The Networking Introvert

I was so quiet and shy as a kid, one of the girls that hung out in my group of friends used to tease me, calling me retarded. Sometimes I found it painful to speak to the friends of my friends, let alone to people I didn’t know. Once I got to know you I was okay, but that could take a long time.

I followed my father into the printing industry at the age of eighteen. Who would have thought a shy guy like me would eventually go into sales. I know my father would have never believed it. My mother always struggled believing it until the day she died. Yet here I am, over 25 years later still doing sales.

To be quite honest with you, I did not realize I was doing sales when I first started though. All I was doing was stopping at other local printing companies to tell them I had a computer at home and I could do some typesetting and design for them. Not many people had home computers at that time, so it made me a little bit special. It was an easy sale.

As time went on, I began to get some of my own printing clients. These were my friends and family, but, I was getting paid. Again, an easy sale.

After I moved to Brooklyn, New York I decided I wanted to make a career change from printing. I chose the real estate industry. While getting my license was very easy, making money at real estate was not quite as easy. I learned very quickly that as a shy introvert, I was going to need a strategy if I was going to be successful.

The first thing I did after about a month was I picked up the phone one day and began to call all of my friends and family members within a 20-mile vicinity of where I lived. I explained to them my career change and told them that if they were considering putting their home on the market or knew somebody that was putting their home on the market, I would greatly appreciate an introduction. I also suggested that they let me know if they were looking to move themselves.

My sister-in-law immediately listed an apartment with me to rent and several of my friends came to me that happened to be looking to upgrade where they were living. Every single person I sold or rented an apartment too in Brooklyn, I would ask them to please refer me to at least one person that they know.

Nobody told me I was networking. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. But guess what? I was networking and it was the back door to selling that led to this shy kid’s success. I didn’t have to be pushy or aggressive or do any cold callings.

Real estate in New York City is not a very nice business and I eventually went back into the printing industry after my first daughter was born. I wanted more sanity and to spend more time with her.

But wouldn’t you know it, the desire to sell began to call to me again. So while working at this company as one of the managers, I also became a salesperson for the company, reaching out to my network of friends family and church members for printing opportunities.

There were times when all eight presses at the company had my orders running on them all at the same time. You can say my method of selling was working out well.

After moving to North Carolina, I bought an existing printing company. Unfortunately, it was two months before the great recession of 2008. Within six months, we lost close to 50% of our client base.

That’s when I understood the power of networking and referral partnerships. And it changed my life and business forever.

I was invited to attend and joined a BNI chapter. I immediately began to see my sales increase. Over the next four years, through networking, I was able to bring our sales back to the numbers they had been before we purchased the company.

I began to feel a calling to help people learn how to grow their businesses through networking.

I decided I would become a speaker to share my knowledge on growing a business by referral through networking. I immediately called the local chamber of commerce and told them I wanted to put on a lunch and learn to teach people about networking. Surprisingly, they were very receptive. That day, I began writing my first speech.

My first ever speaking gig
My first ever speaking gig

On July 3rd, 2013 I gave my first professional presentation. As a result, I was offered other opportunities to speak for other groups and organizations.

My mentor, Sharon A. Hill told me I had to write a book. So, I did. In November of 2014, Intentional Networking was published and went on to become an Amazon Best Seller.

I also hired a marketing coach early on. He suggested I wrap all my learning into a coaching program.

I thought, “Me? A coach?”

The thought of coaching others scared me. But over several months, he and I developed a structured coaching program around the best of what I had learned and discovered over the past 25 years.

The next thing I needed to do was develop confidence to share it with others. Once I started getting clients and realized I was good at coaching and started getting very positive testimonials, I haven’t looked back.

I love helping people. I love to have people from the audiences of my speaking engagements and my coaching clients tell me that after trying something different that they learned from me, they’ve seen a steady increase in the number of high quality referrals they’re receiving. That’s why I do what I do.  I strongly believe in the BNI principal of Givers Gain. I can not express to you how much I have gained as a result of what I have given. Honestly, it’s remarkable.

And so as a reward for being part of my community I wanted to give you a special gift. I’m offering nine of my ”Land Quality Client Now” sessions. I’ll help you learn how to land awesome clients with networking and have other people sending you loads of quality referrals EVEN if you are a shy introvert like me!

I’m making this available to everyone in my community. As a master networker you can imagine I’m pretty good at building community and so I have a pretty big one. So this will go super fast. First come first serve. Sign up for your session below!


Joe Novara strongly believes in the power of Business Networking and Referral Partnerships. Joe has been a sales professional for over 20 years selling both Printing and Real Estate very successfully. He attributes most of the credit for his success to the power of Networking and Referral Partnerships. In his talks, Joe shares how he overcame his fears of attending large networking events and the procedures he developed for getting the most out of every networking event. The relationships Joe has developed through networking have always been a great source of referrals and new business.