252: The Magic Connection Method - with Brandon Fong
Meet Brandon Fong
Brandon HATED growing up on the free lunch program at school... but growing up without financial resources taught him to be resourceful. Before the age of 25, Brandon wrote a book, ran the marketing for an education company with over 250,000 students, traveled to 23 different countries, and even did a $45,000 launch on his first online product. Today, he's on a mission to help 10,000 entrepreneurs build wealth through the power of connection while prioritizing their health and relationships.
What's the number one mistake people make when trying to solve a problem in their life?
I got this from Dan Sullivan, who I don't know if you're familiar with his content, but he's a fantastic thinker if you guys haven't heard of him, but he has this concept called who-not-how. And I think what happens as entrepreneurs specifically or in our daily lives to whenever we come up with a new goal, or a new challenge that we're facing, our first inclination is to ask ourselves, how can I solve this, right? Like all the how questions come up like logistics, and it immediately becomes a little bit overwhelming. And so when it comes to solving problems, I love the filter that instead of asking myself how based questions, I asked myself, who questions so if instead of how can I figure this out and get super overwhelmed, who has already figured this out, that I can develop a relationship with in a genuine way, give back to them, and then leverage their skills and experience to solve the problem that I'm looking to solve a lot faster than if I had tried doing it on my own. So I think that that's an approach that can definitely help accelerate the process of solving any problem, whether it be business or in personal life.
How can you connect with people in meaningful ways online?
I actually recently wrote a book on this topic called The Magic Connection Method. When I open up my LinkedIn profile, I have probably over 100 connection requests of people that have copied and pasted messages without even reading anything about my bio or anything like that. So I think that they're in this world where we kind of like see this fake reality online. It's like we get desensitized to the fact that the people that we're talking to are real human beings. When it comes to connecting with people, when I teach them the magic connection method, I teach a three-part process. So the first part of the email or any, it's not specific to email, but the first part is what I call the hook. And the problem that most people have when they reach out to people is they use the first part of the email to talk about them, right? So instead of doing that, the first part of the outreach, I always teach people to talk about the other person. Then the second part is the irresistible offer. I'm always looking to add value to people. So whether it's an outreach to somebody that I want to do business with, or a networking event or connection that I have, I want to create something that I can do for them, that would add a ton of value to them, and make them actually want to move forward with the connection. The last part is the no-oriented question. I learned this from Chris Voss, who is an ex-FBI hostage negotiator. He told me in the book, “Never Split the Difference”, he talks about how we all have a finite amount of yeses that we have in a day, right? Every single time you say yes to something, you have to give away time, you have to give away energy, you have to give away finances, you're giving away something. So it's hard for people to say yes to things, but it's a lot easier for people to say no to something. So all my emails or all my outreaches they end with instead of a question like are you interested? It ends in a question like would you be opposed to? Or would it be a bad idea if or would it be ridiculous if and when you when you start a question that way it puts the ball back in their court. The real goal of that first email is to show that you're adding value, show that you actually care about them. And then also make sure that at the end, it's just one question so that they're not overwhelmed with all the things that they have to do.
Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I found that every single point in my growth, I’ve been able to grow to the next level. And it's been thanks to a relationship with somebody. My favorite story, when it comes to connecting with people is my senior year of college. Going back to the very beginning of the conversation, we're talking about who not how. I tried a bunch of business ventures and nothing was working for me. And I figured, well, why not just find somebody who was exactly where I wanted to be in my career and my health, in my relationships that had already done it, and how can I just find a way to add insane amount of value to them. So I sent an email, I was 21 years old at the time reached out to him. And that turned into that relationship where I ended up running his marketing for three years had experience helping grow the company by over 100,000 students in his online courses. Jonathan helped me to launch my first product, which did really well the first launch, and then also Jonathan got me into a high end mastermind called Genius Network. Genius Network costs $25,000 a year to attend, you need to be making at least seven figures to be in it. And Jonathan just opened the doors and allowed me to help me to get in there. And so that one relationship with that one email that I sent, just open the doors to insane experience, insane connections, and just so grateful. So that would by far be my favorite connection that I had.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture your community that you've created?
I think like it comes down to at this point, at least I'm having lots of individual conversations with people and so I'm always asking what people are looking for. And I may not have an answer at that time, but I'll have a conversation a little bit down the road and I'm like, oh, this person needs exactly this. So like I think it comes from being proactive and really just getting to know everybody that you are looking to develop a relationship with. Just get to know people, really care, come from a place of giving. And then there will usually be opportunities, at least in my life that have shown up for me to circle back and add value to that person, even if like it was maybe even months or years down the road.
What advice do you have for that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?
You can go on LinkedIn, and you can search somebody else's connections if you're connected with them. And the thing that is a kind of an awkward question to ask is like, hey, can you refer me to someone? Right? Like, nobody really likes answering that question? Because it's like, it's so vague. And like, even if you do really want to help the person, it doesn't really help to be asked that question, because you have almost nowhere to go. Whereas if you use the LinkedIn advanced search filter, or if you search somebody else's connections, and then you search with their title or whatever, other criteria, then you can go to back to that person and say, hey, can you refer me to somebody? It's like, hey, Lori, I had the opportunity before we had the conversation, I hopped on your LinkedIn profile, and I came across three people that I thought would be really interesting to talk about, would you be offended if I asked you a few questions about them? And then you can ask a very specific question, instead of just being very, very general. So that's helped me a ton. Just because, I believe that if you're connected with good people, then then why wouldn't you ask that question? So I think that's one of my favorites.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less, of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I think I would send more magic connection method emails, I actually had the opportunity to speak at my high school the other day, and it's like I've seen so many students in college where it's like you spend all this money on undergrad and then graduate and realize it's not what you want to do. It's like lots of that can be solved by just having conversations with people and reaching out to people. And I think that as a student, I've always taught people this, that you have this magical timeframe where you can use something that I call the “cute student card”, where it's like professionals love to help ambitious students. Now we talked about going back to the magic connection method. We talked about the irresistible offer. Sometimes the offer is you just being ambitious and talking to them and then implementing what they taught you and being super grateful for it. And like it almost is something to be like too hard to comprehend, but that has served me so much. It's just like reaching out to people, having conversations and then responding back and following up with them. With how much they've impacted my life.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
Because I was in Genius Network. I'm within one degree of many, many connections, like the founder, Joe Polish is like, and I'm not like that, that close with Joe Polish. But I've had the opportunity to meet him and have conversations multiple times, but like he's connected with Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Peter Diamandis. Also Russell Brunson that you hear a lot about in the in the self-improvement marketing world. I think I answered your question with like, 30 people but those are some of the top people that come to mind.
Do you have any final words or advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
If you find that you're somebody that might not be 100% confident in reaching out to people, like there's really not much wrong, that can happen. I think the worst thing that can happen is like you end up like somebody that's on LinkedIn that copies and pastes. But if you listen to this episode, you're already not going to do that. So you're already way ahead of people. I think you really are just one connection away and to focus on, on every relationship, like it's something that can have lots of potential for growth in the future, even if you don't see it in the present in the immediate, immediate future.
How to connect with Brandon: