August 12, 2018

JF1440: Re-Engage An Old Network And Keep It Engaged #SkillSetSunday with Jordan Harbinger

Jordan is a fellow podcaster who has interviewed hundreds of successful people. He specializes in helping people figure out their superpower and learn to communicate it to others. Today, we talk about picking back up old relationships, and how as real estate investors we can leverage this knowledge for our businesses. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!


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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.

First off, I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Because today is Sunday, we’ve got a special segment called Skillset Sunday where we will hone and/or acquire a specific skillset – after our conversation, you will have that.

The skillset we’re gonna be talking about today – and not really we, but our guest, Jordan Harbinger – is the skill of being able to re-engage an old or dormant network that we might have, and to have a system for continuing to keep that network engaged.

First off, how are you doing, Jordan?

Jordan Harbinger: I’m good, man. Thanks for the opportunity.

Joe Fairless: My pleasure, nice to have you back on the show. Best Ever listeners, you can check out our previous episode – it was episode 411. A little bit about Jordan – he was a Wall Street lawyer turned talk show host, social dynamics expert and entrepreneur. He was the host of the Art of Charm, now he has his own podcast, the Jordan Harbinger Show, where he deconstructs the playbooks of the most successful people on Earth on his podcast. You can check it out at his website, which is in the show notes page.

With that being said, Jordan, do you wanna set the stage for — maybe give the listeners a little bit of a refresher on your background, and then we’ll go into our topic.

Jordan Harbinger: Sure. So I’m a former Wall Street attorney and I’ve been doing podcasts for over 11 years. I’ve been interviewing people, I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people over the last decade and change, and that’s really what I do now. I’m the creator of The Jordan Harbinger Show, I’m the creator of, that teaches networking, relationship development, verbal and non-verbal communication skills… But my sweet spot is interviewing great people and helping them teach their super-powers to the listening audience.

Joe Fairless: Sweet. So let’s talk about the network… As real estate investors, we are entrepreneurs and we have at the core of our business relationships. It is certainly going to be helpful for us to re-engage old relationships, or maybe dormant relationships, as we talked about before we were recording… So what’s the approach for doing so?

Jordan Harbinger: I have a bunch of drills… Do you want me to just get into these drills? Because I feel like that hands-on, practical stuff is pretty good.

Joe Fairless: Sure.

Jordan Harbinger: Okay, cool. So first of all, a lot of people have mistaken beliefs over what networking and relationship maintenance really is. They think “Oh, this is for these scumbaggy slimeballs, throw business cards in people’s faces… And that’s really irritating. Nobody wants to be that guy or gal. So that’s one reason, I should say, why a lot of people avoid doing the networking thing, because they hate it; networking has become a dirty word, it’s really something that people try to avoid, and I totally understand that.

I would say that first of all, get rid of that image of what you think networking is in your head, because if you’re not doing it authentically, of course it’s gonna look like that. That’s not what we’re teaching here.

What we’re teaching you is that you don’t have to be born into it; if you’re an introvert, you don’t have some medical excuse that you can’t network. Most people procrastinate this, because they either don’t know how to do it, or they also think “Well, first I’ve gotta have my website. I’ve gotta have my prototype, I’ve gotta have this, I’ve gotta have info on my product” etc. This is not a bonus skillset or an add-on; this is first principles, foundational stuff, and if you ignore the skillset of networking and relationship development, you’re not immune to the consequences… You’re just being willfully ignorant of the secret game that’s being played around you, and that’s a huge problem for entrepreneurs, business owners, real estate agents, whatever it is that you do; you’re gonna be in trouble. You have to dig the well before you’re thirsty, and build these relationships before you need them. It’s kind of like putting a spare tire in the trunk of your car; it’s way to late if you’re already on the side of the highway. You need that in place before you have to rely on it.

One of the first drills that I give people is imagine you either get laid off today if you’ve got a day job, or your business implodes. Let’s say it just suddenly becomes illegal to do what you do. Who are the ten or so people that you’d contact to solicit their advice on what to do next? Make that list and reach out to those people now, while you don’t have an agenda and you don’t specifically need anything from them. That will show you that reaching out and maintaining your network — it’s not awkward; that’s what a lot of people think. Yeah, it’s awkward when you reach out to somebody you haven’t talked to in three years and you need something. It’s not awkward when you reach out to somebody and you just check in on them.

This will also get momentum for people, and they can go down and do a lot of the other drills that we have at Advanced Human Dynamics; there’s a level one course which is free, and I have a lot of videos with a lot of these drills.

Joe Fairless: Before we go on to another one, when we reach out to those ten or so people, what’s the message sound like?

Jordan Harbinger: Oh, sure, and you’re gonna hear this on repeat from me: “Hey, it’s been a minute… Haven’t spoken to you in a long time. What’s the latest with you? I hope this finds you well. No rush on the reply, I realize everyone’s busy”, and then sign your name on this. Now, this isn’t very important if you’re just reaching out via e-mail, it’s gonna come from your e-mail, but it’s gonna come in handy in a second, and I’ll tell you why.

The next drill is if you scroll on your phone – if you have an iPhone or an Android, you know how you scroll on your phone in the text messages all the way to the bottom, and those are people that you… “Oh, I had lunch with them three years ago at this conference, and then I never kept in touch” – those threads are still in there, so send that same script… “Hey, it’s been a minute. How have you been, Jim? It’s been forever… Last I think we had lunch at Cafe Gratitude in San Diego. I hope you’re doing well. No rush on the reply… Just checking in, because it’s been so long. Jordan Harbinger.”

Now, you sign your name so they don’t go “New phone. Who this?”, right? And you also say “No rush on the reply”, that’s the other key. The reason for that is I get messages like this in my inbox or via text all the time, and if I get a sort of spider sense that they want something, I may not reply… And one way to signal that you don’t necessarily wanna sell me freaking Herbalife or get me into Scientology is you say “Hey, no rush on the reply. You don’t have to reply if you’re busy.” Salespeople who are pushy and have an agenda don’t do that. They build urgency. They don’t unbuild urgency. They don’t tell you that it doesn’t matter if you reply.

So that actually, counter-intuitively, increases my response rate from about 40% to about 70%.

Joe Fairless: Are you doing this e-mail, text, or what?

Jordan Harbinger: I said to text this–

Joe Fairless: This is text, got it.

Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The other way, lay off lifelines, where you make a list of ten people – that can be phone, text, e-mail… Those are existing relationships. The texting is for weaker and more dormant ties, and that I think is extremely important.

Because the thought exercise lay off lifelines – you do that once every three months, or something like that… Maybe those lifelines change. Those are really important people in your life, but you don’t have to re-engage them all the time by making that list; they get re-engaged by virtue of the fact that you’re reaching out.

The texting thing you should do every day. You should make at least four every single day, because it’s so easy to do this. Do it in line for coffee at Starbucks, every day; it takes the excuse off the table that “Oh, networking takes up so much time…” No, it doesn’t. You’re already gonna be wasting it on Instagram; just text people and re-engage.

Joe Fairless: Got it. So just so I’m clear, there are two exercises within that. One is what you’re calling lay off lifelines. If what you’re doing right now becomes illegal or implodes, you reach out to ten people and you’d give them a message via text… And then separately there’s the texting thing – same approach, but do it daily, with dormant relationships, people who you met like a year ago, or whatever, and you haven’t spoken to…

So it’s basically the same message – one is staying top of mind with the ten people, and then two is dormant relationships.

Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. You’re strengthening weaker or dormant ties, and then in the lay off lifelines you’re strengthening ties that hopefully already exist, but that are kind of your crucial ones… And the reason I have people make that list is occasionally there’s gonna be a couple on there where you go “Oh yeah, you know, I should have reached out to my uncle a million times, but I haven’t…”, and then there’s usually gonna be some sort of more aspirational people, where you  go “Well, I was gonna save this for an emergency, but I guess I will reach out to the CEO of my old company where I used to work.” That tends to be a different category of people.

And of course, the people whose phone numbers you have on your phone, you at some point had a relationship with that person where they trusted you with their phone number, so that’s a different category of connection than somebody in the lay off lifeline, generally speaking.

Joe Fairless: Got it. Makes sense.

Jordan Harbinger: So I have dozens of drills like this. I could go through another couple more.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, let’s do it.

Jordan Harbinger: So another one that I think is really crucial – a lot of people go “Okay, great, this is where the weaker ties are…” I’m gonna skip over some of the re-engagement stuff, some of the strengthening stuff and go right into the network maintenance… And there are really two kinds of network maintenance strategies that I use.

Systematic and opportunistic network maintenance are sort of these two systems that I use, and I probably should change the word systems, because I’m using it twice in two different contexts here… But systematic network maintenance is alright, I’ve got a CRM, I use Contactually, I put in all my Gmail contacts that I regularly contact, I import my Facebook birthday calendar to my own calendar, and I get the birthday list there, and then three days before someone’s birthday I set an alarm and I wish them a happy birthday three days in advance, so that I beat the rush.

Everybody gets a ton of wishes on their birthday. Be the first one, do it three days early. Russian people will say it’s bad luck, that’s okay… But you can really cut ahead, and that uses a really easy system to re-engage people on an annual basis, and the CRM (Contactually in this case) will create a reminder for you when it’s been 20, 45, 90 days, whatever category you plot people in… So you’ve got your system.

I’ll spend an hour, an hour and a half a week keeping in touch with thousands of people using those systems.

Opportunistic network maintenance is more laid back, and anyone can do this with no additional expense. I use both of these systems, and I encourage people to use both… But opportunistic is like this: “Alright, I’m on Facebook, and I see that Joe had a baby. Wow, that’s cool. I’m gonna — what, click Like? Okay, I could… Or I could make a comment. Alright, maybe he’ll see that. But I could also e-mail you. That might work, but you might be getting a ton of that… What if I text you? Well, that’s better. What if I leave you an audio message or a phone call? That’s even better. Or what if I know you well enough that I can pop by in person, or I know where you work and I can knock on your door and drop off an “It’s a boy” cigar, or something like that…?”

Those are all ways that I can engage you, but I didn’t get an alarm, I didn’t see you in my CRM. I’m using social media like Facebook and Instagram to show me what life events are important in your life, because that’s what that algorithm does – it shows me your vacation, it shows me your wedding, it shows me your new kid, it shows me some sort of set of photos that you took… So it’s giving me a reason to talk to you, except instead of taking low-hanging fruit and clicking Like, or making a comment, which you will either never see or never respond to, I upgrade the type of engagement on the engagement totem pole to text, audio, e-mail, phone call.

That is a great way to use something that usually is a time waster and turn it into something that essentially acts almost like a CRM, or a private news service for everybody in your social circle and your business circle.

Joe Fairless: So when we see something on Facebook, instead of just simply licking or commenting, taking it another level and doing something that would stand out and be, as you said, higher on the engagement list.

Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, because it’s like “Okay, great, you got married! I’m gonna click Like, you’re never gonna see it. I’m gonna comment, you might never see it.” Why not take the opportunity and five extra seconds and creating a more intimate type of engagement. If I’ve got your number, you might get 1,000 likes, you might get 60 or 160 comments, you might get dozens and dozens of e-mails… How many texts are you getting? Twenty? Thirty, maybe? Mostly from family and close friends. Why don’t I put myself in that bucket?

You’re not gonna have somebody go “Don’t text me! We only know each other tangentially through this conference.” You’re gonna go “Oh cool, man. I’m so glad to hear from you. Thanks.”

Joe Fairless: I’m actually that person. I hate text messages. I wouldn’t tell them that, but I wouldn’t really reply, because I hate text messages.

Jordan Harbinger: That’s fine. That puts you in a very small minority.

Joe Fairless: I know, they call me Grandpa Joe, so I agree with you.

Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, [unintelligible [00:14:02].20] So I would encourage your listeners to not take that to heart, because 99.9% of text messages are read and I think replied to within 10 minutes… So if you know somebody doesn’t like texting, fine; send him an audio message or call them. I hate audio messages, because I feel like people ramble. But if somebody calls me or something like that, sends me a text – great.

So if you know somebody hates that, then fine, don’t do it. Nobody goes “I’d prefer for you to communicate with me on Facebook comments.” No one has ever said that in history and nobody ever will. Nobody says “Please send me a like.” Nobody does that. They want further and higher levels of engagement from people that they actually wanna hear from.

The interesting part about this is they will rationalize that they wanna hear from you if they hear from you in that way. Very few people are gonna go “Man, I wish this guy wouldn’t text me nice things once a year when I have big news.” That’s really unlikely.

If someone’s texting you every day, it’s inappropriate. If you have a baby and somebody goes “You know, I think I still have his phone number somewhere”, you’re not gonna go “F U. Don’t text me. I had a kid.” You’re gonna appreciate it, unless you’re Grandpa Joe [unintelligible [00:15:08].03]

Joe Fairless: Yeah… [laughs] So it sounds like it’s being observant with what’s going on, and then breaking through the clutter via your acknowledgment tactic. Is that accurate?

Jordan Harbinger: You don’t even have to be that observant, man… I mean, how observant do you have to be to look at your newsfeed and go “This person just got married.” You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to use the algorithm; it shoves things in your face deliberately. That’s what it’s designed to do. Mostly, we just scroll through it and click Like or engage or not engage at all, but why not actually take things up a notch? That’s kind of the point… It’s just that Facebook has decided “Let’s make this really easy”, except it’s really easy to get lost in the cruft.

Joe Fairless: It could also be easy to get inundated with this approach if it’s not scheduled, because if you do go on Facebook, they’ve got a pretty crafty algorithm to keep you there, and it’s a black hole… So how do you schedule or prioritize this in your business?

Jordan Harbinger: I schedule my systematic and opportunistic network maintenance — sorry, I should say, opportunistic is just that, it’s opportunistic. I’m standing in the line at Starbucks, I take a minute to look at Instagram and I see somebody post something, or on Facebook and I see somebody post something – it’s opportunistic for a reason.

Systematic – I schedule 60-90 minutes  a week to check in on Monday morning, look at Contactually, wish people a happy birthday every morning… I schedule 15 minutes in the morning to go through and text people, like I’d mentioned before with the texting engagement… And a lot of these other drills that I have at level one (Advanced Human Dynamics on the level 1 course), I have these scheduled during the week. Because if you de-prioritize it, of course it’s never gonna happen. You’re gonna go, “Oh man, I don’t know what to say in this text… I’m not gonna do it. Oh, I’ve gotta look at Contactually, I’ve got five minutes. Oh man, there’s 87 people in here because I haven’t done it for three months. Oh, I don’t have time to do this now… Let me close the window and not think about it.”

Schedule it out. People go “I don’t have an hour a week.” Okay, cool. What are you doing for that hour a week that’s more important than engaging your network? Literally nothing, because this should be at the top of your list. This is really gonna be highest leverage thing you have on the list.

Joe Fairless: When you schedule it, you schedule for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, whatever it is, but if you’re texting someone – or whatever the communication method is – I imagine you’re ideally gonna get a reply, so then it will spill into the rest of your day… So do you have an approach for the continuing the conversation or how you allocate your time to do that?

Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it doesn’t have to spill over into the rest of your day, really. Most people reply right away, hence the statistics that most texts are read and responded to within ten minutes.

The other thing is if you do it in the beginning of, say, a commute on the train, or let’s say you do it in the morning and then during your lunch hour you check your phone… You don’t have to sit there and wait for people to reply; you can check your phone in the evening. They haven’t heard from you in three months or a year, they’re not gonna be like “Hey, where are you?” because they didn’t hear from you for three hours.

So I wanna take excuses off the table, because a lot of people go “Oh, I’m not gonna text people because I hate texting and then they’re gonna reply.” It’s like, okay, cool. You can protect your time as much as you want, and I always encourage people to protect their time, but what I’ve noticed is that a lot of people who supposedly protect their time, they have crappy networks, they’re not well liked in certain areas, and then when they need something, they’re like “Oh man, how do I get people to mail out for me?” Well, people don’t like you, because when they reach out to you, you don’t respond. Or people don’t like you because you only reach out when you need something. That’s why you have to dig the wheel before you’re thirsty; it’s not about what you want, it’s not about what’s convenient for you.

You can schedule it and you can make it happen, but you can’t dictate everybody to interact with you on your terms, unless you’re some kind of celebrity, which you and I are not.

So you really have to dedicate some time to this. The point is this is the highest lever. I don’t know very many people who have made it to the top, made nine-figure businesses who don’t have great relationships and networks with other people, high levels of trust etc. I don’t know anybody who’s done that, and those who have, even then, without being very deliberate about this have either gotten very, very lucky, or they do it now, now that they’re closer to the top. But most people that I know who are good at this are extremely successful, because they realize the value that this brings.

Joe Fairless: Anything else as it relates to engaging our current network or re-engaging the dormant relationships that we haven’t talked about that you wanted to mention, that you think we should?

Jordan Harbinger: I don’t wanna overload people with stuff. As I’ve mentioned before on advanced human dynamics, I’ve got that level one program which is like a dozen and a half of these types of exercises… Really do the lay off lifelines, where you make that list of ten people and reach out; really do try for a week the text re-engagement… Just give it a shot and you will find that certain opportunities pop out of that. You’ll go “Oh, I didn’t even realize this person had moved to my area. I didn’t even realize this person moved away. I didn’t even realize this person worked for a company that I’m interested in. I didn’t even realize this person started a new project.”

The opportunities start to become really obvious when you start to work this system, and then it doesn’t really require me to sell it anymore… So rather than giving people a bunch of homework, I’ll give them those two bits and say “Try it.” And I don’t know anybody that’s tried it and gone “Yeah, this isn’t totally worth my time forever.”

Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you or learn more about what you’ve got going on?

Jordan Harbinger: Sure. I do the Jordan Harbinger Show where I really interview some amazing people and have them teach skills to the audience every episode as worksheets. I’m very big on practicals. Just search for The Jordan Harbinger Show on your podcast app, or if you want this networking stuff, go to and you can click on Level 1 and you’ll get a lot of stuff like this – practical networking and relationship development stuff that will change the way that you interact with people forever. That’s the goal anyway.

Joe Fairless: Well, relationships are the core of what we do as real estate investors. I love these two exercises, the lay off lifelines, and the text re-engagement. Thank you so much for being on the show; I loved the philosophy or the metaphor of dig the well before you’re thirsty. It certainly applies to us as real estate investors.

Thanks again for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Jordan Harbinger: Thank you, man. I appreciate the opportunity.


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