Major Mistakes to Avoid When Networking to Grow Your Business with Carl Lucchi
Welcome to this episode of The Determined Mom Show. I am your host, Amanda Tento, and I have the amazing Carl Lucci with me. He is a business consultant with Success Builders, and the founder of a networking organization called I Refuse to Fail. Welcome Carl. Hey, thanks, Amanda. I’m very excited to have you here because I’ve known you.
At least a couple of years now, which is amazing. And we met on Alignable, which is like another version of LinkedIn. And I am very excited to have you here because I’ve done business networking with you. And I’ve learned a lot of really unique things about business networking from you.
And that’s why I wanted to have you here to share that with our audience. So tell us a little bit about how you got started and what you’re doing, business consulting and networking, and all of the things. I’ll give you some background and keep this as short as possible. In about 2009, I was doing some business consulting.
And Amanda, you’re not going to believe this, but I found out that I didn’t know everything, and I know it’s hard to believe. I was networking and helping people, but there were many things they needed that I needed to be an expert at, and I learned something different from you with the Google business profiles.
I want to avoid learning it. I don’t know it, so I need somebody like you. And, of course, you’re under my umbrella of things, of people that I referred to help them. And so I thought, I went to one of these things called the networking meeting, which I’d never been to before.
And I did things the same way they did it. You go there, you pass out business cards, you do an elevator pitch, you set up a one-on-one, you do all the same things, right? So this was good. I was talking to the gentleman the one I was going to. He was trying to understand more about networking and said he had many members, but he was getting out of it and having a history of being a business developer.
I bought a Tampa Bay Networkers domain name and was still determining what I would do with it. But I thought I would return this to him and see if he. We wanted to utilize that and would do what all the platforms do today. I was just too far ahead of my time.
Like a line on Facebook, all this was new, but he didn’t want to do anything with it. And I thought I’d developed this thing. I could do something with it because networking would be an excellent way to meet people I could get to know and trust enough with my clients.
Of course, I thought that’s what everybody did with networking. So that was wrong. The mindset was, so I started Tampa Bay Networkers and kept telling people that this was a place I could go, and they could go online and see different people’s profiles, just like you do on some of these other platforms.
But nobody got it. They said, where are your meetings, Carl? So you’ll have to hit me over the head about ten times for me to start paying attention. I had to start my meetings. So, I cloned my meetings, just like I had learned from other meetings. And I did that. I started it in 2010, and it’s still there, but I was there to meet people, which I thought everybody else was to help them.
Help the people they meet. In other words, to build an umbrella of people, they know, like, and trust. And then, I was sitting in this chair in 2017 and realized this only works for some people. It worked for some people, but for most people, they quit networking, and I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the set for seven years.
And so, as a business consultant, I tend not to do something anymore when something’s not working. I stopped. Personal networking. I left the organization there. I put it there for other people’s meetings, and they did what they wanted. I stopped networking and started tearing it apart from when I got in your car to when you got home when everybody primarily did face-to-face networking.
And I found some significant reasons it wasn’t networking because I did polls. I did surveys. I asked other people. I went to other groups and just watched. Then, I developed a formula that works better for networking because there are some significant areas of networking where people are making a mistake, and the groups are making a mistake.
But it’s not their fault. The reason why it’s that way is because that’s all they knew to do. They went, this is the way it was done. They copied that they do what everybody else does. So they follow the sheep, sometimes taking them off a cliff if it’s not working. And that’s not to say it doesn’t work for some people, but I found it was not working for most people.
I created a formula that worked better for networking. My philosophy is that you can only fix something if you know what they don’t know. You can only fix something if you know why it’s not working. I looked at those aspects and tried to flip them around to where they would work. And that created this formula. I started doing live events in 2019, trying to test this to see if my formula worked.
I was getting terrific feedback. People said, Carl, I’m not networking as much, but I’m getting better results, and it’s working. So I thought, okay, I’m onto something. So I’ll continue to do that. COVID hit, and I couldn’t do that anymore. And so I found Alignable. Online, which is like LinkedIn Light for anybody who needs to learn what it is.
It’s not LinkedIn. It’s not Facebook. It’s somewhere in between. And I didn’t care for their platform, but I figured I would hang in for a while. And then they asked me to help them form groups and events and things like that. And I did that for about 2. 5 years and agreed to disagree with them on some things.
I decided to go out independently and formed a group called. I refuse to fail. And through that group, I want you to know this is not about you. This was about helping other people. And once they get that concept, they can qualify. It’s not about selling people.
It’s about assisting people. So that’s how I got to where I am today with this. I utilize the same formula that I had, but I do it through osmosis because when people get into the organization, they have to follow the guidelines to do it. And there are just some major areas.
Would you like me to cover some of those areas? I would love to hear those areas because I’ve attended some of your networking meetings, and I know that they are drastically different than a typical you go around the room and give a minute.
Elevator pitch and all of that stuff. So please go ahead and tell us what’s different from everything you discussed. I liked what you said when driving in the car there. There’s a mindset about it. Preparation goes into attending a networking event, whether live or virtual; talking about those things will help us prepare whether we are doing it live.
I know more and more of those live ones are coming back, but I love to hear all that. This formula works no matter where you’re at. It’ll work at any event you go to, no matter what they tell you have to do. Because it’s pretty close to what they’re doing, but it’s just tweaking it a little to make it work better.
And yes, you should have a purpose when you’re driving to an event or online, getting ready to go to an event. There should be a reason why you’re doing it, and it should not be to go there to sell people. That’s different from what you’re networking for. Suppose you’re going there to sell people. Go to a trade show.
That’s where you sell people. Put up a booth, advertise, and hopefully, somebody comes by and says, I want one. But I’ve asked hundreds of people why you attended networking meetings. I went there to build relationships. Why didn’t you go to a bar? You can go there and drink and have fun, and somebody will get drunk, and they may even buy what you have, or you might get a date.
What the heck? I don’t know how you’re going to build relationships. Let’s be honest. You’re going there because you have a product or a service that you want to promote yourself. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what everybody does in business networking. It’s how you handle it when you get there. I also asked the same people, did you go there to buy anything?
And this date has yet to raise an answer. I went there looking to buy something. I’ve never had it happen. So if you’ve got a hundred people going to an after-hours event, okay, live or online, going there to sell stuff, and a hundred people, those same people will not go there to buy anything.
I thought there’s got to be a better way. So you go there with the idea. In my mind, I was building a team of unpaid salespeople. You’re going there to find somebody like Amanda that I get to know over time; it only happens in one meeting, and I will not give you a referral.
I’ll talk about referrals in a minute. I have to get to know her because my name is on it. If I connect you with someone, I get to know Amanda and then put Amanda. Under my umbrella. So that when I’m talking to somebody, Amanda is at the top of my mind. Amanda is somebody, my goodness.
This person could avail herself of Amanda’s service. And then I make that connection. So if you go there with the intent of building a team of unpaid salespeople and you do that over time, it’s not; hey, this is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. It’s not something you do every time you go to do that. You take the time to do that. You’ll find you’re going to get a lot more success.
Number one. So that’s the first thing. So, what is your intent? And then everybody, the holy grail of networking is the elevator pitch. Okay. I don’t allow those in my meetings. I don’t particularly care for them because they’ve turned elevator pitches into mini seminars or elevator sales pitches, and nobody gives a damn what Carl does.
So why do I need to give you a pitch? I’ve simplified that, and the people who come to my meetings regularly get 15 seconds to introduce their name, business name, and business category. Hey, I’m a business consultant. And then say, I can’t wait to meet you to learn what you do.
So that’s really what you do. You get that out of the way. So you get your name, your business name. Okay. And they can put that in the chat. And then, I don’t know how many times you’ve heard it, but somebody will get up and say, I have a solution for you that will cure your ills, and this is what you need to do.
And I can’t wait to show you this because it will fix your problems. That’s what people do. And that’s an elevator sales page versus an elevator pitch. Okay. An elevator pitch should be no more than an introduction and an offer to meet people. When you’re doing live meetings, people go around also in the handout.
Business cards. Okay. Business cards have about three major purposes. Okay. If you’re in a contest to see who can collect the most, they’re really good because I had boxes of them that I couldn’t take with me everywhere. I had enough. I could have wallpapered three houses. Okay. I couldn’t carry them with me, but I collected them because everybody passed them out, and you got them, right?
Suppose you’re in the business of a competition to see who can collect the most, maybe. They’re great for getting spinach out of your teeth because you can get the end here. They’re really good for that. And the other one is I have business cards when I do live events, but if somebody says, Carl, do you have a business card?
I’ll say, yes, I do. What would you like it for? I want to know why they want it. I can refer somebody to I don’t do referrals. I’m sorry. What do you mean? You don’t do referrals. That’s why I only make connections. I get probably 50 to 100 referrals a year.
The people that Oh, Carl, I told somebody about you. They know you’re not going to sell them. You gave me your phone number, and I gave you your card. I got to call you. They don’t call because everybody thinks you’ll sell them anyway when you call. I don’t do that. The way I do it, Amanda, is if I meet someone I think Amanda can help, I’ll tell that person I’ve got a connection.
Her name is Amanda. And she handles Google business profiles. She works with my clients. So I’m doing that. When would be a good time for me to have Amanda contact you? Now, number one, I find out they’re interested. Then, I assured them that Amanda was not going to call them. To sell them, she will contact them to educate them or explain what she does.
And then, if it works, that’s a wonderful thing because I would instead get ten solid referrals a year, or excuse me, ten solid connections a year versus a hundred referrals that have yet to contact me. Okay, so you need to train the people you’re talking to to make connections versus just giving out referrals.
I don’t care whether it’s online, email, whatever. They don’t work. So that’s another aspect that is a big mistake. Setting up at least one with someone doesn’t have to be relevant to your business.
It doesn’t have to be the thought that someone will send you business. It should be. How can you help that person? Not how they can help you, and you should set it up. I say I have a one versus a one-on-one. I say that because when I used to go to live events to test this out, you’d go into, and there might be 100 people there.
If you go to a meeting with 100 people, it doesn’t matter whether 6 or 100, you will only meet about 6. So I go up to someone. I never wore a name badge or anything. I advise people not to do that. That’s like putting a billboard on to get people to walk away from you when you’re at an event.
You want to go up and say, ” Amanda, I’m Carl. What do you do? And Amanda tells me what she does. And then she’ll say, Carl, what do you do? I’m a business consultant, but really, I want to find out a little bit more about what you do. And you keep gearing it back to Amanda, and then at some point, you say, what?”
We can’t do this all night. I’ve got a lot of people to meet. Let’s sit down and have some coffee, or can we do it on a Zoom call? Some people might utilize your service, but I would like to get to know you better. Would that be okay? But Carl, what do you do?
We’ll talk about me again now that those two things, number one, show that you’re interested versus trying to be interesting, okay? And that you truly were there to help someone else. That is a good start for someone to say, you know what, this person was interested in me and what I do because that’s why they were doing anyway, so you’d be interested in what they do.
You can just take yourself out of the equation. And I hear people right now pulling their hair out. But how are they going to know what I do? Trust me, you get to know them. They’ll want to know what you do, and now you do it. And so you take that time to develop that relationship, right? The typical one-on-one is, Okay, Amanda, what do you do?
I can’t wait till she shuts up so I can talk about what I do because I don’t care what Amanda does. Okay. And about eight out of 10, that’s what it is. Some people know how to do it correctly and don’t get me wrong, but most do not. Okay. And you don’t want to waste your time with people who will waste your time.
And there’s a lot of them because they don’t know any better. It’s not their fault. It’s the way they were taught. And then, once again, it goes back to the connections instead of referrals. You don’t want to say, I got somebody I’ll refer to you. I’m going to, once you give John a call, I know this guy, John, or I’ll tell John to call you.
Don’t do that. Could you take the time to connect that triangle and keep yourself in the loop? And then you get back. Amanda, did you get with Fred? Oh, geez, Carl. I forgot. Guess what? Amanda only gets connections. Or I got with Fred. It’s great. Thanks for the connection, Carl, and then, hey, that’s great.
Guess what? Amanda now thinks more of Carl. So Carl’s more likely to get a connection. This is not brain surgery. This is pretty simple, but it’s just tweaking what people have been doing. Your goal is to do this. It is to build a team of unpaid salespeople, but it’s your methodology.
And that’s what we do in the I refuse to fail partnership. I only allow some people into the partnership to ensure they’re there for the right reasons. My name is on it. And the reason why I call it, I refuse to fail. I get some feedback on that, too. It’s okay to fail. Carl. No, I think failure is like death.
It’s pretty final. Okay. It’s okay to stumble. It’s okay to fall. So, could you get a pivot? It’s okay to get back up. Keep going. Just refuse to fail, refuse to die. Don’t allow anybody to tell you that’s going to happen. Keep doing it and ask for help. Everybody needs, that’s putting on my.
My consulting hat, but it’s okay to ask. I do it all the time. I’m older than water. I’m still asking questions. I’m still getting it. So anyway, between that and you don’t have to be the head of an organization to do it. I happen to be the head of the organization demanding other people do it this way, but you can do that with your own business.
I think of it like competition. I think of people like trying to take the ball from each other. I love what you said. I was like, oh, my goodness. That makes so much sense. Carl. Just that. So go ahead and give it to him.
That’s what they want. So go ahead and give it to them. They’re going to like you for that and trying to battle them. That’s a good analogy. Do you mind? No. You can go ahead and go ahead. I remember years ago, I was a credit union manager, and I would have to go to As a credit union representative, I would be forced to go to these chamber events.
And, of course, there are ten other credit unions. There are 20 other banks. There are credit card processors. There’s everyone, and their mother is like. It’s just a fight to talk to the most people. As you said, collect and give the most business cards; my area supervisor would want to know how many business cards.
Did you collect? I had to know she had to know that. And I was like. All right. Please give me your business card, everyone. I don’t. I’m not even talking to them. I need to form quality. No connections. I’m just literally, oh my gosh, my supervisor wants all of these business cards. So I’m just going to go collect them.
Like it doesn’t make sense, I love this methodology. Networking and I love that it works virtually and in person. So there’s no excuse for people after they’ve heard this episode to use that traditional networking, and you have to remember there’s really.
There are three types of networkers. There’s the uninformed, not their fault. They need to be made aware. They’re just, oh, that’s what you do. It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not even the fault of the groups. They’re just cloning their group after other groups. It’s the same thing.
And then there’s the, what I call the nomad. That’s the person who jumps from networking meeting to networking meeting in hopes that somebody will buy what they have. That’s like throwing mud against the wall. Maybe every once in a while, even a blind squirrel gets a nut occasionally, but it won’t happen.
You’re not going to develop relationships. And then there’s a professional networker who understands why they should be there. Okay. Those are the only three types. And the idea is that what I’m trying to do is one person at a time, or in small groups, retrain people’s brains about it.
Networking and how it should be done. It takes work. It is a marathon. Okay. It does take time. And the other thing is if you’ve got a favorite event you go to, for heaven’s sake, invite people to go to it. If you feel it’s a quality event. The last thing I tell people at every event is if you like what we’re doing, please invite somebody like me here so we can get to know them, and possibly they can help us, or we can help them.
If you prefer to avoid the meeting, don’t tell anybody. And, of course, it gets a chuckle, but almost everybody that is not a nomad jumping from meeting to meeting, they come back, and now we’re developing a strong group. And these events we have every Wednesday are free at this taping time.
They’re every Wednesday, and they’re on Zoom. We don’t do any live events, but we do that. And then the partnership is something separate. And I, what I do is I use the live events to find those. You have to walk through the weeds to find the flowers. I find those right people who use the big Ziegler philosophy that we follow: if you help enough other people in life, get what they want, you’ll get what you want.
And that’s our philosophy. And then when I get those people under my umbrella, now I’ve got, I’ve got people out there doing it the right way with other people. So we can spread the word and get networking. On a straight and narrow, it needs to be done.
I do free consult consulting. I don’t charge people. I give everybody a year free to consult. I’m not a coach. I won’t coach, but I will consult them on their business or any part of it. And they can contact me through iRefuse2Fail.
Have a one-on-one or whatever they want to do. That’s awesome. Thank you so much. And I truly appreciate you and everything that we do together. But this has been a lot of fun, and I’m very happy that we, you, were here to share your knowledge. I appreciate it, Amanda. Thank you, Carl.
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