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Joe Sweeney has owned, operated, and sold four manufacturing companies, led the Wisconsin Sports Authority, and founded Sports Marketing Management (SMG).
At SMG, Joe ran the firm with several coaches and athletes, included Brett Favre.
From there, Joe purchased equity interest and an investment banking firm, where he served as president and managing director.
These days, Joe is a New York Times bestselling author and internationally known speaker. His book is called “Networking is a Contact Sport.”
On the podcast, Joe discusses the ins and outs of successful networking.
Joe came from a family of twelve, and because of this, he became acquainted with networking far earlier than most. In fact, he says he didn’t start sleeping alone until he got married.
In this environment, Joe learned that being self-centered and self-focused wasn’t going to get him anywhere. If he wanted to be effective, he would need to observe and network, and help his siblings get what they wanted.
One lesson he emphasizes is that it’s less about networking and more about being useful. Joe even goes so far as to say he doesn’t like networking, particularly the way it’s often perceived: an alpha male chasing you down at a cocktail party with his business card.
Instead, Joe believes that true networking is more about helping others. If you can get good at this, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.
Regardless of your occupation, Joe thinks that the quality of your business and your life are both dependent on the quality of your relationships.
Moreover, the quality of those relationships is dependent on your ability to network. This is evidence of a story from Joe’s childhood.
When he was eight years old, his brother was on the football team of Ara Parseghian, a legendary college football coach. When no one was around, Joe wandered up to Parseghian’s office and tried to get his brother a scholarship.
Even though it went nowhere, obviously, he told his family what he did, and they were all proud of him. It was the first time he contributed to the family, and this contributes significantly to raised his status among his brothers.
It’s Joe’s opinion that anyone can develop their networking skill. If even you never become the best in the world, you can still pick up tricks and become better than you were yesterday.
Joe believes that this is especially true for older people, who sometimes fall in a rut, thinking that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. After all, Colonel Sanders started KFC at 66, and Michelangelo redesigned the architecture of the Vatican when he was 83.
In other words, it’s never too late.
When coaching people, Joe will often tell them to make a not-to-do list.
He does this with his clients because the individuals he coaches continuously say they are busy, but once he talks with them, it’s a sloppy kind of busy. They’re running around with no focus, in a chaotic state of motion.
Joe wants them to settle down and figure out what where they can shave off the fat in their life. That way, it’s far easier to focus on their true purpose.
One of the questions Joe gets most often is “how do I break into networking?” The answer is simple, but not easy.
The first thing Joe suggests doing is establishing a closer connection with people. Ask a lot of creative, intuitive questions and listen.
Secondly, everyone needs a system. This system includes setting a series of daily actionable goals for yourself. For Joe, he makes sure to have five meetings, ten written messages, and fifteen phone calls. These don’t need to be extensive, but impactful.
If you’d like to download a free copy of Joe’s networking playbook, you can visit his website at JoeSweeney.com. If you’d like to purchase any of Joe’s bestselling books, you find those here.
On social media, Joe can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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