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.



(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 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.”

32 thoughts on “Authenticity Is the ‘New’ Audacity

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more TR. Trust is the key to any relationship, personal or business. There is no wrath greater than a customer or associate scorned in today’s social media world. When a person who uses “techniques” with no conviction gets called out, the damage trumps any quick sales. Luckily authenticity cannot be bought, sold, or traded on the stock exchange. It comes from the heart.

  2. This well defines how I have rebuilt a lucrative business that had fallen victim to the ‘hunter’ sales mentality. Through bad salesmanship and worse service many good clients were alienated and the results were abysmal. When I started talking to the mistreated clients, found out their expectations and then executed the best solution I could the results were phenomenal. Actions matching words and both being fair is a potent formula for getting past the client to their contact sphere. The VCP process has helped me to refine my process and define my goals to help me achieve even greater success. Thank you BNI!

    1. Congratulations on your recent success, Sam. You are correct: “Actions (must) match words”. I call this CONGRUENCY and people have a sort of RADAR these days that can tell if someone is authentic and congruent. Sometimes, some things will slip through…but in time…in-congruent people always have light shined upon them.

  3. TR, very well said. I completely agree that people will do business with people they know, like and trust. I have observed your ability to do just that, and it speak volumes in the people love and trust you. Authenticity and congruency are the new currency. I have been saying that for a while too, and you can spot the people from a mile away who have not fully integrated the concept yet.. The VCP process brings it all together. Keep up the good work, or should I say play?!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Brad. Your insight is appreciated. Yes, I agree “Authenticity is a CURRENCY” in today’s day and age. Think about it….if someone has MAJOR CLOUT with another professional and Person #1 endorses you…they used some of their “currency” to lend you their credibility.

  4. Excellent article TR! Your points are spot on in how to truly grow your business. People buy on their timing not your timing. By being of service instead of talking about your service is the best way to build a relationship.

    When I teach how to market to the affluent, the first thing I share with my clients is to connect with who they are as a human being because most people admire them for what they have or do.

    At the end of the day, people buy people. It is the secret to working with high end clients. Love the farmer vs. hunter analogy. By planting seeds, you do plan for a plentiful harvest that can feed the whole village. Thank you for sharing your nuggets of wisdom.

    1. I appreciate your comment and insight, Eiji. I like what you said, “People buy on THEIR timing, not YOURS”. So true, my friend. So true. If you’ll review the blog post, I do concede that HUNTER Sales People will succeed every now and then, but who wants to be worried about how you’re going to achieve quota month after month when you don’t know where your business is going to come from every 30 days????

  5. To be frank TR, half of me agrees with this post and the other half does not.

    It has been my experience that my biggest successes professionally were from always being authentic and showing up in a caring and thoughtful manner. Also, I do agree with the idea of planting seeds.

    The challenge for many people in this economy is that they don’t have the luxury or time to wait around for people to come to them. I do believe that it is the responsibility of a good salesperson to hunt and get the sale once the opportunity has arisen. That doesn’t mean using unethical sales tactics. I noticed that you were put off by “persuasion.” In my opinion it would be ineffective for me to tell a salesforce not to use techniques that work. In the end in any sales situation the biggest obstacle is the customer. It is all of us. Simply because we don’t know the product or benefits. It is the responsibility of the influencer to do a good job of helping a customer get out of their own way and purchase. If your product really does HUGE benefit to a customer you would be doing them a diservice if you let them linger about without the product. So yes the term “Close” may have a negative connotation, but the activity of helping someone get to a better lifestyle faster is admirable.

    Farmers need to realize that the world isn’t going to come to them. So what if you planted a hundred seeds, sooner or later you had better take action.

    Right now in the “WE” cycle that we are in, it is very easy to throw the baby out with the bath water. To state what we are against and focus so much on the opposite. There is a time and a tool for every situation. Being a sleazy “salesman” and screwing people over and never getting repeat business is not effective for either party. Being authentic, sharing your vision, and doing your best to communicate that value feels like the highest and best for everyone.

    I may be right, I may be wrong. Perhaps there is more for me to learn and another side of this conversation I haven’t yet explored. I look forward to more posts and deepening my understanding.

    Thanks TR.

    1. Hello Eric. May I say, “THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS”. And, thank you for disagreeing with me. Feedback on a blog post does no one any good if all it is is “Atta-boy” and “Good job”! You took the time to process what I proposed and somewhat agreed and somewhat disagreed. As you respectfully took issue with some of my insight, I respectfully take issue with some of yours. For example, you stated: “The challenge for many people in this economy is that they don’t have the luxury or time to wait around for people to come to them”. And my reply is “WHO’S FAULT IS THAT?”. To elaborate, this blog post is not about SELLING, it’s about NETWORKING. From my perspective, networking is not for sales people who are already on QUOTA and have the risk of being fired if they don’t perform month in and month out. Networking is for the shrewd salesperson who realizes that if they invest the time up front (i.e. cultivate the relationships), they will have a steady stream of referrals passed to them month after month. How long will it take for this person to build trust and credibility within a network? It varies. It could be a month, a year, or even two years. Yes, it takes time. BUT….in my perspective…it beats knocking on new doors every single month for the rest of my life as a sales person until I retire at 65+. I haven’t had to conduct a “cold call” in over a decade because of networking – and I’m happy for this. Next, I do respectfully take issue with the word “PERSUADE”. I don’t necessarily take issue with you, but with the word itself. I’m going to assume that you and I have different interpretations of the word. And, e have different interpretations (or meanings) because of our own experiences. To me, being authentic doesn’t require persuasion. It’s the antithesis. And, my guess is that many others feel the same way. It doesn’t mean that others don’t agree with you. I’m just saying. Persuasion, in the context that I wrote the blog, is in the negative form. In closing, all this being said, I’m happy to hear your thoughts and opinions. All are valid. The blog is simply an expression of my experience and my opinion on sharing stories so that small business owners and entrepreneurs are more effective at their business networking efforts. Thanks again, Eric.

  6. People have been calling “authenticity” the new currency in business for quite some time now.
    Funny observation that I have made about this is that there are a whole bunch of “authenticity drones” running about now- kinda like all of the “Law of Attraction” experts, and so forth- broadcasting to the world how authentic they are.
    That doesnt sell me.
    I’ll admit that in the past I have fallen for a few of these phonies and learned my lesson…
    What I have learned, though, is that powerful belief in your product or service, at a level that can only be backed up by experiencing, first hand, the success of your clients/customers, is a rare and precious jewel.
    As for farming/hunting – I have found that a combination works best- both for long term success as well as stepping into and creating immediate opportunities.
    I will say though in regards to hunting, that many, many sales people make a bad name for salespeople in general by barking up the wrong tree. Better customer profiling/ demographic research/more specific lead generation funnel will help that one along.

    1. Hello Manny. Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. It’s funny that you would bring up the “scenario” about people overusing the term AUTHENTIC and AUTHENTICITY. I, too, at one point was in overload of Speakers, Authors, and so called Gurus dishing out the term “Be Authentic” because it appeared to be the flavor of the week. And, what you pointed out was that these people (or the people you were referring to) weren’t being CONGRUENT with their preaching of authenticity. I’ll admit that the word “Congruent” may also fall into the same category as “Authentic” when it comes to being overused. HOWEVER…please note that many of the people who read this blog are international business professionals who aren’t in the same situation that you, Eric, and I are in by living in Southern California. They don’t have the privilege to attend Personal Development workshops every week. And, therefore, they haven’t experienced the UN-authentic people out there trying to make a buck by making people join their community (like drones) – without any true intention of helping those people once they joined. And, please understand that the FARMING versus HUNTING is in direct relation to NETWORKING – not sales. When someone shows up at a Christmas Mixer hosted by our local Chamber of Commerce and expects to “get 2 new clients before the end of the night”. That, my friend, is a HUNTER and is looked down upon today. That is the point I was making. That’s all. Again, you have stepped up and shared your honest opinion and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for making this conversation enjoyable and lively. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. You nailed it TR! It is a total sigh of relief. And this has become an even bigger sigh of relief for me… “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person and you can’t say the right thing to the wrong person!” Not sure who said it first, I heard it from Eiji Morishita…

  8. TR, you obviously have struck a nerve with this post. I believe that once you have established know, like, and trust the ‘close’ naturally flows from that process. I have seen this happen numerous times – the customer simply gets to the point where they actually close themselves. The ‘hunters’ that are still roaming around will get their share of sales, but they will never get the referrals that come from using the process you outline. As we all know, referrals are the easiest, and best, way to build a business. Well done TR!

    1. Hello Phil. Yep. I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, in one of my 4 hour workshops with the Referral Institute called “Referral Success Workshop”…I actually draw arrows up on the board and explain that a well-trained Referral Partner can actually REGULARLY refer people to you at the end of the “sales process” – thus skipping years of building trust and credibility. So, yes, the “close” comes much more naturally when you’re speaking to some one who was referred to you. In fact, sometimes the topic of MONEY doesn’t even come up because they have already been told by your mutual friend (i.e. the Refer-er) that YOU are the person to do business with! How about that? Thanks for taking the time to share your valuable insight.

  9. I have read your article and agree – when I get telephone queries to quote on a project I always try to get a face-to-face meeting. People aren’t buying my service – they buy me. Where a decision is made from a 2 minute call (obviously looking for something cheap) it’s never satisfactory.

    1. Thanks for your response, Ian. Yes. If you’ll read my reply to Phil’s comment above, I think the same can be referenced. Random prospects who call you will almost every time ask “How much do you charge?” FIRST. Prospects who are referred to you from a Referral Partner whom you’ve known and worked with for years might not EVER ask “How much do you charge?” – because price is not in their criteria. Thanks again for sharing.

  10. Hello TR. Thanks for this article. As a fellow co-author of Building the Ultimate Network, I thought I would add a network marketing spin on your points.

    In my experience, multi level marketers are only successful when they develop authentic relationships with their clients, their upline, and their downline.

    The givers gain philosophy I’ve learned and practiced since becoming a BNI member, have only reinforced my belief that network marketing thrives when everyone is audaciously authentic, passionate about their product, and willing to continuously learn.

    Great article. One I’ll share many times. WLC

    1. Hello Wendy. 🙂

      Thanks for adding your insight. I agree with you that Network Marketers are more successful if they focus on the RELATIONSHIPS versus the REWARDS. (wink, wink).

  11. Hey TR, Thank you for sharing your thoughts to help to chip away at the established “sales” mentality! I think I’ve read that “Selling” is designed specifically to short circuit the credibility stage of the relationship-building process.
    Farming is sustainable while hunting is great for instant gratification, for a while. When the game is gone in the area, its time to move.
    “What’s in your head, comes out.”
    I like to think of “selling” and “closing” quite simply. Do I like and want those tactics applied, by others, to me? The answer of course is a resounding NO! I loathe others attempting to “overcome my objections” when I refuse to accept a product or service which fits neither my wants nor my needs. If I were to then do that to others, what would that make me? In my mind, I would be hypocritical.
    If you have excellent products and/or services, properly build relationships and educate; when people have a want or need they will buy from you and no one else. Why would you want it any other way?
    Being an extremist, for me there are no sales, there are only purchases. How does a purchase rate of 92% sound?
    Thank you again, TR. Keep chipping away!

  12. Excellent points TR. As a hypnotist, I can tell you that you are hitting on some very powerful hypnotic principles as well with being truly authentic with those you network with.

    Personally, with my business being such an intimate topic with people (what’s more intimate than someone helping you with your mind?) I HAVE to be authentic with them to get them to see me.

    Using your advice, I’ve already increased my sales and referrals from people and that’s the main driver of revenue in a business like mine.

  13. You really hit the nail on the head. Whenever I speak to people I attempt to deliver value right off the bat because of the facts that you presented in this article. People do business with people whom they like and trust. We as the networker need to be able to be honest, present an opportunity to the best of our abilities as well as do our research to see if the people we attempt to do business with in the first place are worth our valuable time. I appreciate your ability to clearly and concisely state what I have been feeling as a certified networker. I have in recent months made leaps and bounds moving towards better relationships with entreprenuers in supporting industries. Thanks T.R.!!!!

  14. Bob Burg and John David Mann have a great book called The Go-Giver. They mentioned about the Law of Authenticity, which means we need to be honest and to be real in order to build relationship and sell.

  15. I do believe that people buy when they are ready to buy. Not when you tell them. And most importantly, they buy from someone that they have developed a rapport with.. a relationship with. It’s important to come to the table with WIIFT rather than WWIFM. Be of service first and the rest will follow.

  16. I am so grateful for the collection of blogs and plan to treat it as a primer on VCP. Thank you!

    I’ve downloaded 1-10 (of 12) but can’t seem to find the last 2 installments.

    Too, any chance that, somewhere in the archives there are transcriptions for installments 6 and 7? I see the video, but the transcription does not appear.

    TR and Ivan, many thanks for all you give,

    Jim Walsh
    BNI Power Lunch

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