business, especially just in the service based business, it’s purely based on relationships, but I have a lawyer that I avoided, I kind of feel bad saying this, but I avoided dealing with any legal stuff for the longest time. I always had a really bad — my parents went through this really nasty lawsuit when I was a kid for years and I just always had this bad relationship with the idea of hiring a lawyer and all that kind of stuff.
And because of that there is a lot of business stuff that when it comes to proper business structures and all that kind of stuff that I have been delaying because I have been afraid to find a lawyer, and afraid of finding a wrong lawyer and that kind of stuff.
And ultimately I was referred to this gentleman who recently has become a friend and there is a saying that business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple and it’s that hard. And in conversation with this guy, like he is actually — he can’t provide the services I need necessarily, but he has been phenomenal as far as referring me to other people in his firm and all that kind of stuff. And when I think of like I need any kind of legal needs, he is the person I go to. He is almost like that catalyst that I know that either he will be able to serve me or he will be able to connect me with other people that will be able to serve me.
And because our relationships there, to what you said like people like me know — if I am his target audience, I know other people like me. So amazing people know kind of other amazing people and when he keeps on nurturing that relationship with me, it makes him top of mind and because he is top of mind, it makes him tip of tongue.
And he is the first person — I have easily referred him, and we have only built a relationship over the last 18 months, I have easily referred 10-15 people to him, and I will refer people to him for the rest of my life. And he hasn’t spent a penny on me, like he hasn’t spent — he didn’t get me through a Facebook ad or any of that kind of stuff. It was just good old-fashioned relationship building and God knows how many millions of dollars I will send his way just because, again, he has built a strong relationship with me and he makes me feel safe and comfortable and he has that level of trust and I will be referring a lot of people his way for sure in the near future.
Kelly Street: That’s awesome. So another thing that I want to talk about on connecting with people is one of the Community Made episodes is Reaching the Unreachable and I think that’s been really speaking — top of mind, that’s been really top of mind for me in the — now having a podcast is we have all of these amazing people like you that we want to talk to and kind of pick their brain about their expertise.
And it can be kind of scary to reach out to people who you sort of see as above you for fear of getting rejection and that sort of thing. And I know that there are probably a lot of lawyers out there who are like oh, I see what this lawyer at this firm is doing or I see what the kinds of marketing practices they have or how they have built their firm and I really want to know how to get to be like them, but I am really afraid to reach out and ask. So do you have tips for people for that?
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah, so I think there are two things. There is a saying from ‘22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ or a version of that saying which is what works in the military works in outreach, in this case, which is the unexpected. So when you do that outreach and you approach it from — I guess really when you sit back and assess the noise, like what’s the noisiest medium for most people, it’s email.
So if you put yourself in the shoes of somebody who is busy, who has some kind of prominence I guess you can say, they may get 200, 300, 400 mails a day. So if you send them a simple email like everybody else, it’s very easy for it to get lost in the noise.
But attention is the new currency. So if there is a way for you to draw attention to what you are doing or what your inquiry is, you really want to stack the cards in your favor. So that could be either sending an email and making it stand out. You could do that by using like a video email, which is something I utilize a lot. There are different platforms out there, but Vidyard is one of them, for example, and not Vidyard, they have another — sorry, their platform that is free for them to use video is called, I think, ViewedIt.com.
I think there’s Use Loom, which again is basically Google Chrome extensions that are — you can easily record a quick video on your webcam and then embed it into an email and that stands out. Like if you get 300, 400 emails a day, you probably get one or two video emails a year. So that’s one way to kind of stand out.
Another way to stand out is I mean avoiding email altogether. I mean there is direct response. It could be sending a letter. We don’t get too many letters anymore. So if you send somebody like a heartfelt note to their office or something like that, that can definitely — that’s a way to stay above the noise.
And then I think also showing your humanity in your outreach and being transparent I think is really, really important. When you are doing that preliminary outreach, like you definitely don’t want to have any kind of ego or do any kind of posturing or any of that kind of stuff. When you are reaching out to somebody who is rather successful or prominent, the more honest you are and open you are, oftentimes they may see a little bit of their past selves I guess in you and that may just be enough to pull on their heartstrings for them to help you or support you or open any kind of door and those kind of things.
But I think that’s probably the biggest thing when it comes to outreach is really assessing the noise and understand that what works in the military works in outreach and that’s the unexpected, so how can you do something that is outside the norm.
Kelly Street: Yeah, absolutely. And we have also in case you don’t know about these Jayson, BonBon or BombBomb.
Jayson Gaignard: Yes, yeah, BombBomb.
Kelly Street: That’s another good one. And then we actually have started using and I use it to create videos Snapfish from Wistia is another really good video service. I like that one.
Jayson Gaignard: I will provide two other ideas just to kind of throw it out there if you want to go above and beyond that. One is, one thing we do for MMT sometimes is these LCD video brochures and these work phenomenally, because nobody has ever seen these before. They are not expensive. They are like $25 a brochure, but basically what it is, is they receive it in the mail, it’s a direct mail piece, you open it up and there is a 7 inch screen in this brochure and you can customize the video and say like hey Kelly, you know, I just want to reach out because XYZ.
And I tell you, when I have sent that to people, even billionaires, they are blown away by this LCD brochure. I know you can easily Google it and find places where you can kind of source them.
And then the other idea is something we implemented recently and this is for new people within MMT is actually I send iPads with private videos on it. So literally they receive an iPad which is a wow gift to begin with and then when they turn on the iPad, there is a private video from me to them.
So there are different levels I guess you could say, but using video is a great way to stand above the noise when it comes to just traditional email.
Kelly Street: Yeah, absolutely, that is awesome. So another topic to kind of dive into in the last few minutes we have here is mentors. I know you have talked a bit about mentors. I have been kind of reading and talking about them lately. I am finally getting to read Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’, finally getting to read that, and just wondering, she talks a lot about mentors, kind of what to look for and how it’s not about you necessarily, it’s about them, like you can’t just go up to somebody and be like, I would like you to be my mentor.
And I know you put a lot of stock and value in mentors and mentorship. So can you go into that a little bit?
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah. I mean mentorship is huge. Like I would not be where I am today without having the right people along the way I guess you can say. And I think one of the misconceptions about mentorship, there is many, but I think one of them is that there has to be some kind of structure to bridge it. We meet once a month for three hours and that kind of stuff. And mentorship can take many, many different forms.
I had mentors that I would check in with once a week and that served also from an accountability perspective. I had mentors that I would check in on an as-needed basis, and I have mentors that — and we live in a beautiful time that if you want to be mentored by anybody, it’s possible, through YouTube, through books.
If you want to be mentored by Seth Godin, there’s what, million words that he has written out there on his blog. There are probably 20 some odd books that he has written. There are probably hundreds of interviews that he has done. So if you are willing to put in the time and the effort you can be really ultimately mentored by anybody.
So that’s the first kind of misconception about mentorship is it has to be some face-to-face structured rigid thing, but it can take many different forms. And yeah, I mean it’s — there’s — I can’t stress enough the importance of mentorship, like you can learn through mistakes or you can learn through mentors.
And there is a saying that good judgment comes from experience and experience often comes from bad judgment. So by leveraging the wisdom of mentors, you can condense oftentimes decades kind of into days and that’s something I am very, very conscious of.
When I actually made mention of like surrounding yourself with people who are part of your community, that roughly 100 people, the one thing I always used to do, which is one of the reasons I have achieved a certain level of success is I have always surrounded myself with people who are one or two steps ahead of me. And what that does unconsciously is we all have a deep desire to belong. 10,000 years ago we lived in tribes and if you didn’t belong to a tribe or were kicked out of a tribe for any reason, you were guaranteed to die, you would either starve to death or you would get eaten by an animal that’s bigger than you.
So for me, when you surround yourself with people who are one or two steps ahead, unconsciously what that does is pushes you to get to their level as quickly as possible to feel that you belong. The only downside to that and there is a downside if that’s the only type of people you surround yourself with is that you are constantly measuring up, which means you feel — your self-worth takes a pretty big hit. You always feel like crap, so to speak, because you are always like surrounded by people who are doing better than you and all that kind of stuff.
And mentorship also, it’s important to note, it’s not just professionally. Like I have mentors in my life that have great relationships with their spouse. I have mentors in my life that are great parents. I have mentors in my life that are killing it in business. So I almost have like this network of mentors as opposed to one mentor that I put on a pedestal, because that’s what — I used to be able to get by with putting one mentor on a pedestal, but then inevitably anybody who has achieved a certain level of success oftentimes it’s because they sacrificed other areas of their life.
So to me, being very cognizant of like a mentor serves me in this specific area, but I need to find a mentor to kind of balance me out in other areas that I value I think is really, really important.
So yeah, there is a lot that can be said when it comes to mentorship, but that’s — yeah, there is a handful of myths and misconceptions about mentorship, but the one thing there is no myth about is the importance of it.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, I think this is a slight change of gears, but I think connect these ideas. And one of the things that’s been part of your story that you have been very transparent about is, is that you have got to be into taking care of yourself. You have got to be thinking about the impact that I think you used the phrase going from working in your business to on your business to working on yourself.
And I think that that’s another lesson that so many lawyers could benefit from and kind of maybe talking — sharing a little bit about how that’s become important to you. And to me, it’s kind of a no-brainer that if you don’t take care of yourself, how are you going to have good relationships with people.
Jayson Gaignard: Oh, 100%. The personal side of doing work on the self-improvement side I guess you could say are the awareness side of things. It’s not sexy, but my God, it shows up in every area of your life, especially professionally.
I mean, for me, I have been somebody who has struggled with kind of low self-worth in the past and low self-worth shows up in how you price your services, it shows up in how you manage your time and the boundaries that you set. It shows up in oftentimes we are pursuing these big financial goals and we are constantly kind of moving the goalpost every time we get close to them and then you achieve those certain goals or what have you and then you are unfulfilled.
And that was probably one of the scariest moments of my life where I said — there was a point where I was making 22 times the national average income and it was bothersome to me, because I realized I was not 22 times happier than the average male, I was not 22 times healthier when I was 23, four years prior to that, I had kidney complications because of stress. So I realized that money and happiness scale very differently. It just goes to show that there is a lot of importance in doing that kind of personal side of the work.
And yeah, I mean without your health — I mean it’s funny we sacrifice almost everything for money and then we sacrifice or we are willing to invest all that money towards the later end of our years to buy back our health. So I can’t stress enough the importance of trying to have a balanced approach.
And it’s easy to kind of be on this side of things to kind of preach, but that’s important. And everybody knows on some kind of level it’s important, and every once in a while, like nobody stays within balance all the time. Like currently I am in the event space, our next event is in 54 days, my sleep is taking a hit, my health is taking a hit, my time with my daughter is taking a hit, but I am very aware of it and once the event is done then I am going to reinvest in those areas and invest more than I will be investing in the business.
So there is always kind of this ebb and flow and I think that awareness is key, and it’s taken me 32 years to really put my finger on it, and really — yeah, just pay very, very close attention.
One of the I guess the wisest things I was ever told was, I used to say that I always put my family first and most people say that and it’s almost — it’s just a standard thing to say. Very few people would like to admit that they put their career first, but I always used to say that. And then a friend of mine said if you really want to see what you value, take a look at your calendar, because your calendar is a true reflection of your priorities.
And the funny thing is if you look at my calendar, it’s all meetings, it’s all phone calls, it’s all that kind of stuff, it’s time set aside for work, but I don’t have gym scheduled in my calendar, I don’t have yoga scheduled in my calendar, I don’t have time with my daughter scheduled in my calendar or time with my wife necessarily always scheduled.
So one of the — and the more eye-opening things for me to realize my life is not really all that in balance, is taking a look at my calendar, because ultimately where you allocate your time is where kind of lies your deepest desires.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Yeah, and that’s such a good point, and again, even for the people that are out there that might be a little bit skeptical and say oh, well, this is kind of the warm and fuzzy stuff, like this is what it takes to get ahead. The thing that I found with people that at least don’t have the awareness is that it impacts those relationships, so it’s actually hurting the very thing that you are trying to do in terms of building your network, building referral sources, building a client base, because you are not taking care of yourself, it’s bringing negativity to the table, it’s bringing — you talked about measuring up, all those things, if you don’t have that self-awareness, you are not being mindful of your own personal health, it’s actually going to hurt the very thing, strategically or tactically, that you are going out and doing and trying to, whether that’s grow your network, grow your business, build relationships, you can’t do it.
Jayson Gaignard: Yeah. Well, there is a great, I think it’s a Chinese proverb, which is, to know the road ahead, ask those coming back, because it’s not rocket science. Like if you want to know what the future looks like for somebody who is willing to sacrifice everything for their professional life, look ahead. There are people you can find that are great examples of — that are going to die alone, you know what I mean, or run into health issues at 40.
I hit rock bottom financially when I was 27, but emotionally and spiritually I was crushed. I have reached kind of burn out before and like I know what that feels like. I didn’t need to. Again, like you can learn through mentors or mistakes. Those were mistakes I made. If I would have looked far ahead enough and say like hey, this is the trajectory I am on, here are some examples of other people, then that may have kind of hit the message home sooner and I wouldn’t have had to kind of learn the hard way.
But yeah, I mean there is a lot of people in your profession that you can easily look to, and in any profession for that matter that are 10, 20, 30 years down the road and don’t necessarily look at them from an outside perspective and follow them on Instagram and believe like their highlight reel, right? We all put our highlight reel on those platforms, but you need to be able to see the behind the scenes.
So if you are able to have a candid conversation with somebody who is 20, 30 years down the road and they are willing to be honest with you, oftentimes they will tell you the sacrifices they have made and what impacts they have made, and oftentimes you will see that they have had to shift their focus and kind of reinvest in those relationships, reinvest in their marriage and those kind of things. So yeah, just look ahead.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Great stuff.
Kelly Street: So wise. Jayson, I wish we had so much more time. We are going to have to do a second episode later on and maybe after MMT is done and after you have had a chance to reconnect with life, because there is just so much more that I could ask you and so much more knowledge that you can have for our listeners.
Jayson Gaignard: Well, for the both of you I am always willing, so just let me know when.
Kelly Street: Awesome. Well, thank you so much Jayson. We appreciated having you on and look forward to chatting with you again in the future.
Jayson Gaignard: Awesome. Thank you for having me.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Thanks so much Jayson, really appreciate it.
And folks, I strongly encourage you to go check out the Community Made Podcast. If you liked some of the things we talked about here, there are episodes upon episode, so much great information and knowledge sharing going on over there, so I really encourage you to check that out.
As always, if you have ideas, show topic suggestions, or are willing to be a guest, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We really want to hear from you, our audience, to help improve and get feedback about how we can make this podcast even better.
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Gyi Tsakalakis: O Canada.
Kelly Street: Our home and native land.
Gyi Tsakalakis: Enough of this nonsense.
Kelly Street: That’s not my real singing voice. Anyway, I am going to stop.