Business Networking and the Solar Systemstring(40) "Business Networking and the Solar System"

During a hike on my recent trip to Necker Island, my friend, Mike Macedonio, and I had a great conversation about comparing the hiking trail to the solar system.
I invite you to watch this short video to learn more.


It reminded me that business networking is a journey and it’s all about relationships. Remember, networking is a marathon, not a sprint.

Necker Island’s Sustainable Energystring(36) "Necker Island’s Sustainable Energy"

During my recent visit to Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the Caribbean, I walked toward the top of the island and took some video of the wind turbines and the solar panels. I invite you to watch the video and enjoy the view with me.





Related Video Posts:

Richard Branson: Virgin Voyages

I recently visited Necker Island (which I think is the best island in the Caribbean)…


Don’t Pitch!

One of the most important things to remember when you are networking…


Don’t Pitch!string(14) "Don’t Pitch!"

One of the most important things to remember when you are networking is:
Don’t Pitch 

During my recent visit to Necker Island, my friend, Mike Macedonio, and I talked about Networking Up, which is an idea that he came up with a few years back. You need to identify who are the successful people (however you define success) that you want to know, and find a way to network with those people.

Well, Mike and I saw several examples of people doing it wrong; they were trying to pitch a sale or idea to the owner of the island, Richard Branson.

Watch this short video to see more:


When you are Networking Up, don’t sell to people! You may think, “I’ll never have another chance.” Well, I guarantee you’ll never have another chance if you pitch anyone, especially the first time you meet them.
Instead, connect with people and find common ground. It changes everything.

Richard Branson: Virgin Voyagesstring(31) "Richard Branson: Virgin Voyages"

I recently visited Necker Island (which I think is the best island in the Caribbean) and talked with Richard Branson about one of his newest businesses, Virgin Voyages.
In this video, he shares how Virgin Voyages is different from other cruise lines.

By the way, BNI members who are travel agents can represent this business if they are interested.




When “Networking Up” (networking with someone more successful than you are), always try to talk about something that is new and interesting to them.
This is what was new and interesting to Richard, and I was happy to discuss it.

Rely on Your Support Networkstring(28) "Rely on Your Support Network"

We all face challenging situations at times, and whether someone is a master networker or they are new to business networking, occasionally we need to rely on the help and encouragement of others.

I believe in learning to rely on the people who respect, admire, and love you. They have the purest motives for helping you because they are genuinely interested in your well-being. They accept you as you are and will usually do whatever they can to help you achieve any goal. Even though they may not have all the knowledge or information you need, or the ability to bring you new customers, if you direct their willing efforts they can give you emotional, spiritual, physical, or financial support.

The gift of time can be an extremely valuable resource. The members of your network’s support component can help you at crucial moments in your business. They can perform essential tasks, lend you money, encourage you, work for you, help you deal with an emergency, serve as a sounding board for your ideas, even fill in for you for a couple of hours if needed.

To make the most of this resource, you need to determine who they are. 

The CATEGORIES of Your Support Network

The people most likely to give freely of their support fall into several different categories.

    People who are or have been your mentors genuinely believe in you, care about you and your success, and can be counted on for honest feedback and encouragement.
    These people are typically excited to hear from you and will remind you of how much they appreciate your support. They also open doors to business opportunities by spreading positive messages about you.
    People remember those who have done something helpful for them. Think about people to whom you have donated money, time, or other gifts. Most will go out of their way to support you. This can include people in your referral networking group, too.
    The friendships you’ve made throughout your schooling and career often become friends for life. You know, like, and respect each other. You may be reluctant to call upon a friend for help because you don’t want to admit you need it. Don’t let your ego get in the way; utilize these sources. A true friend will be eager to help and will not think any less of you.
    We often take our family and personal friends for granted, and yet they are, perhaps, our most reliable source of support. Don’t ignore them. However, we do need to keep in mind that some may be more reliable than others.
    People you have worked with outside of business, such as members of community service organizations, apartment or homeowner associations, local youth programs– they may be willing to support you in activities outside of the group’s normal scope. Join, participate, generously donate your time, and let others help you in your endeavors.
    These people are familiar with your work habits, ethics, values, abilities, interests, and character. They also know what it takes to get you to perform at your highest level. Often, like surrogate parents, they feel responsible for your success. It is okay to take advantage of this parental instinct.
    If you belong to a religious organization, there is a bond with others through a shared faith. It would be a mistake not to seek the backing of those leaders and other members. If on occasion you need them, don’t hesitate to use the support services and groups that are available.

The MEMBERS of Your Support Network

Now, go through your contacts to determine all the people you know who fit into each category. List as many names as you can. It’s okay if someone is listed more than once. The more names, the better. If one person is unable to provide the kind of support you need at a particular moment, you’ll have others to fall back on.

Keep in touch with them. Learn about the talents, knowledge, and contacts these friends and supporters have to offer. You may find that a simple call to say hello can turn into an opportunity for you to help them, too.


I think anyone who is building their business should consider these eight categories of support network members when you have some challenges, need feedback or help in some way. Remember, sources of help and encouragement are closer than you think.

Is there anyone else you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about your experiences with your support network in the comments.

I was a Lollipop Entrepreneurstring(29) "I was a Lollipop Entrepreneur"

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

I wrote about this in my book, “Room Full of Referrals,” with co-authors Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons. All customers and all networkers prefer communication in a manner that is most familiar to them. Knowing their personal style can help you customize an effective sales or networking approach for each unique individual.

Dr. Tony Alessandra calls this The Platinum Rule – the idea of treating people the way they want to be treated.

The Four Common Behavioral Styles

  • Go-Getter: Fast-paced, task-oriented, & doesn’t like to be wrong about anything.
                      Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead
  • Promoter: Fast-paced, people-oriented, gregarious, likes to be in the spotlight.     
                      Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative
  • Nurturer: Slower-paced, people-oriented, dislikes confrontation, & helps others.
                      Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Reserved
  • Examiner: Slower-paced, task-oriented, methodical, likes facts, & dislikes hype.
                      Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented

A key point to remember is that we are all a blend of the four styles with different intensity levels of each.

My Style

Oftentimes your behavioral style can be observed at a fairly young age.  When I was 11 years old, I missed the bus going to school one day. The school was about two miles away and I had plenty of time, so I started walking.

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

The next day I decided to walk to school again, and this time I bought a dozen lollipops at the store. I sold them all before school was done for the day. I did this the next day, and the next… for almost a month. I was very happy with my margin and the money that I saw growing from my lollipop enterprise.

That was my first experience in business, and it was obvious from that early time in my life that I was a “Go-Getter” behavioral style. 

The end of the story had another lesson in store.  After a month of great sales, the Principal called me into his office and told me I couldn’t sell candy to students on campus.  I asked him why and he said it was a school policy.  Then I asked him why it was OK to sell candy bars for the school fundraiser on campus but not sell other candy for any other reason.  He basically told me that was the policy and I could follow it or be suspended.  Thus, the last lesson I learned was about government regulation.  The next business I started was NOT on campus.


Do you recall your first business experience? How has your own behavioral style helped or hurt your networking and referral marketing efforts?  I’d love to hear your story.

Practice EFFECTIVE Networking Skillsstring(36) "Practice EFFECTIVE Networking Skills"

It seems that some people do better than others in life. Is it because they are lucky?
No, I think it’s because the harder you work, the luckier you get. And I believe that perfect practice makes perfect.

A friend of mine once told me about the time she went to a friend’s house for lunch. Her friend was a concert pianist, and after lunch, he said to her, “I hope you don’t mind, but this is my practice time. You are more than welcome to stay and listen if you’d like.” She emphatically replied, “Of course, I would love to.”

People pay big money to watch this man play the piano, and she got a private concert. She told me, “I had this vision that I would be listening to him play scales, or maybe something that was not finished. But while I listened, my gosh, it was incredible! It was so beautiful, Ivan. I sat there while he played, and tears came to my eyes just listening to him practice. After he finished, I said to him, “my goodness, that’s the way you practice?”  I was expecting something completely different, but this was like a concert. He replied, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. Every time I practice, I practice as though I’m in concert. That’s the only way I can improve my music.”

This story reminds me that practicing the skills necessary to become a successful networker is important, however, businesspeople can’t expect to become master networkers by simply going through the motions.

Avoid “Lousy” Practice

Having meaningful conversations with potential referral partners at networking events is a necessary skill for business networking success. And yet many professionals attend an event with ONE goal: giving their business cards to as many new contacts as they can meet before it’s over. Or worse yet, they confuse networking with direct selling and use the gathering as a face-to-face cold calling opportunity.

Yes, they could say that they were practicing having “conversations” with new people.

Consider this – I once heard a music teacher tell their students, “Lousy practice makes a lousy musician.” The same is true for business networking. You can practice day in and day out networking the wrong way, and what are the results? You’ll get really good at networking incorrectly and ineffectively. 

Networking Skills to Practice

I offer these suggestions when you’re ready to practice effective networking skills.

  1. Always maintain a positive attitude. This includes the way you present yourself to other people. Everyone likes to do business with an enthusiastic optimist. Avoid complaining and don’t participate in gossip.
  2. Ask questions. When you meet someone new, ask about their business, why they love what they do, who their target market is. Then LISTEN to what they say.
  3. Maintain eye contact. Stay fully engaged in the conversation you’re having with someone. This shows your genuine interest in them.
  4. Help other people. A passion for helping others is an unbeatable complement to a hard and focused business drive. Follow the philosophy of Givers Gain®.
  5. Be trustworthy. Do what you say you are going to do. Every. Time. It is much harder to regain trust after it is lost.
  6. Follow up on referrals. ALL of them. Then update the person who gave it to you. If you don’t follow up on the referrals you get from others, you are losing potential business AND you are also losing the trust of those who referred you.
  7. Thank people. Express your appreciation to those who help you. This sounds so simple and obvious, yet an attitude of gratitude is a crucial networking skill.

All of these skills are part of the main purpose of business networking – long-term relationship building.

Master networkers know that the key to networking success is to build mutually beneficial business relationships with other professionals over time. You can do this by practicing effective networking skills at every opportunity you have to do so.




Related Blog Posts:

Business Networking is a Marathon

Business networking truly is a marathon of an endeavor…


six things

Do six things a thousand times

In this classic video, I talk about productivity and setting priorities…


Unforgettable Presentationsstring(27) "Unforgettable Presentations"

My friend Eric Edmeades is the leading authority on Behavioral Change Dynamics, the art of creating genuinely transformational programs and experiences. Recently, we were both at the Transformational Leadership Council where he did a presentation that I loved. I had the opportunity to ask him about his new book, “Unforgettable,” coming out later this year.

I invite you to learn more in this short video. 

Legacy is About the Presentstring(27) "Legacy is About the Present"

As the founder of BNI®, I have spent years helping business owners build successful networks through referrals. But as I have grown older, I have come to realize that my true legacy is not in the success of my business, but in the impact that I have made on others. In order to leave a lasting legacy, it is essential to look forward and not backwards. Our windshield is larger than our rearview mirror for a reason. It’s important to recognize what is behind us; however, what is most important is what lies ahead of us.

When we look backward, we become trapped in our past successes and failures. We may be proud of what we have accomplished, but we may also be haunted by the mistakes we have made. We may be tempted to rest on our laurels and feel that we have already made our mark on the world. However, this kind of thinking can be misleading, as it can prevent us from moving forward and making even greater contributions.

Instead, we should focus on the present and the future. We should think about what we can do to make a positive impact on others right now and in the years to come. This means investing our time and resources in projects and initiatives that have the potential to change people’s lives for the better. We should seek out opportunities to mentor and inspire others, to give back to our communities, and to contribute to causes that we are passionate about.  We all have people who are in our story – people who have changed our lives. And yet, the most important thing in leaving a legacy in the world is – whose story are we in?  Whose life have we changed for the better?

When we take this approach, we can be confident that our legacy will be one of positive change and impact. We will be remembered not just for what we have accomplished, but for the lives we touched and the people we inspired. We will be remembered as leaders, visionaries, and advocates for change.

Of course, looking forward does not mean that we should forget about the past entirely. We can learn valuable lessons from our experiences, both good and bad, and use those lessons to guide our future actions. But we should not allow our past to define us or limit our potential. Instead, we should use it as a springboard to even greater achievements.

Legacy is not just about what we have done, but what we will do in the future. We should look forward with optimism and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. By doing so, we can leave a lasting legacy that inspires others and makes the world a better place.

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