in Networking, Podcast, Startup Basics, Video

How to build & grow your relationships/network?

#StartupBasics | Series by Insights Alley (Hosted by Arun Verma)

S01E04 – How to build & grow your relationships/network?

Guest: Jon Ferrara, Founder & CEO at Nimble CRM


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In this episode of #StartupBasics, we discussed:

– The story of Jon Ferrara, from Goldmine to Nimble, need for Relationship CRM for all.

– Your network is your net worth. Help other people grow at scale. Treat your network as a sustainable organic garden that you need to nurture.

– Attract people who have the same passion as you in personal and professional life. Business persona & personal persona – Attract both types of people in your network.

– What to actually do to attract such people into your network:

  • Identify the people who inspire you.
  • Share their content on social media and attribute their name – very simple yet very effective first step. Jon has been able to scale Nimble with this very tactic.
  • Try to connect with those people/influencers and their followers in this way.
  • Do this at a regular/periodical basis.

– People connect with people they like and trust, regardless of if you want to hire that person or sell to them, or raise investment from them or just connect to them.

– Best way to connect to another human being is to listen to them, find ways to add value, warm the relationship in a natural & authentic way:

  • Then you reach out with an actual call, email, or a LinkedIn invite, or Twitter DM.
  • Make them see you as a person of value.
  • Humanize your personal brand online on Social media profiles, as most of the outreach, today happens on social media and digitally.

– 5 facets of relationships for Jon: Family, Friends, Food, Fun & Fellowship: Soft places, but permanent connections happen there.

  • A good example of the power of this in the business/startup world.
  • LinkedIn is just a business leg of your persona, take your relationship to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, then eventually dig deeper as well, human face to face.

– Jon’s company makes Nimble, which you could try to scale relationships.

– Dunbar’s Number: Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person.

– Five “E”s of Social Business:

  • Educate, Enchant, Engage, Embrace & Empower
  • Jon’s philosophy of fishing for people and building relationships: Educate with enchanting content with the intent to inspire and then engage with people that connect, with the intent to empower them to grow.
  • Try to take the relationship from online to face to face as soon as you can.

– How to ‘Hard Outreach’:

  • Moving from warm & light social media pings and touches to hard outreach in form of email, or meeting, a one-to-one message. Do this outreach in a relevant and authentic way.
  • Personalize your hard outreach as much as you can. 99% people are just sending and receiving generic emails.
  • Listen to actual words they say or values/belief they follow and regurgitate it to them.
  • Then tell them about you.
  • Then, have an actual “ask” or a “CTA” (Call to Action)
  • Have an identity across all places on the internet, in case someone tries to find about you before making their decision if to engage or not.

– Humanize your personal brand and show them your heart.

– How to grow and nurture a relationship:

  • First decide, which relationship you want nurture absolutely positively.
  • Relationship building is like Fishing – You throw net in the vast sea and only can bring a certain number of fishes.
  • Only nurture the relationships with people that bring the most value to you and you can add the most value to.
  • Create enough soft -touchpoints across the digital social media realm, that you can take the relationship further to a more firm place one-to-one conversations like a face-to-face meeting or a call or a LinkedIn connect.
  • Do your homework before further outreach and while nurturing the relationship, know their background, their business, their passions.
  • You need a way to add value to that other person if you want to grow the relationship. Lend them a helping hand.
  • If nothing, the simplest way to add value is to do an intro to another person who can add value to them.
  • Do this periodically, because people forget, people lose touch, so keep the spark going by repeatedly adding value and keeping in touch.

– How to provide value to people much far ahead than you in their journey, learnings, and experiences:

  • Best way: Feedback
  • Listen to Jon’s story for more context.
  • Never feel too small or insignificant to reach out to whoever you feel reaching out to because everybody has needs.
  • And you have to seek ways to find and serve those needs.

– How to persuade your idols to mentor you:

  • Set your mind on someone who you want to learn from.
  • But, these passionate people maximize every second of their lives.
  • Thus, no one will become your mentor overnight.
  • But they might still spend time with you, whether it’s on a Phone call or coffee or lunch.
  •  Start with first steps like these, then earn your way in with more things.
  • Always demonstrate, that the investment that they made in the first step by spending time with you has changed or made a result in your career or life, and you want to ask additional questions/advise.
  • Mentor and Mentee relationship is like romantic relationships only. You don’t ask on the first date to marry the other person.
  • Jon’s most memorable mentor: His Uncle Jon

– Cultivating relationships with other companies in your space for any symbiotic relationship:

  • Identify influencers among your prospects & build a relationship with them.
  • The story of how Jon did this in both his companies: Goldmine & Nimble

– Building a Brand: Share not just business content, but show your personality with all type of content from your personal and professional life to humanize your brand.

– Quality vs Quantity in your network:

  • Apply the ‘80:20 Rule‘ in your relationships also.
  • Build a personal brand that is most resonating with the people you want a genuine quality relationship with.

– Mistakes generally done by people while relationship building & what you should actually do to reach out to a person.

– Recommendations & Introductions – How to do them right?

– Giveaway: Discount on Nimble CRM ( for listeners: Use the coupon code “JON40” to save 40% on your first month.


Resources mentioned:

  • Podcast: The SaaS Podcast
  • People: Dharmesh Shah
  • Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


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