Whether you are new to an office, leading a new team, or working in sales, connecting with people is critical. And most people are doing it all wrong.
In this episode, we bust out a cheat code to help you build a relationship with anyone in five minutes or less.
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The GROVER Method: How To Connect With Anyone In 5 Minutes
You can build rapport in a couple of ways. You can build it because you already have it and that’s a lot easier or you can build it with intention, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.
If you’re a college kid and you have to go to one of these job fairs, you’re a recruiter, or you’re at any networking event, what you’re trying to do is meet as many people as you can and be memorable. In my opinion, more than anything, you’re trying to be as memorable as you can and make a few connections. If Frank gets three hires out of this, he did great. He did fantastic in the size of his business. It’s a lot cheaper to do what he did than him going and paying recruiters to go find people. I got done teaching three sales classes earlier in 2023. I always teach a similar thing, but I’ve got a new way of describing it.
These people come through your speed dating. You’re trying to connect with them and get them to stick around. You don’t want it to be uncomfortable, awkward conversations. You want to build some rapport. It’s the same with any sales position. If you get an appointment with a customer, early in the process, you are trying to take advantage of a couple of psychological heuristics.
There are two of them we’re going to talk about here, Frankie, that you didn’t even know you were doing because you’re a naturally good salesperson and you’ve been doing it long enough but I’ll guarantee you were doing it. There are two things that I teach in a sales class. One is the primacy bias. Primacy bias is humans are more influenced by the information presented first in a series.
In other words, first impressions matter. The primacy bias is we are unduly influenced by the first set of information we get. Meaning when Frank met me, his first impression is, “This guy is a douche.” That’s because I was six layers up from him and younger. I could see why he was jealous and upset with me, and he still is to this day. That primacy bias that Frank had was really hard for me to overcome. Frank is laughing because he knows I’m correct. Jokes are always funnier when there’s a lot of truth to them. That one hit pretty closely.
I love your perspective.
The second psychological bias that you want to take advantage of when you’re meeting someone new, not taking advantage of the person, but taking advantage of yourself, is the just like me bias. Just like me means that humans are more prone to liking someone who they feel is like them. You can see this everywhere. You’re either a CNN TV watcher or a Fox watcher. It’s confirmation bias.
We tend to hang in and flock with people with similar beliefs that we think are more like us. Even down to skin color and everything, humans are divided now. We try to figure out real quickly, “Are you like me or are you not like me?” A good salesperson has to break that mindset and thinks, “I’m everyone who comes in the door if I spend enough time trying to figure it out.”
For a potential client, a potential person working for Frank, he wants them to very quickly think, “These guys are just like me.” Frank didn’t even know he was doing it but he brought a kid with him. He brought a young person who looked like other college kids who was wearing jeans and a polo shirt that looked a little more like him. That wouldn’t have been good if Frank rolled up a bunch of people with gray hair to this because that wouldn’t be taken advantage of just like me. He wanted to show, “I have employees that look like the other people here.” That is why a lot of times, you see in job fairs, they’re stacked with people who work for the company that graduated recently.
That wasn’t an accident. If you look at our job board, some of our youngest people are prominently displayed there because that’s what college graduates look like. They don’t look like me. I don’t look like a college graduate anymore. I look more like a professor. That’s not what we’re going after. There’s something else that’s interesting about just like me bias, Ian, like jury selection.
When you’re on a jury or there are attorneys on both sides, the prosecution is trying to get people who are nothing like the defendant. The defense is trying to get as many people on that jury that are like the defendant. You go to skin color. One of the main reasons OJ Simpson had the verdict he had is because he was trialed in a place where there were a lot of people that looked like him.
That was very intentional on the part of the defense. They didn’t want to throw the case out and get it retried because there were a lot of people that were empathetic to who OJ was. If you read up on that, they say that’s one of the main reasons because it’s just like me bias. There were people who knew, liked, rooted for, and were a fan of that could empathize with.
That’s what comes down in a lot of instances with something as critical as the jury. Can people relate to the person? On the opposite side, we don’t want them to relate because we want a guilty verdict. This plays not just with what news you watch. This plays into the most important part of American society, the courtrooms because people have a bias toward this and very smart attorneys know it.
Before I get into anything sales related, how to ask questions, and how to overcome objections, I spend a lot of time talking to sales reps at their first job. It’s to make a great first impression and make the customer feel the two of you have a lot in common so that they feel you’re rooting for them and they don’t see you as us versus them. They see it as us when you get into the actual conversation that you and I are alike. I found this home and I do believe this in my gut.
I will go through a lot of exercises with a group of sales reps where I show them that I have a ton in common with everyone in the room. No matter how old they are, if they’re boys or girls, what their skin color is, and what their background is, I always show them that I have a ton in common with all of them. There’s a method that I love to use. I call it the GROVER Method. I can’t patent it, Frank, because I blatantly ripped it off from Sesame Street. If you’re tuning in, Jim Henson, you can kiss my ass. Actually, Jim Henson is dead, isn’t he?
Long since dead.
He can’t kiss my ass but someone I’m sure owns those rights.
I’d rather it be Kermit than Ms. Piggy for your benefit.
The GROVER Method is a catchy way for you to remember how to ask certain questions. Before I say what the GROVER Method is, this is highly stolen from Dale Carnegie’s story on How To Win Friends And Influence People. Both Frank and I love this book. It’s my favorite business book ever. It’s also all the favorite book of Warren Buffet who credits Dale Carnegie’s classes as being the best class he’s ever been to.
As a quick aside, that hotel bill is each.
It’s unbelievable. We got to come off to the side of this. Frank and I are going on our second trip to go see Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting. We’re traveling to freaking Omaha. It’s a $1,000 flight to go there and I get a bill from Frank. His executive assistant, Carla, a good friend of mine was sweet enough to book us a hotel because the last time we went, we stayed 45 minutes away from downtown in this shithole neighborhood and it still paid $400.
I show up and I’m doing some training for Frank. First, they give me my check, “Thanks for your services,” and immediately after, they give me a bill for $2,800 for hotels in freaking Omaha. We’re only there for two nights. I’m like, “Frankie, are we splitting this 2,800?” He is like, “No. That’s each.” You guys should come out to Omaha and hang out. It’s a great time.
We need to invite Pax and Neil and get one room. Neil’s wife also says, “You guys spent $700 for a bottle of vodka, but Frank had to sleep on the couch?”
I do miss the old days when we all stayed in the same Vegas hotel.
Progress is wonderful.
The Dale Carnegie story from How To Win Friends And Influence People. Carnegie wrote this 100 years ago. A dinner party is what they called them back then where someone was entertaining. He went to a dinner party where he knew nobody. I’d still do this, Frankie when I get dragged by Jenny to some event where I don’t know a lot of people. I try to turn it into a game to get myself excited and motivated because I really don’t love stuff like that.
I do something similar to this.
Carnegie’s big thing is people only care about themselves. The sooner you get over yourself and realize that all people care about is themselves, the faster you’ll connect with people. Over and over in my life, this has proven very true.People only care about themselves. The sooner you get over yourself and realize that, the faster you'll connect with people. Click To Tweet
It is true for the two of us.
He goes to this party and he does a little social experiment. All he does is ask them open-ended questions. He makes it a point to not share anything about himself. What he learns is they can’t stop talking about themselves. They can’t slow it down, stop, and ask him a question. He’d ask a question about where they’re from, what they do, and what their career is and they would talk for fifteen minutes straight.
They then would say, “I’m going to excuse myself. I’m going to go get a drink.” He would walk to the next person and he would do the same, “I’m Dale. How are you?” He would start asking questions. He found that for four hours at this dinner party, no one ever asked him a question. All they did was talk about themselves. He would feed into it by asking probes, nodding his head, and smiling. His quote that I love, Frank, is, “To be fascinating, be fascinated.”
He gets a call the next morning from the host of the dinner party and they say, “I don’t know what you did but you were the hit of the party. People thought you were incredible.” They didn’t know his name. He didn’t tell them what he did for a living. All he did was listen to them blab about themselves, and he became the most popular guy at the party. That technique, even though it’s 100 years old, still works at any party networking function you go to. Go ask questions for a whole night and see how many people will even ask you in return. It’s close to zero.
I’ll tell you a fascinating story. I interviewed to get promoted to vice president and I was 30. I had someone who I knew was incredibly egotistical. I didn’t answer any questions. I told him how I learned it from him and I got him talking. He talked 75% of the interview and I talked 25%. I was told later that it was the best interview he’s ever had, and I didn’t talk.
You knew what you were doing the whole time.
I didn’t know this, but I knew enough to know this is going to work really well.
You knew enough to make it about him because that’s all he cared about.
If he walked out of there thinking, “I lost an interview with this person on the panel before,” the feedback I got was like, “They weren’t behind me enough.” What I knew is that if I got this person all excited and I kept complimenting them, what happened is they would think that, “I was a big part of this.” They would interpret it in a way that I knew would fight for me and the board to win the interview.
That’s how I went into that. That was one of my strategies when I went in. It worked incredibly well because this guy thought it was the best interview he’d ever had for the role, and he fought for me. All he did was feel really good because I let him talk about how great he was and he related that to me. He’s going to fight for himself. That’s the whole point.
Frankie, when I teach any class and I’m getting to know a new group of people, I want them to feel comfortable with me and not see me as a guy in a sports jacket that owns a business. People are immediately primacy biased. They’re immediately making decisions on whether they like me, they’re like me, they’re going to be interested.
My job early is to do an icebreaker where they get to know me and I get to know them. I never want to get to know them. I want to try to show them I have things in common. I’ll put up on a board six things and say, “Pick three and talk about them. It could be your favorite restaurant, a vacation you’re looking forward to, or your favorite band.” I’ll write different things on there, knowing that all of those things are common humanity things. We all have a favorite band and restaurant.
Do you love to breathe? I love to breathe. Do you love water?
A little more than that, but you’re right. Sometimes when you’re at a networking event, it’s hard to think of which questions you should ask. I came up with this GROVER because you can run through GROVE. You can go, “Now I’m on V. What was V again? V is Vacation.” Here’s what GROVER is and here’s how I came up with it. Everyone loves to talk about their hometown. You love to talk about your hometown, Coral Springs. Frankie has talked about Coral Springs many times. His high school football team and what it’s like there. He lives next to the Everglades and the snakes that used to get out there that he got bit.
Anyone who knows me knows I will talk about Trenton, Michigan like it’s the Mecca of the Midwest. It’s the best place ever. We love to talk about where we grew up. That’s humanity. G in GROVER is the very first question I ask everyone, “Where did you grow up?” There’s a series of questions that you can ask off of that. The G in GROVER is about your hometown. What’s it like growing up there?
“You asked me about Trenton so where’s Trenton compared to Detroit?” “It’s 35 minutes.” “Did you go to a lot of games?” There are many questions that can break off on hometown that you can ask that I love. Hammer the hometown. G stands for Grow Up. Where did you grow up? Do you have anything to add on hometown?
The only thing I have to add on hometown is it’s the easiest thing. As Ian hit it, it’s simple. Ian, I hadn’t even thought about this but you always say, “Where are you from?” If someone says, “I’m from everywhere,” you’re like, “That sounds interesting.” You immediately have a different hook like, “Why? Is your dad in the military?” “No.” If someone doesn’t have a hometown, they want to tell you that they don’t have a hometown and why. There’s always something there. Everybody wants a place to call home and everyone is passionate about wherever that spot is.Everybody wants a place to call home and everyone is passionate about wherever that spot is. Click To Tweet
An attorney that Frank and I both share, his dad worked at GE and his dad moved all the time. He’ll tell you, “I moved around a lot.” Military brats will tell you, “I’m a military brat. I was in six different places by the time I was in sixth grade.” A question I love there is, “What’s the first place you remember living? What was your favorite of all the stops?” Frank and I have family that still lives near where we grew up. We still go back to those hometowns. We’re passionate about it. Even people that aren’t, tell them to pick one. What was your favorite out of those? Where did your family find you to settle down?
There are many little questions that can branch off, will get people talking, and puts a smile on their face. Frank grew up in Southern Florida. It’s hot as hell. I grew up in Michigan. It’s cold as hell. We played hockey. Down there, they did different things, but there are so many common threads. Frank and I have found by growing up in small towns that his area had a share of rednecks and mine had a share of rednecks. There are so many things that we joke about. There are lots of jean shorts in both towns. You would think on the surface of Southern Florida and Michigan, we don’t have anything in common. They’re actually the two towns that sound a lot alike.
This is critical. If you want to network with people, there’s a trap. The trap is this. As soon as they tell you something about their hometown, they will start talking about their similarities with yours. What you need to do when you’re trying the GROVER Method is you need to make sure that you bring up a little bit about yours and how there is connectivity, but you don’t get hung up on it and then override the conversation and talk. You go back to them. “I grew up here. Isn’t that interesting?” Give them the ability like allow it to be a ping-pong match, but make sure that they have the racket in the ball more times than you.
The R of GROVER is Relatives. Everyone’s got relatives and family of some kind. You have to be careful here in saying, “Tell me about your mom and dad.” They might not have one. I like to ask this and it’s easy right off of hometown. We’ve already talked about hometown and then I will say something like, “Do you still have family there?”
I ask it differently. I ask if you still go back. “Can you still go back there?” That way, if their family died in a tragic plane crash, it doesn’t come up. Literally, I asked someone one time why they wore their ring finger on the other hand and they put up four fingers because they lost it in a tragic accident. Sometimes you want to avoid tragedy so you’re like, “Do you still go back and visit?” You can ask it a bunch of different ways.
I’ll ask, “Do you still have family there?” If they say no, then I say, “Where’s your family at?” They might say it’s spread all over the place. I say family because their parents might be dead. “I got a brother. He’s in Philadelphia. My sister lives out on the West Coast.” I’d like to ask, “Do you have family that lives here? Now you live where you’re at, it sounds like you live in Dallas now. Do you have family there?” They can be like, “No. It’s just me, my wife, and my kids.” Now I can ask more questions. “How old are your kids? How long have you been together with your wife? Where did you meet your wife? Did you meet your wife in Dallas?”
By asking a simple open-ended question about, “Where is your family at?” the hometown leads me into family softly and then a series of other questions get you to talk more about your family. I’ve never run into anyone who’s like, “I have no family. I like no one in my family. Screw my family.” I’ve never run into someone so miserable that they’re like, “I’m all on my own.” I haven’t yet. Someone will always offer some sibling, some parent, some kids, and a wife something if I’m talking to them about family.
I have a buddy who basically had no extended family. He had no relationship with his parents. Whenever you’d ask him about family, he’d talk about his friends. Everybody offers something up. Before we get off relatives, Ian, this is important. I didn’t do this with malicious intent. I came by it naturally. I’ve always been interested in things that other people don’t find all that interesting. Nickel used to call me the king of insignificant facts. When I got into sales, I realized the king of insignificant facts is important, and it’s important when it comes down to kids.
Whenever anyone tells me anything about themselves and they mention their kids’ names, I write them down. I put what year they were born because if your note gets old, you got to do a lot of math. I’ll put 2013 and I’ll write down when I met them. If I’m sitting in their model home, the second oldest had a soccer game. I’ll make a note of that because I thought that was cool like, “Max, last time I saw you at a soccer game. How did it go?” The parents will ultimately at some point tell me, “It’s incredible that you ask my kids questions and you pay attention to what’s important to them.”
I didn’t do it for any reason that was malicious for sales. I did it because I was interested. What I learned over time is people notice that. They think it’s cool when you pay attention to things that maybe aren’t headliners in their lives, like where they grew up, their parents, what’s going on with them, and their kids especially. It gives you a lot of currency.People notice and think it's cool when you pay attention to things that maybe aren't headliners in their lives. It gives you a lot of currency. Click To Tweet
When I started at NVR, I didn’t know anybody. I was from the Midwest that was out in DC. I’m in Virginia. All of my peers that I was trying to get to know and all the other executives were all older than me. When they called, next to their name would pop up the names of their kids and their wives. I wrote it and typed it into the actual name. It was all there. They all had relationships for a decade. It wasn’t fair. Now I’m one of their peers and I was brought in from the outside, which the company didn’t do much of. It was on me to get to know their personal lives as everyone else did around there.
I tried to study and it wasn’t a trick. It’s hard to remember that many different people, how many kids they have, what their wife’s name is, and all that. I was trying to build personal relationships that I could lean on. It’s incredibly important and it’s an easy thing to do. Make a little note when you hear about it and ask a few more questions because it makes conversations go smoother. You’re totally right on kids. I would say pets like dogs and cats are as important. If someone’s got a dog and you bring up the dog’s name, it’ll blow their goddamn mind because people love their pets so much. Those are little simple things.
What I think is important is this. You need to have intentionality around this. It’s easier if you do care. I don’t care about someone’s dog. If I ask questions about your dog, unless you bring it up all the time, I probably not going to ask that because I don’t know what to say about it. I’m not a dog person, but I do know kids. You can bring up something about a favorite place or a trip. You have intentionality around these things. This is what’s critical too. What we’re talking about is the first time you meet somebody.
If you want to blow someone’s doors down, remember the 2nd and 3rd times you talked to him. Follow up and ask questions about it like, “Last time, you told me you were going to California for work. How did that go? Was it a good trip?” “That was six months ago.” “What happened?” Everybody loves to be remembered because everyone is the star of their own movie. Family is the easiest one to start with. That’s what I think you’re going at.
The whole point of the GROVER Method to Frank’s point is if you ask enough questions, you’re going to find things in common. Frank doesn’t have a dog. I do. I’ve had dogs my whole life. I love dogs. I love to know what kind of dog you got, what they’re into, how much walking they have to do, do they steal shit on the carpet like mine does. There are a lot of things we can get together and talk about.
I have a two-year-old that does that.
For damn near a decade, Frank could not relate to what I was going through as a dad. As soon as he had a kid, he was like, “I get it. I get all the complaining and all the tiredness you had to deal with.” It was a new layer to our relationship that he was now going through something. As we talk, even on GROVER, a reason why Frank and I were business associates for a few months before we became friends, I didn’t know where he grew up. I didn’t learn that when I went to JMU or when I bump into him at some annual meeting. He was another guy I worked with. I didn’t know anything about how his dad was an electrician and his mom was a teacher. My mom was a teacher. It was like, “We got a lot in common.”
Our granddads were almost identical people.
We had many things in common, but we didn’t learn them early. We were hanging out and drinking some beers. I knew that he liked sports. I like sports. He likes the Red Sox. I like the Tigers. We had some things that I would call a tip of the iceberg things that were like, “I can tolerate hanging out with this guy.” We learned more and we started becoming friends.
I don’t know if you’ll remember this, but during that game seven, the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years. When I went back to my room to change, I called my granddad because Damon hit that bomb and he was on the couch watching it. My granddad in 2004 was 73 years old and I loved to watch the Red Sox with my granddad. I came back and Ian and I were talking.
I was like, “You won’t believe this. I called my granddad.” He goes, “You call your granddad to talk about sports. I call my granddad to talk about sports.” It doesn’t take very long to find stuff that is similar. That started the whole thing about the school teachers and the mom. It’s not hard to connect if you’re being honest and you’re listening to what other people say.
Before we get to O, this is another important thing to know. It’s another psychology thing. People share information about themselves. It’s called the Social Penetration Theory. It means we are very guarded about how much we’re willing to share. At first, we’ll only share basic facts. We call it the tip of the iceberg. You can’t see and don’t know much about a person when you first meet them. For any salesperson, I talk a lot about social penetration theory because most people will give you little hints of what they care about. You have to go do the digging. You have to get underneath the iceberg. People reveal themselves like layers of an onion.
You’re like peeling an onion. If you’re coaching a sales team, managers, or anyone, if that needs to connect with people, your job is to get outside that top thick layer of an onion and get to where the stinky part of the onion is. That’s where the good stuff is. Frank and I weren’t good friends until we peeled the onion enough to be like, “There’s a lot there that I like about this guy.”
I didn’t tell him any of that stuff. At first, we’re professionals. I’m here recruiting. You’re recruiting. That was it. Maybe I told him I was at GE. Maybe he told me he went to Florida. It was all cursory data. We didn’t get into the deep stuff until later. Part of GROVER is about probing, asking questions, and trying to short-circuit that process and make it faster.
G is Grow Up. R is Relatives. O is Occupation. What’s your career like? What line of work are you in? What do you do? How long have you done it? Have you always been in that line of work? How long have you been with your company? If someone tells you they’ve been with the company for longer than 2 or 3 years, they’re abnormal. Most people are in and out of companies all the time. What do you like about that company? You’ve been there a long time. What do you about it?
When you talk about the social penetration theory, this is one area where most people are happy to give away as much as they want. This is not one where you need to do a lot of digging and onion peeling. They’ll blurt it because it feels like it’s all in my LinkedIn anyway. It’s all public. Most people are happy to share stuff on LinkedIn.
Where the real relationships take place is what you put on Facebook and Instagram. Most people are willing to share their LinkedIn profile with anyone, whereas they are slower to connect with someone on Facebook and Instagram because that’s where you share your opinions, politics, family, and all that stuff. The O of GROVER, I make it third because it’s important to touch on the hometown and the relatives early because that’s the stuff that’s a little harder. If you can get it, you start getting a little bit of a connection. The O is an easy one to get to the next.
It builds momentum. There’s nothing else to say there. It’s easy. Everybody talks about their job.
I get into the fun stuff. The V is Vacation or travel. I have yet to come across anyone in any class who wasn’t looking forward to a vacation or wasn’t excited to tell me about their last vacation, even if their vacation seems boring to me. I went ice fishing in Canada. That’s something I would never freaking do.
I love to go on cruises. People love cruises. That’s not my thing, but my mom loves it. There’s something to relate to there.
It’s not my thing and Frank is like me. I love to travel and I’ve traveled to a lot of places. It’s rare someone brings up a place that they vacationed in that I’ve not been to or is not on my list of wanting to go to. It’s an area that’s like a cheat code for me. It’s rare you bring up a place where I’m like, “I’ve never been there and never intend to go there. I’m not interested.” I love to travel. Almost anything you bring up, I’ve been there, I want to go there, or I’m fascinated. Tell me more. Should I put it on my list? My eyes light up and it’s not ever fake. I’m always interested.
This happened to me. I was in a gondola and I joined this new group.
I love when Frank’s stories start with, “I was in a gondola.” They’re always good after that. They’re always bangers.
I joined this new group of people and it’s an expensive ticket to get. You pay to play. I was in a gondola riding up with this group of people and I know none of them, and they’ve all been together for a while. On this trip, there was a snowboarding guide. They asked, “How good are you?” I’m like, “I’m pretty good.” They’re like, “How good is pretty good?” I’m like, “I can do the whole mountain.” They asked me another question and I’m like, “I don’t know. I’ve been hell skiing four times. Is that good enough?” They’re fucking grilling me. “I can snowboard. I’m as good as these guys.” I didn’t know them, but I could keep up with them. I was allowed to be with them in the gondola.
It wasn’t like they were going to demote me to the lower hill. We’re coming up and I’m not saying much. This guy talked about going to Antarctica and these guys were all showing off because they had a lot of money. I was like, “Interesting. Did you take a boat to Antarctica or did you fly there?” He goes, “That’s an incredibly informed question.” I’m like, “I’m going to Argentina this summer with my family. I’ve been looking at it.” Immediately, he started talking to me. This guy is somebody who was very hard to crack the ice and that was the moment because I’m looking at something he did and he wanted to tell me about it.
I asked him, “Did you do the plunge?” He goes, “We did the plunge.” I go, “Tell me about it.” Even the most sophisticated, hardest-to-crack people, everyone likes to talk about travel. Travel gives people significance. Travel gives people things that they like to brag about. If you go to Antarctica, that’s expensive and not a lot of people have been to that continent. It’s the one that’s universal. If someone never travels or if someone always travels, vacation and travel are ones that you can latch onto quickly.
No one throws away an expired passport. You keep it because you love it. Every stamp is like, “That’s now part of me. I’ve been there. I’ve done that,” even if the travel is not terribly extravagant. They like to go to Lake Anna. We have a slip there, we rent boats, and we love to go out jet skiing with the kids. I can relate to that. I can relate to the most boring, simple travel because that’s the first eighteen years of my life. We didn’t have any money. We never left Michigan. If your travel is going to tournaments for your kids or going out on a lake, I get that too because that’s a big part of my life.
Lake Anna to me is tortured. I have zero desire to go to Lake Anna. It’s an hour from here. I’m like, “No thank you. I’d rather be on electrical shock treatment.” I’m not going to ask a lot about Lake Anna. I might ask about boating and what side of the lake. I’ll ask this question, “What do you like to listen to when you’re on the lake?” That I’m interested in. I love country. To me, that’s a perfect place to listen to Eric Church or Kenny Chesney. I like both of those guys. Take an interest and ask follow-up questions.
What are the snacks? What are the beers? What were you drinking when you were on the lake? We can all resonate with some of that stuff. Do you do any fishing? What are you doing when you’re on the lake?
It immediately moves you to E which is Entertainment or hobbies. When I go to the lake, I like to wakeboard or fish. Honestly, I like to sit back, listen to music, and drink a couple of beers. Those are all fantastic answers on entertainment.
Tell me about your last vacation. Tell me about a vacation you’re looking forward to. Now we’ve talked a little bit about travel. If you’ve been there, share that with them. If you’ve done similar things, share that with them. You can then start getting into Extracurriculars or Entertainment. This is the E in GROVER, which is while you were on vacation, what are things you like to do? What’s your favorite thing to do? “You went to Miami. What’s your favorite thing to do?” “My favorite thing to do in the morning is to go for a long run along South Beach.” “You’re a runner.”
Now I start to get into your hobbies a little bit. If someone is not willing, this is another one. This is a little deeper on the onion. This isn’t like occupation where they’ll give you everything. What do you like to do when you’re not working? I love that question. What did you do last weekend? Did you get anything fun planned this weekend? Ask that to anyone with young kids. It’s always a boring answer, but if you’ve got kids, you can connect.
What’s a weekend you’re looking forward to? Those are ways that you get into, “What does this person enjoy doing with their free time when they do have some freedom? What are their hobbies? What are they into?” It’s later in the process. I asked this a little bit later because it’s a little less formal. It’s a lot of fun. I love the music question. I love lots of different kinds of music.
It is rare. When I talk to young kids, they bring up stuff all the time that I’ve never heard of. You can get into rock, rap, and country with me. I can rap with you with the best of them because I listen to a lot of music and I love it. It could be Netflix. If someone says, “I watch a lot of Netflix.” “What’s your favorite show? What are you into? What’s a show I should watch on Netflix?” I love those questions because I’m digging deeper into your interest. I’m digging deeper into the onion and the stinky part.
You said something about music. Did you ever see the Adam Sandler movie Funny People?
I know the movie but I’ve not seen it.
It’s with Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann. It’s a few years old at this point. The point is this. Seth Rogen is awkward in the movie. He goes up to this girl and goes, “Do you like music?” She goes, “Did you just ask me if I like music? That’s asking me if I like food. Of course, I like music. You weirdo.”
You don’t ask, “Do you like music or food?” Those are dumb questions. You assume they like music. I have had one person before tell me they didn’t like food. I asked it in many different ways and they’re like, “I don’t care much about eating or food. It’s something I have to do to stay alive.” I got stuck because I’ve never had one person out of thousands that I’ve asked about food. Most people’s eyes light up and they tell you about it. I’ve had one person tell me they don’t like music.
Food and music are pretty easy. I’ve had a bit of experience with music. I was like, “Do you and your wife like music?” She’s like, “I’m deaf.”
That’s not good. That’s a no.
That didn’t happen.
You walked into that one.
I was talking to him and I was trying to ingratiate her. I didn’t realize she had a hearing aid. I was locked up.
Fair to say you shouldn’t bring up music if they’re deaf.
Basically, food and music are universal yeses except if someone has an eating disorder or is deaf.
Vacation is a cheat code. Kids are a cheat code. Pets are cheat code. Music and food are all cheat codes. Entertainment, you can get into everything like music. In entertainment, you are trying to find things you have in common. They don’t have to be identical in common. Someone can like Eric Church. I like him but he’s not my favorite. There’s a lot of that genre. There are a lot of artists that are really good around there that we could branch off from Eric.
Luke Holmes opened up for Luke Bryan. He’s like, “I love Luke Bryan.” “So do we. That’s why we’re there to see.” There are a lot of things you can do around entertainment and then the thing with food. Usually, the entertainment and the vacation have already brought up some food of some kind. I love asking about people’s favorite foods. What food are you guys eating with the family on a Friday night? You get all kinds of cool answers on this. Food, to me, is the aura of GROVER. Restaurants and food are a universal chico. Anyone can find some common ground when it comes to food.
I was single into my early 40s and I would go to a lot of events, weddings, and all kinds of things. I would go alone. Honestly, it’s lonely at some points and it wasn’t great. I was going to these events and I was like, “These things suck. I hate them.” I didn’t know the GROVER Method, but I had a goal at every event. I wanted to have 5 conversations of at least 5 minutes.
I didn’t know this method, but if I was at a wedding and I could find five people that I was interested enough to talk to for five minutes, the night flew by and I had a lot of fun. Ultimately, I ended up meeting other people and I would very quickly be ingratiated into the other part of the crowd because they all knew each other and I didn’t. It worked really well but the byproduct of it, as I said, is you become part of the crowd pretty quickly.
These are the things that you would latch in on. I didn’t usually start with growing up or relatives. In a lot of instances, you start with like, “What do you do?” which is a harder place to start than the others. If you can get some foothold into the conversation and you ask follow-up questions around these other five items, it turns into a very substantive conversation pretty quickly.
If you want to probe further, which is the Dale Carnegie, you can, or it could become a back-and-forth, which becomes pretty fun. The goal here was how you build rapport quickly if you’re at a job fair or at a wedding where you don’t know anybody. This is a method that is almost foolproof to make you the hit of the party.
It’s easy. Things like GROVER, you run it through your head. If I touched on G and R, I got to get to O. That’s occupation. You’re right. It’ll work at a job fair and at a networking event. If you’re new to a company and everyone knows each other and they don’t know you, start going around to your peers and do the GROVER Method. They won’t know you’re doing it.
The beauty of this is even though I’m laying this out in some scientific approach if you do it right, it doesn’t feel like someone is playing some trick on you. It’s a simple, “I’m interested in you.” To Frank’s point, I love what you said. Try to have a five-minute conversation. The whole purpose of this episode is how to connect with anyone in five minutes. That’s about all it takes.
I do an exercise in classes where they have five minutes to get together and find as many things as they can in common as possible. Five minutes is about all you need to get about a dozen good things we have in common together. Frankie, before we close this, I did this at Frank’s wedding. When I went to Frank’s wedding, the majority of people at his wedding were his buddies from Florida and people he knew from before up through college.
I was the only guy at the wedding who was a post-college guy that knew Frank. I’d heard their names but I didn’t really know them. The night before, that’s a little intimidating. I’m the only one that doesn’t know anyone at this party, me and Jenny. I made it a point to go to everyone who was going to be at his wedding and do this method where I tried to get to know all of them.
By the next night, we were all super tight because I took enough time where I knew enough about all of them. We all had the common thread of Frank as someone we love, but I had to do a lot more work if I wanted to have a lot of fun at the wedding. I had too much fun at Frank’s wedding. If you’re trying to have a 5-minute conversation to connect with people, 80% of the talking should be the other person.
I’m circling all the way back to Dale Carnegie. All people care about is themselves. If you want the connection to be good and you want them to like you, 80/20. They should be talking 80%. When you’re talking, you’re asking questions and you’re sharing a little something that shows that you have something in common. Let them be the ones talking in the process. That’s okay because you’re asking questions so it’s allowed. If you’re doing 80% of the talking, there’s a good chance they’re going to think you’re fully yourself and didn’t care about them.All people care about is themselves. If you want the connection to be good, and you want them to like you, you should let them do 80% of the talking. Click To Tweet
You know this went well if 1 of 2 things happens. At the end of you getting through GROVER, they start asking you questions about yourself. You’ve done a great job of exhausting them and talking about themselves. Everyone triggers into, “I’m probably talking too much. Let me ask this person some questions,” and then there’s another follow-up action. “Let me get your number. Let me hit you up. Let’s go to the bar and get a beer.” Someone asked me, “What should students do at a job fair? How important is research?”
I said, “I don’t think it’s all that important. Honestly, there are 132 companies here. There’s no way you can do research on 132 companies. They need to be here, be engaging, and be someone I want to talk to further. That is how you win at a job fair. It’s because you’re interesting. Ultimately, it’s my job to get you to open up and talk.” That’s what this whole thing is about. You have to understand what side of the pendulum you’re on, when it’s time for you to be the one asking the questions, and when it’s time for you to be the one answering the questions.
That is such great advice for a college kid. My first job out of college was at GE. I went to a job fair. I didn’t even know what GE did. I didn’t know what they were hiring for. I had a head-on backward, a t-shirt, and a backpack. I started shaking hands saying, “What positions are you looking for?” I did zero research on GE, but I did this method without knowing the method. I shook hands, asked them what they did for the company, and said, “That sounds fascinating.” It did sound fascinating to me. I wasn’t full of shit. I’m listening to what they had to say. I got multiple interviews out to that job fair doing zero prep but doing the GROVER Method without knowing the GROVER Method.
The other follow-up I said was this. When you show up for your second interview, that’s when you do your research.
Do more. If you get invited to Richmond interview with my team, you better do a little more homework than this. This is a marketing event for us. You’re now aware. If you’re coming and asking me for money, you should do more homework than a job fair. That’s great advice. The only other things I’d say are eye contact, smile, nod your head, and be positive. Invest in it. Don’t go through GROVER. I got this series of questions and Ian said if I ask these questions, I’ll connect with anyone. You got to be a human being, care about the person, and try to invest yourself in their answers.
Jesus Christ, don’t look at your phone.
Frank, we have GROVER our way out of this episode. Frank is starting to sweat because he is wearing this triple-fat goose jacket while we’re doing this. Maybe that’s to look cooler for the young kids. If you are new to our channel, hit and mash that subscribe button wherever you’re tuning in if you’ve not given us a five-star review. By the way, we got three five-star reviews last month. Frankie is still killing it. Thank you very much to the people that gave us reviews. God bless you. Go GROVER someone now. Did that sound creepy?
A little bit. We should end this thing. It keeps getting worse.
GROVER someone anyway.
See you, Frankie.