Jared Weitz is Founder and CEO of United Capital Source Inc. He has been in the financial services industry for more than 10 years. Due to his extensive work experience and deep network of close relationships, he handles a multitude of different finance options for all his clients and contacts.
Recently, YEC spoke with Weitz about his experiences networking and his advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. His best advice is below.
What is one practical tip you’d give a young entrepreneur who is just setting out to build a professional network?
Make sure you find ways to add value to others before asking others for referrals that add value to you. Never jeopardize your reputation by being dishonest. Build your reputation on being able to get things done accurately and honestly.
Describe one situation in which a casual networking connection ended up later having a big impact on your business. What was the key to making this connection a lasting one?
I remember being at a networking breakfast and meeting someone as we walked in, who it turns out owned the largest mortgage bank in New York. We shared some similar views on discussion topics at the breakfast, afterward we exchanged information and to this day (eight years later) we still refer each other a lot of business. I had a long-time client who owned seven hotels and needed some help refinancing them. I was thankfully able to reach out to this gentlemen, who was able to step in and help a pretty impossible scenario. This hotel owner was so impressed he spoke to his network of other hotel owners and now we are one of the hotel’s top partners, handling their commercial mortgages.
What is the No. 1 quality a successful networker/connector needs to have, and why?
You need the ability to see. Few people can draw out a blueprint but even fewer can execute it. Whenever someone needs something from me involving a connection that is usually for a deal that needs to get done, I not only have the right connections for it but I can see the bigger picture and end goal and then assist in relaying that and helping to close the deal.
Which venues or events do you recommend other entrepreneurs use to make solid business connections?
I’m someone who believes food and drinks bring people together and so I involve myself in networking breakfasts and lunches, mixers, etc. I also try to find the best and most impactful publications in my industry that I can first contribute to and add value. Once I know I’ve added value, I believe it’s easier to network.
What systems, practices, or even apps/tools do you use to simplify networking and follow-ups?
I use my iCal all the time for appointment reminders and tasks. This also ties right into my Outlook Schedule and syncs each time I make an addition or change. I also tie my email into my CRM so that responses and questions are all tracked in a timeline. This helps when I need to go back and review something as well.
How can entrepreneurs introduce themselves memorably to a potentially important contact? What should they avoid?
Often times, someone gets so excited or nervous to introduce themselves to a large contact that they often forget how to be themselves. I always try to speak clearly and with confidence. I look someone in the eye and smile and shake their hand. I introduce myself with my whole name (first and last). I then try to use their name when speaking right away so I don’t forget it. Often, I’m able to handle my introductions with that coupled with a quick 3-4 sentences on a value-add we may be able to both provide to one another. I always follow up with them that night with an email and all of my contact information.
What was your biggest networking faux pas?
I think people should stay in their lanes. Not everyone can solve everything. It does no one good to be a jack of all trades but master of none. Whenever I meet someone who tells me that they can serve any industry and mentions stories about getting completely impossible deals done, I often think that the best press is the people you’re helping, not you yourself.