Transcript: Business Networking Lessons From The World’s Most Connected Influencer, Joe Polish

January 25, 2023

JOE POLISH: “When you are trying to pursue passions, you're thinking about, what sort of value can the world bring to me? When you're pursuing skills and capabilities, you’re what sort of value can I bring to the world? And so when you’re first starting out, what Cal Newport says is develop skills that are rare and valuable, and then put those into the marketplace at a level to where you get what he calls career capital: people know you as being good or useful in that area. And then once you have career capital, then you have control in your life. And until then, you don't really have any control.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.  

And yes, I'm coming to you on a Wednesday, with an extra-special interview episode. And the reason it's so special is that I'm speaking to successful entrepreneur, marketing extraordinaire, and master business connector, Joe Polish.  

So Joe and I have been friends for many, many years. It goes back to my Tony Robbins days. And Joe's created one of the most-elite business-networking groups in the world. It's called Genius Network. I literally just went to a Genius Network event a few months ago. It was extraordinary. And Joe has built many successful businesses. He hosts popular podcasts and changes lives through charitable causes. And really, I think what he's known for most is his very big heart. He's a very giving individual. So if you speak with anyone who knows Joe, they'll always say how impressive he is in terms of his businesses, but they'll always say how he leads with compassion and his heart, and he's always so genuine. So I think this is his secret for connecting in a way that is genuine and in a way that influences other people as well. I think you'll notice in this conversation that it's all about leading with value.  

So Joe has a new book out. It's called What's in It for Them? And I highly recommend you get this book. is where you go to grab the book. We'll talk a little bit about it in this interview. But I think my most-important part of the interview is when we get to the point where Joe walks you through the Magic Rapport Formula, ways to authentically connect with others so that you can network and you can build real relationships that will not only serve others, but also help you grow your business.  

I won't make you wait any longer. Let's bring on Joe. 

Hey, there, Joe. Thanks for joining me. 

JOE: Great to be here, Amy. Thank you very much. 

AMY: Oh, my gosh. When you said you would come on this podcast, I was so excited because we have been friends for so long, but I've never gotten to have, like, an in-depth conversation with you like this. And you literally wrote the book of my biggest weakness.  

So, networking is something that I am very awkward with, and I knew I was awkward with it. However, when I started to promote this book, I realized, whoa, I haven't done the greatest job of networking, and now I feel awkward asking favors of people that I haven't really had a real relationship with. So I wish you wrote this many, many years ago, but I'm so glad it's out in the world now. 

JOE: No, thank you. And by the way, you do follow the principles of the book What’s in It for Them? because that’s how I’ve always received you, perceived you, experienced you, that you—I mean, look, even what you're doing for all of your listeners, I mean, you share what you've learned, you share with them. You go through—I mean, you're thinking about what's in it for them, and that… So, and I'll define how I think of old-school networking versus, like, what I have found to be the most-effective way to connect with people. And I'll also share tons of mistakes I've made, too. Not tons, but I’ll share a few. 

AMY: Okay, good. I’m so glad. 

So, let's start at the top. Many of my listeners will know who you are, but some of them are new to entrepreneurship and they won't. So tell people a little bit about yourself and how you got started. Like, I look at you as a master networker and a master marketer. How did you get there? 

JOE: Well, here’s what's funny is when I was growing up, I was shy and introverted. And if you would have ever told me back then that I would ever write books or publicly speak or got to know a bunch of people, it wouldn't even have been a reality that if my brain at that time could have been able to comprehend. And I am also an introverted person who has forced myself to put myself out there. I wouldn’t say extroverted because if I go to cocktail parties or go to events where I don't know people, I don't feel at ease. It feels often very uncomfortable to go to approach people and to say hello and that sort of stuff. Even though most people would never notice that I'm uncomfortable with it, I experience that.  

So in a lot of ways, I figured this stuff out because early on I realized that whatever I don't fear—let's say it this way: whatever you fear and don't face controls you— 

AMY: Amen. 

JOE: —whatever you fear and take steps to face, you can not only control it, not in all cases, you can certainly get better at it.  

So I was disconnected growing up. I was mentally in a very negative place most of my childhood. My mother died when I was four. My father—broke his heart. He was devastated. He never really recovered from the death of my mom. And so every year to two years, my entire childhood, we would always move. And so I would go to school; finally make some friends; we would uproot, go to another city or another town; and I just never felt comfortable. And I was always thrust in these situations of having to meet new people and stuff. That didn't make me better at connecting and networking. What it did is it made me depressed and anxious. And then I was sexually abused as a child. I felt like a worthless human. Became a drug addict when I was in high school, in my junior and senior year. Really, my senior year was my worst time. And I was just in bad shape. 

And what ended up happening, though—and this is going to sound a very strange way of how does one know that you could connect to people. When I would get high, before it turned on me—and what I mean turned on me, I didn't know when to stop—I actually became social. And I realized I was filled with fear, and if I inebriated myself, I could overcome the fear. So one of the reasons why people drink, one of the reasons why people take substances is oftentimes it makes them feel more social. The challenge, though, is it was a mask, and I became a bad cocaine addict. Cocaine gives you a really big dopamine hit. Didn't understand that back then. Didn't even know what the word dopamine was back then.  

But what happened, though, is I became a really bad drug addict. And so I got to the point where when I was eighteen years old, in my worst state, I weighed about a hundred twenty pounds, on average. And then one week, I had eaten hardly anything. And I remember weighing myself, and I weighed a hundred five pounds. I'd gotten—if you could imagine a male, eighteen years old, 5’10”, skinny as a rail, right?  

And so I realized I needed to get out of where I was living, which was in Arizona at the time. I'm back in Arizona, but I moved away for a couple years, lived in a trailer, and got sober. The first six months were grueling. But one of the jobs that I got was selling gym memberships at a health club. I, then, got into physical exercise and selling and realized, you know, studying the art of persuasion and then physically exercising made me feel better. Knowing that I could say things in a certain way, help lead people into something that was good for them, gave me confidence.  

And so part of it is if you feel that what you're doing in the world is contributing and adding value to others, it oftentimes helps you. May not remove all elements of awkwardness or shyness, but that certainly helped.  

But this is going to—another thing that’ll sound weird. Someone eventually offered me a job, a guy that had a membership to the gym, to work at a facility that helped people with mental illnesses and stuff. And I used to drive the addicts, alcoholics, and drug addicts to AA meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous; NA meetings, Narcotics Anonymous; and CA meetings, Cocaine Anonymous. And I would sit in on those meetings, not realizing later in life what an impact that that would actually have on my life. 

AMY: Right. 

JOE: And so I’ll tell you, without going into a long story, part of my journey with connecting was being in a state of addiction, where you're disconnected, because the opposite of addiction is connection. And so I craved human connection. I craved wanting to feel meaningful. And I never felt that as a child. My father never remarried. And I just, you know, I spent so much time in just deep, deep mental anguish.  

And later, as an adult, I learned marketing. I studied marketing out of desperation. When I came back to Arizona, I started a carpet-cleaning business because a friend talked me into it. And here I was, in a position selling something nobody wants to buy. And when you have to figure out how to effectively sell a product or service that nobody really wants—they only do it because you kind of have the carpet, and you're kind of stuck with it, and the cat may pee in the corner, or the husband may spill his coffee or something, or the boss is coming over for dinner, or whatever the event is that causes people to say, “Hey, I should maybe clean this house up.” I was in that sort of business, and I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I spent a couple of years going deeply in debt in credit cards, back in the early ’90s. This was, like, 1990 to 1992. For people that are younger, I'm, like, an old dude. I'll be fifty-five next year. But back then, I used to have long hair and a ponytail. It was really funny. 

AMY: Stop it. 

JOE: No, I did. I mean, you can still find one picture. One day I should just upload a bunch of them online so people can— 

AMY: Totally. 

JOE: —just find them. I don't care what people think about that. I have a picture with me and Brian Tracy from years ago, where Brian was speaking at one of my events because I made a commitment that I'm going to figure out how to become a millionaire looking any way I want, with long hair and a ponytail. And it's me and Brian Tracy. That photo still lives online. People can find it. And it's me with this long-ass ponytail, standing next to Brian Tracy, who just interviewed me, like, last week. I've known the guy forever. 

AMY: Oh, that's cool.  

JOE: Yeah. But that's—I, basically, you know, I had to sell. I had to survive. And, you know, necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, right? So if given the choice of starving or eating, most people would rather eat. And so going out and interacting and having to produce results and trying to make my business work is what kind of thrust me into that world. I can go on and on, but I want to put a pause on it to see if I'm making sense or not here. 

AMY: Okay. So tell people what you do now. What are you known for? 

JOE: What am I known for? Let's see. A lot of things. Today I spend about half my time with high-level entrepreneurs. I have Genius Network, which is my group.  

AMY: So cool. 

JOE: Yeah. Thank you. And it's one of the highest-level entrepreneurial groups. Started off as a mastermind. I don't really think of it as a mastermind anymore. We do do mastermind, but it's a who network, where people come and find the right whos. And it's, you know, very smart, talented people. And I try to assemble unicorns, where I bring the smartest industry transformers together, people that are the best in the world or one of the best in the world in their category, and I put them together. And as long as there's good food, good location, good people, and good conversations, you don't need a lot of props. I don't VIP-rope people. I don't play status games. Everyone there, if you want to even use the word status, already has high status because they're already accomplished in order to get into the room. And then, people pay more for not who's in the room, but for who's not in the room. So that's a big emphasis on let's just have… 

So the way I like to think of my life now is I try to assemble the best group I can of non-narcissistic, achievement-minded givers, which sounds maybe weird, but I spend my time wanting to empower the givers of the world to be better, more-boundary givers, and not waste their, what I call, TAMEE, which is, in chapter two of my book, Time, Attention, Money, Effort, and Energy. Those are the things we can spend on people that actually respect and appreciate you, because I've wasted a lot of time helping people that took advantage. And looking back, I didn't notice not only the red flags but the yellow flags. 

So I have a group called Genius Network. That's where a big part of my business is, and everything ties into that.  

And then, I spend about half my time helping people that struggle with addiction. So I have a foundation called Genius Recovery, and the goal of that is to change the global conversation about how people view and treat addicts, with compassion instead of judgment, and to find the best forms of treatment that have efficacy and share that with the world. So it's all free educational resources on meetings, where to find meetings, twelve-step and non-twelve-step meetings, podcasts, videos of all kinds of people like Gabor Maté, who, you know, you recently saw when I did an interview with Gabor, and just addicts themselves, because there's a lot of very successful people, as you know, Amy, who are workaholics.  

And that's something I've always had to challenge myself with because it's really—workaholism is a respectable addiction. You get rewarded for achievement, and you can make money, and you can gain status. And oftentimes, the compulsivity of work is very seductive and very deceptive because you can be sacrificing your health and your family and your time and even caught up in things that don't even feel good and aren't very good for you—you can be sleep deprived. There's all kinds of stuff—and not even be aware of it because you're under this guise of achievement. And so I want to help, you know, entrepreneurial addicts. They're oftentimes the very same people.  

Those are the two groups who I want to be a hero to. So I have Genius Network. I have my foundation. I also own a forty-acre ghost town called Cleator, Arizona, that I bought with a couple of friends that we want to make this the most-famous little ghost town in America. Today I had about three hours of Zoom meetings earlier today, just planning out our first art event that we're going to do there and an event that I'm going to do with the university. 

And look at that beautiful dog anyone that's only listening to the audio is missing. 

AMY: Oh, Scout. He has to come in. He likes this conversation.  

JOE: Yeah.  

And so I have a ghost town. I have a VR company called GeniusX that I'm part co-founder of, and we're putting addiction-recovery programs and meditation. Let’s see. Currently, at the time we're doing this, it's the only educational app on the Oculus store. So we're reinventing education.  

AMY: Cool. 

JOE: I think we did the very first podcast in VR ever. Yeah, all kinds of cool stuff. 

And then I have equity in about twenty-seven other companies. But they’re usually things that are related to health, wealth, and E.L.F. Health, mental and physical. E.L.F. is easy, lucrative, and fun. And so wealth is not just making money, but not losing money. And so, you know, a lot of stuff that you empower people with, too. So, I mean, there's a lot of congruency here.  

AMY: Yeah. 

JOE: We're just trying to help entrepreneurs. I mean, that's what we do. We both get a kick out of helping people because we've been through the wringer ourselves, and we've spent a lot of time and money. And yeah, I just, I get a real kick out of helping people. 

AMY: Okay. Well, speaking of helping people, you just wrote an incredible book, and I want to talk about it. And one of the things that you said early on in this interview that I want to get right back to is old-school networking versus new-school networking, what's working now. Can you talk to me about the differences of those two? 

JOE: Yeah. So here's the thing. Like, oftentimes there are people think that if you just go out—and old school would be handing out business cards. Let's go meet as many people as we can. And even today, if you look at influencers and wanting to get a lot of followers, I mean, what are you actually influencing, and what is the result and the outcome you're trying to do? You’re just wanting to meet people for the sake of meeting it? Or what is it that you're trying to facilitate? 

AMY: Yes. 

JOE: If you want just… So, Verne Harnish is a buddy of mine. He's the founder of EO, and he gave me a really great endorsement of the book. The endorsement he gave me is how to make real friends versus deal friends. So my sense is it's not just about going out and winning friends and influencing people. I've always loved Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I even write about in What's in It for Them?  that What's in It for Them? would not exist had it not been for How to Win Friends and Influence People. Even in my twenties, I went to a Dale Carnegie twelve-week course on how to win friends and influence people, and it would go through all the different things. And I've studied so much about persuasion and influence.  

However, what I've learned over the years, it's not about just winning friends; it's winning the right friends, and it's influencing the right people. So my whole approach is how to win the right friends and influence right people. Only align yourself with people that are aligned with you. And the first chapter is be a pain detective. I talk about, it's not called that, but we talk about being a pain detective because I believe that all humans are walking around with some area of their life that hurts, that is troublesome, that has anxiety. And it can be very minor things like, “I don't like my clothes. I want to buy new clothes,” to “I'm deeply addicted,” or “I have lost a loved one,” or “I had a breakup.” And so humans are looking for more woo and less ah. 

AMY: What does that mean, “more woo and less ah”? 

JOE: Woo is like, I'm excited. Like, woo! Woo! You know, I'm excited. Anyone listening to this is they're hoping they're going to hear something that will maybe be useful to them, right? Some sort of woo. If you're going to go eat lunch, you want some woo. Oftentimes, you know, you listen to music because why you like some music and not others because some represents woo and excitement and joy and feeling good, and ah is annoyance or depression or pain.  

Now, there's a lot of things that we pursue that seem like they give us woo in the moment, but they leave us with a lot of ah. So my whole thing with relationships is I want people to do a gut check, and as they're approaching somebody, are you approaching them because you want something? Do you have this clingy wanting? “Let me just be nice to them” opportunistic sort of energy? Or are you interacting with people at a level to where there isn't an agenda to try to get something from them?  

Now, let me clarify this. So genius networking versus regular networking, even though I have a company called Genius Networking, I believe every problem in the world can be solved with the right genius network. You have your own genius network, people that actually have a good network of people. There are people that have skills and capabilities that when you can combine them together, they give you advantages, and it's about collaboration. It's not… So there's a big difference between pursuing an opportunity versus being an opportunist. And in order to have a genius network, you have to be a genius networker, and you have to do genius networking. So it's like a be, do, have, right?  

So genius networking is where you're actually approaching people with the question, what's in it for them? How can I bring more value to them for no other reason other than just to be valuable? We all want something. Everybody wants something. However, when I show up with wanting something that involves asking another person or wanting someone else to do it, I always do my best to show up with my give equal to or greater than my want. 

AMY: Ooh, that’s good. Okay. 

JOE: You’re the same way. I mean, when I say you're the same way, I mean, we even had a conversation, you know, a couple months ago, right, about a text thing, where, you know, even asking for stuff. I mean, you're a person that's highly empathetic, and you are conscientious, and a lot of people are not. They just ask for stuff, and they don't give a shit. They're just hoping that the person's going to—you know, if I just ask enough. So the ability to feel empathy is an amazing way to connect with people and to network with people if you want to use that term. 

But my whole thing is make sure that your give is greater to or at least equal to your want when you're asking somebody for something. And if you do that, I have found givers get more than takers, and life gives to the giver and takes from the taker. And my real goal is to give people connection capabilities is the sort of the hidden trick, you know, the book, What's in It for Them? It's a capability book, but it also is a book to get people to look at their characters, because there's a lot of people in the world that have great capabilities. There's connecting, and then there's, you know, there's people that really connect, and then there's con-nectors where they actually connect with people by conning them. And some of the most famous speakers and social-media personalities, they have learned to mirror empathy, and they've learned to look into a camera or look someone in the eyes or say something with a tone of voice that causes them to believe, “Oh, this person's really authentic, and they really care.” But if you hang around them behind the scenes, you actually see, how do they treat people? How do they treat their team? How do they treat people? Are they pursuing growth? Are they pursuing status? And I feel growth is always a much more important thing to pursue than status, because if you really help grow, if you grow yourself, you help other people grow, the status will come with it. And it'll be real status. It won’t be bought and paid for, you know, positioning games. You're either communicating with someone, just talking with them. You're connecting, where you're feeling on the same page. You're feeling comfortable. You know, there's sort of a deeper sort of connection. Or you're trying to escape.  

Those are usually the three experiences that we have. And so I am always gauging when I'm with someone, am I trying to get away from here? Do I feel a good energy? And if I do feel good with them, why? What's happening, and how do I need to do more of that? And sometimes if you're feeling like you're trying to escape, it may be becau—not them. It may be you like their money. And they're approaching you saying, hey, you know, so you got to also look at your side of the street and their side of the street. But if you come at any sort of interaction with someone, be it in person or online or over the phone, if you really look at the energy and you sit and think, “What is it about this person that I feel good with, and why?” then you start to identify, what are the traits and characteristics that you really connect with, and you can seek out more of those types of people and do more of that behavior yourself. 

AMY: Ooh, I love that. I think that's a great insight to share.  

And you said earlier, I think the acronym is TAMEE. Is that right? 

JOE: Yeah. I don’t call it that in the book, but I’ve actually—I just talk about the five things you can spend—Time, Attention, Money, Effort, and Energy—but it spells TAMEE, with two e’s.  

AMY: It’s so perfect. So talk to me about that. Why did you bring that up in the book? How does that relate to connecting with people more? How can you use that? 

JOE: Yeah. So, okay, so if you think about you can either spend or you can invest. I have really trained myself to look at everything that I do as an investment. Am I going to invest my time, my attention, my money, my effort, and energy into this person, into this project, into this activity? I look at it in the beginning as an investment because I want to see, what do I need to do? How do I be a good provider of this investment? What do I need to bring? because you can throw money at something, but if you don't give it attention, if you don't give it time, if you don't give it effort, you don't give it energy, it's not going to show up the same way, because money’s only one aspect.  

You know, and there's different ways that we get paid. You know, I write about in the book this opportunity-filter process that I learned from my friend Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach. And there's five ways you get paid in life. You get paid, the first is you get rewarded. So money. People give you money. The second is people appreciate you. The third is people can utilize you. The fourth is they can refer you. And the fifth is it enhances you. And I used to read all these books on how much is my time worth per hour. Then I would find myself constantly spending time on things that wasn't making me the most money. And I would be like, “Yeah. I know I'm A.D.D. and distractible and all that jazz. But I would be like, what the hell's wrong with me? I'm so bad at managing my time. Why am I looking at this video, or why am I spending time with this person when I could be talking to someone else that’s going to make me a lot more money?”  

And then I learned that process. It’s like, I like making money. I’m not a person to pooh-pooh money. People that say money can’t buy happiness, it’s a stupid statement. I buy happiness all the time. And people that think money can't buy happiness, you haven't given enough of it away. You can be a rich, miserable human. But there's other people that need medical care that you could change their lives with money. So money, you know, if you have enough money to solve the problem, you don't have a problem.  

So how do you become a better networker? You just start being more useful, more generous, more grateful. You invest your time, attention, money, effort, and energy with people that appreciate it, with people that utilize it. You develop yourself as being a useful person. And being a giver, I believe, does not mean not having boundaries. It does not mean that just give away everything and don't ever ask for something. What it means is you show up with not thinking that your best ideas and your best contributions and your best contacts are fine China and that you can never share them with anyone. As a matter of fact, the more you give, the more that you will get. The more appreciation, whatever you want more of, whatever you reinforce and reward, you will get more of.  

So my whole thing to people is, you know, if you don't have any skills, as you know—have you ever read any Cal Newport stuff?  

AMY: I think a while ago, yeah.  

JOE: Yeah. So Cal Newport, I've interviewed him, and he's, you know, he's written several books, but one of his very first books was So Good They Can’t Ignore You 

AMY: Yes. Yes.  

JOE: And he has a thing, and I'll just say it here, especially for the people that listen that often hear, “Follow your passion,” he did a lot of research on that. And I have the same mindset about it, too, because I always thought, in the right context, I understand, yeah. You know, do what you love. You know, follow things you're excited about. I mean, in a lot of ways, my addiction-recovery stuff is my “passion project,” although I try not to use the word passion too much, because when you are trying to pursue passions, you're thinking about, what sort of value can the world bring to me? When you're pursuing skills and capabilities, you’re what sort of value can I bring to the world? And so when you’re first starting out, what Cal Newport says is develop skills that are rare and valuable, and then put those into the marketplace at a level to where you get what he calls career capital: people know you as being good or useful in that area. And then once you have career capital, then you have control in your life. And until then, you don't really have any control.  

And so, you know, I'm looking at all of this is what are the capabilities that need to be solved? And the question I ask people is, what's in it for them? is what I'm thinking in my head. And I'm always asking, and I don't always mean I'm asking them verbally. I will think, I will listen to what they say, what do they complain about? And I will say, okay, if I can give them a connection, if I can give them a solution.  

And the way that I do that is I connect with pain. And so my time, attention, money, effort, and energy is my form of water that I water the plant, but I look for where it needs it. I look for what it is they’re looking for. That whole thing about find a need and fill it, we've all heard that a million times, but it's really find a want and fill it.  

There's many things that people need to do, but they don't do. People do what they want to do, not what they need to do. People need to eat healthier foods, but they don't often want to eat healthier foods. People, you could argue, need to have protected sex, but many people don't. You know, there's all kinds of things that people do what they want to do. So it's I look for the pain, and I look for where they're hurting, and I bond and connect on that level, not in a manipulative way, in a way that's genuine, in a way that I feel is connecting. And if I don't feel that way, I step back, and I just observe, or I'll ask questions. And not just for business. This is not just about how to sell things to people. As a matter of fact, you know, one of the ways to best sell somebody anything is to do all the positioning in advance. Like my friend Robert Cialdini, he wrote a whole book called Pre-Suasion. It's not the influence moment that makes the difference; it's all of the things that happened before that moment that lead more to the sale. So you know, I've done a lot of selling, I've done a lot of marketing, but positioning is what you do in advance. Even when I was a carpet cleaner, when I was a dead-broke carpet cleaner, I would still use education-based marketing. I would offer a free room of carpet cleaning. I made more money giving away free carpet cleaning than I ever did price discounting my services. 

AMY: I could see that. I could see why that would work. But something that you said earlier I want to bring you back to, and that is sometimes people will reach out to me, and I think that it’s their way of networking, where they'll say, “How can I help you, Amy? What can I do? How can I serve you?” And it's the most-awkward question to me. I personally hate it, and I feel as though I never know how to answer it. But I don't think that that is a great way to network when you put it on the other person, where it sounds like what you're saying is do the work and find out how you can add value based on studying them, listening to them, learning what they need. Is that what you're saying? 

JOE: Yes, yes. It is. So when they show up with, like, “Amy, how can I help you?” here's the reason it probably annoys you: because you can sense it's not the words that they're saying. Probably not in all cases, because some really nice, great people just want to be helpful. And I guarantee you it's the person who's saying it to. Some people that will say that to you, you know that they don't give a shit about helping you. They're just trying to take something and they're trying to act and build some sort of fake rapport. So you’re like Reid Tracy from Hay House. When I was interviewing him, he said Louise Hays used to listen for the inner ding, you know, the inner ding in you that is, like, okay, something's going on here. You're picking up your Spidey senses or picking up some energetic sort of weird energy with it, and you don’t know how to respond to it.  

I think the better thing to do is, for one, in advance, know as much as you can about somebody, especially if you're going to approach them in a business sort of scenario. And oftentimes it's like, what's driving you crazy right now? If I could wave a magic wand, what would you love to have happen? A question that I really love is, what needs solved? 

AMY: Mm. 

JOE: Because for me, what needs solved? actually helps me on what to give my time, attention, money, and effort, and energy to. So for instance, I'm always thinking, how do you solve one problem that solves ten problems? How do you solve one problem that solves fifty problems? An example would be if you are having trouble focusing and staying on task, it's probably, maybe you're sleep deprived. Maybe you're overwhelmed. And so if you're overwhelmed, you're probably not sleeping well. So if you got better at sleeping, there’d probably be, like, five or ten problems in your life that would instantly disappear. They wouldn't even exist anymore. It could be moodiness. It could be eating cleaner foods. It could be, you know, I'm not exercising. Why? Because I'm tired. Okay, is it because you have an exercise problem, or you have a tired problem? Fix the sleep, then all these other things happen. So I will often approach people with knowing what needs to be solved. And if I don't, I will find ways to have them identify it or flat out tell me based on the level of rapport that I have with the person. And a lot of that is just showing up, really caring. You know, it's not what you say, oftentimes; it's how you say it and if you really do have a true connection with the person. 

AMY: It’s so true. It's so true.  

Okay. So one of the things we talked about right before you came on was this idea of the Magic Rapport Formula. And you've got all these skills that you break down in the book, and you don't have to go through all of them, because I want people to grab this book. I want them to really digest all of this. But take me through. Why did you create this? What does it do for people? Why is it important? 

JOE: Well, so there was—I don't know if you ever knew Fabienne Fredrickson.  

AMY: Yes, I do.  

JOE: This is literally in 2009, 2009. So, Fabienne, she wanted to interview me, and so I went through all these different ways that I connect with people. And at the end of it, she goes, “You know, I'm really good at naming things, so I'm going to call this the Magic Rapport Formula. Everything you talked about, here's what it is you do.” And she went through this whole thing, and it was so good that we ended up—you know, when I started my first podcast, which I had you on, I Love Marketing, one of our most-liked episodes is episode number 29, which I did in 2010, on the Magic Rapport Formula. And I look back, it almost seems kind of embarrassing because I'm name dropping, and I'm talking about all this stuff. But I explain how I meet the people and what I do.  

And here's the thing, before we start talking, I have a riff list because I'm a super-distractible person. People ask, “Why did you write the book What's in It for Them?” In a lot of ways, I wrote it for myself. I wanted to document and really think deeply about what I do, how do I do it? What have I done that works in my life? What have I done that was a total mistake? So my book is a bit of here's the things that work, and here's the cautionary tales so you don't, you know, metaphorically get the crap beat out of you with going out and… Because here's the thing. Like, if you apply being useful to takers, you will get taken advantage of. It's not a matter of if or when. It's going to happen. Everyone that is a giver in the world is a target for takers and narcissists. The question, though, is not that you're not going to get taken advantage of. The question is how to boundary yourself and how to put your TAMEE—time, attention, money, effort, and energy—into the ones that matter.  

So I'm going to just rattle off the Magic Rapport checklist so you hear them all, and then we can go pick a couple and go a little deeper. So the first is focus on how you will help them or reduce their suffering. So the focus with the question is what's in it for them? So that's the first thing I do. Second is invest time, money, effort, time—TAMEE—time, attention, money, effort, and energy into relationships. You can be in the transaction business, or you can be in the transformation business. And if you really go, most people go very shallow. They don't go deep. You're better off going an inch wide and a mile deep. You're better off having, you know, five really good-quality, important, valuable relationships than trying to have, you know, fifty.  

AMY: Yes. 

JOE: Well, let me say this for all the people that listen to you, because here you are, you're promoting a book for me, and I appreciate that, and that’s awesome. We’re talking about my book and all that jazz. And you’re always acknowledging, you’ll say to your guests, “Where can people go find more information about you?” and all that. But here's what I would say. Unless someone really resonates with me and they like what I'm saying, then buy my book. If not, don't just go get another book. You're better off mastering one book than reading fifty books. You're better off, you know, if you like Amy's podcast, don't listen to fourteen other podcasts on the same topic. Find the person you resonate with and go really deep. If you really like Amy’s stuff, buy everything that Amy sells and go deep with her work, because you will get more leverage that way. And so I'm a big believer in, you know, mastering something or the techniques versus, you know, trying to be a jack of all trades.  

And, you know, these people that are listening to, you know, young people, and I have genius use, so I'm around a lot of young people all the time. And I’ll always have a few of them are like, “Yeah, I've listened to three podcasts today at two-times speed.” I'm like, “You know, you’d probably be better off listening to one of them and space it out every few days, and then what are you actually doing with it?” You know, and I understand the overactive brain. I mean, I've done all that stuff. But anyway, so, yeah, invest to go deep with stuff.  

Be the type of person they would always answer the phone for. A great test of energy, when the next time your phone rings—and for those people that don't even use the phone for a phone. They're, like, they never make phone calls; it’s all social media or text or whatever—then the next time you get a message and you look at it and you’re like woo, you get excited that, you know, that excitement in you, or you ah, then ask yourself, what is it about this person that is making me not feel excited? And if you owe them money, and they're calling you to collect it, they're not the asshole again; you're the jerk.  

AMY: Yeah. 

JOE: So assuming, I’m going to make the assumption here, that you're being a cool human and you're getting reached by someone that bugs you, it's probably because they have a taker energy. So if people are not answering the phone for you, then you need to be like, who do I need to be? How do I need to show up so that people are excited to get my call? So when someone asks, you know, “Amy, how can I help you?” but it's someone that you really know wants to help you, has helped you, is helpful, not asking you how to be helpful, one of the best ways is not ask someone how to be helpful; it's to just be helpful.  

AMY: Yeah. 

JOE: You know, you don't even need to ask. It's like, hey, I'm just going to anticipate. And a lot of people, it's really hard. I mean, you either got the anticipation understanding or you don't. I don't know how to teach anticipation, but when you're able to identify what someone wants in advance and if you listen to what they complain about, if you learn what it is they're interested in, it's not that difficult. I had to figure all this stuff out before the Internet even existed. Now you can follow someone on social media, you can do a few searches online, and you can get more information that it would have taken us weeks to do, you know, twenty-five years ago. I mean, it’s crazy. 

So, yeah, be the type of person they would always answer the phone for. So provide value first. You know, be an energy charger rather than an energy drainer. So be useful, grateful, invaluable. First off, what's in it for them? How can I be useful for someone? What's something that I can be grateful for today? 

I have the chapter, it's like, treat others the way you want to be treated to the way they—I marked out you—they want to be treated. 

AMY: Ooh, that’s good. That’s so good.  

JOE: So treat people the way they want to be treated. 

The next one is avoid formalities. Be fun and memorable, not boring. Life is hard. Relationships are difficult, and they can be really good in the beginning. But until you've had your heart ripped out of your chest a few times and you've been betrayed—and hopefully, that doesn't happen to anyone—however, if you're human, it will probably happen more than once, and you will go through periods where you thought someone was so amazing. And then, like Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until I punch him in the face. And so you're going to get punched in the face. And oftentimes, when things are really difficult, more of a reason to try to find the fun and the humor in stuff because it lessens the pain.  

I had a dear friend, Dave Kekich, who spent half his life in a wheelchair, and he created these credos called Kekich Credos. And Dave, when he was in his mid-thirties, he was a millionaire in the 1970s, when that was a lot of money. He had a beautiful girlfriend, house on Huntington Beach, convertible Mercedes, used to exercise and jog daily. And he told me, in the ‘70s a lot of people didn’t jog. He’s, like, it really was weird because it didn't—exercise, in many cases, many people really didn't exercise for health. It was, like, they either played sports or they didn't.  

And he had a freak accident where he became paralyzed and literally lost the use of his legs, could never have sex again. His girlfriend left him. His business partner stole all his money. And he was left in a wheelchair, trying to travel the world, finding a cure back in the ’70s, where they could not fix his spinal-cord injury. And so he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. And he died last year. He was a dear friend.  

But, man, this guy built such an incredible mind and was such a positive person, and he wrote these credos. And knowing him and living his life in a wheelchair, it has more meaning than if I just said, “This guy, Dave Kekich, said this.” So that's why I gave that set up to it. He said, “Life is seldom as great as it seems when it's going well. We're seldom as bleak as it seems when it's going wrong. Lighten up; you'll live longer.”  

And so the thing is, is bring a sense of lightness. You can usually gauge the value of relationships with how often you laugh with somebody. And if you are really hurting or in pain, like, go out and find someone who's in more pain than you. It's counterintuitive, but if you think your life sucks, go be helpful to someone whose life sucks more than yours. And you will instantly feel better, and you will be able to contribute to them because if you're stuck in your own head, that's a hard place to be. You know, silent battles are the hardest battles to fight, and you’re sick as your secrets. And so you got to get this stuff out. 

And, then, humor. I tell people in the book, I give recommendations. One of them is go to clown school. If you can find a clown school near you, which will teach you weird stuff. Take an improv class. Watch comedy. If you're introverted and shy, take an improv class. It will frickin’ challenge you. But, oh, my god, you will get better at thinking on your feet, you'll find it humorous and funny, and it will help you come out of your shell. And the fact is, you know, this ain't a dress rehearsal. I mean, and it also is a dress rehearsal. Now, what the hell do I mean by that? It's, like, take life seriously. It is significant. But also, you know, if you go to a comedy club or you take an improv class, what's the worst that's going to happen? You know, you're going to not be as funny, but you're put yourself around people that believe in you and are trying to help you and are going through the same thing.  

People have said this to us many times, you know, like if we're speaking an event, like “What do I do? I’m trying to learn how to do marketing,” as an example. They're listening to your podcast or something. And they'll be like, “What I need to do?” And I always remind them, “You're actually doing it. You're here.” 

AMY: Yeah. 

JOE: “You’re listening. You're doing it.” Now, there's other things I can point you in the direction, and I can suggest this technique and this methodology. And yes, you should keep learning, and you need to test. And you don’t just listen to stuff; you actually need to try to execute all that. But the fact is, you showed up. You're in the game.  

And so when it comes to humor, try to find the humor in stuff because comedy, what comedy is, is pain plus time equals comedy. There's all kinds of things we can think about in the moment, it was not funny. It hurt like hell. But you look back, and you’d be like, “I can't believe I was so worked up over that.” 

AMY: Yeah. 

JOE: Or “That person left me. What an idiot. They didn't realize what they lost.” 

AMY: Yes. 

JOE: “And they were such a jerk to me,” you know, because every person that you're going—for whoever broke your heart and you're going to a workshop because of the broken heart, there's a good chance that they're going—and you're trying to get over this person and get over this pain—there's a good chance that they're going to a workshop or seminar to get over you. So the fact is we hurt each other and not always intentionally.  

But, yeah, avoid formalities, lighten up, be human, make jokes, be funny, and hang out with other people that are funny.  

Let me—I'll go quicker. Sorry. I go on a lot of tangents. 

AMY: You’re good. 

JOE: Appreciate people. You know, like, the depreciation in the economic terms is when something goes down in value. Appreciate people. You know, people really are doing the best they know how to do. And that's not an excuse for letting people get away with hurting you or violence or lack of integrity or utter incompetence. You know, people will make mistakes. But just appreciate people. And appreciate people that appreciate you. Be the first giver. But if they just keep taking and taking, doesn't mean you stop being a giver. It just means you stop being a giver to that person because that person is a taker, and that person is not very reciprocal.  

So I made that mistake, and this is a hard pill to swallow, is whoever cares the least controls the relationship unless you have rapport with them and they care about you at a deep level. Because think about who you are in a love relationship with. You can be vulnerable. You can cry. They're not going to manipulate you. They're not going to take advantage of you. But in the beginning, and if it's a negotiation, like in a business deal or you're dealing with a taker, whoever cares the least controls the relationship.  

So early on, and you’ll hear this mostly from my female friends, even though my male friends too, you often hear people, especially when they're single, they'll say things like, “You know, I want to meet someone that doesn't play games.” And it's like, okay, well, what they’re really saying is, “I don't want to get hurt. I don't want to get taken advantage of,” because if you can play games and you win, you’d want to play games all day long. It's fun to play games and win, and humans play games. But what they're usually talking about is the context of playing manipulative games or taking advantage of or being used.  

And, like, the people that will not like my book are the takers because I talk shit about them. And secondly, I mean, and it could be my excuse to just say that anyone that does not resonate with my book must be a taker, and that's not always the case, of course. You know, I mean, hopefully, you know, my book really resonates with people, and I put a lot of work and a lot of time into it.  

But I will tell you, like, humans play games, and they do it because they have been taken advantage of, and they're trying to put up walls. And so you don't really know who the person is until you develop rapport.  

So part of the thing with appreciating people is don't just read a book or hear what they say and say, “Oh, I think this person is awesome.” Like, really get to know them. And who becomes my inner-circle friends, not just people I associate with in business because I have thousands of acquaintances and business contacts and relationships. I'm a weirdo that can track literally hundreds of people. There’s that Dunbar law that after a hundred fifty people, you can’t, you know—I mean, I interact with literally thousands of people. But there’s only a handful, a few dozen, that are really, that I'm interacting with year long, year round, all the time.  

And part of it is who becomes an inner-circle, close friend? How are people that are more powerful treat people that are less powerful than them? Those are the people I appreciate. Like, you know, do you say thank you if someone opens up a door? Do you open up the door for someone else? How are you to a server at a restaurant? Are you really nice to everyone that's above you that you're trying to curry favor for, but you treat other people like they're lesser mortals? You scream at your staff. You're just a real jerk. And so I watch people not on stage or when they're performing; I watch them when they're not performing. Are they lying? Are they manipulative? And that's who I determine who becomes my inner-circle friends. And I really appreciate those people. 

And once I start doing that, I realize that I have way more time, attention, money, effort, and energy because I'm not squandering it on all the jerks. You know, there’s that whole saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. You know, we've all heard that. What my buddy Peter Diamandis says, a squeaky wheel gets replaced.  

So I look at it as—and I've a whole section in, where I go deep in the whole concept of E.L.F. It's the first time I've said it, I think, here. But it's really important. This is one of the most-important things of a filtering mechanism for me is E.L.F. versus H.A.L.F. You’re familiar with this, but easy, lucrative, and fun. I used to only look at that as marketing techniques, like, I want to do prerecorded messages, and I want to have copy that replicates myself, and I want to automate everything to make it easy, lucrative, and fun. That's what marketing does versus face-to-face selling. How do you clone yourself? All this stuff that I got when I originally learned marketing. But now I apply it to people. I apply it to projects. I apply it to activities. Is it easy, lucrative, and fun? And if there's no money involved, is it easy, liberating, and fun? I want things that are liberating versus H.A.L.F.—hard, annoying, lame, and frustrating. So get rid of people that are H.A.L.F.—hard, annoying, oftentimes lucrative, and frustrating. So no H.A.L.F.s,  and then you will have time for E.L.F.  

And I go through, like, this whole thing with Chris Voss, who's the former top international FBI hostage negotiator. He took the E.L.F. versus H.A.L.F. concept of mine, and he came up with all these different things that if people say them in advance, they identify themselves as they're going to be H.A.L.F.  

Like, for instance, and this is going to sound weird, if someone says, “I want this to be a win-win relationship,” if they say that too early, they’re normally going to be a H.A.L.F. Now, I want things to be win-win. I've said that many times. But it's not saying it or intending for it; it's when you say it. So someone shows up really early on, say, “I want this to be a win-win,” they usually mean, “I want it to be a win-win for me, not for you.” So those are things. And so appreciate people.  

The eighth one—I’ve only got two more—give value on the spot. So if someone is saying, you know, “I'm looking for something,” and you have a book or you have a podcast, it is, like, sort of like how many times have people said, “Amy, I really need help with this,” and you're like, “Listen to my podcast,” right? Go here. You're giving value on the spot. You're directing them to something. You can give them a contact for somebody. You can connect them. It's usually a connection thing.  

And if someone's like, “You know, we should get together one day and talk about this,” well, if you don't want to talk to the person, don't allude to “One day we're going to do it,” because then they have this expectation and you have this obligation, and that doesn't feel good at all, especially if you don't want to get together with the person. Getting as close to a person, being able to look in someone's eyes, you know, we're doing this here, recording this, and I'm able to look at you even if the people just hear the audio version of it. The fact that I'm looking at you, and I can see your facial expressions, and when you're not laughing at something I'm saying or you're rolling your eyes to be like, “Joe, shut the hell up, and move on. We’ve got to move this along,” I can—you’re not giving me any of those signs, but I can almost interpret what someone can think in their head. So it’s a lot better because it's more in person. So as much as you can connect with people at that level, you can pick up on things that you can't just through text. 

And I’ve taught this to a lot of young people that grew up where they're not using the phone, everything's messaging, and they don't go into stores and shop and buy things. Humans, we are more connected electronically than ever before in human history, but we're more disconnected as humans. And go out and talk to people and use the phone. If you're having some issue going back and forth, you get into a heated discussion, call the person and talk to them. Like, you know, rotting food in the refrigerator doesn't get better with age; it gets worse. So if something is deteriorating in communication, get as close to in-person as possible, and do it in real time. You know, don't just monologue with somebody; dialog with them. And I'll tell you, how many people just give up on great opportunities because they're not willing to just pick up a phone call and have a conversation or schedule a Zoom meeting or an in-person meeting? And so that's some of the ways that I connect. 

AMY: Yeah, absolutely.  

This has been so incredible because there's so many lessons in this book. Everyone needs to pick up this book. Where could people go to get the book? I mean, obviously, they can get it everywhere online. But do you have one place that you send people to? 

JOE: Yeah, yeah. If they want the audio, like, What's in It for Them?, which is the name of the book, What's in It for Them? by Joe Polish—my name is Joe Polish, like nail polish or shoe polish—yes, you can get it wherever books are sold. People have asked me a lot about the audio version. I spent three days in the studio, and I recorded the book myself. And oh, my god, it's such a grueling experience. Doing something off the cuff is way easier than reading your own book. But I wanted this book—I was really tired the first day that I recorded it, and when I spent three days, and the first morning of—I went back and recorded the first three chapters on the third day just because I wanted the book to sound as good as I can make it. People love the audio version. So You can get it anywhere. The proceeds of this book go to Genius Recovery. So anyone that invests in the book, you will make a contribution to helping people with addiction recovery and the educational platform. And it's published by Hay House, and they're great to work with. And, yeah, and that's the place to go, And if anyone wants—if someone doesn't want to buy anything from what, doesn't want to buy my book, they can get my other book, which is called Life Gives to the Giver, and I give that away for free at, and they can download that book. And then, if you like that book, you can buy my other book. And I won't put you into an upsell funnel that hammers you and gets you—it literally, you can just download the free book. And if you want the physical copy, you can get it for free for shipping and handling. But that's my marketing spiel. 

AMY: Well, congratulations on writing a beautiful book. I'm so excited that it's out into the world. And it’s that one area that I would really like to dial into in 2023 and become a better connector in a really genuine way. And I know your book’s going to help me do that. So thank you so much, Joe, for being my friend and for writing such a great book and for being here today.  

JOE: Thank you. And I know this is, like, the wrap up of this, but can I ask you a question? 

AMY: Sure. 

JOE: So how long have been doing this podcast? This is for your listeners. How long you been doing this podcast? 

AMY: Since 2013. 

JOE: 2013. So here’s the thing. For all the years I've known you, and there's been years where we've not hung out or whatever, and you have worked really hard. You have put your heart and soul into helping people. You're a convert of your own system, which is really cool because I'm the same way. I never sought out just trying to sell courses and things to people. I literally figured stuff out, and then, I knew it would help other people. What is the—if you had to identify the top three most-valuable things that people get from you, like, the value that Amy Porterfield puts out into the world, I know you have put so much of your life into, what are those things?  

AMY: Ooh, the top three things. I think number one is compassion. I genuinely think people are doing the very best they can in the moment that we're in. And so I try to look at all aspects of where they're coming from. And so having compassion allows me to understand them more and really relate to them more.  

I think number two would be by step-by-step style. I definitely teach in a way that I don't assume you would know much of anything that I'm teaching, meaning I start from scratch, and I walk you through it. A lot of what I teach you don't learn in school, and so I don't want people to think that they should come to the table, knowing a bunch of stuff before I even can walk them through it. So my step-by-step style. 

And then, I think number three, I've done a good job of staying in my lane. So I'm known for list building and digital-course creation. So you know what you get when you come to me, and we're very specific about how to teach people what they do. And I think that's why people get really big results in those two areas when they work with me.  

So those are the three that come to mind. 

JOE: I love that. Yeah. So Online Marketing Made Easy, when you think about making it easy, you have to really think—and that was a great response. I mean, that was a fantastic response—and what I would say to the listener, wherever you're at in your journey, how deep you've gone, it's something I said earlier. If you like Amy, if you appreciate her, if you feel the authenticity—because some people can fake authenticity. A lot of people do it—and she's been helpful to you, one of the best ways to get more out of something is just to spend the time and actually utilize—don't just listen, but actually utilize—and take advantage of it and put it into play.  

And if you know anyone that will benefit from—and if you're a listener of this, get someone else to subscribe to this, because one of the things I tell people is three ways to learn something: you learn through the experience, like getting yourself beat up. School of hard knocks. You don't ask for help. You don't seek out expertise. You just go out and get bloodied in the marketplace. You're going to learn stuff. But it's a very ineffective, inefficient way to learn.  

The second way to learn is you learn through the experience of others. You read their books. You invest in their courses. You listen to their podcasts. That's a great way to learn. 

A third and very effective way to learn is you teach it to other people. So you're a model for that. I do that, too. Why do we do podcasts? Yeah, because we get better at the stuff when we have to teach it to other people.  

So if you learned anything from any of Amy's podcasts, any of Amy's courses, go and teach it to someone else who's in the same position that you were in, and help them. And that's how you spread the message. This is not an affiliate thing. This is, like, that's just the way you're going to get better. And if you find anything useful, go teach it to other people. If you listen to this episode and you know someone that would benefit from it, then share it with them. And that sort of thing. So I just wanted to say that.  

And the other thing, too, is I want to acknowledge you because you fit me in this episode, in a podcast, because you know I have a book out right now, and you're just wanting to help promote my book for me, which is great, and I appreciate that. But you’ve got a line of people that want to do podcasts with you and stuff. And so I appreciate you as a friend and for doing that and because you're an awesome person, and you're a gem of a human. So I just wanted to share that with you. 

AMY: Well, thank you. You just made my day. I appreciate that. And you've offered a lot of value to me through the years, and we've been friends for so long, you're right. So I'm so happy to have you on the show. I want everybody to grab your book. And happy New Year. This is coming out the beginning of 2023. So I hope you have the best year yet. 

JOE: Thank you. 

AMY: Bye, friend. 

So there you have it. I hope you loved this conversation with Joe as much as I have. And when I started this interview, I talked about how one of my weaknesses is networking and connecting. I think it's my introvert ways, and I just kind of want to keep my head down, do my own work. And also, when you're networking, you have to be vulnerable. I think it's very important when you're connecting, when you're adding value, when you're serving others, I think your vulnerability is a superpower in these situations. And so that's something that I'm learning day in and day out, to be more vulnerable, to stay in that, to put myself out there in new ways. And I really do think that Joe's book will help me get there in a way that feels authentically me. And so if you, too, want to work on your networking, your connecting, make sure to grab his new book, What's in It for Them?  

All right, my sweet friends. Thank you so much for tuning in. You can get the show notes at, where I’ll link to the book as well. And I'll see you tomorrow, which is Thursday, for more entrepreneurial goodness. See you soon. 

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