Collaboration Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Paolo Mariola

Collaborating Instead of Competing – by Paolo Mariola

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Paolo Mariola

National Director – BNI Italia

Paolo Mariola

When we talk about work, or more generally about the changes we are dealing with everyday, a word is often recurrent: the word opportunity. A word that, in the right phrase at the right time, create in the listener a series of thoughts, and hopes of reaching a goal or to realize a project. One of the synonyms of opportunity is a favorable occasion, that brings with it a positive change (almost everytime). And if we think about it, we live in an age where many opportunities are at hand. But above all, we live in what we could define the most relational age ever. The age in which relationships are not a way but a real aim.

When I think about this, I begin to reflect on the great opportunities that referral marketing has brought and continues to bring to professionals and entrepreneurs all over the world. And I always pause on one in particular. When we talk about marketing strategies, we usually declare “beat the competitors”, “doing better than competitors”…and so on. Referral Marketing turns upside down this point of view by finding in collaboration and not in competition the real opportunity for growth starting from a precise assumption: the global result coming from collaboration is larger than the sum of the single results that would be obtained individually. It is an approach to the business world that looks at the Other not as a competitor but as an opportunity: a great resource from a professional, intellectual, human point of view, able of enriching us and giving us the possibility to reach goals that we would not be able to reach alone.

For years I have worked as an entrepreneur in information technology and business processes. I have always realized that if I had tried to go on looking only at my interest or I had kept for me every business opportunity that came from my client, I could not say today that I had succeeded as entrepreneur. One of the fundamentals of my success, is that I have always been able to have competent and specialized people around me in those fields where I was not up to the task or who did not represent my specific preparation

Seeing today many Italian entrepreneurs and professionals who apply this approach to their business is certainly one of the things that makes me proud. Approaching the market by practicing the culture of abundance brings positive benefits for the customer, for suppliers, for the market and for the whole economy in a larger scale. Therefore, thanks to Referral Marketing and the culture of abundance, a new world of opportunity opens up to us. An opportunity as big as the world.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Paolo Mariola National Director – BNI Italia

five ways to better networking

Five Ways To Better Networking

Last year, I gathered almost 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world.   I gave them a list of almost 20 different characteristics on networking and I asked them to pick the top behaviors they’d like to see in a great networker.  From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed the five ways to better networking in this video.

Good Listener.

At the top of the list is being a good listener.  Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately.  Listen to people’s needs and concerns and find opportunities to help them.  You can’t help others if you don’t know what they need, and you find that out by listening. In many ways, networking is about connecting the dots but to do that you have to listen so that you can help people make the connections they are looking for.

Positive attitude.

The first thing that people see from you is your attitude, how you take things in general. A consistently negative attitude makes people dislike you and drives away referrals; a positive attitude makes people want to associate and cooperate with you. Positive business professionals are like magnets.  Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them.

Helps Others/Collaborative.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Helping people shows that you care.  One survey respondent said that “people want to network with individuals who have a collaborative attitude.”  Helping others can be done in a variety of ways. For example, clip a helpful article and email it to someone. Furthermore, put them in touch with a person who can help them with a specific challenge.  Several respondents commented about not wanting to network with people who are “in it for themselves.” A willingness to collaborate and help others is essential. It builds trust and helps establish a strong relationship.

Sincere/Authentic.

You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it!  Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn.  One respondent stated that “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you.  We have all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity.  Faking it isn’t sustainable.

Follows Up.

If you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person.  One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”

Click here to watch the video

competition

Competition into collaboration

You can turn your competition into your best potential referral source. In this video, Tiffanie Kellog and Jason Avery share how he accomplished this in his construction business. There is plenty of business out there if you do it right.

About Tiffanie Kellog

For more information on Tiffanie Kellog, please visit her website at tiffaniekellog.com/

Tiffanie Kellog is a professional speaker and trainer with Asentiv, and is co-owner of a business with her husband.  Therefore, Tiffanie has helped entrepreneurs over the years make more money while saving time. Thus, they can have more fun. She is dedicated to helping others make more money in less time.

To contact Tiffanie, call her at 813-263-9690 or email at referrals@tiffaniekellog.com

Being ‘in Sync’ With Your Networking Partners

My wife, Beth, and I were in South Africa recently on safari at Camp Jabulani in the Kapama Reserve. Camp Jabulani has a beautiful suspension bridge between the main lodge and the guest suites. If you’ve ever walked over a suspension bridge, you know the feeling of the springiness under your feet as you walk. It was almost like wearing those Moon Boots I got for Christmas as a boy!

As we made our way over the suspension bridge, we noticed pretty quickly that when we did not walk in sync, the bridge’s flexing and bending jarred both of us as we tried to walk across. When we walked in sync, it was much easier to walk in a way that didn’t make us look like drunken sailors!

This started me thinking about networking relationships and the importance of being in sync with our referral and networking partners.

When I think about walking in sync with other businesspeople, I think of collaboration, cooperation, and maintaining a focus on how we can help each other (what I call Givers Gain). These three elements are critical for successful relationship marketing.

In order to build the kinds of mutually beneficial relationships you desire, it’s important to keep in mind what I call the proximity effect–networking is a contact sport. You must stay in contact with each other in order to benefit from a collaborative relationship. Profiting from a business relationship without staying in contact with one another is like getting a haircut over the phone—I have never seen that done!

Staying in touch can include holding one-on-one meetings with each other to learn more about each other’s business and referral needs, and to ask, “How can I help you?” Having a Givers Gain focus is the most effective way of supporting your referral partners.

We all need to make a commitment to maintain a focus on how we can help each other in business. This is a new thought pattern for most business owners. We aren’t schooled or trained in thinking “How can I help you?” when it comes to those with whom we are in a particular business community. More often than not, we think, “What can I get out of this relationship?” If you do business with a Givers Gain mentality, you will turn that thought pattern on its head.

Relationship networking is a good way to get business; it’s an even better way to do business. As you walk in this rhythm, you will find others getting in step with you, and everyone will do better business as a result.

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