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What can we learn from William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli about connecting with people?

To build a network marketing business, you have to build relationships.  The first step in building a relationship is connecting with people.  Our approach to people determines the success of the connection.

John Maxwell writes about two of the fiercest political rivals of the 19th century William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.   Though each man achieved impressive accomplishments for Britain, the quality that separated them as leaders was their approach to people.

The difference is best illustrated by the account of a young woman who dined with the men on consecutive nights. When asked about her impression of the rival statesmen, she said, “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”

William Gladstone’s approach focused on himself.  Many times in network marketing we use the Gladstone approach:

  • How great I am.
  • I have the best compensation plan in the industry.
  • I have the best product.

Benjamin Disraeli's approach seems to be all about the young woman:

  • Who are you?
  • What is your story?
  • What are your desires?

Connecting with people is about creating a favorable link between your internal nature with its beliefs and values, and the external world where you go to work.  Tim Gard illustrates how this works in this video:

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{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Nile February 22, 2012, 3:44 am

    I think a good balance between the two is a perfect combination. We show that we want to connect with another person. I like to try to ask a person questions as I think what puts people off more is approaching them and it being all about yourself, rather than including them.
    Nile recently posted..Blogging Ain’t Perfect: Your Blog VoiceMy Profile

  • Raena Lynn July 9, 2011, 12:39 pm

    Hi Perry,

    Thanks for sharing this article and video. The story Tim Gard tells is really sweet. The message is powerful, “Talk With People.” He is on target. I think people are naturally social and all you have to do is start with one and it gets really easy to break the ice. I find that if I make a funny comment, it always works. Empathizing works well too. I will also say that 99% of the time, if I start a conversation I get a smile?
    I love talking to people because I learn so much and it is fun! I think that is why I love network marketing and social media so much. My online presence is an extension of my offline personality!

    I like the Benjamin Disraeli approach:
    Who are you?
    What is your story?
    What are your desires?

    It’s the name of the game Perry. Thanks!

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..Do You Have to Start Out Small and Get Big?My Profile

  • Kevin Martineau June 7, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Hi Perry:

    What a great story (and challenge)! It is so true. We need to spend more time listening than talking. This applies in all aspects of life.

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..12 essentials of good confrontationMy Profile

  • Kevin Martineau May 24, 2011, 9:49 pm

    Hi Perry:

    I love that story! It is so true. We need to spend more time listening than talking. This applies in all aspects of life.

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..The road to hell is paved with good intentionsMy Profile

  • Andy Nathan May 6, 2011, 8:10 pm

    I love the illustration here about no matter how high in society we go, pay attention to what other’s think and listen. This is probably the reason why Disraeli was the greater of the two leaders.

  • Tim & Sole April 18, 2011, 8:07 pm

    This is such a great post… a lot of people in this industry have “me-ism”, they talk about themselves all the time! Who wants to spend time with somebody who is in a monologue all the time?

    Asking questions is definitely an art, keeping the balance of not being nosy but actually showing interest in what others do and are interested in.

    With social networks such as facebook, though it’s easy to forget that there are real people reading what we are posting, and we might fall into the trap of me-ism even more easily.

    Thanks for sharing this excellent lesson!
    Tim & Sole recently posted..To Blog …Or Not To Blog- That Is The Question!My Profile

  • Radu Dascalul April 6, 2011, 8:52 am

    Hi Perry,
    What a great post my friend!Very insightful..I could say that is a life philosophy-giving instead of taking.Focusing on people,on serving them in nm is essential.I neglected this aspect if reflect a little.But your post make more aware about this.
    Make people feel important when they talk with you!That’s the stuff!
    I loved the video too!

    All the best,

  • Ross Joyner April 6, 2011, 12:18 am

    Perry, What a thought provoking article. I love to talk but after I read your article it left me thinking, when I meet someone I should make sure the balance of conversation should be more of an equal exchange. Thanks for the great post
    Ross Joyner recently posted..Anchor Text – What is itMy Profile

  • Christine Casey March 15, 2011, 11:23 am

    Hi Perry ~ I luv this post! The examples you gave were brilliant and made a definite point about how to be a true people-person, it truly is all about the other person and not you! This approach will create success in your life no matter what you do. I appreciate you sharing 🙂 Christine
    Christine Casey recently posted..Success in Network Marketing is all about Building RelationshipsMy Profile

  • Teresa Ivory February 4, 2011, 8:05 pm

    Oh, I like that story! It always makes sense to help another person feel good about themselves. I’m sure she left just sparkling inside with a big smile on her face.
    Teresa Ivory recently posted..Find the Missing Insight GameMy Profile

  • Yasser Khan January 19, 2011, 7:05 am

    Hey Perry!
    Yes I myself have followed John C. Maxwell and he sure knows how to teach leadership and relationship building. I believe we have a Me-first mentality ingrained in us that just takes time to rid. Being different from everybody in that sense will be doubly obvious and twice the reward as well.
    Yasser Khan recently posted..Why DeliverMy Profile

  • Kathy Jodrey November 18, 2010, 12:14 pm


    This is such an incredibly important lesson not only in marketing but in life. We all want to feel special, and when we spend time letting others know that they are beautiful, we open hearts and doors.

    I love the video, and the simplicity of this powerful message. We need to remember that we are in the relationship business, and to work more on building relationships than on trying to impress others. Thanks!

    Kathy Jodrey
    Kathy Jodrey recently posted..Facebook Advertising Debate – Is Facebook Marketing Gold Or HypeMy Profile

  • Pearly November 18, 2010, 9:13 am

    Hi Perry,

    It’s great that I stopped by your blog today. Thanks for this excellent article and the video too.

    Love this building relationship subject. In fact this is the subject I love most !


  • Monika Genehr November 17, 2010, 10:49 pm

    Nice of you to bring Gladstone and Disraeli into the picture. Two great men in their own right and yet so different in the impression they left on the young woman. To be made to feel like the cleverest woman in England must have been an encounter the woman never forgot. I like the way you crafted this eye-opening post… you said so much… all of it right on point… in just a few words.

  • Peter Fuller MBA November 17, 2010, 4:09 pm


    What a great story to illustrate how network marketing is done.

    I can only assume people continue with the Gladstone technique because their upline hasn’t taken the time to show them.


    P.S. I have a feeling I am going to use this story sometime in the future 🙂
    Peter Fuller MBA recently posted..What I love about Network Marketing as a Home Business SolutionMy Profile

  • Arthur and Taralee Bernier November 16, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Very True My Friend.
    We so often totally focus on our own light and because of conventional wisdom we compete with the light of others.

    Instead when we live in a mind state of abundance. Then we are able to allow others to shine with us.

    Some see this as counter intuitive. But on the contrary the old adage is true. “People don’t care about what you got until they know how much you care”.

    Can you achieve success through the opposite. Yes and No. Depending on how you define success. You may acquire what you desired. But the trail of people you crushed will be massive.

    But an abundance thinking person, will have touched lives and brought about success to many in the process.

    Be Blessed and Have Success
    Arthur Bernier Jr., USN
    Arthur and Taralee Bernier recently posted..Your Story The 1 Attraction Marketing Secret Mind MasteryMy Profile

  • Mark Hiatt November 16, 2010, 12:21 pm

    What a wonderful world it would be if we all tried to help each other without strings and without expectation. Good post.

  • Dave and Dawn Cook November 16, 2010, 7:02 am

    Hi Perry,
    I loved your post and it gives me a great start to my day.
    It is amazing how big a difference it makes when you sincerely care about someone else and want to know their story. Thank you for getting this point across in a phenomenal way.

    I had not been exposed to Tim Gard in the past so I’m so glad you have made the introduction for me. He is such a caring man and must have an unbelievable amount of success in all areas of his life.

    Let’s all strive to be like Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Gard and I’m sure, based on your post, Perry are already well on your way!

    (Dave) and Dawn

  • Darlene Davis November 15, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Oh to be more like Disraeli!

    I, too, have experienced talking with someone and really enjoyed the time spent with them. Then thought about our conversation later and realized that I’d done most of the talking. Such a strong lesson!
    Darlene Davis recently posted..Teamwork At Its BestMy Profile

  • Nancy Burke Barr, JD November 12, 2010, 3:17 pm

    Hi Perry!

    These are two sets of great stories. I don’t think that I have ever helped the hotel service, but I do speak to almost everyone that I am around. It embarrasses my kids : ) but I can’t help myself!

    I have connected with some amazing people that way and I am never sorry for getting to understand a little more about another human being. This post says a lot about you, Perry!

    Thank you,

    Mentor Mama

  • Linnea November 10, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Hi Perry,

    I love the example. It’s short, to the point and perfectly illustrates the principle. It’s so much better to connect on a ‘real’ level than to simply talk at folks. I really enjoyed the video as well. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
    Linnea recently posted..Facebook FunMy Profile

  • Melodie Kantner November 9, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I love this post Perry. This is something we all need to focus on in all areas of our life. Thanks for the reminder.
    Melodie Kantner recently posted..How Cows Make Me Smile And Motivate Me For SuccessMy Profile

  • Julie Elliott November 4, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Great post Perry. Tim is a very wise and wonderful man. We should all follow his amazing example.

  • Paul Klaszus November 4, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I know I’ve experienced the same sort of thing. I’ve spoken with someone and completely loved every moment of our conversation and grown to highly respect and admire the person… then I think back and say to myself… “Funny – though… they didn’t talk much..”


    I hope I hear the same about me some day. 🙂
    Paul Klaszus recently posted..It’s The CEO’s FaultMy Profile

  • Beverly Monical November 4, 2010, 12:25 pm

    This is a great post Perry.It is a skill many need to work on. I feel doing role playing will help you learn this or shadowing someone that does it well.Thanks for reminding us.
    Beverly Monical recently posted..Have You Met Your Goals For 2010My Profile

  • Dr. Adam Sheck November 3, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Great article and so relevant right now! Most of the marketing gurus I have read suggest that my potential relationship coaching clients are MUCH MORE interested in how I can help them through their pain then in how brilliant or how credentialed I am. Love the dinner story as well, will definitely use that one in the future!
    Thanks so much,

    P.S., The video was so funny AND true!
    Dr. Adam Sheck recently posted..Do You REALLY Want A Better RelationshipMy Profile

  • Richard Goutal November 3, 2010, 8:14 am

    Thanks so much for sharing a couple of stories to get me started for the day. Just kinda thinking… last night I was sharing with people about building relationships and we put out a lot of tips. Do’s and don’ts. But these two stories dovetail so nicely and say it all so much better. Thanks Perry!
    Richard Goutal recently posted..Networking at Live Events Requires Relational and Collaborative SkillsMy Profile

  • Dr. Erica Goodstone November 2, 2010, 11:33 pm


    I love the example of that woman dating both men and leaving one feeling that HE is great and leaving the other feeling that SHE is great. How incredible to build relationships in which our focus and goal and intention is to empower the other person, not our self.

  • John Gaydon November 1, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Hi Perry,

    You make a great point here. Most of us know that our success depends on taking an interest in other people. Hardly anyone “listens” these days.

    Most are so busy waiting to pitch their opportunity even when they ask questions, they are switched off thinking about what they will say next. We all appreciate someone who actually takes a genuine interest in us. The best part is that everyone has a valuable contributiont to make, if you just let them!

    Better get to know a few key people than strut around the world flirting with everyone!
    John Gaydon recently posted..Life Mastery – A Review Of Book That Has Changed LivesMy Profile

  • Gary Young China Sourcing October 30, 2010, 11:36 pm


    This is a great post. Relationships are the key. If you don’t have them, you business can not reach its full potential. Great video as well. Thanks!

  • rebecca russell October 30, 2010, 11:59 am

    Perry, what a great post…it is all about relationships. Liked the video, simple things go a long way.

    rebecca russell recently posted..UNEMPLOYMENT OR NETWORK MARKETINGMy Profile

  • belinda cunningham October 29, 2010, 2:15 pm

    Great example of any relationship really not just in network marketing. To be able to focus on the other person and for the conversation to be all about them makes such a difference in connecting. If the other person has any communication skills they will be doing the same and a great bond can develop.
    belinda cunningham recently posted..6 – Organised planning – The crystallisation of desire into action part 1My Profile

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