We continue our interview series this week with entrepreneur, author, speaker and hustler Gary Vaynerchuk. The man who turned a small wine store into a multi-million dollar online business tells us what he finds important in relationship management. Oh, and he drops us a hint about what he’s building next. Make sure to pick up a copy of Gary’s new book, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook so you can read the story of social media failures and get an outline for success.
Video Transcript: Gary Vaynerchuk Shares his Biggest Secret to Relationship Management
Brad: I’m Brad from FullContact, and this week we are speaking to the guy who… Maybe he didn’t invent The Hustle, but he sure as heck perfected it. It’s Gary Vaynerchuk. How are you, buddy?
Gary: I’m good, brother. How are you?
Brad: I’m doing well. So you’ve been working hard lately. Got a new book out, right?
Gary: I hate when my new books are out because I cash in my chips. Right? I’m hustling. I do things that I would never… In the amount of things that I do that I would never do, I’m in full hustle mode doing every podcast, every show, engaging at scale, answering emails, kissing babies, high-fiving pets. Whatever it takes. If you want me to high-five your dog and it gets me $6, I’m interested.
Brad: So, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” is the name of it.
Brad: So I’ve read every one so far, but I haven’t had a chance to read the new one yet. So what’s kind of the basis here?
Gary: The basis is, how do you story tell on social networks? To me it’s a science, like boxing. Boxing is known as a sweet science, so that’s where the boxing metaphor comes in. Then, it’s give, give, give, and then ask. Right? So, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. Give good content. Give good content. Give good content. Build up equity, then ask. So, that’s really the book. It’s not super-complicated other than that. It’s really… Then, what I did, though, because that only took me 80 pages to explain all that, I did 200 pages of case studies. “Here’s an Instagram photo. Here’s why Coke did a bad job. Here’s why they did a good job. Here’s why this, that.” So I did 100 case studies of brands and small businesses, and entrepreneurs doing good and bad content on social networks.
Brad: Oh, wow. So you get the bad stuff too.
Gary: I did a couple really rogue things. One, I made it a how-to book, which is why it’s doing so well. Right? It’s literally… I was pretty sad. I hated doing that much work. Right? Two, yeah, I’m kind of ballsy. So I was willing to have people upset with me by saying… Like 40 of them are like, “You suck.”
Brad: But I think you have to tell both sides of that story. Right?
Gary: There was no way for me to teach my audience, who I think I’m on the hook for, any… There’s just no way for me to teach them without showing them the bad because so many of them are doing the bad.
Brad: Yeah, definitely. So, you and I met, I think it was three or four years ago now at Big Omaha. Then, I’ve seen you ten different places since then, and every single time you managed to remember my name. So I’ve yet to figure out how you’ve done that.
Gary: By the way, let me answer that.
Gary: I will never forget your face until we both die. That will never happen.
Brad: Oh, wow. See, I’m not gifted with that talent.
Gary: Names, that’s more serendipity. I don’t want anybody who’s watching this to think I’m good like that. I’m not. I’m pretty bad at it. I try and try things. I’m not good at it. I’m just meeting too many people. But, boy, I mean, I live my life… I was on a flight and I’m like, “Do I know you?” and they’re like, “No.” Then, it was a six-hour flight, like three and half hours in… I was sitting next to the person. I’m like, “Do you know…” Then I’m like looking at my inbox or something and they’re like, “Wait a minute. Did we go to fourth grade together?” I’m really legit with faces.
Brad: That’s amazing.
Gary: …even as they age.
Brad: That’s amazing. How in the world… Because you know, you’re probably more connected than any one person I know. I’ve got some of our… Like our investor friends, Brad Feld has hundreds of thousands of contacts, or whatever. But you’ve got to be up there as well. How do you stay in touch with people? Because that’s your thing, right?
Brad: It’s all about the relationships.
Gary: The answer really is effort. I just value staying in touch with other people versus playing video games.
Gary: I mean, I just value it. I’m running businesses. I value people relationships over hardcore operations sometimes. I just value it. I mean, the truth is, everyone of us is impressed with somebody else on how they do something. But it’s actually predicated on their value, like what they value. I see people like, “Man, how do they work out so much?” Well, they’re valuing their health. They’re working out more than I do. So, the real answer to your question is I value it.
Brad: That’s cool.
Brad: It’s something as simple as, I’ll see once in a while you’ll hop on Twitter, and I don’t know. Maybe you’re in a cab or whatever. People that I follow along with you, you’re just like, “Hey, Jeff. How are you?” or whatever. That’s got to be value because there’s no CRM system for, “Hey, you haven’t tweeted with this person in six weeks. But you should say hi.”
Gary: Yep. Listen. By the way, I’ve actually been thinking about building it because that’s how much I believe in it.
Brad: You should.
Gary: I’ve literally started hacking around a little bit. I’m such a big believer in it. For me, it happens all the time. Just listen. Something very lucky happened to me. The world became more people-oriented and I love people. I mean, what else are you going to do. Right? Like, I get a lot of credit. But, boy, is it my DNA. I just genuinely like people.
Like, listen, a lot of the people with a million followers on Twitter like me, they really don’t like people. Like a lot of my best friends who are in the game that are out there, they’re private. They don’t hate people. But they’re just introverted. They like quiet. They’d rather sit with me for four hours and have wine, and though I like that very much too, I’d rather be with 4,000 people saying hey for a few minutes.
Brad: Right. So if you had to look back… Obviously for people who don’t know the story, you got in. You took over your dad’s wine business, grew that exponentially. Then, how do you make the transition from, “I’ve grown a wine business exponentially,” to Wine Library TV, to doing… I mean, Vayner Media and the stuff that you do as far as marketing and outreach, and all the things that you guys do, how does that transition happen?
Gary: Because I built winelibrary.com before Wine Library TV on those principles. Brad, I think one of the things that’s interesting, and you know this because you’ve been around in the game the whole time and watched it happen… I think my pizazz on stage and how I roll, and how I care about people and really my extrovert kind of charisma, over-the-topness, douchebaggery, whatever you want to call it, I think it clouds my operation skills.
Gary: At first when I came out, I like Digg Nation cared and TechCrunch cared, and people started talking about me in ’06, ’07.
Gary: The story was, “This dude built a $50 million wine business on the Internet and with Twitter and YouTube.” Right?
Gary: That changed to, “It’s Gary V.”
Gary: So there was no transition. I’m doing more now of what I grew up doing than I was doing for the four years that everybody became aware of me.
Brad: Hm. Interesting.
Gary: Yeah. It is. I do think it’s interesting. I mean, I’m an operator. I’m a brand builder. I build businesses. Vayner Media – I’m looking at them all – has gone from 20 to 300 people in the last 24 months. That’s operations.
Gary: We didn’t raise any money. That’s building a business that has cash flow.
Brad: That’s amazing. I mean, we’ve gone from, I think, 12 to 41 or 42 in the past 18 months or so.
Gary: It’s crazy, right.
Brad: I mean, even that level of growth is hard.
Brad: So, business-wise, if you look back over these past kind of six, seven years as this really exponential thing has happened for you, what’s the biggest regret? What do you wish you would’ve done differently?
Gary: Only one regret.
Gary: I wish I spent more time with my wife before we had kids.
Gary: That’s it. Nothing else.
Brad: Yeah. You talk about your daughter a lot, kind of like your life blood.
Brad: I think that that’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs forget is…
Gary: I’m pretty good with work-life balance, and I have an 18-month-old son now, Xander, and I’m all about them, and Lizzie. But I’m doing more downtime with them to not replicate… I just didn’t do enough. It wasn’t enough. You know what it was? It wasn’t enough big things. It was two eight-day vacations that would’ve made the whole difference, and those 16 days I’m willing to reallocate into my family over to business.
Brad: Yeah. So, we’re in this business of helping people like you stay in touch with other people, the business of the hustlers. So, if you were to go in today and like… What tools do you use to keep in touch with people and make sure that you’re on top of that game all the time?
Gary: Push my call five minutes. My brain…
Gary: …my assistant, a folder in my inbox called VIP.
Gary: I’ve been doing it forever. VIP is… Here’s how you know how long I’ve been doing it. Most of them are not very important.
Brad: Well, they were huge at one point. Right?
Gary: No. They’re very important to me. Right? Like it could be a fan that said something nice that I just want to… Like back to the stuff you like, and this little thing that I’ve hacked up that I told you about, where I do have a little bit of a CRM system. I haven’t talk to this person in a while. But I don’t go to it and sort it by how long. It’s not calculated. It’s more like, “Hey…” When I think of people, right? That’s Twitter. Right now I just thought of C.C. Chapman that I like a lot. Right?
Gary: That’s how my life works. I’ll be like, “Oh, hey, C.C. Hope you’re good.” I’m the king of the wink or “What’s up,” or the, “Hey.”
Gary: But it feels nice. Right?
Gary: I’m literally just finishing up a blog post on Medium called “The Ricky Henderson Rule”. Ricky Henderson, the baseball player, winked at me when he was coming off the field when I was ten. That little effort meant the world to me.
Brad: Right. Yeah. I mean, I’ve been on the receiving end of that a time or two, or 12. So, I can attest to that. Like, “Holy crap. Gary took two seconds to say hi. So that’s cool.”
Gary: It’s two more seconds that almost everybody is doing. That to me is why, even though it’s not that much time, people really value it. If everybody gave you two seconds and cared about you, you would not think that was a good deal.
Brad: Yeah, true.
Brad: Yep. So it’s all about value. If you can find a way to put a numerical number or something onto value, so in your CRM you could then go by and filter by value, that would be the killer right there.
Gary: Listen. I’m really fooling around with this, by the way. I’m so into this stuff.
Brad: Then you need to talk to our Def guys and we can make it better with you. It’ll be awesome.
Gary: Done. I’m believe in people, man. But listen. You know what else is funny? Visual. When you change your avatar, it actually became… It’s funny, I haven’t changed my avatar in a long time because of that.
Gary: It’s funny to me how much this is actually visual.
Gary: It’s all going so fast on Twitter, I’m really not looking at the name. I’m looking at the picture.
Brad: That’s true. That’s very true.
Gary: So, just a little fun fact, don’t change your avatar if you want to have leverage of the community. Changing the avatar, I think, has some detrimental value.
Brad: All right. Well, man, I really appreciate your time. I don’t want to take anymore of it.
Gary: Appreciate it.
Brad: But thanks for chatting with us. The name of the book is, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”. You can find it everywhere. I mean, it’s everywhere. It’s at every airport that I go to.
Gary: Thanks, man. I appreciate you. I enjoyed this.
Brad: Thanks. You too, Gary.
Gary: Take care, man.
Image credit: Silicon Prairie News