Frank De Raffele: Localism Is the New Patriotism

The following post is a guest blog written by my friend Frank De Raffele (pictured at right below).  It does focus on America; however, I’m willing to bet that it will get you thinking about localism in you own place of residence, no matter what area of the world you live in.

IvanFrank

“Localism Is the New Patriotism” by Frank De Raffele

Did you know that in 2010 the American people said that they trusted the small business owner over 13 other institutions? According to the Pew Research Center, 71% of those surveyed said that they trusted small business. Only 22% trusted banks & financial institutions and 24% trusted Congress (well no surprise for those two). Large Corporations and the Federal Government were tied with only 25% of the people trusting them. This is interesting; another tie between Federal Government Agencies and National News Media at 31%. Hmmmm. Does that mean people think the News Media and “certain” government agencies are in bed together? I wonder. 32% trusted Labor Unions and 33% trusted the Entertainment Industry. (Those poor innocent actors.) Here is one that is not just surprising but shocking and about to cause a stir of controversy among you and your friends, family and co-workers: 45% trust the Obama Administration! (I am anti-political so this is not a judgment just an observational comment.) Our beloved Colleges and Universities, 61% had trust in them. Church and Religious organizations came in third at 63%. What was above them you ask? Technology companies at 68% and YOU the Small Business Owner at 71%. Imagine that, you are now more popular than God! Didn’t a Rock Band once say that about 40 years ago? Don’t let your ego get too big and start increasing prices by 20%. We don’t love you that much.   Makes you think though. When people are shopping (at least in 2010) were they saying, “Hmm, a sweater or Jesus? Shoes or Jesus?” I wonder?   Now, before you start sending me hate mail, you do know I am joking about the whole being more popular than God and deciding between Jesus and a good pair of shoes, don’t you? But…..a nice car?

On a more serious note, this is great news. It means that with all that has gone on in the last couple of years, that we the consumers believe in our local business owners. It shows that people understand that Localism is a key to our success as a community, a region and a nation. As a capitalist, entrepreneurial society, the support of our local small business entrepreneurs is of the utmost importance.

The question is, why? Why do you think that the American people trust the small business owner over almost every other institution including: Police, Educational Institutions, Religious Institutions and the Media? Because your local. Because you are one of them. Because they know you, trust you and like you. We the American People understand that supporting each other is the key to our success. Our country cannot exist with a selfish mentality. We understand, now more so than ever, that we must give to each other. We must support each other. And from a monetary standpoint, that begins with buying locally. Supporting our local small business entrepreneur. Therefore, if I really love this country the best way to show my patriotism (besides being one of our troops, God Bless Them) is by shopping in my locally owned business.

As a small business owner, what does this mean to you? Now that you know this, how do you capitalize on it? Keep up your marketing, but more importantly get yourself out in front of your local neighbors. Make sure you are involved in the Chamber of Commerce, Lions or Rotary or Kiwanis. Volunteer for local charities or get on boards, be a member of BNI. The more people know you, trust you , like you, the more they will want to give their money to you versus someone else. YOU don’t need to tell them to buy local. You need to show them that you are local. Let them see you out participating, helping and making a difference. Show that you live locally and that your kids go to school here. Hire locals to work with you. The more invested they see that you are in the community the more they trust you. The more “you the business owner” becomes one of us, the local people who need to spend our money wisely.

No, you’re not bigger than God or The Beatles. But you are important to us, your neighbors. I want to know that you respect my money. I work hard for it, very hard. I don’t mind spending it, but I HATE giving it to businesses that don’t respect it. I will not buy just based on price, I will purchase based on the value you show me. If it costs a little more from you versus the “Big Guy” down the street, I will spend with you, if you show me the value.

Localism being the New Patriotism is great news for all of us. But as the business owner you now have a greater responsibility to prove yourself to your customers, not less. We are putting our trust in you and supporting you; Don’t Blow It! If you take advantage of me, I will not only never do business with you again….I will make sure all I know and some I don’t, never do business with you as well.

We are Patriotic. We are Loyal. We are Committed. But we won’t be taken advantage of. America is an amazing place with amazing people. People that are full of positivity, dreams and cheering for the underdog. In the last couple of years we have been the underdog and we have been cheering hard and working harder. We are clawing our way back and we will be better than ever before. Let’s continue our new form of Patriotism by being stronger and stronger supporters of our local businesses. In this case especially, when one wins, we all win!

Authenticity Is the ‘New’ Audacity

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Ten months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  In the past, we’ve co-authored the articles.  Today, I’m proud to share with you Part 10 of the series – which is written entirely by TR as a Guest Blogger.  Please comment below and let us know what you think.

 

AUTHENTICITY IS THE ‘NEW’ AUDACITY

(Part 10 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

Have you ever heard the following phrase: “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business”? 

I have.  And every time I hear it, it still disappoints me.  Today, business is personal and people do business with ME because of ME, and they should do business with YOU because of YOU – not because you perfected some PowerPoint presentation or recently attended a Sales seminar on how to overcome a prospect’s objections.

Nowadays the consumer marketplace that fuels the economy sets the criteria on how they wish to be treated.   Consequently, to society today the term ‘overcoming objections’ sounds a lot more like the following descriptive words:

  • Persuade
  • Manipulate
  • Convince
  • Coax

When it comes to buying, purchasing, or investing criteria, I don’t know about you, but the concept of being ‘closed’ and the terminology used in the Traditional Sales Model doesn’t translate that well with me – and probably society overall for that matter.  I don’t want to be ‘convinced’ of anything and my guess is that you don’t either.  If you’re interested in creating a long-term client/customer relationship, it’s my presumption that it’s probably not in your best interest to start off by persuading, manipulating, or convincing your potential client to do business with you.  Don’t you agree?

Yet the sad truth is that, today, it’s probably a safe bet that we could go to Amazon.com and search books on the topic of Sales.  It’s also probably a safe bet that we’d find hundreds (and potentially even thousands) of Sales books with their title including the words ‘Persuasion Techniques’, ‘How To Close The Sale’, and even ‘How To Overcome Objections.’  Yes, people who employ these tactics will get results.  I’ll concede that point.  But these tactics continue to reinforce the lifestyle of a HUNTER – behaviors that are long gone as conduct that small business owners and entrepreneurs idolize.

Remember, Business Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting’.  It takes time to cultivate relationships.  But once you dedicate the effort, these relationships ultimately allow you to ‘harvest’ referrals for a lifetime.  Today, people choose to do business with other people because of:

  1. Who they are
  2. What they stand for and
  3. The lessons that life has taught them through their own personal experiences that uniquely qualify them to offer the marketplace a product or service in a way that only they could deliver.

If you seek Client relationships, today’s customers aren’t just buying what you sell. They’re buying who you are.   If you seek Strategic Partner relationships, people refer other people – NOT the product or service they offer or the actual company that they represent.

When networking and getting to know other professionals, if you shy away from who you are, what you stand for, and what personal experiences life has revealed to you, then your message most likely will not resonate today and you may not get the results that you expect.  Don’t make a mess of your message by trying to recite the ‘About Us’ Section of your company’s website when you first meet people.  What is captivating to other professionals these days is congruency with how you communicate that you are a real person through your attitude, behavior, and actions.

The definition of Audacity according to Wikipedia is to be BOLD, COURAGEOUS, or have CHUTZPAH.  I say that it’s pretty bold to be yourself with all your wonderful flaws (nobody’s perfect) because it proves your authenticity and attracts connection.  Everybody has relationships, yet few people relate.  Strive to be one of the few.  If you truly act like yourself all the time and not just in your personal life, then people will be able to relate.  This builds trust, credibility, and camaraderie.  If your behavior is different depending on whether you’re in a personal or professional environment, then you may be attracting people who are attracted to who you’re pretending to be.  And, it’s my belief that this is not the recipe for a long term professional relationship that’ll provide a steady stream of referrals.

In the grand scheme of things, you devote your time networking at the local Chamber of Commerce, Association Mixers, and even weekly BNI meetings to receive a return on your investment (ROI) in the form of regular referrals.  Navigating the VCP Process® to networking from Visibility to Credibility all the way to Profitability would most likely then be your goal.  Based on the marketplace’s value on authenticity today, I personally believe that your easiest path to Profitability is to start by simply being yourself.  Isn’t that a sigh of relief? 🙂

In closing, a successful small business owner’s mission is not solely to take the action to network.  It’s about taking the actions to ensure that you connect and relate with others when you network that really counts.   I thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 11 called “Don’t Make a Mess of Your Message.”

Two Tactics to Help with the ABCs of Networking — “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking” Series

(Part 7 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

TR Garland (featured in this video with me) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute.

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Seven months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 7 of the series  which is a follow up to the Part 6 video blog we did about the ABCs of networking.  Enjoy!

Please let us know what you think of the ABCs of Networking concept, the two tactics we offer in this video, or just the video in general.  We’d love to read your comments in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Audit Your Activities — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Five months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 5 of the series.  Enjoy.

 

AUDIT YOUR ACTIVITIES
(Part 5 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , and Part 4 of this series, we introduced and re-introduced the concept and steps of The VCP Process® to Networking for our readers through brief anecdotes, relevant comparisons, and sometimes even humorous situations.

Today, we’d like to share with you one laser-focused Power Habit that you can use on a weekly basis to increase the number of referrals you receive. And, that Power Habit is based upon the following underlying Success PrincipleIt’s not always about the ACT of the ACTIVITIES that one should focus on. It’s the ANALYSIS of those ACTIVITIES that produces your greatest results.

A close friend of ours, Jim Cathcart (www.Cathcart.com), is listed in the professional Speaker Hall of Fame and is a very well-known author and speaker on the topic of Sales.  In fact, for 3 years in a row Jim has been selected as one of the Top 5 Speakers on Sales & Service.  So, I guess what we’re saying is that we believe “Jim knows his stuff!”  And in a recent conversation, he said: “Things that are measured tend to improve.”

It got us thinking that nothing could be truer, especially in the process of getting referrals.  Many networkers actually become Referral Institute clients because they want the trainers to hold them accountable for their weekly actions so that they get improved results.  We actually steer them towards an amazing online referral tracking tool called Relate2Profit (www.Relate2Profit.com) to help them hold themselves accountable.  But for today’s conversation, let’s take baby steps.  Let’s talk about something you can do with tools you already have at your disposal…a pen and your Daily Planner.

Our focus is measuring your weekly activities and how they relate to moving people in your network through The VCP Process® all the way from Visibility through Credibility to Profitability.

Here are the recommended steps:

  • First thing every Monday morning block off 5 minutes.
  • Write down the names of 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Next, in your Daily Planner block off a 2 minute segment of time for each of the 5 days of the week.
  • Then, during each of those separate 2 minute segments choose 1 of the 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Finally, TAKE ACTION by doing something to help YOU move that person (who YOU chose) through The VCP Process® to networking on your behalf.

For example, if you are only at Visibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Credibility with them?  Or, if you are only at Credibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Profitability with them?

At a loss for ideas on what you can do in 2 minutes to help compel someone to pass you referrals?  Here’s a brief list of activities that you might want to consider:

  • Search the web for an article relevant to their professional (or personal) goals and email it to them.
  • Go to their Facebook timeline or LinkedIn profile and comment on one of their recent posts to show that you care about what they care about.
  • Send them an email acknowledging that you’re aware of who an ideal client is for them…and let them know you’ll continue to be on the lookout.
  • Call them up and invite them to accompany you on a meeting you already have scheduled with a prospective client of yours.

As noted above, this is a recommended series of actions that we suggest you implement on a weekly basis.  If you do, the COMPOUND EFFECT of these weekly Power Habits will deliver you massive results in the medium and long term with your business relationships.

If this seems too simplistic to you right now, please take special note of the following.  In a recent survey over a 12 week period, when asked if they REGULARLY dedicated just 2 minutes for each of the 5 days of the week to perform ANY of the above recommended actions towards staying “top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources…less than 50% of the respondents reported that they did not.

This means that people have identified key Contact Sphere Professionals who should be passing them referrals.  BUT, they go weeks and weeks without performing small actions to compel these people to pass them referrals or even to stay top of mind!

Where would you fit into this survey?

In closing, we’d like to recommend you consider that the above Power Habit that can be performed is actually only 15 minutes of your work week.  If you work a standard 40 hour week, it’s less than 1% of your time investment for that week.  We believe that there should be no excuse for not dedicating 1% of your work week to “staying top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources.  Do you agree? 

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 6 called “The ABC’s of Business Networking”.

Expose Yourself!–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Four months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 4 of the series.  Enjoy.

EXPOSE YOURSELF!
(Part 4 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 3 of this series, we encouraged Business Networkers to honor the chronological steps of the VCP Process®.  In other words, we pointed out that generating a steady stream of referrals takes an investment in time — as well as in the people in your own network.  Take action, we recommended, and become visible.  However, be cautious about “too much Visibility”.

Today, we’d like to revisit and expand upon the following concept that was introduced last month:  If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with youYour role is to EXPOSE YOURSELF to your local business community in a valuable way so that people feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you.

Let’s dig deeper . . . If you’ve sought out Business Networking training and education in the past, you’ve most likely heard the following phrase: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.  However, today, we ask the question: “WHAT…do they know you for?”

You see, we believe that there is a strategic way to go about gaining Visibility in your local community.  We believe that if you lead with positive intentions and follow up with valuable contributions, professionals will, in time, feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you (i.e. pass you qualified referrals and/or connect you with Referral Partners).  Attempting to expedite the VCP Process® is almost never a good decision.  And sometimes, it may even backfire.

You may have observed this type of behavior before where people shift into what’s considered to be ‘Visibility’-overload.  In other words, every chance they get they’re doing random “stuff” (yes, that’s the technical term) to be visible without having any sort of thought out strategy.  Do you know what a “Drive-By” is at a networking event?  It’s when someone’s strategy (of lack thereof) is to meet everyone at a mixer.  As such, they’re focused on passing out their business cards to anyone and everyone versus staying in a conversation for longer than 60 seconds.  Has this ever happened to you?  What was your perception of this person?

This and other “Random Acts of Networking” ultimately defeat the overall objective which is to build trust and credibility through cultivating relationships.  Our fear is that people might be placing a lot of time into gaining Visibility, but NOT being able to capitalize on it.  And, it is for this reason that we’d like to introduce the term HYPER-Visibility™.  It’s when people try to get everyone to know them, see them, and hear them through a variety of different means in an effort to expedite the VCP Process® to Networking.  Whereas, in actuality, it typically backfires and may even be detrimental to their reputation and perceived as overkill.

As alluded to before, try not to be plagued by HYPER-Visibility™ and ask the question:  “WHY…do people know you?”

Is it because you:

  • Have volunteered to setup and break down your visitors table at your weekly networking event?
  • Have recently been awarded the “Helping Hand Award” in your local community?
  • Have numerous satisfied clients/customers who say positive things about you?

Or, is it because you:

  • Are at every single networking event in your local community (i.e. you’re everywhere!)?
  • Are the person who adds people to your weekly newsletter without permission?
  • Are constantly conducting ‘off the wall’ introductions (called Sales Manager Minutes in BNI) in an effort to be remembered?

Please be cautious that sometimes if those (albeit memorable, but) ‘off the wall’ introductions have nothing to do with training your network, they may not serve you well.  Being over the top could actually push some people away who might otherwise be keen to learning more about you.  Please also be aware that sometimes when you’re in roles of increased Visibility, your actions are clearer and even amplified.  For example, if you volunteer to help support your local networking group – or even any association or charity – your visibility will be enhanced and you’re typically in the spotlight or under a microscope.  Be cognizant, be strategic, and be prepared.

Visibility is an intricate part to the VCP Process®.   When strategically planned out, this exposure could be your biggest ally.  When attained for no particular rhyme or reason, it could be your biggest enemy.  Hmmm . . . food for thought, isn’t it?

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider that there are actually two different interpretations to the title of this blog post “Expose Yourself!”  First, it can be interpreted as the means by which you strategically and professionally navigate the first step of the VCP Process®.  Or, it can be interpreted that sometimes when you are too visible or seeking visibility for the wrong reasons (or with the wrong approach) you actually “Expose Yourself!”  Moving forward, our recommendation is to conduct an inventory of what steps you’re taking on a weekly basis to become visible within your own local community.  Then, decipher if they are effective at doing the job of helping you move beyond Visibility to Credibility.  If not, then please consider revising or replacing

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 5 called “Audit Your Activities.”

Only Focusing on ONE Referral Source Equals Missed Opportunity!

In this video, Cheryl Hansen, a Trainer and Franchisee with the Referral Institute, explains that most people tend to focus only on existing clients as their main source for business referrals and they neglect the seven other referral sources which they could be developing simultaneously to generate unlimited opportunity for new referred business!

Cheryl highlights community service organizations and casual contacts as just a couple of commonly untapped referral sources and urges businesspeople to start developing all eight of the referral sources which are outlined in the book The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret and listed below . . . which of them are you going to make a commitment this week to start developing?  Leave a comment and let us know . . .

The Eight Referral Sources:

  1. People in Your Contact Sphere
  2. Satisfied Clients
  3. People Whose Business Benefits from Yours
  4. Others with Whom You Do Business
  5. Staff Members
  6. People to Whom You’ve Given Referrals
  7. Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
  8. Other Members of Business Referral Groups

If you’d like a more specific description of any of the eight referral sources, simply leave a request in the comments section–I’m more than happy to write a blog with further details regarding any/all of the above sources.

Too Much Visibility?–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Two months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 3 of the series.  Enjoy.

WHEN IS TOO MUCH VISIBILITY, WELL, TOO MUCH ‘VISIBILITY’?
(Part 3 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  In short, this moniker describes the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  Click here to review that blog post.  In Part 2 of this series, we recommended you understand that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking – and we encouraged you to be careful about whether or not your network perceives you as a PREDATOR or a PARTNER.  Click here to review that blog post.

Today, we’d like you to give some serious thought to the very first letter in the VCP Process® to Networking.  In short, your goal should be to first enter Visibility with people, then perform activities that will help you build trust and Credibility with them, and finally through time and the strengthening of that relationship, they will most likely pass you consistent referrals in the Profitability stage.  After all, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Years ago, only the elite networkers were privy to this powerful concept.  These days, chances are this valuable information has trickled down to the average networker.  This is both a good thing – and a bad thing.  From our perspective, the good thing is that the average networker is now aware of this concept.  The bad thing is that the average networker typically misinterprets and mismanages the implementation of this concept.  Don’t agree?  Please hear us out . . .

Remember the movie “A Few Good Men” with Jack Nicholson where he forcefully delivers the famous line “You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”?  Well, the facts are clear and the truth in business networking is that the average networker’s strategy doesn’t focus on successfully navigating through the VCP Process® and doesn’t focus on finding Referral Partners whom they cultivate long term, mutually beneficial relationships with to provide them consistent referrals.  Or worse yet, the average networker has no strategy at all.

The goal of networking is to build the ultimate network of professionals who, when asked:

  • Can and will support you
  • Can provide you with information to make you more valuable
  • Can vouch for you
  • Can lend you their credibility when introducing you to people in their networks
  • Can refer to you on a consistent basis

If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with you.  Your role is to expose yourself to your local business community in a valuable way so that people feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you.  Most people have no concept of this strategy.  That’s what makes it so potent.  And then the dilemma is that a large percentage of those exposed to this strategy will never do the hard work that it takes for success to become a reality.  But, as noted above, the average networker typically misinterprets this concept.

Here’s an example:

Ivan met a woman years ago who told him she was the consummate networker – 100’s of contacts and a wide-ranging network of people from all walks of life.  Then one day in a conversation with him, she dropped a bombshell and said her networking efforts weren’t paying off.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, people she met, and how she made all these contacts but wasn’t getting any business.  The truth is that she was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t learning how to actually ‘work’ these networks and build deep relationships.

A music teacher once told his students: “Lousy practice makes a lousy musician.”  The same holds true for networking; lousy networking makes a lousy networker!  This is why “practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect.”

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you exhausted all opportunities in your local community to attend Business Networking and/or Referral Marketing Training workshops?  Have you sought out an expert or someone that has proven results from their networking efforts that you can ask to be your accountability partner?  And…if you have attended workshops in the past, what are the results you’re getting today?  If you’re not getting the number of referrals you expect, maybe it’s time to revisit those workshops?”

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 4 called “Expose Yourself!”

Perception Is Reality! — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Last month, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 2 of the series.  Enjoy.

 

PERCEPTION IS REALITY!

(Part 2 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

Last month, in Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  Click here to review that blog post.

In short, we described the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  In fact, The Networking Nomad™ is actually treating networking as if it were a direct sales competition and an exercise in prospecting for new clients.  As a result of this type of behavior, they never stay in a networking group long enough to cultivate long-term referral relationships.

The reason why we’re refreshing your memory is because we don’t want you to forget that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking.  And if you’re simply perceived as someone who focuses on his/her network buying your products or services, then any amount of time you invest in that particular network might not deliver you the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect.

You’ve heard us mention before that the VCP Process® to Networking (Visibility leads to Credibility which in turn leads to Profitability) describes the process of creation, growth, and strengthening of business relationships.  It’s useful for assessing the status of a relationship and where it fits in the process of getting referrals.

The Networking Nomad™ noted above is actually investing most, if not all, of his/her time in something we call pre-Visibility.  They’re not effective at getting consistent referrals because they’ve fallen into a trap. From time to time they run into a prospect they’ve met before, but aren’t really doing much else to deepen that relationship or work towards finding consistent Referral Sources.

Think about it.  Isn’t it better to have 6 referrals from one person in your network over the next 6-12-18 months rather than to have them become a client today?

There are major differences in the Sales Mindset versus the Networking (or more specifically Referral Marketing) Mindset.  For example, in Sales YOU are the center of the process:

  • YOU have to identify new prospects.
  • YOU have to go out there and meet the new prospects.
  • YOU need to build trust, credibility, and rapport with them.
  • YOU need to inch closer to the sale by conducting the needs analysis.
  • YOU need to respond to Requests for Proposal (RFP’s).
  • YOU need to send and reply to prospect emails.
  • YOU need to do everything you can to get that sale.
  • YOU get the picture?  😉

With the correct Networking Mindset, the process works WITHOUT YOU. Your well-trained Referral Sources and Referral Partners are spreading YOUR message within THEIR network – while you’re spending your time more effectively.

A successful networker has taken the time to seek and forge strong relationships with Contact Sphere Professionals who aim to serve the same or similar client target market.  Therefore, each new client of theirs can be a new client of yours.

And, that same successful networker is saving valuable time by having their network refer them into the sales process steps ahead of what they could’ve accomplish on their own.

Now that’s what we call leveraging another’s efforts.

But…you cannot accomplish this if your network perceives you as a PREDATOR versus a PARTNER.  Therein lays the difference between approaching Business Networking with a Sales Mindset versus a Networking Mindset.

At the end of the day, we understand and respect the fact that it’s your choice on which mindset you approach your networking efforts with.  However, understand that we believe your network will perceive you and deliver you the results that reflect your approach.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you ever perceived someone as exhibiting behaviors of a Predator or a Partner when networking?  If so, what did you observe and what insights did you learn from this observation?” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and remember, at the end of the day, we’re only human and it’s important to learn from our own as well as other people’s successes and/or mistakes.

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 3 called “When Is Too Much Visibility, Well, Too Much ‘Visibility’?”

It’s All About Your Mindset–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Today begins the much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which address this and contain some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  TR and I hope you’ll enjoy the series as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR MINDSET
(Part 1 of 12 of the “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking” Series)

Leverage.

Let’s restate that word again out loud because it is the essence of why leading sales professionals and small business owners invest their valuable time in Business Networking activities.

Leverage.

We think that probably the best representation of ‘leverage’ as it relates to the topic at hand is J. Paul Getty’s famous quote, “I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 people than 100 percent of my own efforts.”

You see, the difference between the success or failure of someone who is networking as a way of generating revenue is most likely what their perspective of ‘networking’ is.

Story after story is reported to us about people who believe that if they cease going to networking meetings and mixers every single week that their revenue will STOP.  Their perspective is that if they do not maintain a high activity of mixing and mingling with new people that they aren’t ‘networking.’  The truth is that their personal definition of Business Networking appears to be skewed.

Their own description of activities that THEY are performing sounds a lot like selling, doesn’t it?

At its core, Business Networking is “selling through your network, NOT to your network.”  Applying the foundational basics includes building relationships first, amassing trust and credibility in time, and then asking for referrals.  Don’t expect your network to buy from you.  If they do, that’s a bonus – but don’t plan on it or even try to encourage it.  It might actually backfire.

We see it all the time.  People are attracted to the size of the event (i.e., your city or county’s biggest mixer) or the size of the weekly group such as a local BNI Chapter.  These individuals are most likely sales people looking for a Buyer’s Club to help them achieve their quota – nothing more.  Once they pitch their network and a small percentage of people buy from them, they consider that group or network tapped out.  In this instance, you’ll hear these individuals murmuring, “Oh, that networking group isn’t a good one.  I tried it out for 3-4 months, but they don’t pass any referrals.”  They then move on to another networking group and repeat the same self-centered activities (i.e., the rinse and repeat).

Once another 3-4 months rolls by again and they tap out that small percentage of kind souls that purchase from them, it’s back on the meandering trail to wander around and find that next networking group…and the next…and the next.  This is why we’d like to introduce the moniker The Networking Nomad™ — as it fits this type of person and their behavior.

Remember, Business Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting.’  It takes time to cultivate relationships.  But once you dedicate the effort, we believe these relationships ultimately allow you to ‘harvest’ referrals for a lifetime.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Has my definition of Business Networking evolved through the years?  If so, what events or insights from others influenced this evolution?”

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 2 called “Perception IS Reality!”

Also, we highly encourage you to leave your feedback in the comments section below . . .

New Blog Series with Top Referral Marketing Trainer TR Garland!

In this video, TR Garland and I announce the launch of our new, 12-month, BusinessNetworking.com blog series  “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking,”

TR is not only my good friend, he is one of the top referral marketing trainers in the world and he and I co-authored the #1 Amazon Best-seller Building the Ultimate Network together.  I am really excited to be doing this new blog series with TR because he is in the top 1% across the globe in regard to understanding how to implement referral marketing effectively and this series is going to be a huge resource for people in learning how to understand and  implement the VCP (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability) Process® effectively to produce real, business-boosting results from networking efforts.

Whether you’re a businessperson, an entrepreneur, a novice or seasoned networker, or simply someone who wants to learn, be sure to come back to this site on Monday (2/20/12) which is when we will be posting the first blog in the series! 

So what do you think?  Are you as excited about this new series as TR and I are?  Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts . . .

The Profit Puzzle of Business

I recently had several business associates ask me about finding a good model for a business plan that they can use for their franchise.

Being able to market your business is, to a large extent, based on understanding your business.  Understanding your business begins by creating a plan.  One of the best models I’ve seen is one that I have used and recommended for years.  It’s called the “Profit Puzzle.”  It was developed by a good friend of mine – Don Osborne.

Below are the key categories (or puzzle pieces) that Don uses in his system.  If you need, or want, to produce a business plan for your business.  I recommend you check out www.ProfitPuzzle.com.  Just remember – once you have a structure for your plan – it requires that you commit a fair amount of time and effort to actually complete the plan (the plan doesn’t complete itself!).  You have to do the hard work to think about what goes into each part of the puzzle.

Check out Don’s  categories below.  They are very thorough.

Systems and Referral Marketing

It’s International Networking Week and one of the many ways I’m celebrating is by posting this video blog on how to network better and smarter with systems.  In this short video , I talk to my good friend Bertrand McHenry, a Referral Institute Trainer and Franchisee, about how people who develop a system for referral marketing generate substantially more business through referrals.

Watch this video to find out how creating a system for referrals can help you predict the income you will receive from referrals up to 12 months in advance and be sure to check out the International Networking Week video–make 2012 the year you commit to developing a networking strategy and achieving real business growth through a structured referral marketing system!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
1 2 3 4 5
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox