The VCP Process® Explained–What’s Your VCP Story?

As some of you may know, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking.  This short video is one of many others, some of which I’ll post in the future, that cover networking topics which we will be focusing on in the book.  The videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain each step of the VCP Process® approach to networking in careful detail, emphasizing that credibility is really the key to networking success.

I share a personal story which demonstrates why trying to drum up referrals from people you’ve never met before is an exercise in futility as you’re not even at the visibility stage with them, and I outline the absolute best way to establish credibility with others.

If you have a story relating to the VCP Process® which fits the criteria I describe in the video, please visit www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com to submit your story for a chance to be published in the upcoming book on networking that Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I will be publishing.  Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

 

Ever Dreamt of Being Published?–Submit Your Networking Story!

NOTE: My apologies for the poor sound quality of this video–Please turn up your speakers.  Nice as the breeze may have been, it was unfortunately far from ideal for filming purposes. 😉

In this video, Jack Canfield (co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series) and I discuss the new book we’re writing about networking along with our co-author Gautam Ganglani.

Because the power of a story is the most effective way to demonstrate a point, we’re searching for real life networking stories that will have a positive and lasting impact readers and we would love to hear from you!

Do you have a story about how you (or someone in your network) has used networking in a way that has inspired people? Do you have a networking-related story about overcoming an obstacle, or achieving a goal you didn’t think was possible?  Did you have a major networking breakthrough that would inspire people to network more, or use your networking technique?

Have the courage to write and submit your networking story!

PLEASE CLICK ON THE PDF DOCUMENT LINK BELOW FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR NETWORKING STORY:

Networking Book–Submission Criteria

Thanks in advance for your participation and don’t hesitate to use the comment forum below to submit any questions or comments you may have about this book project or how to submit your story.  I’m really looking forward to hearing your networking story (or stories)!

The 3 Networks You Need to Join If You Haven’t Already

In the book Room Full of Referrals (click here for the paperback edition and click here for the Kindle edition) which I wrote with Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we talk about the Top Ten Referral Marketing Basics and number one is:

RfOR

Belong to Three Different Networks

  • A Service Network like the Rotary Club, for example.  Service clubs are devised for just that, to provide service to an organization.  Your main reason for joining a service clubwould not be to gain business.  Most people truly believe in what the organization is doing and have a passion for it.  While your main goal is to serve the community or organization, you will also be building relationships and, yes, business may come to  you through this group.  However, it should not be your main reason for joining.
  • A Casual Contact Network, like a Chamber of Commerce.  Casual networks provide a way for you to meet a larger amount of people at one time.  There are less restrictions with this group, and they mainly do large mixers.  A key benefit to the casual contact networks is that you can meet people who would be good referrals for your referral sources.  Having a large sphere of influence is important in your being able to give lots of referrals on a regular basis.
  • A Strong Contact Network, like BNI. Strong contact networks like BNI provide exclusivity.  For example, only one person per profession is allowed to be part of the group.  They also incorporate more structure and commitment from their members, which in turn greatly increases the amount of loyalty and participation.  These groups are designed to gain referral business.  The key is to only belong to one of these types of groups to ensure follow-through, commitment and loyalty.

When you create a strong referral network, you’ll want to be able to give lots of referrals to them as well.  You’ll need a wide sphere of influence within which you have substantial credibility, so as they need things in their life, you can refer them.  It’s as Referral Institute® Partner Mike Macedonio states in the book:

“It is not just the breadth of the relationships that you have, it’s the breadth and depth of the relationships that are the most important.”

Being involved in three different networks will give you breadth–all you have to do is create the depth! 

What are you going to do this week to expand your networking involvement to include all three networks and to deepen your relationships?  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum.

Stewart Emery: “Who’s in Your Room?”

In this video, I talk to bestselling author Stewart Emery about his concept “Who’s in Your Room?” which prompts people to practice discernment in regard to those they let into their life.

Just imagine you are going to have to live your entire life in one room with an entrance door but no exit door–who would you let in and who would you keep out?  Knowing the answer to this may be more valuable than you realize . . .

What do you think about this concept?  Does it encourage you to be more careful about the people you let into “your room”?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below . . .

Lollipop Entrepreneur

Understanding your behavioral style and how it relates to your networking is extremely valuable.  Most importantly, learning how to identify behavioral styles in others and learning how to adapt your own approach to those different styles can really make a difference in your referability.

Often times your behavioral style can be observed at a fairly young age.  When I was 11 years old, I missed the bus to school one day. The school was only a little over two miles away and I had time, so I started walking.

Along the way I passed a gas station that had a small store attached to it. My eye caught some awesome looking lollipops – big, red, strawberry-flavored suckers. They only cost a nickel so I bought four or five of them and headed on to school. A friend saw what I had and asked if he could buy one. I said sure – for a dime. He bought it right away! That day I sold all the lollipops except the one I kept for myself . . . and I saw a great business opportunity.

The next day I walked to school again, this time buying a dozen lollipops. I sold them all before school let out for the day. I did this the next day, and the next . . . for almost a month, very happy with my margin and the money that I was starting to see growing from my lollipop enterprise.

That was my first experience in business, and it was obvious from that early time in my life that I was a “Go-Getter” behavioral style.  I am pleased to share with you that I have just released a new book with co-authors Tony Alessandra (one of the world’s leading experts on behavioral profiles) and Dawn Lyons (probably the world’s leading expert on how behavioral profiles relate to referral marketing).

How has your behavioral approach to networking and referral marketing helped or hurt your efforts.   I’d love to hear your story.

For more information on the newly-released book I mention above, please go to one of the links below.

Room Full of Referrals – Digital Version

Room Full of Referrals – Soft Cover Version

 

We vs. Me

While it may not single-handedly solve all the economic problems facing the world today, a new model of community and networking may well be the key to pulling the global economy out of the effects of the long-term global recession.

Networking has always been a powerful strategy to get business by giving business and connecting with others. Community and networking will be a particularly potent formula for success and prosperity over the coming decades.

Michael R. Drew, publishing expert and friend of mine whom I’ve known for 13 years who has helped me achieve bestseller status five times over, has some interesting ideas about the importance of building relationships to succeed in business.

Michael and his coauthor, Roy H. Williams have a very interesting theory in their new book Pendulum [www.penduluminaction.com/bni]. After reading the book, it confirmed in my mind why business networking is positioned to grow massively over the next three decades.

As Michael and Roy explain, societal values follow a cyclical pattern that shifts every 40 years from a “Me” based society, which values feeling and looking good now, instant gratification and cares little for long-term consequences to a “We” based society, which values community and working together for the good of the whole. Roy and Michael have 3,000 years of data to back up this theory.

The rumblings of this transition from “Me” values to “We” values have been evident over the past decade. Once successful business models that embraced exceptionalism and fierce competition are failing and going the way of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. These cycles influence the effectiveness of networking, too. In a “We” cycle, the strength of an individual contributes to the strength of the whole. For example, when established professionals partner with newer, “junior” professionals, both of the partners and the consumers each benefit from the relationship—win, win, win. Knowledge and wisdom are shared, and then blended with new ideas and innovation. This increases the value the end user receives from the relationship.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, traditional marketing strategies focus on hype, promises of bigger, better and more and ‘guarantee’ dramatic results with minimum input. Consumers today are tired of these messages, and instead they are drawn to messages of authenticity, transparency and lasting relationships. They want to work with companies and people who deliver on their promises and actually care about those they are doing business with.

What does this mean for you as a member of a networking group? While business schools and economic experts will speculate and deliberate about the causes of the current economic downturn, knowing the current trend of society’s values can help you succeed by doing what you’re already doing–building relationships through networking. The philosophy of Givers Gain® matches the current values of a “We” cycle in society today.

Good networking groups are all about building relationships and working together as a community to help others reach their goals. What goes around comes around in a very real sense. Business networking is an ideal place to capture the power of this concept to help you reach your own goals by helping others reach their own.

Word-of-mouth will heft a heavier punch in the coming years as well. Your customers will listen more attentively to the recommendations of those they know, like and trust. In today’s global market, a word of recommendation can reach others across the globe. So can a heated complaint. Consumers want to see that you walk the walk more than they want to listen to you talk the talk.

Faceless corporations and big businesses are struggling. For many, they’ve lost the personal connection with their audience or customers. As an entrepreneur, there is no need for you to fall by the wayside with failing businesses. By working together in this “We” cycle, you can help build each other up through relationships and referrals, increasing the success and profitability of businesses in your community. These small actions will be far-reaching and may do more to turn this recession around than many other larger-scale efforts

By participating in networking and working to give back to business owners and community, you will be doing your part to create a stronger economy worldwide—and a stronger global economy makes a better world for everyone.

I’ve read Pendulum and I was so impressed with it that I wrote an endorsement for it. This book is a must-read for anyone in a networking organization. I feel so strongly about this that I’ve arranged with Michael for all readers of my blog to get a free copy of the book. [www.penduluminaction.com/bni] All Michael asks is that you cover shipping and handling costs (shipments outside the US are more).

Get your free copy of Michael and Roy’s book today. Read it. Then use the insights they share to keep building relationships in your market, because Givers Gain®—especially in the current “We” cycle. As you give to other businesses through networking, they will give back to you, too—and that is how we all can take part in pulling the economy out of a recession.

Marcia Wieder: Bringing Your Dream & Your Vision for Your Business to Fruition

In this video, I talk to Marcia Wieder, CEO and Founder of Dream University, about the entrepreneurial mindset of having a vision and a dream for a business and how to successfully realize that vision and that dream.  I met Marcia through the Transformational Leadership Council which we are both members of and, let me tell you, Marcia is truly the best of the best of when it comes to understanding this facet of business.

Marcia explains that in business, dreaming is serious business; it’s the driving force for transformation and without vision, many companies fail. Watch the video for key pointers on how to help your business dream/vision come to fruition and to find out how to get three FREE Dream University e-books on the subject.  Be sure to visit www.DreamUniversity.com for more information.

“Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest”

Earlier this year, I was asked by Darrell Gurney (pictured below) to write the foreword for his new book, Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest, and I gladly agreed for two reasons.  First, Darrell walks the talk–he completely understands the importance of building genuine relationships in networking and he is the epitome of a master networker.  Second, I believe this book is an invaluable tool for people across the globe in forging new career paths, especially in our current economic climate where the competition for jobs can be a huge challenge for the majority of people.

Today is the official book launch for Never Apply for a Job Again, and I highly encourage you to visit the book’s website and watch the short videos on the site which explain what the book is about and how it can help people worldwide use networking to secure jobs without struggling through the conventional, highly competitive job application process.

In short, the book outlines the way for professionals, new graduates just starting out, returning military folks, and all others to approach an uncertain job market with certainty by knowing and being known by the people who have the power to launch careers.

 Darrell teaches how to:

  • Break outside of limiting “rules” by which you unconsciously live in relation to networking
  • Meet people, be memorable, stay top-of-mind, and maintain connections with influential door-openers
  • Employ ten, time-tested principles for launching an effective “stealth” career campaign
  • Have your fascinations and passions lead to research and relationships
  • Network like a pro, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert
  • Conduct backdoor meetings to gain massive referrals
  • And more . . .

80% of all jobs are filled before they are ever advertised and this book is the solution to being left in the dark and not getting a chance at the unadvertised jobs.  To quote Darrell, “The most effective career-enhancement tool since humans arrived on the planet is the good opinion and favor of others.”

If you want to learn more about how to advance your career by leveraging the good favor of others whom you’ve built genuine relationships, visit the Never Apply for a Job Again website by clicking here.

Networking ROI

I recently co-authored an article about the return on investment (ROI) of membership in BNI (the organization I founded back in 1985).  My readers here may find some of the results interesting:

The average amount of business gained from referrals in the last 12 months was $37,055.  When asked about further orders they had received as the multiplier effect of participation, members were able to think of, on average, an additional $17,668 per year of membership.

Combining closed business in the last 12 months with the average value of 2nd and 3rd generation referrals in a year showed the true value of a seat as $54,720 per year.  On average, members who were involved in the group for 7 years generated $383,038 since they joined, thereby underpinning the lifetime value of participation.

An associate of mine is conducting an independent study regarding ROI for any networking organization.   He will share some of the results with me and I will publish them here on my blog.  Please take a few moments to take the short survey (it will only take 3 or 4 minutes).

*** Take the SURVEY HERE ***

After you take the survey, post a message here with any questions that YOU would like to see in a future survey that I’m doing or recommending (like this one).

I’m “a Communist” . . . Really?

I wrote an article on Entrepreneur.com last week entitled “Why Everyone Should talk About Politics While Networking” and in my opening line I state, “Yes, I believe everyone should talk about politics (and religion) while networking . . . if they’d like their network to go up in flames, that is!”

Though I may have been very active in politics over the years and I do, indeed, have a definite religious/spiritual leaning, I have found that it is undoubtedly best not to mix my views/beliefs in these areas with my business networking activities because these topics can be VERY divisive.  Opening up a dialogue of a political or spiritual/religious nature with those in your network tends to be something that will more than likely invoke passionate, heated arguments which is NOT a good thing for a networking environment (take a look at the full article for my complete commentary and explanation). 

Soon after the Entrepreneur.com article came out, someone left a comment in the comment forum beneath the article that I found quite surprising.  The comment they posted says:

“This guy Ivan Misner sure sounds like a Communist to me.  If it walks like a duck . . .”

Really?  I’m “a Communist” because I said that people who want to be successful at networking should not talk about politics and religion in a business networking environment?  Okay, well, I guess I should really thank the person who posted the comment because they’re ultimately helping to make my point.  Discussions about politics and religion can make people say some crazy things.

By the way, here’s how I responded to the comment:

“Too funny.  You clearly don’t know me. Besides, a true Marxist-Leninist would be out leading the proletariat revolution of the capitalists and I’m too busy being a capitalist.”

Hey, I always had a hunch my Political Science degree would come in handy someday yet I never would’ve imagined it would be through someone calling me “a Communist,” that’s for sure. 😉

What’s your feeling on the appropriateness of discussing politics and/or religion in a business networking environment?  Have you tried it yourself, or maybe networked with someone who makes a habit of bringing up these subjects when you’re conversing while networking?  What has your experience been? . . . I highly encourage you to leave a comment; I’m very interested in hearing some different perspectives on this. Thanks!

Survey Says: Summarized Conclusions about Business Networking & Gender

What have my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I concluded after 12,000 individual surveys, almost 1,000 comments and stories, numerous interviews, months of research, and years of experience?  Below is a recap of the facts we uncovered.

Study Findings, Summarized

  • Men and women were closer together than we expected in most areas.
  • However, the perception of the difference is very dramatic.  Remember: The exception becomes the perception.
  • Women feel that networking has played a slightly larger role in their success than men.
  • Women use a much wider variety of techniques to learn their networking skills than men do.
  • Men are more likely to focus on business first than women are.  Women are a little more likely to focus on building the relationship first–then the business.
  • The time of day for networking was not a big issue for either gender.  This was a surprise to us.
  • Family obligations were more of a problem for women.
  • Women definitely did not feel as safe as men in attending evening events.
  • Men preferred either a structured or unstructured networking event.  Women felt okay with either.
  • Both men and women felt that other people were more uncomfortable networking than they felt about it themselves.
  • Men felt stronger about transactional aspects of networking.  Women felt stronger about relational aspects of networking.
  • Men spent a little more time networking.
  • Women received a higher percentage of their business from networking than men.
  • The more time either men or women spent in their networking efforts, the higher the percentage of business they generated.
  • The more often people used systems to track their business from networking, the more likely they were to feel that networking played a role in their success.

Men and women are not so different in the success they desire in business and networking.  However, the process, the mindset, and the way of making the results happen are very different.  The reason is that we have different ways of viewing the world.  Some of this comes from nature and some from nurture.  What it means is that if we want to be more effective, we must learn how to respect, appreciate, and embrace one another’s differences.  We must understand that we can work more effectively together as a team in business and in our networks.  We just need to learn to be adaptable, empathetic, sensitive, and understanding that THEY are not you.

You can and will beat the odds.  The exception doesn’t have to become the perception.  It can be you! 

Come back next week for some advice from the whole team of Business Networking and Sex co-authors–these tips will help you achieve your highest potential when it comes to networking and guide you into your brightest future in referral marketing.

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