It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know That Matters Most

“Networking is all about connecting with people. But then again, isn’t that what life is about? The more time you can find to get out of the office and build true friendships, the farther your startup will go. Entrepreneurs need to remember to spend as much time working on their business as they do in their business.”

— Jay Samit

There are plenty of smart people out there in the world. Myself included. However, what most people don’t realize is that it truly isn’t about what you know. It’s about who you know. And if you’re serious about making real progress in your life and achieving big goals, then it’s time to start knowing more people.

Want to know how important and powerful your network can be? Let me tell you a little story. Most of you probably already know that I walked away from a fairly substantial business about a year or so ago as I sit here to write this. I was pretty distraught. I had a major falling out with my business partner, but the company was mine. It was my baby.

Unfortunately, I had given him 50% of the equity in the business. Long story short, I just walked away. Want to know the funny thing? He sued me. Was I angry? Heck yes. However, instead of stooping to his level, I settled it and I walked away with full rights to all my intellectual property.

I had developed this enterprise-level platform that was just mind-blowing. The automation in it was fierce. To me, the most important thing was to retain the rights to that IP. I didn’t care about squabbling over money. Money can be made and spent, saved and pilfered. No. It was my time and my IP that I was concerned with.

However, there is a silver-lining to this story. What’s transpired in the past year has simply just blown my mind. Through helping others and adding value, I met people playing at the highest level of the game. Those people are now my business partners, and we’re about to launch a company that leverages the software that I developed over the course of three years. And none of that would be possible without knowing the right people.

Why It’s Not About What You Know

However, to truly understand the scope of this story, and to really relate what it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know, I need to backtrack a bit. You see, at the time we had this dispute, I had been writing for Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine for some time at that point. Most of you already know that. So when I walked away, I had some form of leverage.

My leverage was in the form of media. So I used it to my advantage. I went out there in a quest to meet as many successful people in the business and marketing world as possible. But not by trying to ask them for something in return or attempting to pitch them. I knew that in order to network at the highest level, I had to add incredible amounts of value.

Now, consider this for a moment. If you approach someone incredibly popular or famous or wealthy out of the blue, how do you think that they’ll react? Maybe you’ve tried this before. I mean, they don’t even have to be that well-known. If you approach someone with moderate amounts of success, they’ll still disregard you if you try to ask them for something straight out of the gate.

It doesn’t quite work like that. However, on the flip side, if you approach the same people with the willingness to help, some extraordinary things begin to happen. Now, this doesn’t always work the way that you might want it to. Especially without serious leverage. But it does work as long as you take a few extra steps to ensure that it pans out.

Anyone who’s been around and reading these posts for some time knows that I preach about adding value. And I do it constantly. It’s sincerely the essence of success. You can only make as much money as you do add value to the world. Don’t believe me? Think about the wealthiest people in the world for a moment. How much value did they add?

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a resource that has revolutionized the way we connect and interact with one another. Jeff Bezos built Amazon, a company that revolutionized the way we shop for things online, making it faster, easier and more efficient. How much value have they added? How about Bill Gates? What about Elon Musk? We can go on and on.

My point? It’s not to just talk about money. Yes, money is great. But what I’m trying to tell you is that all paths lead to value. All money is derived from adding value. You have to ensure that you add more value than you take in exchange for money. How much value do you get out of Facebook? It’s free for consumers. You’ve likely never paid a dime to Facebook unless you’ve advertised. How about Instagram or Snapchat or WhatsApp?

Go out there and add crazy amounts of value to the world and watch as everything changes and unfolds before your very eyes. That’s how you get to know people. Again, it’s not what you know, it’s most certainly who you know. But to get to know those people you have to help them in extraordinary ways. If I was dead broke with not a penny to my name, I would go out there and still help people because that’s the fastest path to success.

It’s About Who You Know

Okay. Okay. I’ve drilled in the concept. You’ve heard it before. But you likely know it’s the truth. You can get way further with who you know as opposed to what you know. What you know is great. Sure. But there are plenty of people who know a lot but who haven’t made very much headway in life. That’s the honest to goodness truth.

So how do you get out there and meet people? You have to network your face off. And you do that by adding value. Find ways you can help people for free. Don’t expect anything in return. No. Seriously. Think I’m crazy? Well, if you don’t have the mentality of really helping people, it’s going to be hard to make serious progress of getting to know others.

You have to put yourself out there. Go meet people. Network. Find ways you can socialize with others. And, no, I’m not talking about going out partying or hanging out at a loud bar or nightclub. That’s not the way to do this. I’m talking about sincere networking. Think about how you can meet people who are playing at the highest level and go out there and connect with them.

Dream 100 Approach

My good friend, Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels, the best sales funnel software in the world, has something that he’s coined his Dream 100. It’s essentially a method for reaching the best people in any industry. You look at who’s crushing it and simply go after them. In his world, he knows that if he wants to accomplish something quickly and with the least friction, he just uses the Dream 100 approach. That’s how he reached Tony Robbins and all the other people he met when he hadn’t quite created a name for himself.

I talk about the Dream 100, because if there ever was an approach you could take to reach people at the highest level, this is it. But it takes some legwork. Let’s call it sweat equity. You need to find a way to reach people who have others clamoring to reach them at any given moment. How will you do it?

When I was in Boise, not too long ago, at the Funnel-Hackathon Event, which was the last of its kind by the way, Stephen Larsen, who you see in the video above and who worked for Brunson for some time, talked about his experience using the Dream 100 to reach affiliates to promote his new webinar.

It was the best investment he had ever made in his entire life. Getting a Dream 100 member to promote something that you’re offering is not easy. But, all you need is one. How did he do it? Simple. Go out there and identify the top 100 people in the industry, then find out everything you can about them.

Next, you have to prepare something to send to them that will get their attention. And you have to write a letter. How will you reach them? Keep in mind that this isn’t about doing a one-off approach and if you can’t reach them, you give up. No, this is about staying persistent. It’s about iterations. Rinse and repeat. Keep reaching out to them. Keep sending them something unique. It’s very powerful.

Another person who’s used this approach to generate $2.8 million in two years is Dana Derricks. Derricks is a copywriting wizard. But it wasn’t until he started learning from Brunson’s material that he realized the power of the Dream 100. In fact, it resonated with him so well that he coined a book, ‘Dream 100 Book‘, by the same name. Go figure, right?

How to Network Like A Pro

Okay, so here are my takeaways from all of this. Literally, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Why? Because, who you know can get you to your goal the quickest. If you know the right people, you can achieve things in a fraction of the time.

So, here are the steps you need to take in order to reach the right people using Brunson’s Dream 100 approach. Keep in mind that this isn’t something that will happen overnight. You have to stay devoted to this. Continually reach out. Keep sending them things that will get you noticed.

Step 1 – Identify Your Dream 100

The first step in the process is to actually identify your Dream 100. Who are the 100 top people you would love to do business with. Find them. Write down their names. Emblazon them into your mind. These are the people who you’re going to do business with in one way or another. That’s the mentality here.

Literally, once you know who these people are and you’ve identified them, something shifts in your mind. You’re instantly instilled with a mission. I did this at a high level. I didn’t call it my Dream 100. But after a big dispute with a business partner, who I let do all the networking, I was left with no company and no business relationships. Basically with nothing aside from the software platform I had built.

When everything came crashing down, I was upset. Very upset. But instead of crying and sobbing about it, I started to reach out to others and figure out ways I could add value by writing articles about them. That was my way of adding value. So I did it without the expectation of anything in return.

Step 2 – Learn Everything About Your Dream 100

Your second step is to learn everything about your Dream 100. Who are they? What do they do? Where do they live? How do they spend their time? Follow them on social media and figure out what they’re up to on a daily basis. Get their addresses so that you can send them pieces in the mail. Figure out their hobbies and so on.

To do this, you can even hire a virtual assistant. Have them track and trace all the information down for you. Heck, you can even have them help you to identify the Dream 100 in the first place. But, they’re great to use for just garnering information that would just take you a lot of time to do on your own.

If they’ve written a book, ask the virtual assistant to go through and find key parts. Identify posts on social media that you can reference in your communications. Catch what I’m throwing? You want to learn about them so you can offer up a custom tailored letter that isn’t just some boilerplate mailer.

Step 3 – Prepare a Themed Package 

The third step is to prepare a themed package you can send them. Now, Stephen Larsen, at the FHAT event, talked about how he wrapped his package in this bright blue packaging and made it very loud so it would get noticed. Dana Derricks sent boxes with golden goats to Brunson because his whole theme is the goat farmer angle.

Do you get the picture? Maybe you do a super-hero theme or maybe it’s a horse jockey theme. Something weird and outlandish that gets the attention of your Dream 100. That’s the point here. Add all sorts of weird things that will make them remember you. Think creatively here.

Of course, you also have to add a letter to introduce yourself. Place the well-written letter inside the package. Then, go post them all in the mail. It might take them some time to receive the package. You can even take pictures of the packages and send them via social media and tell them it’s on the way. Get creative.

Step 4 – The Follow Up(s)

The fourth and final step is the follow up. Don’t expect a response on the first try. But you might just get one. Maybe you sent a shoe and your letter talked about getting a foot in the door, and you actually got their attention. Maybe no one received their packages. Just follow up.

Send them emails, call their assistants, and simply figure out a way to reach them. That’s what you have to do. That’s the point here. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you. Just rinse and repeat until you can reach them. Then, ensure you add tons and tons of value to their lives.

This might take you weeks and it might take you months. But, no matter how long it takes you, it’s well worth it. You’ll realize why it’s not about what you know but who you know once you have a Dream 100 person on your side. It will literally skyrocket your results to the moon.