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Burt Alimansky–Smart Networking

On March 9, I attended a talk on “Smart Networking?? by Burt Alimansky. Following are my notes. Burt gave his approval to distribute these notes.

Smart Networking: How to Win New Clients, New Jobs, & New Friends – Burt Alimansky Harvard MBA ’77, Managing Director, Alimansky Capital Group Inc.
Mr. Alimansky is well known as chairman of the New York Venture Group, and he is a past-president of the Harvard Business School Club and a former director of the School’s Alumni Association. One friend claims that Alimansky “has a rolodex the size of a Ferris wheel.?? At last count his personal mailing list had about 20,000 entries, most of whom he has met personally. Additionally, Alimansky is chairman and founder of New York Business Forums Inc., parent of the New York Venture Group, the New York Capital Roundtable, and the MasterClass Forums. These popular seminars bring together investors, bankers, entrepreneurs, executives of major corporations, and providers of professional services.
He has frequently addressed banking and corporate finance seminars and conferences, and has been interviewed in such media as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, and CBS News.
At Harvard Business School, he was elected in 1989 by the alumni to the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, and in 1977 by the faculty to the honorary Century Club. He is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the daily campus newspaper. He is an alumnus of the NASBIC Venture Capital Institute.
Tuesday, March 9
Location: Thomas Weisel Partners, 390 Park Avenue (54th Street), 2nd Floor
Time: 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:00 p.m. program
Organizer: Angela Piscitello ’95

Thanked Kate Workman and Angela Piscitello. Nicole Sabati & Arline West also attending.
Schedule: 30 mins. Talking, 15 mins. Q&A, and then allowed room for elevator pitches at the end.
3 Deliverables of Speech:
+ Short Commercial
+ Philosophical point
+ 10 Commandments of Good Networking:

+ Short Commercial
Wears two hats: 1) investment banker, MD, raising money for small/middle-market companies. 2) Chairman, NY Capital Roundtable (nybrt.com).

+ Philosophical point
It’s not about exploiting others/schmoozing. It’s a form of marketing.

3 key dimensions:
+ Most marketing is one-to-many. Networking is one-to-one, like a romantic person.
+ Networking is not pinging /touching people. It’s about having relationships with people.
+ The key is it’s both interactive and apathetic. Understand your buyer/consumer/how they feel. And show empathy.

+ 10 Commandments of Good Networking:

1. Start off with an effective strategy. The first circle are people who love you/care about you. 2nd circle: the people who know you reasonably well (classmates, ex-colleagues). 3rd : weak links. 4th: people who know your name/are members of a trade association with you.

2. Create a plan that includes the 4 phases of managing relationships (initiate, build, maintain, harvest). Managed serendipity.

Ed Massey, formerly of Warburg Pincus, decided to make 4-5 phone calls/day to people he knew, telling them what type of firm he was seeking to buy. And told them that he wanted names of 2 other people. Ultimately found home health care business to buy. Got there thru accountant in Honolulu whose partner’s sister lived in Hartford.

3. Develop a networking mindset. No one said networking is easy. Push your comfort level. Say, “Hi, I’m Burt Alimansky!?? (But you don’t have to use my name.) You’re doing people a favor. Secretly, people are relieved that you’ve taken the initiative.

4. Be prepared. Get business cards. This is the way you communicate with the future. If you don’t want a future, leave them in your briefcase. “Do as you say but not as I do.?? Make a website. Create a database. Follow up.

5. Think tactically. Wear namecard on the upper right. Set goals: how many people do you want to meet? Don’t eat, because it’s a distraction. Come early, leave late.

6. Be gracious. When you call, always ask permission if now is a good time to speak. Predict how much time you need. Never be critical of people. Don’t vent, don’t criticize others. You don’t want people to remember, “What I remember is that he dislikes that headhunter.?? Keep your word.

7. Build relationships. Follow up promptly & properly. Creates and enhances relationship. Don’t wait too long to write the note , “It was nice to meet you at …..??. Block out the time after the event just to follow up.

8. Maintain relationships. Don’t spend all your time creating new relationships, and fail to spend time on your old ones. Continually refresh & maintain relationships. Keep current info on folks. Send thank you notes. Don’t send bulk generic email.

9. Harvest relationships. This is a form of maintaining relationships.

10. Give, give, give.

Q&A

How do you make the balance between calling for no reason, & calling with a reason, & not calling at all?

a. keep thinking outside of the box. E.g., organize dinner with other sectionmates
b. be full frontal. Call and say, I was thinking of you.
c. Maybe use a newsletter.

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