January 10, 2024

The Power of Networking and Human Connections with Mike Adams

In this episode of Sales Therapy Alper is joined by Mike Adams to talk about the power of networking and building human connections in the business world.

Table of contents

Meet our guest

Mike Adams, Founder & CEO at introstars, a marketplace for high-value business introductions.

Mike is a serial networker (1,000+ events!) and introducer with 28 years of experience in sales & marketing at HP, Apple, Zoom, and many other tech companies.

Key takeaways

  • Adopting a mindset centered around helping others, having fun, and being open to serendipitous opportunities is key to successful networking. 
  • It’s time to move away from traditional mass outreach methods and focus on warm, one-to-one introductions and connections instead. 
  • Be cautious about over-relying on AI for mass communication. Consider a more human-centric approach, valuing genuine connections over automated mass outreach to avoid being caught in this technological escalation.

Prefer audio format? Listen on Spotify.

Background and professional journey

Alper starts the episode by introducing Mike Adams, the guest on Sales Therapy, as a seasoned networker who has attended over 1,000 events and has experience working with major tech companies like HP and Zoom. Mike describes that his career trajectory shifted from a childhood interest in computer science to discovering a passion for talking to people during his teenage years. 

He started doing theater, joined Apple at 18, and eventually transitioned from behind-the-screen work to sales and marketing. His career at HP involved product management for mobile devices, followed by a decade focused on sales and marketing, and the most recent 10 years dedicated to networking and business development.

Mike shares his journey from being a product manager to becoming a super networker, attending numerous events, and realizing the value of connecting people. 

“This is where I realized there was so much value when you connect two people together. When you introduce two people to each other, you play the business matchmaker, you create magic.”

Becoming a super networker

Alper delves into the challenges people often face at networking events, admitting that sometimes he feels uneasy at such events despite considering himself an extrovert. Mike explains that a successful networking mindset involves shifting the focus from selling products or services to having fun, learning about others, and offering help. 

“So if you go with that mindset that you're there to help and not to sell them anything, then you can only be successful. And so I learned that by going to lots of events, that the more you listen, the less you talk the more you're going to have fun, the more other people are going to like you, and the more opportunities you're going to create and open up.”

Mike believes in the power of serendipity, encouraging attendees to open themselves up to various opportunities rather than solely focusing on immediate business transactions. He shares personal experiences where seemingly unrelated encounters at events led to significant business deals, stressing the importance of positive energy and the belief that good things will happen.

Cold outreach vs warm introductions

In the next section of the podcast, Alper Yurder and Mike Adams discuss the challenges of traditional outreach methods and the shift towards more human-centric approaches in networking and business development. Mike provides three essential tips for successful networking: 

  • preparing an interesting response to the question "What do you do?", 
  • being helpful to others, and 
  • actively breaking into groups at events.

Talking about the current state of sales and business development, Mike emphasizes the importance of crafting an interesting response to the common question about one's profession, adjusting the response to align with the other person's background.

“Always put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Because it's not about talking about you, it's about talking about them, like how can you help them. So every conversation you have is about how you can help others. That's the main point.”

The discussion then touches on the broader shift in sales strategies, moving away from mass outreach methods such as cold calling and spam emails. Mike introduces the idea of a new era in lead generation, emphasizing warm, one-to-one introductions and connections over mass communication. 

“I think we need to really incentivize SDRs and BDRs to spend more time going to in-person networking events, talking to people one-to-one in person, instead of spamming people over their phone or emails all day. I think that's really a revolution we need to create.”

He highlights the significance of the human element in networking and how this approach contrasts with the increasing reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) in sales. The current trend in the industry can potentially lead to an escalation of spam as AI tools become more sophisticated. 

“And so it becomes a cat-and-mouse game of AI sending more spam and more cold messages, and then the recipients using more and more AI-powered bots and blockers and spam filters to block all this massive amount of inbound messages. So really this cat-and-mouse game is just an escalation of AI versus AI, right? And that's really the world we're going to.”

With his current venture, introstars, Mike aims to provide a scalable solution for obtaining warm referrals and revolutionizing lead generation strategies. While working in sales, he realized the immense value of warm referrals. Recognizing the struggle of many salespeople to obtain warm leads through traditional methods, Mike built his startup to solve his own problem.

Mike suggests that tech companies can learn from traditional sales approaches and build referral programs to focus on warm one-to-one introductions.

Three rapid-fire questions

  1. What are the top tactics that you would like to give to anybody starting their career in sales or maybe like trying to grow in their career in sales?
  • Go to as many networking events as you possibly can. 
  • Try to help others before trying to help yourself. 
  • Check out introstars.com and maybe make some extra money on the side doing that.
  1. What do you want people to do pre-, during, and post-invent to make the best, make the most out of it?
  • Before you go to an event, try to see if you can see the guest list in advance of who's going to be there, so you can already prepare that. Prepare your answer about what do you do. 
  • When you go to the event, make sure you've got the right mindset. You're there to have fun and to help others. You're not there to sell anything. 
  • After the event, make sure you follow up with every person you've met. Send them a small message saying it was great to meet you, how can I help you?
  1. What are the biggest differences that you see between the work cultures of in Europe and the US?

In America, people are very communicative. They love to talk, they love to meet new people. They love to try new things, they love to go out there. In Europe, it's a bit more difficult to go to so many networking events, people are not so open to the referral model.

Full episode transcript

Alper Yurder: Alright, so in this episode of Sales Therapy, I'm very happy to be having Mike Adams as my guest. Mike is a super networker. He's been to over 1,000 events in his lifetime. And he worked with big tech companies like HP, Zoom, and others. And now he's launched his very own business to revolutionize lead generation. I saw him actually for the first time through his launching event, which was a great success in London. I know a lot of people heard about you, if they hadn't already heard about you before. But great to have you on the show, Mike. Welcome. How are you feeling today?

Mike Adams: Thanks, Alper. Wonderful. I'm so excited to be here, Alper, for sale therapy, talking to your audience about how to improve their sales and hopefully make the world a better place to make sure everyone wins when they connect people to each other. So thank you so much, Alper, for having me. It's an honor and a pleasure.

Alper Yurder: My pleasure. And you know, since the first time I met you, first of all, I love the product and I don't, I'm not a product geek, unfortunately, so I don't say this to everybody. I get the mission. It's very timely. We're just launching our influencer Almanac for the year and looking at all the trends. I think a lot of people will find the product and yourself actually, personally, very, very cool and hopefully learn something from this conversation today. So let's start.

Mike Adams: Thank you so much, Alper. Yeah. So I launched introstars, my startup, just a couple of weeks ago. And it's really all about connecting people for better business outcomes. I want everyone to be a winner. I want introducers to get opportunities to get paid when they introduce people to each other. And I want intro seekers, typically salespeople, sales leaders to receive warm introductions. So I think it's really the next generation of a lead generation experience. So I'm very excited to bring this to the markets and to get as many as possible to try it out.

Alper Yurder: Excellent, sounds good. We'll talk all about it. Because the show is quite high paced and we try to, you know, it's not a question and answer, but I get a lot of feedback. Well, you know, when people really enjoy it, when it's like two minutes of good nuggets of information, you know, filled into a kind of like high-paced structure. And I know that when I met you and we had that first chat. I felt like, okay, this guy is definitely the right kind of guest for sales therapy because A, what you're doing is very timely, but also the way you present your ideas is really cool. So I have a lot to learn from you too. Anyway, without further ado, let's go into the questions. Generally, because this is therapy, we start with your younger years. We start with the childhood. Can you tell us about the younger Mike a little bit? Like, where did you grow up? How was your bringing up and how do you think it shaped your, the way you approach business and work today?

Mike Adams: Sure, so I grew up in Belgium, so I'm French-speaking, Belgian American. I was a super nerd. I started computer science when I was seven years old, programming video games on the Commodore 64. And I always thought my career would be all about nerdy, geeky, computer science stuff, I would be behind a screen all day, building programs and software for companies. And then when I was 15 years old, I started doing theater in school. And then I realized I love to be in front of a big audience and start talking to loads of people. Then when I was 18 years old, I joined Apple doing demonstrations at trade shows. And people from Apple noticed I was really good at talking to people about technology because I was so passionate about tech. This was in the 90s. And no, Apple was kind of dying off back then. And I was so excited to talk to everyone about it. And so I realized I was much better at talking than doing. And so I realized my career completely shifted from being behind the screen and programming stuff to actually selling and marketing products. And then I joined HP as a product manager. And all my colleagues asked me to do their keynote presentations on their behalf because they realized I was just so good at talking to big crowds of people about cool technology. And so my whole career has all been around talking to lots of people about cool tech.

Alper Yurder: You already started talking about your first role and first career steps a little bit and it's quite, you know, It spans almost over three decades. Like do you have a specific theme for each decade that you would like to share?

Mike Adams: Yeah, so I guess my first career at HP was being a product manager for mobile devices. This was at the beginning of the 2000s, so really it was a very, the birth of mobile devices. Back then it was pocket PCs, way before the iPhone, way before, you know, mobile phones were even a thing. So really, the very beginning was all about product management and launching new products to markets, learning how to launch a product, how to customize products for specific types of users and customers and presenting in front of large crowds of people. And I guess a decade after that, I moved more into sales and it's more about selling and marketing. And that was all about organizing events and putting people together and organizing sales events and sales campaigns. And then I guess my most recent experience in the last 10 years has been all about networking, business development, attracting new customers. And that's where I learned all about and I became the super networker where I went to more than a thousand networking events, drinking way too much red wine, exchanging business cards with random strangers, building connections, introducing people. This is where I realized there was so much value when you connect two people together. When you introduce two people to each other, you play the business matchmaker, you create magic. And that was kind of what clicked in my head to work on my own startup, introstars, to professional matchmakers and business introducers. So I think that's the next decade of my life is to enable that for millions of people out there to become super networkers, super introducers, super connectors. I think that's really where it's at.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, I mean, it's great that it comes to you so naturally, but for a lot of people, I think it's something that they dread, like networking events. You know, I'd like to think that I'm an extrovert, but sometimes I even go to an event and I'm like, I try not to, you know, go into the crowd. I have a lot of shivers. Let's start with that. Like, why do you like networking and events so much?

Mike Adams: Yeah, I think when you start going to a few networking events, at first you might be a bit shy and nervous and a bit awkward. You're not sure if you should just stand there on the side hoping someone's going to talk to you, whether you should be more aggressive and join other people and interrupt their conversation to talk to them. So you know, there's that a bit of awkwardness. But then you get into it and you start to really enjoy talking to people, listening to people, learning about what makes them tick. And really it's all about mindset a networking event in the mindset that you want to sell a product or a service, you want to sell them something, you're always going to fail miserably because people can sense that, that you're trying to sell them something and then it's going to be an awkward conversation. So instead of that, you have to shift your mindset to go to a networking event only to have fun and to learn about other people and see what are they looking for and what makes them tick and how you can help them. So if you go with that mindset that you're there to help and not to sell them anything, then you can only be successful. And so I learned that by going to lots of events, that the more you listen, the less you talk the more you're going to have fun, the more other people are going to like you, and the more opportunities you're going to create and open up. So to be honest, you have to be in the right mood. If sometimes I'm tired, I'm depressed, I'm not in the right mindset, then it's better not to go to a networking event and go back home and relax at home. You should only go to a networking event if you're in that mindset of having fun, meeting people, being friendly, listening to other people, trying to help others. You really have to be in that mindset for the event to be successful for you.

Alper Yurder: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Adams: And I guess with that mindset you can only be successful.

Alper Yurder: And sometimes it's funny, sometimes of course the sales job can be a little bit consuming because it's very like high energy. You generally have to be like in a positive mood because like, you know, people want to associate with that kind of energy. But sometimes you're not in that. So it's better to avoid it. And I'm on the on the plus side, I feel like sales is a job where you're being paid to actually network, to meet new people, to make friends. You know, when you start seeing your job in that way a little bit, and if you're into that, I think you start seeing it as an opportunity to just, you know, get the money and do something that you enjoy.

Mike Adams: Absolutely. And the reality is, I think you have to be, you have to have a specific mindset that good things will happen to you if you're there in a positive mindset. So I really believe in serendipity, the kind of building your own luck. So serendipity means that you go to a networking event not to meet customers, but to meet interesting, friendly, nice people. And if you're good to them, they will introduce you to other people, and those people will introduce you to other people, and has that journey where you get introduced to one person to another to another, then you actually will meet customers and you will make a lot of money. And so this has happened to me so many times where I meet someone at an event where I think they're very friendly and nice but I don't think I will ever do business with them. I don't see any direct business opportunity with that person. But that person introduced me to someone else, who introduced me to someone else and I end up doing a hundred thousand pound deal with that person. And that would not have happened if I didn't open myself up to those serendipitous encounters where you basically just open yourself up to all these opportunities without going straight for the kill. Think, I need to close business with that person right now. Don't go with that mindset. Just leave it open and again, believe in serendipity. It's really worked well for me.

Alper Yurder: I love it. The main takeaway for me from that is… this mindset of good things will happen to you. How powerful, how strong, how rare it is, you know, when we have these conversations, like we're going through hard times, everyone's talking about like doom and gloom, catastrophe, you know, scrutiny and buying, no funding coming in. And now here you are talking like, just go with that mindset that good things will happen to you. I mean, I think I'll take that away, definitely from you today.

Mike Adams: Absolutely, you know, I really believe in positivity if you emanate positive energy good things will happen to you. Whenever I go to networking events again, I always ask people what are you looking for? How could I help that guy read the first question? I was I would ask them and then the best feedback people can give me is that I was helpful or did I had really good energy so happened to me actually two days ago I went to a networking event here in London and I met a bunch of people the next day I got two messages in my inbox saying it was so nice to meet you, you had great energy. That's what they told me and for me that is the best compliment that someone could give me.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, I mean, I think it's hard to meet you and not, I mean, I don't think they're too unique in saying you have a great energy. I think anybody who meets you will kind of come to that conclusion, Mike. But anyway, so I just want to, since we're talking about this networking, I didn't go into, I generally don't go into the conversation thinking I'll drive the conversation this way or that way. And I really love when this… There is specific topic of networking and events comes up because as people are shying away from outreach, like cold out, mass spray-and-pray, et cetera, and going into like nearbound, outbound, sorry, nearbound, allbound, human-centric selling, social selling, all these cool things. I think they always like specific snippets, like tips or your secret sauce. Like do you, other than being positive and like, I think that's all great, but like, do you have like… three things that you do pre, during, or post an event? Like are they things that are like must do for an event to be success?

Mike Adams: Absolutely, so when you go to events, the number one question people are going to ask you is what do you do? So you get that question asked 50 times in one event, right? And so you need to have a good answer for that where you find a way to say it in an interesting way. So instead of saying, oh, I'm a founder of a startup or my company does this, try to find a more creative way to say it in a few different ways. And so you need to prepare this in advance, this kind of homework and then more importantly, try to adapt your answer to the people you meet. So try to ask the other person first what they do so that you can adjust your response to what they do. So if they tell you, you know, they're a startup founder working in FinTech, as an example, when then they ask me what I do, I would tell them, well, I help startup founders work in FinTech to do this or that, right? So again, adjust your answer to the other person to make it relevant to them. Always put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Because it's not about talking about you, it's about talking about them, like how can you help them. So every conversation you have is about how you can help others. That's the main point. So again, you need to prepare this a bit. So that's my number one tip. Again, at the event, try to be as helpful as possible to others. And don't be shy to go out of your comfort zone to break into groups of people. So you often see at networking events, groups of two or three people talking to each other. Don't be shy to literally barge in and interrupt them to go in there and say, hey, my name is Mike. Hey, what are you guys talking about? Because again, it's not inappropriate because people go to networking events, go there to meet more people, right? So you just need to be a bit ballsy and do that. And then the third thing you should do, of course, is follow up. So when you've met a bunch of people at a networking event, if you wait three or four days, they will have forgotten about you. So make sure that you follow up the next day on LinkedIn, and then I said, hey, it was great to meet you. I remember we talked about this, it would be great to catch up with her coffee, or we talked about how I could help you, et cetera, et cetera. And always think on how you can help them. Again, that's really the most important thing. I know I've said this a few times, but again, that will make a huge difference in how you create opportunities around you, is thinking about how you can help others, making it about these things.

Alper Yurder: I mean, I agree with all three, but the first one is actually, if you didn't say it, I was going to say it, but obviously the networking pro will say it first. And I think it resonates a lot with the wholesale's career and even more broadly with every career, like… I go into conversations where people tell me, you know, I have 20 years of sales experience, da da, and just they don't shut up for 10 minutes, you know, they just go on talking, talking. And they didn't even ask me a single question like, what am I interested in? They lost their opportunity to grab my attention because they didn't ask that first question that would have changed the whole conversation. And I think if you're early in your sales career, one of the biggest things you'll learn is shut up and listen. And it's all about them, not you. Ask that question, like, what do you do? And then tweak your answer accordingly. Thank you very much for listening. Excellent.

Mike Adams Exactly. Yeah, again, so it's sales number one. And then the other thing is, I meet lots of salespeople, business development people, so BDRs, SDRs, people in business development, they're used to doing their day-to-day job is to send as many emails as possible, make as many cold calls as possible, and they're measured on number of emails and number of calls, right? That's the typical life of a BDR, SDR. And I think that's kind of the old model of doing things where it's all about a numbers game where you send a million emails, a million phone calls, and then even if you get a very low response rate, you're hoping that low response rate will be sufficient to hit your quotas, to hit your targets. I think that's really the old way of thinking. Everyone hates spam, no one likes to be spammed. Everyone ghosts you or wants to block you, or you don't want to be perceived as a spammer. And so I think the next generation of the lead generation is all about one-to-one warm introductions and warm referrals one-to-one human connection instead of spreading millions of emails out there. And so I think that's a revolution. I think we need to really incentivize SDRs and BDRs to spend more time going to in-person networking events, talking to people one-to-one in person, instead of spamming people over their phone or emails all day. I think that's really a revolution we need to create. We need to spare head this revolution, you and me, SDRs and BDRs to change your mindset from cold calling and spamming to in-person warm conversation, warm introductions, etc. And that's what I'm trying to do with my startup, with introstars is to help millions of SDRs and BDRs become really changing their mindset to only focus on one-to-one warm introduction, either as an intro seeker to receive those warm introductions on my platform, introstars, or to make introductions for other people and actually build their reputation and credibility that way and also earn money on the way. They get referral fees as well when they introduce other people to each other. So I think that that's really what I'm trying to do. I think it's a revolution in business development and I'm very excited to bring it to the world. And really, I think that's going to be even more important in the next couple of years.

Alper Yurder: Yeah. And it's all happening naturally anyway. I mean, all these, like I think everyone's aware that Mass Spray and Pray is dead. Like everyone's talking about it all over LinkedIn and every conversation starts with that. So my question to you before we dive a little bit more into Interstars is this. What kind of things are you hearing people complaining about the current status? Maybe like a short summary of that. And then what do you feel like is not being talked about? What do you feel like is being overlooked? Or what fresh point of view are you bringing to this conversation? Because everybody is aware that, you know, spamming is bad and et cetera, and I see a million emails. I actually posted about this recently, and I was almost getting like hate mails from people saying like, email is not that and all that. And I'm like, fine guys, okay, I'm just trying to help you here, but what is the fresh perspective that Mike Adams is bringing to the table?

Mike Adams: So you go to any event or any conversation right now, the only topic everyone's talking about is AI. AI this, AI that, everything's AI, right? Artificial intelligence is gonna change everything. But the reality is, when you look at outreach or outbound emails or calls, AI is just gonna accelerate spam, right? It's gonna make even more spam, because with AI you can do infinite spam, which is so-called personalized, to adjust your message to the other person. But the thing is, with AI, you're going to send even more cold messages and cold calls, which are going to be personalized, but the thing is that the recipients of those emails and calls, they get smarter as well with AI-powered spam filters, right? And so it becomes a cat-and-mouse game of AI sending more spam and more code messages, and then the recipients using more and more AI-powered bots and blockers and spam filters to block all this massive amount of inbound messages. So really this cat-and-mouse game is just an escalation of AI versus AI, right? And that's really the world we're going to. And it's happening right now. I see so many startups building lead generation tools using AI to spam even more than before. So even though people know they shouldn't be spamming, you're doing it even more. And all this AI conversation is driving it in that direction. So I'm trying to go the exact opposite direction where intro stars has zero AI, and that's a key selling point. We do not use AI because it is all about human creation, human introductions, human connections, one-to-one, human-to-human, with no AI at all. And I think that is the revolution, to focus even more on true human connection. And I think that's where the conversation should be headed.

Alper Yurder: Yeah, I think that's a really… It's a strong statement and I think the times of AI and et cetera, like scale and to the moon and endless money being invested into like any kind of startup. And then, you know, let's use the predictable revenue model to, to grow and scale everything and you know, it almost turned human beings into like machines or robots, um, of course, like, don't get me wrong, there's a lot of like great things that we learned from it and we took it on board and we implement the playbooks that, you know, make sense. But as you say, like, with the rise of AI and in this time of mass personalization where nothing feels personal at all, actually, to that extent, I think what you're saying is very strong. Like, can we go to the basics? Can we just realize that we're humans and human-to-human connections? Because actually, if you do it right, this will help you close the bigger deals. This will help you to build relations because at the end of the day, sales is a relationship-building game, I think. As much as a science, it's also an art. So can you tell us a little bit more about like the first kind of reactions that you're getting when you introduce these ideas to the market? Like how open versus skeptical are people to this direction that sales is taking?

Mike Adams: So I think everyone would agree that warm referrals are the best type of leads you can get. So I think that's not controversial at all. It's nearly obvious, speak to any salesperson in the world, they will tell you warm introductions are the best. That's not controversial at all. However, the question is how do you get them? That is the key discussion point. How do you get a steady stream of warm referrals, one-to-one human introductions? That is the question. It's not so much that, It's not about debating whether it's good or bad. It's about debating how do you get them, right? And this is where we need to build a new generation of tools or solutions around that. And this is where Intrastars, my startup, is really revolutionizing that. It is really the first and only global marketplace for warm business introductions. So this is where I'm trying to bring a new take on that. So I'm using an existing, well-established business model, which is warm referrals that's the way to go. Again, nothing controversial there. It's about how do you make it scalable? How do you actually build your entire lead generation strategy around that? And this is where I think my startup can really help salespeople around the world.

Alper Yurder: Okay. And when you're doing that, obviously it comes from, do you feel like you're solving your own problem in a way or are you trying to, you know, kind of evangelize these ideas that you already know and trying to share it with the world? Like, how do you feel as a founder when you're building your startup? Because I think it, I mean, it's a personal question for me because I come from a place of like, I hated certain things, so I wanted to change them, there was no product and I started building it. Like, what's your founder story in that sense?

Mike Adams: Absolutely. So I used to work in sales where I would sell projects. I was selling AV technology for meeting rooms. So typically I would work in commercial real estate office relocations where I would install all the AV technology in meeting rooms. So back then, my average project size was 20,000 pounds and we had some products for a hundred thousand or more, but on average about 20,000. So in that kind of project deal size, even one single introduction warm referral, you know, that's very valuable. So back then, I really realized I would be more than happy to pay three, four thousand pounds as an introduction fee if someone brought me a new project. And vice versa, I was working with lots of other commercial real estate companies doing office design, office fit outs, office design, office architects, office relocation companies, and they were totally used to paying referral fees when they got a new referral, right, introduction. And that business model, I kind of fell into it because I realized there's so much value every time you introduce a client. So I was trying to solve my own problem. I was a BDR myself, right? I was working sales in lead generation myself. So to solve my own problem, I really focused all my efforts on networking and introductions. And so by doing that, I realized this is where the potential is. This is where the money is. And I met so many salespeople who are struggling to get those warm leads. That old mentality of doing cold calls and cold emails all day, when the solution was obvious. They needed to go out there and network, get introductions, etc. And so, to answer your question, yeah, I built intro stars to solve my own problem, to get those warm introductions, but hopefully I want to help millions of other people out there to really pivot in that mindset of focusing their lead generation efforts on warm referrals and building a referral can spread their name out there for people to send them referrals. So yeah, I really built it to solve my own problem and hopefully solve every other salesperson's problem as well.

Alper Yurder: I'm glad you make that big claim. I mean, as a founder, I think you have to put your signature under that. I think one thing that always strikes me, I don't come from necessarily like tech sales background, it's more consultive selling, et cetera. And one thing I realized, especially in the last three years of LinkedIn and that kind of, there's a bit of an echo chamber around a lot of the sales conversation is led by tech sales. And tech sales leaders, especially software as a service, et cetera. And I feel like a lot of the traditional industry where sales is a big part of their go-to-market strategy, but not necessarily like the most techie. They're not on LinkedIn all day every day like some of us might be. So for those industries, these might, I feel like it might resonate. If you think about, for example, the world of real estate, where you have maybe like 1,000, 2,000 top accounts that you're trying to sell to, where people are very used to going to events, networking, they almost know each other. I mean, there's like a really close community where these worm referrals work really well. So maybe bringing a bit of that to the world of tech sales, so doing kind of the opposite and bringing something from the traditional sales world to the tech sales world can do the tech world. A bit of good in my opinion, because I feel like the predictable revenue model and like, again, like to the moon and scale at expense of, you know, everything else and almost turn people into robots, et cetera, has kind of done a bit of a damage in the industry. That was a long-tailed way of me saying like, how do you feel like, what do you think the tech world can learn from the non-tech world when it comes to selling?

Mike Adams: Absolutely. You know, tech people always want to use a tech solution for everything. And so using AI, like I just talked about before is the normal tech answer to everything, let's throw some AI in there. Right. And so because it's tech, right. But really they have to realize that going back to non-tech industries, it's all about human connection and human interaction and human-like conversations. So it's really going back to that more simple things, which is face to face, in person, talking to your customers, talking to and focusing on those warm introductions. So really the opportunity I think for every tech company out there is to build a referral program. I've seen a few tech companies already have a referral program, great. But the ones who don't have a referral program should have a referral program where they reward introducers who send them a new customer. Because again, that's focusing their lead generation efforts on those warm one-to-one referrals. But the problem is, if 100 tech companies referral programs, as an introducer I would have to go to 100 websites and sign up to every single referral program one by one. So that is why introstars is really changing the game because all these tech commies who all have their own individual referral programs cannot advertise all these referral programs on introstars or if they don't have a referral program they can create a referral program in three clicks on introstars. So instead of spending you know days or hours or weeks building a referral program, they're doing it literally in a few clicks on introstars. So that is really revolutionizing that. So again, to summarize everything I just said, I think every tech company out there should focus their lead generation efforts on human one-to-one referrals, build a referral program, and advertise it on introstars or use introstars to build a referral program very easily.

Alper Yurder: Do you feel like your space is going to be more and more competitive in the coming days, weeks, years?

Mike Adams: For sure, I mean, to be honest, I think everyone knows that referrals is where it's at. Everyone understands that yes, we should do referrals. However… Very few people have figured out how to make it work in a scalable way, because that is not obvious, right? And so there are already a few apps out there which allow you to build your own referral program, right? But none of them bring it all together like introstars does. So if you look at referral programs in general, if you just Google referral programs, you're gonna find lots and lots of companies out there doing referral programs, right? So that's not new, but really it's about finding the secret sauce to bring it all together into a single coherent experience to build a referral program in a few clicks and promote it to millions of LinkedIn users. So this is where introstars is really new and unique and fresh in the market. And I'm sure other companies will follow, absolutely.

Alper Yurder: Excellent. Yeah, absolutely. As we come to the end of the conversation, I have now this final section where I'm going to be asking you three questions as three persona. Okay. And I will ask you to really cap your answers to 30 seconds to one minute, because we want to have a bit fast pace and whatever comes to your mind first. So this will be as a salesperson, as a networker, and then as a Belgian Canadian. Okay. Belgian American, sorry. So first one is going to be as a salesperson, what do you think in 2024? What are the top tactics that you would like to give to anybody starting their career in sales or maybe like trying to grow in their career in sales? Like what are the things that they should do, one or two things, maybe different to how they have been doing it before?

Mike Adams: So number one, go to more networking events. Go to as many networking events as you possibly can. That will completely change your mindset on how sales is done. Number two, try to make introductions for other people to help them, because in return they might make introductions for you. So try to help others before trying to help yourself. That's number two. And number three, check out introstars.com and maybe make some extra money on the side doing that.

Alper Yurder: I love plug. Excellent. And we'll be sharing the links to that in the podcast too. The second question is going to be as a networker, as a pro networker. You already alluded, you already mentioned some of these things in the conversation, but as a summary, like what do you want people to do pre, during, and post-invent to make the best, make the most out of it?

Mike Adams: So before you go to an event, try to see if you can see the guest list in advance of who's going to be there, so you can already prepare that. Prepare your answer about what do you do, because people are going to ask you this question 50 times, so make sure you're well prepared. When you go to the event, make sure you've got the right mindset. You're there to have fun and to help others. You're not there to sell anything. And then number three, after the event, make sure you follow up to every person you've met. Send them a small message saying it was great to meet you, how can I help you? And I think with that strategy, you'll be very successful and have lots of fun.

Alper Yurder: I completely agree. And actually, I thought of a fourth question, if I might squeeze in later. The third question is going to be, as a European-American, let's say, half and half, what are the biggest differences that you see between the work cultures of those two geographies?

Mike Adams: Well, typically, I think in America, people are very communicative. They love to talk, they love to meet new people. They love to try new things, they love to go out there. So in America, I think the whole world of networking is amazing. You go to any big US city, they've got hundreds of networking events. It's very easy to meet new people. People are very open to the referral model where you refer someone else to someone else, get paid a referral fee. All of that is very well accepted in America. In Europe, it's a bit more difficult open to go to so many networking events, people are not so open to the referral model where you get to pay their referral fee, they think oh then I'm not gonna be objective when I introduce someone and there's a bit more hesitation around that. I think London is a bit of an exception, London is more like the US, London is super open-minded, people love to try new things in London, so London is really kind of a mini American, you know, I'd say culture but the rest of Europe is still a bit behind in that sense, networking events and referral model. So we still need lots of education around that as a next generation, lead generation strategy.

Alper Yurder: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I knew all my life that I would end up in London and I never visited London before coming to London in 2014 and starting to live here. But for me, I always knew that London was going to be the New York of Europe or the America. That little, there's like, it's like the best of both worlds to me. The fourth question I have for you is this one. You've done an amazingly successful launch party to launch your own business. And I think it looked amazing. It was very exciting wanted to be part of it. Do you have any like tips and suggestions for anyone planning to do something similar? Should they do it? How should they plan? How do they make it a success?

Mike Adams: Yeah, so to launch my launch party, it was in London. I first of all wanted to pick a really special venue. So I spent a lot of time visiting different venues to pick a venue which is really exceptional. So that will already kind of strike people's attention when they got there. So that's really important. Pick a really cool venue, make sure you spend a bit of time there. And then make sure that you invite as many people as possible, because like any event, you typically have 50% of no shows. So make sure if you only have a hundred people there, which is at least 200 people on the guest list. That's really important as well. And then, yeah, try to make it not just about you saying, oh, I'm doing a party for my company. Try to bring it out to your guests. So I launched my launch party, I sold it or I promoted it, really as a networking event. So the goal was not just to promote myself, it was to help others at the party. And you know what, I received so much feedback from people who went to my party, who told me they actually closed business deals thanks to my party went there as a networking event, met other people at my event and they actually closed business together, introduced people to each other. So that's for me, that's the biggest sign of success. That the party was not just about me and promoting myself, it was about people at the party use that as a networking event to actually, you know, bring new opportunities. So really try to promote it that way. I think that will really help. And then as another lesson, try to find sponsors to pay for it because I paid it all myself. It was very expensive. So I don't recommend it. And that, I did it myself, maybe next time I will find a sponsor to pay for it.

Alper Yurder: Maybe we do it together the next time. Excellent. So now Mike, thank you very much. Our time is over and I need to cut it on the clock, just like any good therapist. But if people want to find you, where's the best place for them to reach out? Is it LinkedIn, somewhere else? Where should they go?

Mike Adams: Yes. I'm going to go. Absolutely, find me on LinkedIn, Mike Adams on LinkedIn. I should be the first search result. I'm a mini LinkedIn influencer, but that most importantly, go to my website. It's introstars.com. Check it out. I'd love to get your feedback. It's free to sign up, so nothing to lose. Go on there and start to earn loads of money as an introducer.

Alper Yurder: Excellent guys, if you're looking for guys and girls and everybody, if you're looking for a new way to do your sales development in the new year, definitely check out Intro Stars and go hit the follow button for Mike Adams. So that's a wrap on this episode of Sales Therapy. If you enjoy the show, subscribe to us on YouTube and your favorite podcast platforms. I'm your host Alper Jurder and thank you for listening to Sales Therapy. Thanks, thanks Mike.

Mike Adams: Thank you so much, Alper.

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