Spotlight Series: Networking Authentically with Edwin J. Frondozo
Menaka: How do you value your network?
Edwin: I really do think your network is your net worth. Ultimately, your network, or at least your close inner circle, defines the strength of you as a person. You want to have good people around you, and the bigger and the stronger that group is, the stronger you are.
Eventually, I think you start building a tribe: those are the people who believe in you, or have your back. So I think your network is priceless.
Menaka: You were part of the first group of users on Nudge – how do you use the app?
Edwin: It can be hard to get people to learn how to use a new tool, so it has to be intuitive. With Nudge, seeing the status of my network in the daily emails was really intuitive for me. I wouldn’t have to spend more than 5-10 minutes and I’d get real value from it.
When I go into the app now, I like to go into my lists. I’ve put people into specific lists and I go in and see their updates, and then start working from there.
The other feature that I like is seeing when people are falling off, when my relationship with them is getting weaker. It’s actually a really valuable thing to know, because I meet so many people, I’m talking to new people all the time – Nudge reminds me that, hey, I really should talk to that person again, or send them a note, or even just see what’s been going on in their world.
Menaka: As head of marketing and growth at Slingshot VoIP, you’re constantly working at growing your network. How does Nudge help you with this process?
Edwin: I see Nudge as a tool that will keep me focused on my network. It’s a tool outside of a CRM, it’s more specific and keeps me focused on the people that matter. I dedicate time where I go into my CRM and then Nudge and focus on who I need to connect with. Within Nudge, I get to see when I talked to them last, and what I can talk about now. So it’s a tool, it complements my networking.
Nudge lets me know who my strongest people are, which is huge. Actually before Nudge, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know who my strongest connections were. It shows me the people that I’ve talked to in the last month, last sixty days, last six months, and keeps it relevant. In this business, every day is different, so Nudge definitely helps keep me focused.
Edwin: All entrepreneurs and startups are trying to build their network through social media. For new entrepreneurs that are just starting out and just trying to get the word out, I think Nudge is important because otherwise you can lose track of your connections really fast. This happens a lot on Twitter – you can connect with people on Twitter all the time, but three weeks later, you forget that you’ve ever talked.
Especially when they’re building from the ground up, it’s important for entrepreneurs to have reminders that say, hey, you chatted to this guy, you should go back and reconnect. That’s where Nudge would have a huge benefit for them.
Menaka: Why is it important to build relationships with people you’re not necessarily doing business with?
Edwin: Because you don’t know who people know. That’s the most important thing. But it’s also about just being authentic, and connecting with people you like.
When I mentor entrepreneurs or business owners and tell them to network, they come to me asking, how do I network? How do I do it? The first thing I say is, don’t go to a networking event trying to give out a ton of business cards – go to an event and try to make one friend. I think that’s a success. The problem is often that people are trying to sell too much. So I think it’s best to go make friends, and if you’re impactful that way, then people will remember you.
Afterwards, you can go find out the secondary connections that those people have. But you always have to keep your relationships authentic. That’s key.