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Why Relationships and Networks are Critical in Business

February 23, 202447 min read

This week on The Digital Download we look at the role of relationships and networks in the business world with our guest, David Nour. With over two decades of strategic consulting, David has advised Fortune 500 companies, innovative startups, and industry leaders, showcasing his expertise in leveraging business relationships for growth and innovation. Author of best-selling "Relationship Economics," David's expertise lies in transforming transactional interactions into strategic assets.

We’ll ask questions like -

* What is meant by Relationship Economics®?

* What’s the business case for the need for a network?

* What are the foundational principles of strategic relationship-building?

* How can you revitalize dormant business relationships?

Your network is more than a collection of contacts; it's the cornerstone of your success. In an era where digital transformation and AI are reshaping industries, David brings a fresh perspective on the enduring value of human connections. Discover how to activate, map, and monetize these vital connections.

We strive to make The Digital Download an interactive experience. Bring your questions. Bring your insights. Audience participation is highly encouraged!

This week we were joined by our Special Guest -

  • David Nour, speaker, consultant, and author of best-selling "Relationship Economics"

This week's Host was -

Panelists included -

Transcript of The Digital Download 2024-02-23

Rob Durant [00:00:01]:

Good morning, good afternoon, and good day wherever you may be joining us from. Welcome to another edition of the digital download, which is the longest running Weekly. Business to talk show.

Tracy Borreson [00:00:21]:

On LinkedIn Live.

Rob Durant [00:00:24]:

Now globally syndicated on the IBGN Tracy network. Today, we're exploring why relationships and networks are critical in business. We have a special guest, David Nore, to help us with the discussion. Author of best selling Relationship Economics, David's expertise lies in transforming transactional interactions into strategic assets. But before we bring David on, let's go around and introduce everyone. While we're doing that, why don't you in the audience reach out to a Lorena? Ping them and have them join us. We strive to make the digital download an interactive experience, and audience participation is highly encouraged. So with that, introductions.

Rob Durant [00:01:18]:

Tim, would you kick us off today, please?

Tim Hughes [00:01:20]:

Yes. My name is Tim Hughes. I'm the CEO and cofounder of DLA Knight, and I'm famous for writing the book, social selling techniques to influence buyers and change makers. I'm I'm I'm also holding a a copy of, David David's book, and I have a signed copy.

Rob Durant [00:01:39]:

Oh. Wow. Woah. Signed by whom?

Tim Hughes [00:01:43]:

My Mom.

Rob Durant [00:01:43]:

Well, there you go. Excellent. Thank you for that, Tim. Adam.

Adam Gray [00:01:50]:

Hi, everybody. I'm Adam Gray. I'm Tim's business partner and cofounder of DLA Ignite, and I've been flicking my camera back and forth trying to decide whether it's around the right way or not. I think it probably is now. So so I'm really looking forward

Rob Durant [00:02:02]:

don't see the back of your head, so it must be.

Adam Gray [00:02:04]:

That's true. That's true. I'm I'm really looking forward to it this week. Networking and relationships and and the importance of building that kind of kernel of people around you is is so crucial, and it'd be lovely to hear an expert talk about that.

Rob Durant [00:02:19]:

Yeah. Exactly. Thank you. Tracy, good morning.

Tracy Borreson [00:02:24]:

Good morning, everyone. I am Tracy Borreson, founder of TLB Coaching and Events, a proud partner of DLA Ignite, where we care about authentic marketing, not the crazy stupid marketing that most people do. And I am sipping a big cup of tea, and it just makes me laugh every time Alex sips his, like, dainty cup of tea.

Tim Hughes [00:02:44]:

Yeah. You haven't got where's your little finger,

Rob Durant [00:02:47]:

orange? You know what? Oh, sorry.

Tracy Borreson [00:02:50]:

Because, like, I can't do that with my cup because it's too heavy.

Alex Abbott [00:02:54]:

Cup's too

Tim Hughes [00:02:55]:

full to not spill. Mark, haven't you?

Tracy Borreson [00:02:57]:

I do. I have r g r two d two joining us today, but it's too heavy to lift with a fig. Excellent.

Alex Abbott [00:03:06]:


Rob Durant [00:03:07]:

Welcome. Thank you for that. Alex, you and your dainty cup.

Alex Abbott [00:03:12]:

Me me and my dainty dainty English teacup. This is a bun china teacup. My, my wife's gran, I think it, or nana this belonged to. So, anyway, digressing. So my name is Alex Abbott. I'm, I'm famous for having a long Gray beard and, occasionally known as the bearded sales guy. And I am too am looking forward to this conversation today, and I too am a proud DLA Ignite partner.

Rob Durant [00:03:43]:

There you go. Welcome. Thank you. And myself, I am Rob Durant, founder of Flywheel Results. We help Shorten ups scale, and I too am a proud DLA Ignite partner. And unlike Tim, I'm not famous for writing anything.

Tracy Borreson [00:04:03]:

Yes. Yes.

Rob Durant [00:04:06]:

As I said

Alex Abbott [00:04:07]:

How long are you gonna decide now for, Rob?

Rob Durant [00:04:09]:

Not for not for much longer. I I will be famous or infamous for writing something. That's for sure. As I said, this week on the digital download, we'll speak with David Noor. With over 2 decades of strategic consulting, David has advised Shorten 500 companies, innovative Shorten ups, and industry leaders, showcasing his expertise in leveraging business relationships for growth and innovation. Let's bring him on. David. Hey. Hey. David, welcome.

David Nour [00:04:44]:

It is good to be with this rowdy bunch.

Rob Durant [00:04:49]:

Rowdy is. That's for sure.

Tim Hughes [00:04:51]:

David, are you gonna tell us your backstory? Because you've got really interest because you turned up at the u in the US, didn't you, with a $100 in your pocket?

David Nour [00:04:59]:

I I did.

Tim Hughes [00:04:59]:

Very kind of your speak of word of the language.

David Nour [00:05:02]:

Yeah. Very very kind

Rob Durant [00:05:04]:

very kind of

David Nour [00:05:05]:

your ask. Yeah. So originally from Durant. I came to the US in 1981 with a suitcase, a $100, didn't know anybody, and didn't speak a word of English. I I literally land at JFK with a badge around my neck, put this I was a teenager. Put this kid on a Eastern Live flight to Atlanta where, I came and Live with an aunt and uncle that I hadn't seen since birth. And, yeah, I I I really struggled the first first, first couple years. Just gaining a command of the English language was, was an uphill battle.

Alex Abbott [00:05:39]:

Where where's remind me. Where's JFK Airport? Is that

David Nour [00:05:43]:

it? New York. Yeah. New York City. Yeah. So, parents, were retired now, teachers in Persian literature, Persian history, and the old regime had an exchange program. So we went to Kuwait and Live and worked throughout the Middle East, the new revolution happens, they call all those people back. My parents had the foresight to realize there wouldn't be a whole lot of future for me in Iran. So I've got a couple uncles in Europe, you know, including one in UK that said, no.

David Nour [00:06:13]:

Thanks. Too much Ross responsibility. I had 3 uncles here in the US. 2 of them said, no. Thanks. 1 said, we'll take Tim for the summer. Okay. So I came came for the summer.

David Nour [00:06:22]:

Thankfully, my my my aunt is American, and she convinced my uncle, if you send them back, it'll be a death sentence because Iran was in middle of the Iran Iraq war at that time. And I did have a lot of, childhood friends perish in that war. So, in order for me to stay here, my parents gave me up for adoption and an uncle adopted me, and that's how I was able to stay here in the US. Wow.

Tim Hughes [00:06:46]:

So one of the things that Fantastic. One of the things that happened that you remember was walking with your dad in in, bazaars in, in Iran, not buying anything, but talking to people.

David Nour [00:07:02]:

Yeah. I and I and I in our conversation, I mentioned that I certainly didn't get a dent. I think I was 5 or 6 years old. And in Iran, they have, you know, 6 day weeks, Fridays are your kinda weekends or days off, and you typically do a couple of things. You you go to bazaars and and and then you also go to cemetery to pay your respects to to Ross folks that have passed on. But, you know, dad dad would take me through on the on our Friday morning errands, and he didn't have just a list from my, you know, mom of what we had to go get or go do. That also had a relationship list. And and, of course, at 5 or 6, you don't understand that and you complain, but he always bought me ice cream to kind of keep me happy and and, content.

David Nour [00:07:43]:

But, you know, whether it was access to a a plumber or an influential politician, he made sure we made our rounds. And I distinctly remember a lot of Persian rugs and a lot of tea and sitting with older people and Durant kinda getting caught up and and that that what I took away and that's really one of the inflection points of my life that that is really kind of, you know, helped me kind of arrive here is that dad understood the notion of investing in relationships before you needed them. Because those people were much more likely to return his calls or prioritize us or get help Tim get things done in the favor economy. What because he had invested in seeing them and touching base and regular updates and, and, and it was very intentional about doing that.

Alex Abbott [00:08:31]:

Nice. That paying forward concept.

David Nour [00:08:35]:

It it it's it's it's absolutely the the the investment concept that that if you believe relationships are an investment, it's a it's a lot easier to ask for something if you begin by making an investment. And the analogy, Alex, that I use is, I don't know about your bank. My bank will not let me, you know, take out a $1,000 withdraw if I only have invested a $100 in. Yet yet yet people come to us all the time asking for a favor where they haven't earned the right to do so. And I often talk about relationship givers. God bless mother Teresa. Right? There's people we meet all the time who get something very euphoric, very altruistic for just giving. The problem is most of us can't be pure givers because I don't know about you Hughes.

David Nour [00:09:19]:

I have something called a mortgage. Then there's relationship takers who the only time they call is when they want something, and they never see themselves as takers. And and we all want to be nice so we kind of enable that behavior. And nobody ever calls them out on it. Like, I'm sorry, when was the last time you called to see how I'm doing? And and how my life or my business is going? And and we kinda keep doing it for them, so they keep coming back and and taking more, and they know no boundaries.

Alex Abbott [00:09:49]:


David Nour [00:09:50]:

And and then there's really the delightful people who are relationship investors, who really understand that it's a lot easier for I have my hand out if I start by giving a hand. If I if I help someone else, if I add value, if I'm intentional about the relationships I invest in, the return becomes extraordinary.

Rob Durant [00:10:11]:

Yeah. Love that. Speaking of relationships, we have a few relationships we've established with the audience. So I Durant to bring some, comments on screen right now. You like that transition? I did my best.

Adam Gray [00:10:25]:

Yeah. That's very clear.

Tim Hughes [00:10:26]:

You need to write a Ross.

Rob Durant [00:10:30]:

So Mark Borreson starts with good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the jungle, David.

David Nour [00:10:36]:

Mark don't I know it. I've only been here a few minutes.

Rob Durant [00:10:40]:

Andrew says good morning, good afternoon, all.

Tim Hughes [00:10:43]:

We always wait

David Nour [00:10:44]:

to him, David.

Alex Abbott [00:10:45]:

Yeah. Hey, Andrew. And hello, Mark. I was literally just on another podcast, and Mark was incredibly, giving of his time.

Rob Durant [00:10:55]:

Excellent. We have, Serenity Disco saying very excited to learn all I can from this session. And she does, in fact, tag a friend to bring them to the audience. Thank you so much for that. Rob Turrell says book just arrived. Good for to hear from David again. I must have sold one

Tim Hughes [00:11:16]:

of your books on my podcast.

David Nour [00:11:17]:

I love it. There's 2 copies. There's 2 copies when I copies. Excellent.

Rob Durant [00:11:22]:

Or the same copy going back and Jordan we have yeah. Adam, help me out. Compton. I call them energy vampires.

David Nour [00:11:36]:

Yeah. I think he's referring to the, relationship takers. Yeah.

Rob Durant [00:11:39]:

Exactly right. Absolutely. Absolutely. So thank you all for that. David, I wanted to start with a foundational question. What do you mean by relationship economics?

David Nour [00:11:55]:

Rob, thank you for asking. Yeah. I I, for decades, Live believed in philosophically, three notions that we kind of alluded to relationships is investment. And I think you guys would agree Ross people don't make investments blindly. Right? We don't we don't throw darts and say that's where I'm gonna invest. So I believe relationships should be proactive slash intentional, strategic, and ultimately quantifiable. So if you think about that idea, we all know relationships are important. Abbott Ross people do.

David Nour [00:12:36]:

I would submit most people struggle in really realizing their significance. So as I was thinking about these concepts, I began to talk about and think about this idea of relationship currency, where we exchange value. Over time, we develop our reputation digital, and, ultimately, we're all building our professional net worth of relationship assets and liabilities. And with every one of these concepts and with this construct, what I'm trying to do is combine this nebulous concept, this idea of relationships that we know is important with economics that we understand. It's black or white. It's investments. It's Abbott, you know, supply and demand. It's about scarcity.

David Nour [00:13:23]:

It's about utilization. And in relationship economics, I've brought these two concepts together. And that's what we call it the art and the science of relationships of being more intentional, more strategic, and more quantifiable in the relationships we choose to invest in.

Rob Durant [00:13:43]:

I love the thought of that. As you were explaining that one of the things that came to mind, I Tracy, an introduction to marketing class at Northeastern University. Sure. One of the things that I was sharing with the students early on Ross some of the basic economic concepts. You know? I'm going to provide value to you in terms of the product or service that I give. You're going to provide value to me, typically, in terms of compensation. I value the compensation you have more than I value the product or service, so I'm willing to exchange. And likewise, you value the product or service more than, the compensation.

Rob Durant [00:14:22]:

How does that work in terms of a relationship? I value what more than I value. I value my attention to you more than I value my time or

David Nour [00:14:34]:

I would yeah. I a great question. I would submit that our biggest enemy is Tim. I can always make more money, but I can't produce more time. So the Dunbar number says that an average individual can proactively manage about a 100 to a 150 relationships. Here's a $1,000,000 question for you. Which ones, and how do you know? And if you believe the notion that relationships are an investment, you can't invest in everybody equally. So how will you then prioritize who do you invest in? So one of the things I coach people to do, let's let's let's take it from a theoretical construct into something practical, something pragmatic.

David Nour [00:15:19]:

Who are your top 100 relationships? That's a that's a very straightforward question, yet so many people struggle with that basic notion because we all tend to be very myopic. Right? So if I'm in sales, I'm always thinking about my pipeline. Well, how about your customer alumni? People who already have demonstrated that they like you, they trust you, they believe you, they they respect you, they've bought from you before, But for whatever reason, either in your history or theirs, your your situation has changed. So there were a previous customer and a previous job, but we all get busy and we forget about them. And we kinda neglect them. And they go by the wayside because they're no longer relevant to to kind of what we do or what they do or different company, different geography, whatever the case may be. So we may think of our customers, capture who are the top relationships in my life business relationships, that I'm that I want to be intentional about investing in Abbott nurturing Abbott sustaining. And Rob, here's why that's really important.

David Nour [00:16:36]:

There's a misperception that we all need more, I want more prospects, I want more customers, I need more. No, you really don't. You actually if you think about the global pandemic, we didn't spend more time with more people. We spend more time with fewer people. But it was people we knew, people we liked, people we trusted that, in essence, were authentic and real relationships. So I would submit if you're looking for greater impact in your efforts, focus on fewer, but build deeper, richer, more meaningful relationships.

Alex Abbott [00:17:11]:

Wow. Here. Here.

Tracy Borreson [00:17:13]:

I think this is so true. And I I just wanna share because I had this experience coming out of COVID with a group of friends that I have. So not business relationships, but friends. And what became very clear to me with most of those people was that there wasn't a huge amount of value for me to hang out with them. They're in different industries. They are not really bringing I would put them into the energy vampires category. And they exist because, like, we were kinda we are we were a group. We moved through part of life together, and it made sense at that time.

Tracy Borreson [00:17:51]:

They were not energy vampires at that time.

Tim Hughes [00:17:53]:

Do they watch this show, Tracy?

Tracy Borreson [00:17:55]:

I don't believe they watched this show. No. It's the website. They're not on LinkedIn. Most of my peeps are on LinkedIn. But, like, I had this conversation with myself as to, like, what is the value to me to put effort into maintaining these relationships, which was really interesting because there were actually, like, some people I had met on LinkedIn who I had a much more meaningful relationship, and there's also that quantifiable piece of it. And I do believe that quantifiable can be qualitative, not just quantitative. And so there's like, oh, okay.

Tracy Borreson [00:18:32]:

Well, I I would rather go for lunch with, like, this group of people who are doing, like, creative brainstorming than this group of people who are going to talk about other people the entire time.

David Nour [00:18:44]:

Tracy, in a non creepy way, I'm a hugger. And if you were here, I would hug you because

Tracy Borreson [00:18:49]:

I'm a hugger too, so we get that's that works.

David Nour [00:18:52]:

Because what you're referring to are cut you know, several really critical points. 1, we have we we create relationships in these unique buckets. And those buckets serve very different needs that we all have. So think of this, we call it your relationship ecosystem. But I have a group of friends who really fill my my need for my faith or or they're they're that part of my world. I have another group of friends. I I ride motorcycles. And and these are these are riding buddies.

David Nour [00:19:23]:

And and my life is richer because on a nice weekend day, we ride in the North Georgia mountains and or I've ridden across the country. Some of them I've ridden globally with, and they filled that part of my life. So we need these unique buckets in our lives because they fill us. We we tend to deprioritize some versus others, when we perceive that that value exchange is no longer there for our time, for our effort, for our resources. So if I go have lunch with you, and that lunch was, Sam, it was Gray. But either you were too self centered, or I didn't feel like I'm better off because of that relationship. I'm gonna deprioritize you. Because again, I keep advocating this.

David Nour [00:20:14]:

We only have so many hours and I've been looking for the 25th 5th hour a day. I haven't found it yet. Right? And by the way, I wanna also spend time with my wife and my kids and other parts of my life. So my capacity for those exchanges are limited. And we're always contemplating, do I want to return Rob's call or Tim? Do I wanna spend time with Adam, or would I rather go have lunch with Alex? Oh, none of them.

Adam Gray [00:20:38]:

We want to spend time with Adam. That's that's the reality.

Tracy Borreson [00:20:41]:

Tracy's doing more. Just great.

David Nour [00:20:44]:

So context matters. You know, here's the other thing, Tracy, that you said that that really resonated. Believe it or not, in any interaction, it's actually less about us and more about how that other person is better off because of us. So the value exchange can't be just talked about it can't be a website, it can be an email. It's not a brochure. It's how we make them feel. And I've always said just sorry. Last question.

David Nour [00:21:13]:

I've always said I have a very simple formula for trust. Credibility says you know more about your area of expertise than anybody else. Plus empathy, you can be quiet long enough to ask great questions, really understand where they're coming from. When you do that multiplied by consistency, when you do that consistently over time, that's how you earn my trust. When you earn my trust, I bring you into my inner circle. When you earn my trust, I'm willing to share more with you. When you earn my trust, we become closer. We start to exchange not just superficial Live, but deeper value.

David Nour [00:21:53]:

That's how people prioritize who they call back, who they email, who they choose to work with, who they buy from, who they refer or recommend. That's how relationships become richer, deeper, more meaningful.

Alex Abbott [00:22:07]:

So, I don't think anyone on this call right now would disagree with you. In fact, I think the 5 of us violently agree with Abbott. But why do so many companies force their people to behave in a way that creates the opposite when actually they want to create what you exactly what you just described. The transactional relationships.

David Nour [00:22:32]:

Yeah. 33 corporates. One, I've Lorena believed and I've always believed metrics and compensation drive behavior.

Alex Abbott [00:22:41]:

Yeah. Mhmm.

David Nour [00:22:42]:

Think about how people are measured. Think about how they're compensated. A lot of organizations advocate A, but they measure and compensate B. Is there any surprise that there's a disconnect? Number 2, we're not talking about teaching people how to use Microsoft Excel. Right? So relationships typically are are and it's and and I'm and I'm saddened by the fact that this topic is not taught in our schools. It is not taught in anybody's new hire training. It is not taught in many management or leadership development programs. So how are we supposed to pick this up? Well, I'm I'm I'm pretty sure we're supposed to pick up through osmosis, but the way we pick it up is through modeling.

David Nour [00:23:29]:

We see a great leader who demonstrates phenomenal relationship building behave skills, knowledge and behaviors. And we say, oh, I wanna be like that person. Similarly, we see or we have a jerk for a boss who is toxic and and and combative and confrontational. We're like, I'm never gonna be like that person. So we pick it up through modeling. And when leaders don't model the right behaviors, it doesn't cascade well for the rest of their Tim. Number 2. Number 3.

David Nour [00:24:05]:

We talk about it. Right? We don't emphasize it. We don't reinforce it. We don't Gray it in what we do. So in many ways, relationships in many organizations are an afterthought. Not and I talked Abbott there the feathers at the tail end of the arrow, not the arrowhead. We don't lead with the relationship and let the results come from that. We lead with, here's my here's my KPIs, here's my OKRs, here's my on and on and on and on.

David Nour [00:24:40]:

And and, oh, by the way, people are our biggest Abbott. And yet as soon as the economy turns, what do we do? We lay everybody off. We love our partners. And as soon as the deal comes, oh, screw the partner. I'm gonna go get that deal directly. We we you know talk a lot about in startups I think Rob mentioned he helps startups scale. Startups and and venture capital or any kind of a a financial infusion. We want a financial partner.

David Nour [00:25:13]:

No. No. No. No. Listen. You've been at this too long. Way to exit. We gotta get our money back.

David Nour [00:25:17]:

We're gonna lose our shirts. We gotta, you know impatient capital is not relationship centric capital. Mhmm. So so there's a disconnect between what we profess and actually how we show up.

Tim Hughes [00:25:31]:

Yeah. To

Rob Durant [00:25:32]:

the people of our audience.

Tracy Borreson [00:25:34]:

So long that the

David Nour [00:25:35]:

I'm sorry.

Tracy Borreson [00:25:35]:

Problem with startups. Anyway, I just like to hear David say it.

Rob Durant [00:25:39]:

I just I wanted to, bring an audience question into the discussion. Marcus Kane asks, can forever looking to developing deeper relationships with a few clients end up being seen as a bit too needy. There must be a nice honest balance here.

David Nour [00:25:57]:

David, what

Rob Durant [00:25:57]:

do you think?

David Nour [00:25:58]:

Marcus, great great question. It it's, full disclosure. It's been a few presidents since I've dated. But can you imagine trying to date someone who doesn't wanna date you?

Tracy Borreson [00:26:10]:

Very difficult.

David Nour [00:26:10]:

It's an uphill battle. Right? Because that's when we show up as needy. That's have you seen how good and nice I am and how sweet I am? And it just they don't care. So so here's here's again a practical idea. Many organizations talk about their ideal customer profile, ICP. And they also go further and talk about their personas. Right? So we wanna work with CFOs of mid market companies in manufacturing. Great.

David Nour [00:26:36]:

You know what nobody talks about? Ideal relationship profiles. Nobody talks about that person gets me. That, and by the way, last time I checked, relationships are never between buildings or logos. They're always between individuals. Your logo, your building has no relationship with that company. It's John and Steve, Beth and Susan. So why can't we focus on people who and and and I would I would submit to you that if we start to focus more on who gets me, who gets our value add who needs our value add Who prioritizes working with us? I don't wanna swim upstream. I rather swim downstream.

David Nour [00:27:21]:

So this idea of focus on fewer, I call it the Jerry Maguire business model after the the movie. What if we focused on fewer, but people who got us saw value in working with us. We like them, we like working with them. We'll bend over backwards to help and support them. I have a friend in wealth management who says, I don't care what the issue is. I wanna be the one phone call my clients make. And and he's shared some of these examples of literally a client high net worth individual client calling them because they're less than bright children have wrapped a expensive vehicle on a you know, island somewhere around a tree. And he's not in that business, but he will make a few phone calls and get that kid out of a jam in in another part of the world.

David Nour [00:28:18]:

And he doesn't financially benefit from that. You know what he's building? Relationship currency. You know what is strengthening? Reputation capital. That that guy is the one phone call I wanna make regardless of what it is. So the next time that that client has 5,000,000, 10,000,000, a 100,000,000 to invest, guess who's they're gonna who they're gonna call. If we lead with the relationship, the outcomes we're after will come, but it has to be the right ideal relationship profile.

Adam Gray [00:28:53]:

That's just brilliant.

Alex Abbott [00:28:55]:

Absolutely. I mean, the

Tracy Borreson [00:28:57]:

sit here and listen to David. Yeah.

Rob Durant [00:29:01]:

Well, let's read out some

Tim Hughes [00:29:02]:

of the comments,

Rob Durant [00:29:04]:

Rob. We have Nigel Packer coming in on Twitter. I still can't call it x. Sorry.

Tracy Borreson [00:29:11]:

It will always be Twitter.

Rob Durant [00:29:13]:

And he shares, like an onion, there are rings of authority. Your inner ring network should have about 15 people in it. These are invited to meet up for lunch every month where you can discuss opportunities and build the relationship. If someone is not fully invested in the network, you drop them and invite someone else from the next ring to join the inner circle. It takes a little time, but eventually, you will have a close network that benefits everyone in it. So along those lines, David, what would you suggest we do in terms of of taking action towards building a better network?

David Nour [00:29:53]:

So number 1, become more intentional. And let me let me just clarify that a second. Relationships and Tracy brought it up are contextually relevant. So my next door neighbor, a great, great guy, young family, He runs a a small landscaping business. They're relevant in the fact that he's got keys to my house and security code to my house for when we travel, but it's not really relevant to the work that I do. So start with the end in mind. And and in the book that Tim has that was autographed by his mom, you know, I talk about start with the end in mind. We call those kind of relationship centric goals.

David Nour [00:30:30]:

By the way, you wanna become a better person? God bless you. You wanna read more? That's fantastic. You don't need anybody else to do that. So I talk about relationship centric goals where you need relationships to help you achieve the outcomes. Start with those. Start with the Covey says the same thing. Start with the end in mind. Next, pivotal contacts.

David Nour [00:30:50]:

Who do you need? Jim Selling, I had a chance to work with them. He often talks about we don't ask enough who questions. When we face a challenge or an opportunity, we often ask what should we do and how should we do it. We don't ask enough who questions. Who do I need? There are no new challenges. There are no new obstacles. The only new challenges are the ones we haven't thought of. Somebody else somewhere else has.

David Nour [00:31:15]:

So if I know the outcome I'm after a pivotal contact is who do I need? Next, your existing relationship bank. Who do you know? You know Lorena people than you think you do. The problem is we're all really bad at keeping up with them. You want proof? If any of your audience members looks at their contacts on their phones, right, bring up your contacts, look at them alphabetically. I just have one question of you. Do you know any of these people? So garbage in, garbage stays. We're all very good at collecting LinkedIn contacts. Go through your LinkedIn.

David Nour [00:31:52]:

Are they contacts? Or are they relationships? The whole process is predicated by what I call relationship currency deposits. What can I do for an existing relationship that creates access to or an opportunity with a pivotal contact that will accelerate my ability to get to that outcome? When you do that intentionally, when you do that strategically, when you do that quantifiably quantifiably, we call it intelligent relationship mapping. I'm not trying to overcomplicate it. What I'm giving you is a process, a playbook of exactly that. How do we become more intentional in the relationships we choose to invest?

Rob Durant [00:32:37]:

Fantastic. Yeah. Any questions?

Alex Abbott [00:32:41]:

I'm sorry. I'm busy writing, taking notes.

Rob Durant [00:32:43]:

Writing down. Sorry. In terms of

Tim Hughes [00:32:48]:

some of the the comments to allow you you to think. So so I am Constance, basically. He's already ordered a copy of your book, David. So we've sold

David Nour [00:32:55]:

my book. There's 3 copies. Wiley's loving me. There's 3 copies.

Rob Durant [00:32:59]:

You're gonna be able to retire.

Alex Abbott [00:33:01]:

Yeah. At the end of this call. Yeah.

Tim Hughes [00:33:04]:

So so Rob Tell says, the big test. How many colleagues or business relationships have come to your home or home or vice versa?

David Nour [00:33:14]:

Yeah. Rob, great great question. I I I, in the book, I talk about this idea of a relationship value pyramid. And I just want the audience to kind of think about this notion. There's there's and don't get caught up on the terminology. I just want you to conceptually understand the difference between contacts and really rich meaningful relationships. At the bottom of the pyramid, I call them situation. They come they go, you'll never know, you know, where or how that might be relevant.

David Nour [00:33:44]:

So they're kind of collegial. But but they're just kind of transactional in many ways. The next group I call investments, You invest time and effort to get to know them. They've gotten to know you. Maybe they've met your significant other. Maybe you've gone to a pub and had a pint together. But they're basically that next level. The very next level I call portfolio.

David Nour [00:34:05]:

They're subject matter experts. They know more about a particular topic or area than anybody else. Your interaction with them is is regular, and it's a very collaborative relationship. The very pinnacle of everybody, business professionals you have, I call them your 2 AMs because you really could call them 2 in the morning. And the first question is, are you okay? There's a certain x factor with those relationships that's gone beyond the transactional. So back to Rob's question of how many people have come to my home. I Live roughly about 35100 people in my active portfolio of relationships. 18 are 2 AMs.

David Nour [00:34:43]:

On average, I've known them 20 plus years. Their past clients, their past colleagues, their past investors, their past, you know, CEOs of Live, but our relationships have really elevated to a very different level, where they're now investing in my tech startup, past clients and classmates. And so it's more than just a transaction. So so I've had investments come to my home, and I've been to theirs. I certainly have portfolios that Live gotten to know me better. I've I've vacationed with them. The 2 AMs, are people that that will bail you out of jail. So one of my audience members asked, Nor, do do you really need 18 people to bail you out of jail? I said, you never know when the first 17 might be busy Ross sitting in jail with you.

David Nour [00:35:33]:


Tracy Borreson [00:35:35]:

Being a problem.

David Nour [00:35:36]:

We're selling about the quality of the relationship. Right? You know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But but you get my point is that not all relationships are created equal. With some, we we genuinely build deeper, more meaningful. The challenges Live read over 100 books on business relationships, I couldn't find a scale. So we build 1.

Tracy Borreson [00:35:58]:

I just wanna share. I did a networking event a couple of weeks ago, and we did this exercise where we it wasn't, like, around Valentine's Day, so it was mostly about connection. And we did this, like, b e s t, friend. What do the letters stand for? And one of the things that my group came up in my group was hide the body. Who are the people who could help you hide the body? And I feel like these fit into the 2 AM group.

David Nour [00:36:28]:

Absolutely. We all need friends in our lives who will hide the body. Now that's very that's that's very incriminating coming from somebody from the Middle East. But but but

Tracy Borreson [00:36:38]:

Yeah. I'm Canadian, so maybe it's less if you're assuming we're not hiding bodies, but I just thought that same same principle.

David Nour [00:36:46]:

Yeah. Yeah. And and and, again, Tracy's got a great softball question for me, which is, you know, networking. I've always had a visceral reaction to networking. Not only it's it's one letter away from not working, but but most networking is just very transactional. Right? We we go and Live you met people who dispense business cards? By the way, for our younger audience, business cards are these things that we would like, they dispense business cards like it's a coupon. Like, I I don't do that. And most people, my wife calls it icky.

David Nour [00:37:17]:

Like, I don't wanna go do that. Conversely, if you because it's highly transactional. Conversely, if you think about relationships, they're deeper, more meaningful, more more valuable to us. So I've started to do more small group dinners with people I wanna get to know better, versus these transactional events where we go and, you know, they have their place and you go for Abbott people really well. And these dinners are like, you know, becoming 3 and 4 hours because the conversation is so rich. Versus, yeah, I went to an event, and I got a card, and I gave a card, and I could care less about that person.

Rob Durant [00:37:59]:

So I wanna pick up on that.

Adam Gray [00:38:01]:

Rob Rob's organizing a speed networking event. Can can he count on you to come? Yeah.

David Nour [00:38:08]:

I mean, Adam, for you, I'd be delighted to to help and support of you there.

Tracy Borreson [00:38:13]:

And convince you how to not do that and do something Jensen.

Rob Durant [00:38:16]:

Right. Right. So I wanted to pick up on that that dinner concept and that that dinner that lasted 3 and 4 hours. What are the conversations about? Because I have to believe it's not buy my stuff.

David Nour [00:38:33]:

Yeah. Yeah. Unequivocally. So, Rob, let me preface that that the question with this with this comment. If you think about it a second, for anybody who's traveled extensively or worked abroad, the rest of the world builds relationships first from which they do business. Regrettably, as Americans or in many western cultures, we're so focused on the business that if and only if the business works, we may ask about their significant other or their kids or their parents or what they do when they're not working. Jensen, the disconnect when we go into places and people don't look like us or sound like us. And in the words of the famed philosopher, Britney Spears, this isn't rocket surgery.

David Nour [00:39:16]:

This is this is invested time and effort to get to know others. And explore you don't know if there's anything there or not. I'm willing to given certain kind of cursory lenses, I'm willing to invest time and effort to get to know them. So, Rob, you're exactly right. The dinner conversations. What's what breaks your heart right now? The dinner conversations. How are you learning? How are you growing, particularly with those of us who didn't paint on the gray hair? Dinner conversations. How are you coaching, mentoring, guiding the next generation, not just to do this, because this, they're really good at this, They're really bad at especially since they haven't had to do it in the last 2, 3 years of this pandemic.

David Nour [00:40:08]:

So conversations that are beyond the superficial really get to know the character, really get to know the values, really get to know the purpose of that individual. And what you're looking for is alignment in those things that matter a heck of a lot more than any one transaction. And I'm never Lorena get to know those if I'm always talking about speeds and feeds and price and hourly rates and any of that stuff. Now, I'm a realist. Our world has a need for a lot of those things. I just I feel incredibly blessed that I can pick and choose who I work with, who I coach, who, you know, we roll our technology with, who I choose to go have a cup of coffee with. Right? And and there's a there's a there's a there's a slang here in the States. Don't bro me, you know, until you you know me.

David Nour [00:41:00]:

Don't don't pretend we're best friends until you actually invest time and effort to get to know who I am and what I'm about. And just one last comment, and I promise to get off the get off the, Hughes off the pulpit. I am saddened by how little due diligence this next generation does before they show up. They don't know anything about us. They don't know anything about our work. They don't and it's I can't equate it to anything else other than laziness. How long does it take to Google my name before our call? How long does it take to just spend a few minutes on my LinkedIn profile or my website to at least learn an ounce about who I am and what I do before you show up to that Zoom, or that next coffee meeting.

Rob Durant [00:41:44]:

So let's pick up on that then. In the age of AI and automation, how can businesses ensure that their relationship building efforts are still human centered and Jensen. All of those research in advance and so on. Shouldn't AI just take care of that for me? I love this. So I

David Nour [00:42:08]:

I I love I I I I

Rob Durant [00:42:10]:

set them up. You have them down.

David Nour [00:42:12]:

Forget Forget the hug offer to Tracy. I wanna hug you because I this this is, this is really a a teeing off a softball. So I've built, I've been I've been as as you guys know, there's collectively, you know, AI and ML, a lot of these technologies have been around for a while. It's just in the last year with ChatGPT, it's just become incredibly pervasive and much more prevalent. So I've been researching, I've been interviewing a bunch of executives, and I've built a brand new kind of keynote. And the title of it is Consequences of AI on enterprise relationships. And I specifically say consequences because there's both positive and negative. But let me just drop a few on you that might resonate.

David Nour [00:42:59]:

So let's talk about positive consequences. 1, amplified customer obsession. Jeff Bezos and the team at Amazon kinda coined that term of not just customer satisfaction, but customer obsession. What AI does is it gets into beyond reactive, starts to get into proactive, if not predictive needs, wants, priorities of those customers. That is phenomenal as a positive consequence of what AI can do for relationships. Data driven decision, not just making decision impact. AI can help me build models to predict when we make this decision, how will that relationship would better off because of it before we even make it before we roll it out? That is brilliant. Love that.

David Nour [00:43:52]:

And one more dramatically elevating definitions of efficiency and productivity. We know what efficiency and productivity is, again, through modeling through predictive models, AI can tell us if that partnership is gonna yield the results of the outcomes we're after. So those are just 2, 3 examples of positive. Now let me flip the coin. Negative. Number 1, obliterations. Right? Literally, we might as well throw job descriptions out the door because I just saw a week or so ago a demo of an AI engine that can scan 10,000 sheets and analyze it of information, of data in 8 seconds. So if your value add is I'm gonna review a bunch of documents, right, you need to find something else to do because that job description goes out the door.

David Nour [00:44:48]:

Which means by definition, collaboration is gonna have a ripple effect. Right? How we work with others, how we define work, how we define success from work is gonna evolve. Data privacy terrorism. You think that bad actors are sitting around waiting for us to kind of really get better before they launch the next attack? Here in the states, hospitals, health systems are getting attacked. Talk about the relationship now of every employee within the organization with their respective fields and and AI impacts on that. Things like the fragility of our tech reliance, in the States. We don't know if it was a solar Lorena flare. We don't know if it was a software update.

David Nour [00:45:38]:

But the cellular network went down yesterday. You would think we have lost our minds because we can't, right, get a hold of people or we can't, right, get direction from our Google Maps or Waze or any of the stuff that we're dependent on. So so it just shows you AI is going to have far reaching consequences, positive and negative on our relationships. What none of us can do is ignore it. What none of us can do is pretend this isn't going to happen to me. By the way, again, recent data 2,700,000,000 in us invested in AI startups in the first two months of this year already. They're not investing in a and b because of interest rates. But a lot of VCs are very bullish on investing in seed round, particularly of AI, generative AI type organizations.

David Nour [00:46:36]:

But, Rob, very long answer to your short question of it is gonna have a ripple effect on what we do and how we interact with relationships.

Tracy Borreson [00:46:44]:

So can I ask a follow-up question to that, David? Because you Hughes the word intention a bunch of times. And so when it comes to the our intention with AI is that then dependent on our intention with our relationships.

David Nour [00:47:02]:

Yeah. I I, I'm gonna go back to I think was the movie Captain America, where Steve Rogers was infused with that serum that made Tim you know, bulky. And the German scientist character made a statement that if you are good, this serum will amplify those values and will make you even better, kinder, gentler. It will amplify those attributes. If you have ill intent, I believe AI and AI is the same thing. I think AI will amplify our intent and really make us better at the things we do really well. If you have ill intent, AI will amplify a lot of those evil doings. So so that's where I go back to your purpose and your values and ideal relationship profiles.

David Nour [00:47:54]:

Tracy, those are all who we are and what we're about and what we choose to focus on that I believe AI will amplify. We're building a platform. I I don't wanna do campaigns. I don't want to send that emails. There's a lot of other people that'll do that. I want to amplify your relationship building, nurturing, capitalizing kind of skills, knowledge, and behaviors.

Adam Gray [00:48:18]:

It's it's good that you said that. My concern is that, people certainly, my experience of working with people is that they're always looking for the easy button. So, the promise of AI selling you a constant stream of people that are ready to buy your product or have a conversation with you, whatever, is, is an alley that people don't shouldn't be attempting to go down.

Alex Abbott [00:48:50]:

Because, you

Adam Gray [00:48:50]:

know, at the end of the day, it's such a cliche people buy people, but it's one of the truest single, you know, it's a cliche for a Jensen. Yeah. Because it's because it's true. And one of my concerns is that people forget this relationship thing. They forget, you know, I'm gonna do business with you because I like you, because we share a passion for motorbikes and and blues music or whatever it is. Sure. And that's the foundation on which we get to know each other and we build trust and we like and etcetera. And AI strips all of that away.

David Nour [00:49:22]:

Adam, unequivocally unequivocally. So just look, look at practically our email. I don't know how many spam emails you guys get a day. But mine is out of control. Right? And every one of them, my favorite, here's one of my favorites, David, we've extensively researched your background. Have you ever thought about writing a book? So it goes back to you don't know me, you don't know anything about me. And that wasn't done by an individual because you'd have to be thick as a brick. Right? Not to Google my name or come to the website or whatever and Live that Yeah, this guy's already done that.

David Nour [00:49:59]:

So Wait, you wrote a book? I believe it or not, yes. So social, I believe can do a lot of the heavy lifting in our due diligence. But pretty soon, we're going to have an AI built in agent that automatically deletes the the emails and the spams that we don't Durant, we don't like, just like you've got an AI engine that will send out spam emails. So soon AI is gonna talk to AI. Right? And we're still back to the fundamentals back to Adam, as you Jensen, the relationships. Think of who we take calls from, think of who we return emails to think of who prioritize we prioritize meeting with. Those are all people we know we like we and data shows this. I read a quick BCG or I think it was a Bain paper that said most of the business is going to companies or individuals on a shortlist.

David Nour [00:50:54]:

How do you get on the shortlist? Number 1, you're a known entity. They've worked with you before. Number 2, you're a known entity from a previous job or previous company. Number 3, you become you come highly recommended from somebody they trust. All 3 of those are relationship centric.

Adam Gray [00:51:10]:

Yeah. And and for us, obviously, we work in the social media space. LinkedIn, as an example, only works for me as a business development tool because I'm there engaging with you, and you're a target of mine. And the only reason that you're engaging with me is because you think you can sell me something as well as me selling you something. Yeah. And when one of us is replaced by AI I mean, clearly, there's more to it than that, but in its most simplistic Tim. Sure. If one of us is replaced by AI or some bot, then there's no reason for me to be there anymore because the thing that I'm interacting with isn't a real person that potentially can buy my products or services, which means, ultimately, social media becomes social somewhere that isn't digital potentially.

Adam Gray [00:52:00]:

Because, again, it's all about relationships. It's all about people.

David Nour [00:52:04]:

Yep. And I'm gonna go back to something I started this conversation with, which is our biggest enemy is time and bandwidth. Where will you choose to invest? Whom will you choose to invest that time and bandwidth with makes all the difference in your progression in your journey from now to next. Whatever that journey is, be cautious about who you choose to invest in.

Tracy Borreson [00:52:33]:

Adam, in your example, I have this so if you look up my, like, title I have on my experience right now. I'm the only one who has it. I made up the title. And my favorite thing is when people people message me, like, we help digital branded visitors, and you're Live, well, I I actually go back to them and I'm like, that's interesting. Can you tell me about another time that you've helped someone with the social? Because as far as I know, I'm the only one on LinkedIn. And it mostly, they don't respond. But I did have somebody reply once being like, oh, you caught me. That was my AI doing that.

Tracy Borreson [00:53:12]:

Yeah. People know. People can tell. Tracy.

Rob Durant [00:53:19]:

David, this has been fantastic. And you can tell it's been fantastic because there's been more than one period where this panel has been silenced. That that means we're we're busy jotting down notes and we're processing it. It's not that the conversation weighed, it's that we couldn't keep up.

David Nour [00:53:38]:

Rob, very kind. I'm grateful to Tim. He was kind enough to meet me in London for a for a lovely breakfast, and we had a great conversation. And then I I despite of his his better wisdom and and and declining, reputation for hanging out with this cohort, recommended this group for us to talk. So thanks to, thanks to Tim and and you guys for having me. I appreciate it.

Tim Hughes [00:54:01]:

And thanks Lorena the Britney Spears crowd.

Rob Durant [00:54:03]:

Maybe. Yeah. Yes. David, how can people learn more about you? How can they get to know you?

David Nour [00:54:09]:

Very kind. You can just Google my name, David, n o u r. Or if you go to Nour Gray, n o u r Gray dot com, we got a blog. There's all kinds of good stuff there as well that they can learn from and grow through. Fantastic.

Tracy Borreson [00:54:23]:


Rob Durant [00:54:23]:

And we now have a newsletter. Don't miss an episode. Get show highlights, beyond the show insights, and reminders of upcoming episodes. Scan the QR code on screen or visit us at digital download dot live and click on newsletter. On behalf of the panelists, our guests, to our audience, thank you all, and see you next time.

Tim Hughes [00:54:53]:

Bye. Thanks David

#BusinessGrowth #RelationshipEconomics #Networking #socialselling #digitalselling #LinkedInLive #Podcast

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The Digital Download is the longest running weekly business talk show on LinkedIn Live. We broadcast weekly on Fridays at 14:00 GMT/ 09:00 EST. Join us each week as we discuss the topics of the day related to digital transformation, change management, and general business items of interest. We strive to make The Digital Download an interactive experience. Audience participation is highly encouraged!

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