THE BLOG
10/20/2014 05:55 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2014

What Josh Altman (Million Dollar Listing LA) Taught Me About Networking

Million Dollar Listing is a reality TV show about Real Estate Brokers in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Josh Altman is on the LA version, and one of the top brokers in Southern California. Love this show, which is about Realtors selling multi-million dollar homes.

As an Executive Recruiter, I'm in that same business. Josh matches buyers and million dollar houses; I match companies with million dollar executives. Josh hosts Brokers Open events; I host Godfather Sit Downs for my clients, friends and business partners. The part of Million Dollar Listing I enjoy most is when a Realtor is negotiating a home price since I spend much of my day negotiating executive compensation packages.

Ten years ago I started hosting my own private mixers after attending a dozen "open to the public" networking events. Anything that is open to the public is going to have subsets of solicitors, professional networkers and folks that showed up for the free drinks. No disrespect; just not my thing. So I created The Godfather's Sit Down. We have exactly one purpose - for my friends, clients and business partners to meet each other. We have exactly one rule - absolutely no selling, marketing, promoting or soliciting. Invite 30 of my friends and each person is allowed to bring one new guest. Half the crowd is my friends; the other half is new and exciting executives. Guest list is "C" level corporate executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and entertainers. Very diverse and eclectic group.

Back to Josh Altman. Invited Josh to attend my Godfather Sit Down in Hollywood. Interestingly enough, we did not have a single common friend on LinkedIn; however keep in mind that "weak networks" where you don't share common friends are of great value since you are connecting two BIG networks. Here are the four lessons I took away from my interaction with Josh:

Return All Your Messages - When I emailed Josh, he responded immediately. Many executives only return messages that are self-serving. Although I understand the concept, my personal business model is to return every email and phone call, even if my answer is "no thank you." Why? Because it's the right way to treat people. Although Josh did not know me, he was professional enough to return my message. That immediately puts him in the top 2% of people I know.

No Risk, No Reward - Which brings us to lesson two: no risk, no reward. As Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Josh took a risk by getting back to me. He has plenty of other things on his plate, however he probably Googled and saw that I'm well connected in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley. And there is great value in knowing well connected executives.

The Larger Your Network, The Larger Your Opportunity - Recently read a book on "luck" that stated "the larger your network, the luckier you get." Why? Because the more people you know, the more opportunities they will forward your way. In my case (Executive Recruiter), the more executives I know, the better my chance of making job placements.

The Town Called Someday - Josh could not make my Hollywood event, so he offered to meet at lunch. My schedule was jammed full, however rather than walk away, we did the sacred calendar sync and found a mutually agreeable one hour time slot. While many people are living in the town of "Someday", Josh and I made the meeting happen. As Jim Lovell once said, "There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen."