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Jeff Meshel : "The Power in the Room"

(Following are my notes on Jeff Meshel’s recent talk on “how to network”)

Jeff Meshel
CEO, Mercury Capital
at International Executives Resource Group (IERGOnline)
3/16/04

Three lines of business at Mercury Capital
Bridge lender to real estate sector
Buy & operate buildings
Mercury Capital Group–Nasdaq B/D-investment banking group

He owns 1 Exchange Place.

Sample deal: On board of Broadband Capital (microcap focused i-bank). They’ve just completed a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Corp.) in China, with this logic: you raise $27m, which goes into public vehicle, which backs a management team, which will then go into private sector and find something to do. Focus on internet/telecom space. This is a blind pool with these conditions: management team has only 18 mos. to find a deal, and must get 51% approval from shareholders to do deal. Puts management’s feet to the fire.

Everything he does is facilitated thru networking.
His book will be called, “It is who you know”, or maybe “One phone call away”

Three themes in book:
– how to network at high levels
– how to sell yourself
– take the high road

He uses Goldmine for his 4000+ contacts.

“Life’s a giant field, and if you throw out enough seeds then trees will grow.”

At speech, Jeff asked an employee of a major real estate firm, “How are you different from everybody else”. Her answer: “we have the best listings, we can negotiate with boards, we can deals happen”. The right answer: “I have better relationships with clients, because I add value to them.”

You MUST database people.

At his entrepreneurs in transition event, everyone did 1-minute pitch, and then said one wish’. Then Jeff matched people up.

Jeff: I’m an extreme; not everyone does do what I do.’

Created “Strategic Forum”. Meets 1x/month. 25 different businesspeople. He’s educated each member that they’re there to nourish the platform. He’s trying to get them to promote the Strategic Forum to their friends.

Always has section of meeting for “Thank yous” to the group. The only currency in the room are “Thank yous”

“Business in Progress”-that’s section of his meetings where people explain what they’re looking for.

They have cocktail parties where members are required to invite guests, and bring the bios. Before the cocktail party, mails all attendees saying, here’s a list of who’s here.

Jewelry store owner in group said: tell people that if they have a little something that needs fixed, they should go to Jerry, and make a donation to Charity X, and he’ll fix the item.

YPO has an Inventory of Skills’ where they database all their members.

Tiger21 elite networking group. You have to be at certain financial level to enter. You have to disclose your assets to everyone. And everyone analyzes your assets. Jeff told story about member who had overwhelming majority of assets in a highflying stock. Was warned by fellow member who rode a gondola with that company’s CEO, and got very nervous. As a result, member sold his shares.

Has been organizing a dinner forum in FL, where he introduces all members to one another.

In sales, he has to turn the “No’s” into “Maybe’s”, and then he has a chance to turn the “Maybe” into a “Yes”.

Response to rejection when he was raising $: “People tend to dismiss this idea quickly, because real estate has a bad rap right now. However, I have every nickel I own on this deal. Either I’m insane or I’m right. Will you give me 15 minutes so I can explain why I am doing this?” You can’t say no to that.

Q&A

What do you do with the contacts to keep updated on what’s in there?
“Anointing the wheels”. Things happen because he’s in front of people.

In Japanese, the character for know’ is the same as character for trust’.

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