A question from India came to me via Twitter, and I found it to be such a universal topic that I thought I’d share it with you all.
(And BONUS–it was shot in my new home studio!)
What happens when your networking group hits a plateau?
A question from India came to me via Twitter, and I found it to be such a universal topic that I thought I’d share it with you all.
(And BONUS–it was shot in my new home studio!)
What happens when your networking group hits a plateau?
This is the most incredible VCP story I’ve ever heard! It shows how relationship networking is changing lives across the globe.
(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the principle, VCP stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability; successful networking is achieved by first being visible in your business community, which will lead to credibility, which will lead to profitability.)
I was recently contacted by one of BNI’s Executive Directors, Susan Goodsell, to tell me about her daughter’s remarkable journey to Zanzibar, Africa. Kelsey, who is 23 years old, is there with GIVE (Growth International Volunteer Excursions) which recruits college students to work on sustainable development projects around the world. Kelsey has been volunteering with the organization for three years, and this year she has been assigned as Education Coordinator and will help her team on projects like school construction and tutoring in English.
To give you an idea of what Kelsey and her team are up against, here’s a little background on the culture of Zanzibar. The country is extremely poor and education is positioned against its citizens–even though the national language is Swahili, exams required to continue through school are given in English. If a student does not pass the exam, they can’t continue attending school unless they retake the exam, which costs $500–the yearly income of most families.
One of Kelsey’s primary jobs is to establish trust with the locals in order to encourage them to use GIVE’s tutoring program (this is Kelsey on the right teaching a class). She was asked to integrate with the women in the village, but she found it very challenging as their cultures are so different.
I think the next part of the story would be best told by Susan herself.
“Kelsey was hugely uncomfortable–to the point where she was messaging me on WhatsApp. “They’re older than I am. They only speak Swahili.” (She speaks very basic Swahili.) “And they don’t want anything to do with me.”
I have often said the skills in BNI are not just business skills, but life skills. I went into part Mom mode, part BNI mode.
“VCP,” I told her. “You have no credibility. You need to start with visibility. Tomorrow, simply walk through the village, smile and say “Jambo” to six women. If they have a baby or a child, smile and wave at the child. That’s it. Six women. Then consider you’ve met your goal.”
Day 1, I received a text message. “Mom, no one smiled. Not one person responded to me. And all I got were death ray stares.”
“Okay Kelsey, I get it. That must’ve been awkward. Now do it again tomorrow.”
On the third day, she messaged to say that two women smiled at her. The day after that, two women said hello back. A couple days later, she said, “Mom! SIX women smiled and talked to me first! I didn’t even do anything!”
It only took about a week.
I know VCP is actually a referral process, but it sure did come in handy when my only baby was 10,000 miles away and thinking she was in way over her head and couldn’t so anything to affect change. This is another example of how BNI success stories aren’t always about a business, or even a BNI, success. We bring our members life skills.”
Isn’t that amazing?
I’ve asked Susan to keep us updated as Kelsey continues to work in Africa and use the skills she and her mother have learned through BNI. Make sure to check back in for the future instalments of her incredible journey.
That’s right-you read correctly.
Referrals come from cultivating real relationships. They come from putting the work into your networking by giving others referrals before expecting them in return. They don’t come from sitting idly in a meeting, watching others getting referrals and wondering where yours are.
Are you wondering just how to get that referral pipe flowing?
1. Become a farmer. Except you’re not cultivating seeds, but relationships. You’re not harvesting produce, but referrals. Networking is about farming for new contacts (and referrals,) not hunting them. Have One-to-Ones with your chapter members. Get to know them and their business well so you can begin to pass referrals to them. This is how you cultivate a relationship-show genuine interest and make an honest attempt at helping them succeed. You’ll build trust with one another, which makes the next step much easier.
2. Find a referral partner. As I write in my book, Truth or Delusion, “There is a way to the flow of referrals predicable and adjustable.” After you’ve gotten to know your fellow chapter members, choose one to partner up with to pass referrals back and forth to one another. Pick someone who needs referrals you can provide (for example, if you have a toy shop owner in your Chapter but you have no kids and rarely interact with them, they might not be the best partner for you.) Determine what types of referrals you need and ask your partner to do the same; then, exchange specific referrals based on your own networks. Begin to set up meetings with your referrals and if it’s appropriate, bring your partner with you. Afterward, analyze the meetings with your partner and use as much detail as possible.
3. Get your PH.D. in Networking. Ok, not literally. But you can become a gatekeeper of networks as you begin to connect your network with another person’s, and then another person’s, and then continue to build upon it. Become the go-to person in your business community-the person others come to if they needed a referral for anything. “Know a trustworthy plumber? Yeah, ask Susan-she knows everybody!” But instead of becoming the human phone book, you are connecting people in your community with good, honest businesses. This will not only help you build your network referrals, but it will also force you to continue to build and deepen your relationships and provide you with an excellent reputation.
What process has worked for you when referral gathering?
The VCP Process is the foundation of building a referral-based business. While this general business-building philosophy isn’t going to automatically increase your business, there are plenty of benefits to increasing your visibility and your credibility.
Visibility is usually pretty easy for businesspeople to get on board with. You attend extra networking events, look into other forms of marketing, reach out to new client bases. Credibility is where, time and again, we see more people struggling to build up that quality reputation of being credible.
There are a few simple items other than business cards that you should try to have at your disposal to help you develop that word-of-mouth campaign and show off your credibility to potential new clients or business networks. Try to always have access to at least one example of the following simple items:
Most business professionals will have these few simple items at their disposal at any given point, and many won’t realize what a vital tool to building credibility these can be! You can really up your game by having a couple less common items at your disposal as well:
Got all that? Great! You can never have too many credibility-building items at your disposal, so the following are great additions, as well. Just make sure not to throw all of your items at potential contacts at the same time. You don’t want to overwhelm anyone, though it would be incredibly easy to do so. Look to have these on-hand in case someone requests them:
With a little foresight, it can be incredibly easy to get all of the basic supplies you’ll need to prove your credibility and increase your word-of-mouth marketing campaign.
What items do you use on a regular basis to show your potential clients and business networks that you are a credible candidate to help them with their needs? Let me know in the comments below!
Lately I have seen a lot of people who have been using the VCP Process® (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability) like it’s a formula: Visibility + Credibility = Profitability.
The fact remains, however, that VCP is a referral process, not a sales process. If the majority of your clients aren’t giving you referrals, then you are only at Credibility with your clients, not at Profitability. It’s possible that you can have a lot of Visibility and a lot of Credibility, but NOT have Profitability. Rather than a formula, VCP is a continuum.
Once you achieve Credibility (and not before), you then need to start asking for referrals in order to achieve Profitability. Profitability does not result automatically from Visibility and Profitability.
If you were previously unfamiliar with the VCP Process and have questions about it, please ask them in the comment forum below. I believe that VCP is the single most important concept in networking and I’m more than happy to answer your questions. Also, if you’re familiar with VCP and you’ve been using the process for a while, please share some of your experiences–I’d love to hear them.
The fact is, networking truly is a marathon of an endeavor–it’s most definitely not a sprint. I have met so many people who practice what I call ‘hyperactive networking’ and they mistakenly approach networking at the speed of an all-out sprint–they want to be absolutely everywhere and meet absolutely everyone and they go, go, go ALL of the time until they soon inevitably burn out, ‘collapse,’ and give up.
It’s a real shame because if these people would, from the beginning, just slow down and take the time to develop a networking strategy and understand that networking takes time, patience, hard work, dedication, commitment, and endurance, they would be reaping great rewards from their networking efforts instead of exhausting themselves with nothing to show for it in the end.
Networking at its core is about taking the time to build genuine, trusted relationships. Sure, visibility is important, but without building trust right along with it, visibility won’t get you very far in the long run. You can run around all day long going to networking events and shaking people’s hands, but if you’re not spending time following up and developing trust with the people you meet, then you haven’t really achieved much of anything that will actually give you results from your networking efforts–do not confuse activity with accomplishment.
So, what are your tactics for pacing yourself in the marathon of networking? What actions do you take to strategically build relationships? I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below–thanks!
In this brief video filmed at a recent TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) conference, I talk to my good friend Raymond Aaron about our respective contributions to the newly revised version of Jack Canfield’s book THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES.
I am beyond honored to have been asked to contribute to the book and, because of that, I wanted my portion of the book to focus on the most valuable, useful, beneficial information I could possibly offer within my field of expertise. That information is the concept of the VCP Process®–how to build visibility and credibility to ultimately achieve longlasting success through profitability.
Raymond, a world renowned success coach, offers eye-opening information about what blocks us from enjoying success through abundance and how to overcome those road blocks.
Have you read THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES? If so, I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the book in general or on a specific section or sections which resonated with you the most. Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!
For more information on THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES, please visit: www.TheSuccessPrinciplesBook.com.
I recently saw someone’s Twitter update telling me all about how his vitamin line will not only make me skinny and healthy, but will also make me wealthy. While there is nothing objectionable about any of these outcomes, the jarring reality is that the man promoting this wonderful opportunity is neither skinny, nor healthy, and he had just been posting updates about how he was desperately trying to dig himself out of debt!
Do you see the disconnect here? I’m sure you have seen people at networking meetings and events who will stand, introduce themselves, and deliver a promise-filled monologue about how their product or service will bring you all kinds of things which they themselves obviously do not have the benefit of enjoying.
What’s missing is congruency. When your professional message is not congruent with your personal situation, your networking efforts will not be effective. If you are promoting yourself as a wellness coach, and yet you are often sick and carrying 20 extra pounds, there is a jarring incongruence for which it will be hard for you to compensate. When I want to refer my colleagues to a wellness coach, I will refer one who is healthy, fit and obviously achieving the results she promises I will receive from participating in her program.
This may seem logical, but I often see people all over the world with incongruent messages. Ask yourself how congruent your message is. If you’re a professional organizer, is your briefcase a disaster? If you’re a car detailer, how does your own vehicle look? If you have never done so, take stock today of your message. Evaluate what you’re saying the benefits of your products or services are compared to what you are showing people they are.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do thunders above your head so loudly, I cannot hear the words you speak.” In his book Inside the Magic Kingdom, Tom Connellan calls this “walking the talk.” How are you doing when it comes towalking the talk in your business? It will have a definite effect on the success of your networking efforts.
Share a story with me about someone (don’t name names!) whose message was not congruent with their actions. I’d love to hear other stories.
I have been doing video blogs for quite a few years now and a while back it occurred to me that some of the videos I’ve previously posted focus on timeless topics that deserve to be revisited and not buried way back in the video blog archive. For this reason, I decided to occasionally feature a “classic” video blog from my blog archive and today I am sharing the fourth one–”Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Up”
In this video, I talk about the faux pas which I see happen most out of all the faux pas which can possibly occur in the world of networking. It also happens to be the faux pas which frustrates me the most (Seriously–it drives me crazy!)–it’s when you give a networking partner a referral and they drop the ball and don’t follow up on it.
Remember, if you aren’t following up when your referral partners call you and/or aren’t following up on the referrals you’re given, you’re not just losing business . . . you’re also losing your credibility and that’s something which is extremely difficult to earn back. So, for those of us in parts of the world who are currently starting a brand new year, why not make a vow right now to make following up our number one networking priority this year? I guarantee it will pay off in big ways.
Have you had an experience where you gave a referral to someone and they didn’t follow up on it? If so, will you continue to give that person referrals? Or, have you dropped the ball on following up on a referral before? If the answer is yes, did you learn a lesson from it? Please share your experiences in the comment forum below. Thanks!
People often ask me how to move a relationship with someone they just met to the point where the new contact feels comfortable passing them a referral.
I always say that the best way to get to this next referral-passing stage depends in part on how you came into contact with a person in the first place. Let’s say you met while giving a brief presentation to a group of people who are in your target market. Assuming you did a good job, then you absolutely have the possibility of receiving a referral, even though you just met. Why? Because the presentation moved you from visibility to credibility in the new contact’s mind and now they’re probably willing to risk their reputation and recommend you to someone they know.
The same thing is true when you’re out networking. If you have a good conversation with someone and truly add value to the conversation, then moving from visibility to credibility isn’t that difficult, and you’ll be in great shape for getting some referral-based business. What’s more, it’s not terribly important whether the person is someone you might do business with directly. Even if your businesses don’t match up, the other person might have information that’s useful or might know other people you’d like to get in contact with. It’s often worthwhile to develop a networking relationship with people who have little in common with you because they can bring an entirely new network into contact with yours and broaden your business horizons.
Just bear in mind that even if there is a strong possibility that you’re going to do business with this new contact, it’s probably not going to happen there at the networking event, where conversations last anywhere from an eye-blink three minutes to a long-winded seven. Instant business is not likely to be had. But if you follow up with a quick note a few days later, you can make some one-to-one time and come up with ways the two of you can help each other. That meeting is where you’ll have your best opportunity for a quick referral.
What has your experience been with moving to the referral stage with new contacts–do you have a tactic that seems to be particularly effective? If so, please share it in the comments section. Thanks!
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.”
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®. A while ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part 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 12–the final post in this series. Enjoy.
Using Social Media to Navigate the VCP Process®
(Part 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)
In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , Part 4, and Part 5 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. For Parts 6and 7 we even shared with you video trainings from the both of us.
In Part 9, we suggested some behaviors that you can use on a weekly basis to increase the number of referrals you receive. And, as a result, we got a couple phone calls complimenting us about how that particular blog post clearly outlined what type of behaviors a successful networker should be practicing on a weekly and monthly basis – and we were asked to provide more. We fulfilled that request.
In Part 10, we addressed that ‘Mindset’ has as much to do with your success in networking as ‘Skillset’. And in Part 11 we addressed how to deliver effective Introductions & Short Presentations when Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking. And therefore, in this final installment of the series, we found it relevant to address “The Elephant in the Room” – Social Media.
Yes, as experts on Business Networking and Referral Marketing, we’ve been asked time and time again to provide our opinions on how Social Media fits into one’s own Business Networking Plan (…if at all).
So, today, let’s address this “The Elephant in the Room”. Let’s bring out into the open the question that still may be on the minds of many of our readers.
When asked about the topic of Online Networking versus Offline Networking, you may have already heard Ivan share his philosophy that “…it’s not either/or, it’s both/and when addressing this topic”.
Today, let’s dig a little deeper and give you a clearer picture on what’s meant by this, as well as deliver you actionable steps for you to take (as the title of this blog insinuates) to use Social Media to navigate the VCP Process® to networking.
Let’s get started.
An often overlooked tool to navigating the VCP Process® is using Social Media effectively. And, more specifically – Facebook. Now please allow us to clarify. We didn’t say Facebook is overlooked! Lol.
ENTERTAINMENT vs. EXECUTION
We happen to believe that many people are actually addicted to Facebook and spend way too much time using it for ENTERTAINMENT. Whereas, they could actually be using it for the EXECUTION of a well thought out strategy.
Let’s face it. There are professionals out there who you want passing you referrals that are on many of the same Social Media platforms that you’re on. Yet, do you have a Business Networking Plan that addresses this?
Well, would you like to grasp a really quick concept that will help you address this?
For example, let’s assume an ideal referral partner for you is a CPA. And, you recently met a CPA at a monthly networking event such as a Chamber of Commerce mixer. What typically happens is that “life happens” immediately after that event and 30 days go by before you see that CPA again.
From our perspective, it’s going to take a long time to dig deep and build a quality, meaningful relationship and move through the VCP Process® with this person when you only see this CPA twelve times a year.
Therefore, today, we’re recommending you use Social Media to compliment your in-person, face-to-face networking efforts. Yes, if you take action and plan to make strategic “Touch Points” during the time between those mixers, you’ll actually be able to expedite the VCP Process®.
And, who doesn’t want to shorten the cycle from first meeting someone (i.e. Visibility) to building trust with them (i.e. Credibility) to finally getting an actual referral from them (i.e. Profitability)?
Yes, too many people are spending too much time on Social Media for ENTERTAINMENT purposes versus the successful EXECUTION of specific tactics of an overall strategy that will help them drive revenue to their business.
Today, we’d like to make a pretty good case that Social Media shouldn’t be ignored either. Social Media should be considered an intricate part of successfully following your particular Business Networking Plan.
HERE’S ONE SPECIFIC TACTIC YOU CAN USE IMMEDIATELY
Let’s assume an ideal referral partner for you is a CPA as noted above. By connecting with this person on Facebook immediately after meeting them and strategically LIKING or COMMENTING on some of their posts – you will create additional Visibility so that the next time you see this CPA it will actually FEEL like you’ve known each other longer.
Does this make sense? We would love for you to leave your thoughts in the comment forum below.
The dark side of the VCP Process® occurs when people get disconnected from what networking is really all about–they’re not carrying out the VCP Process as it is meant to be carried out and that’s when everything goes wrong.
As I mentioned in the video blog I posted last week, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking. Today’s video is, again, one of several short videos I’ll be posting which cover networking topics that we will be focusing on in the book. These videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain the networking disconnect–the unfortunate occurrence which takes place when everybody comes to a networking event to sell yet nobody comes to buy.
If you have a story relating to the ‘networking disconnect’ 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!
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