Inbound12 Networking with Rick Roberge

This is another guest post by Don Battis. Truthfully, I almost didn’t publish it because, well I’ll let you figure out why. In his own, unedited words, Don Battis…

The Inbound 12 event was a great opportunity to participate
in “the conversation”- just like we all are trying to do on social media.  Blogging, tweeting, and posting on Facebook
is fine. But for the most part, it is a one-way street in terms of having a
conversation. If nobody comments, replies, Retweets, or likes then we never
know if anyone is listening.  Maybe we’re
just amusing ourselves.

I was excited for the opportunity to meet and talk with some
of the Inbound Marketing thought leaders at Inbound 12. To prepare for the
conference, I made sure to stuff a big handful of business cards into my
pocket, and it was a good thing I did!

After the Opening Day Keynotes, where I got to shake hands
with David Meerman Scott, I set out
with the 2,800 other Inbound Marketers, eager to “work the room” and meet some other
Hubspot converts.  The common thread for
all was to become better marketers so that we could grow our businesses.

Pete Caputa says
in his collaborativegrowth.com blog, “working a room” at an event can be
tough.  It’s hard to introduce yourself
to people and make any kind of meaningful connections.  But walk into a that same room with someone
who is already known and trusted, like Rick
Roberge
, and you will easily make valuable connections.

Guess who I ran into right after the keynotes, aimlessly
wandering the hallways?        

I dragged him with me to hear Mark Roberge’s talk on Paid Media.  This presentation was tops on my list that morning,
as I wanted to meet more of the @rainmakermaker family. I already know Mark’s little brother, Matt, who has an online bookkeeping business in Salt Lake City.                                                                                                

We were no sooner seated in our row when Rick asks the man
next to him, “Who are you and what do you do?” 
“Why, I’m David Gran.  I sell homes near military bases.” 

“Oh”, says Rick. “You should meet Don Battis. He has an online pawn shop. You two
might be selling to the same people. Give him a business card.” So we exchanged
cards and talked about HubSpot.

Then the man in the next row turns around to see what is
going on.  “Who are you and what do you
do?” asks Rick. “I’m Hoyt Mann. I sell
customer support software.” The man replies. 
“Very cool.” Says Rick.  “These
guys must need software in their business. 
Give them business cards.”

After the presentation, Rick looks up from his phone and
says to me, “Come on we’re having lunch with Arjun Moorthy.  He’s HubSpot’s VP of Product.”

Off we go to the lunchroom, which is now crowded with most
of the 2,800 attendees.  Rick gets a call
from Arjun who’s never met Rick and is wondering how they’ll find each other in
that crowed room.  “Don’t worry”, says
Rick. “You’ll find me.  I’m standing next
to Don Battis who’s a tall guy with white hair.” (Yeah, and he should have
added that he was the other tall white haired guy with the LOUD Hawaiian shirt.)

Soon enough, Arjun found us; we picked up our lunches, and
started the search for a place to sit.  Arjun
ran into an old friend, Rob Theis, who
joined our little lunch group.  Rob is
Managing Director of Scale Venture Partners, an early investor in HubSpot.  Rob knew of a small media room next door
where we found a quiet place to eat lunch. 
As we all sat at a big round table, we exchanged business cards and chatted
about our various HubSpot experiences.  Rick
noticed a man at the next table. He was sitting all by himself with his nose
pushed into his laptop.  “Hey you!”
called Rick.  “Stop pretending to work
and come join us.”  The man came to join
us at our table.  It turned out he is a
CBS Chicago reporter doing interviews of the keynote speakers at
Inbound12.  Shame on him though, he came
empty handed with no business cards!

Soon Mike Volpe,
CMO at HubSpot, sat down with us.  I have
always wanted to meet Mike because I’m a big fan of the Friday afternoon
HubSpot TV.  HubSpot TV is the signal in
our office to “crack open a cold one.” 

We covered a lot of ground in our lunchtime conversation (sailing,
San Francisco restaurants, Boston bars, Cindy Lauper, etc.) and all of it
related somehow to HubSpot.  We all had
different connections with the company and I think we all learned a little
something from the varied perspectives. 

Throughout the rest of conference, both on my own and as
part of Rick’s Posse, I came to view the Inbound 12 as an Inbound Networking
event.  It is what marketers want social
media to be, a place for word-of-mouth referrals and connections.  But it takes a sales person to say “Hello”,
stick out a hand, and exchange business cards to actually connect. 

Rick’s blog gives those of us, who guest post and comment, a
way to expand our reach to his followers. 
We’re trying to engage with new people and hopefully make new
connections.  But even online, it’s not a
passive activity.  You need to
participate.

So, now you know how to make me blush, but amidst all the ‘Rick’ stuff, Don made a great point. Inbound Marketing works even better if you get your vocal chords involved. Come check out the Inbound Networkers Group on LinkedIn and/or join us at one of our weekly online meetings.

Thanks, Don!

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11 thoughts on “Inbound12 Networking with Rick Roberge

  1. Working a room is not for the faint of heart, unless of course your with Rick Roberge!!

    He’s like the mayor of any room you happen to be in with him, and he WILL make you participate!! As you should!

  2. Very nice post Don! The play-by-play above on how Rick started the networking domino is excellent and a good reminder on how to do it. It’s that simple yet I forget even now a few weeks after the event.

  3. Don, Chris and Arjun’s comments are great additions to your post in that, it’s not really being known and trusted in the room that you’re in, but realizing that in the rooms that you are known, you are trusted. So, the expectation is that this room will be no different. I’ll also point out that you didn’t say that I talked about myself or what I do. Rather, I introduced the people that I was with. I always got a business card and I followed up with them later. Thanks for a great article.

  4. I was taught at an early age how to introduce myself to strangers by my grandmother. Sounds odd, I know. Networking events always reminded me of junior high dances, everyone sees people, but they all stick to their little groups they know.After my first networking event with Rick, seeing him connect others together made it click for me. I didn’t really have to get my elevator speech perfect, usually whomever I introduced did the elevator speech for me- and that leads ot better conversations.Now the junior high dances are like a real party.But don’t tell my hubby, he thinks I’m working.

  5. Rick, you are right i did not mention that you didn;t talk about yourself……To piggy back that concept, the best sales advice i ever got, (other that how to create a positioning statement) was as follows….

    “You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionally.”

    I believe the same applies when working a room, and building trust.

  6. Chris, These are two very powerful tips to understand when it comes to sales. I love these positioning statement works like a charm and then once you put it out there shut up and listen to the response of the prospect. They talk themselves right into a sales conversation or talk themselves out of a sales conversation. This makes for a very effective and productive sales person.

  7. Don, this is a great article and a perfect example of why it is so important to experience a good networker’s skills once. Rick is awesome at this among many other things. This is such a good practice to not only read about or follow Rick’s lead, but also try to start applying to your daily life as you get back from inbound and are doing whatever you do weekly. Pick up the phone and have a conversation or go to a networking event and help someone else start making connections. And before you know it your schedule will be booked solid like Rick’s. Great post Don!One last thing. Remember that this technique can be applied in the digital world as well. How many people have you, us, we introduced in a linkedin group for promoted on twitter or on someone else’s blog? This stuff will come back to you and really help you build solid relationships. Hey Rick, slowly but surely, I think this stuff is starting to set in. THANKS!

  8. Don,Way to work the “online room” with all the shout outs. Everyone talks about how to work the room. I got really comfortable at networking events when I started to apply this mentality; you are not trying to do business with the people in the room, but rather the people that they know that are not in the room. When you take that approach you really are there to just meet people to find out not only what they do but who they know. You act more naturally and ask questions rather than talk about yourself and what you do.

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