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Relationships First

Episode 2: Conversation about Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

October 4, 2018

In this episode of Relationships First, Bill and Molly discuss Keith Farazzi’s book, Never Eat Alone. Listen now.

Bill Risser: This is Bill Risser.

Molly McKinley: And Molly McKinley and we're talking relationships.

Bill Risser: All kinds of relationships from starting new ones to nurturing existing ones over time.

Molly McKinley: And each week we'll highlight something that inspires ...

Bill Risser: Or triggers us ...

Molly McKinley: To help get to the root of why relationships are key to our happiness and success.

Bill Risser: We are so happy you are joining us for episode two. I am here with Molly McKinley and she had mentioned in our close on episode one, we're going to talk about the book, "Never Eat Alone." Recently updated, right? By Keith Ferrazzi.

Bill Risser: And Molly, you turned me on to this book. Tell me how you found it and tell me why it's important for you?

Molly McKinley: Yeah, actually it's a funny story. I just recently discovered this book, I was in the cab coming home from Inman Connect and Tracy Freeman was like, "Yeah, that's just like from the book, Never Eat Alone." And I'm like, "I haven't read it." She was like, "Oh my gosh. You have to read it." And so that was, I purchased it from Amazon before I even got to the airport, and it was on my doorstep the next day. So-

Bill Risser:Nice.

Molly McKinley: Yeah.

Bill Risser: So tell me, I'll let you start off on this, tell me, you know, you and I both are working our way through the book together.

Molly McKinley: Yeah.

Bill Risser: It's kind of like our own little book club. Tell me what's reached out and touched you.

Molly McKinley: Yeah, I think the best place to start, and I think we're going to have to have multiple conversations about it because it's a book about relationships. Right? So this is a very, it's apropos, let's say.

Molly McKinley: The most important truth that we need to underline here is this idea of reciprocity as it relates to relationships. And if there's nothing else that anyone ever does, it's a mindset shift of thinking about the benefit and value that you're bringing to someone else and not what's in it for you. That's a pretty important idea.

Bill Risser: Yeah. I'll agree with you, it's funny you bring that up because I highlighted a section of the book where Keith says, "I learned that real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful. It was about working hard to give more than you get." And that's not a, we've heard that for years, our entire lives, right? It's more important to give. It's better to give than to receive. We've heard this over and over and over, but do we really kind of bring that into the business world where we're trying to develop relationships and connections that are mutually beneficial. Right?

Molly McKinley: Yeah, that's it. And the answer to that is no. I mean, I sort of have a fundamental belief system that the business relationships give everybody a very bad excuse to do poor things that we wouldn't do in our, you know, personal relationships. But for whatever reason, you add money to the equation and it makes people silly. But with that idea, I mean, so one of my core belief systems is to give, give, give before I ever ask. And I always want the scales to be weighted so that if I do need something, that people are offering and I don't actually have to ask for it. They'll know or I'll say, "Hey, I'm struggling with this," and they are more than willing to help because I've helped them already.

Molly McKinley: I don't know if that's just because how I'm wired and you know, I am overly sensitive to that, but it has really worked for me.

Bill Risser: Now, I come from a company where sales are a critical component to what we do. I have worked with some sales managers and sales executives that would say, "Well, that doesn't work, Molly. You have to be asking for the business. You have to be constantly trying to get the next deal." And so, when you hear that, you know, where there's no giving, it's simply I just need, I need, I need. How do you respond to that?

Molly McKinley: Well, I mean, imagine being in a personal relationship with that person, it wouldn't last long, right?

Bill Risser: Right.

Molly McKinley: And so, the underlying truth for me is the fact that we're all human. And whether we're in a business relationship or a personal relationship, we still have to relate and those aren't people that are very fun to be around.

Bill Risser: Yeah.

Molly McKinley: At least not for the long haul. Right?

Bill Risser: Right. Right.

Molly McKinley: So, there's just that. So my first counter-argument would be well, are you having long-term relationships? Because I can't really imagine without a lot of shared or mutual benefit that that's a very rewarding position to be on the receiving end of that.

Bill Risser: Yeah, good point. True.

Molly McKinley: Right?

Bill Risser: Yeah. No, look, I'm a big fan of what Keith says. But there's just that old guard, that old sales guard still floats around out there that would look at these kinds of messages that we're reading or these conversations we're having today and say, "Look, relationships are overrated. You don't have to worry about that so much. YOu've got to be in there grinding away, hustling and asking for the deal." Which is weird to say that, because that is exactly the opposite of what the Gary View would say, he said you'd be in their hustling, trying to build that relationship.

Molly McKinley: Yeah.

Bill Risser: But how do we, you know, I guess as a guy who, I'm in my 50s, and I keep thinking back to the way things were done when I was in my 20s, the shift has been dramatic. Or were we always doing it this way?

Molly McKinley: Well, I think the best of the best were always relationship masters. So I think that's the universal thread. When you think about somebody who is really an amazing salesperson, they're very naturally driving to look for a shared value. Now we just have names for it and we, you know, this idea of mutual benefit ... and I used to be an art dealer, right? So I have sold many things in my life and there is a disconnect, I think, for a lot of people as soon as they start to feel salesy. And this is a wonderful framework to take that away because then you are not trying to manipulate, negative term, right? That has a negative connotation.

Bill Risser: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Molly McKinley: You're not trying to twist, you're not trying to, you know, you're looking for the opportunities and then again, I think this is going to be a theme of this show, but when you're listening for the opportunities and genuinely actively engaged is when you the aha moments, "I know what you need and I know how to serve you."

Molly McKinley: And those are the things that, that's what shared value and reciprocity is all about. So, it's not just like blind giving and give, give, give, give without any kind of intention. But it's this active listening. And here's the other thing Bill, when we're having that dance of beginning of a relationship, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying, "Hey, this is what I'm looking for, this is what I need," and being very, very candid and transparent about what you're looking for. And they may or may not be able to solve that, but at least the cards are on the table and then I don't feel ... there is no, it's just very transparent.

Bill Risser: I love the way that Keith introduces this in the book, Never Eat Alone, he talks about where he discovered, right? How connections and relationships were built, that whole reciprocity thing was as a caddy, right? He grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which is where Arnold Palmer grew up. And he caddied at the country club for the rich. He was probably a lower middle class, his father was a steel worker in eastern Pennsylvania.

Molly McKinley: Yeah.

Bill Risser: And he was able to see these conversations and how these movers and shakers of the industry, what they would do on the golf course. How they would these conversations, how you could understand who somebody was by how they handled themselves. Right?

Molly McKinley: Yes.

Bill Risser: Talk about that a little bit, I know you liked that part of the-

Molly McKinley: Well, I think it's one, hysterical that you were able to weave in sports into our relationship podcast.

Bill Risser: It's my goal every episode, thank you.

Molly McKinley:That does not go unnoticed. Okay, like we should little points, like "ding!"

Molly McKinley: That also jumped out to me, Bill. And the reason why is because he was an observer of how things get done. And what that whole section of the book about watching like the jobs happen and the internships open and the opportunities to each other's children of, you know, the relationships people who golf together, the teams. Do they call them teams? Or like what is-

Bill Risser: Uh, in golf, yeah, they're foursomes and-

Molly McKinley: Okay.

Bill Risser: It's okay. Go ahead.

Molly McKinley: But, but the observing of how people take care of each other when they are committed to the person is the right take away from that whole idea.

Bill Risser: Yeah, he talked about really even specific conversations because as a caddy, he's right there listening to the entire thing and if somebody had a need, they had no problem talking to their playing partner and saying, "Hey, you know, so and so is trying to get his kid here, didn't you know somebody there?" And he knew because he had already been a giver that it was going to be not even an issue to have these conversations back and forth. They just routinely gave and I think the key phrase that comes out, it just leapt out of the book at there is, "nobody kept score." You don't keep track of how many times I've done something for somebody.

Molly McKinley: Yes.

Bill Risser: Anticipating that thing to return. It's just the way it worked in that world. And this is the world of successful people.

Molly McKinley: Yes, and Bill, and like that to me is the heart of authenticity.

Bill Risser: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Molly McKinley: When people talk about authenticity and it's this really weird buzz word that doesn't really, like what exactly does it mean to be authentic? The people who keep score, that is not authentic. Because you are doing things for something instead of just, again, that's where giving freely, it's not that ... those two ideas, you can give freely but also know that you are intentionally investing in people. And that's the big idea. It's not you're investing to get something, but you're investing in the people. You're investing in the relationships and then you just know it will bear fruit at some point, whether it's just a very meaningful connection to another person or in ways that we have no idea.

Bill Risser: It could be ten years down the road. And some of the examples we'll talk through in this book are just like that. You just never know. You never know when this connection and that connection and these five connections all come together in one perfect, you know, harmonious alignment of everything to create an amazing opportunity. It happens all the time. So, we need to be purposeful and intentional and try to do that same sort of thing, right?

Bill Risser: I think that's the take away for this episode is look for those opportunities to be of assistance, to help, to serve, and understand that the more of that you can do, the better off you are. You're building up this network of people that are going to be able to someday help you as well.

Molly McKinley: Exactly. And if you're listening for opportunity, you'll be able to find that in the moment.

Bill Risser: Right.

Molly McKinley: But if we're always talking and not listening, that's when we miss those moments.

Bill Risser: I'm working on that daily. You can ask my wife. So, with that ...

Molly McKinley: Do not ask not my wife because, uh,

Bill Risser: Okay. Yep, well, anyway I'm watching the clock here, Molly, we're really, as we ramp this podcast up we're trying to make sure we stay brief. We're kind of right at, close to the 15 minute mark so I'm going to go ahead and thank everyone for listening.

Bill Risser: You can see the ebb and flow here, what we're trying to do is find a point and be able to bring that point to you on a regular, consistent basis. Hopefully weekly. Here with the Relationships First podcast.

Bill Risser: Thank you so much for checking in. Thank you so much for listening. Uh, Molly, thank you so much for the idea.

Molly McKinley: Bill, it's always fun. Hey, so join us for episode three. We're going to continue having a conversation about Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. But we're going to focus on the PR aspects as well as social arbitrage. So tune in then. Thanks so much.

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