Successful Networkers Build Deep Relationships–Know Your Contactsstring(71) "Successful Networkers Build Deep Relationships–Know Your Contacts"

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, the fact is it will simply never be very powerful.  In this video, I talk about why investing the time and effort into really getting to know your contacts and building deep, trusted relationships with them is key to networking success.

Do you know your contacts’ hobbies? Do you know their family members’ names? If your answer is no, this means you’re not delving beneath the surface with your contacts and you’re not building fruitful relationships–you need to get to know your contacts much better.

Watch this short video now to learn how to build deeper, mutually beneficial relationships by using the GAINS Exchange, get relationship-building success strategies used by international sales expert & keynote speaker Harvey Mackay, and more.

Do you have a method or a tactic for getting to know your contacts better which has really seemed to work for you?  If so, please share it in the comment forum below.  I’m always interested in the tactics that networkers around the world have successfully used to achieve networking success and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Darkside of the VCP Process®string(33) "The Darkside of the VCP Process®"

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!

The VCP Process® Explained–What’s Your VCP Story?string(62) "The VCP Process® Explained–What’s Your VCP Story?"

As some of you may know, Jack Canfield, Gautam Ganglani, and I are currently working together on a book about networking.  This short video is one of many others, some of which I’ll post in the future, that cover networking topics which we will be focusing on in the book.  The videos are the result of brainstorming sessions for the book and in this particular video, I explain each step of the VCP Process® approach to networking in careful detail, emphasizing that credibility is really the key to networking success.

I share a personal story which demonstrates why trying to drum up referrals from people you’ve never met before is an exercise in futility as you’re not even at the visibility stage with them, and I outline the absolute best way to establish credibility with others.

If you have a story relating to the VCP Process® 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!

 

Hyper-Active Visibility Is Not a Good Thing!string(44) "Hyper-Active Visibility Is Not a Good Thing!"

Years ago, I met a woman who was known as the consummate networker – she had hundreds (if not thousands) of contacts, giving her a wide-ranging network made up of people from all walks of life.  She was well-known as the go-to person if anyone needed anything.  Then, one day during a conversation she and I were having, she dropped a bombshell . . . she said that her networking efforts weren’t really paying off for her.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, all the people she met, and how she had made all these contacts and was continuing to make more all the time but wasn’t actually getting any solid business from her efforts.

Why wasn’t she seeing real results?  Because despite her great talent for making contacts and gaining visibility, she was never really getting to the heart of what networking is about–building relationships.  She was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t ever learning how to actually “work” the networks she had built in order to build deep relationships with people and develop credibility with them.

It’s true that she was visible in the community–very visible, actually.  The problem was that she viewed “activity” as an “accomplishment” when it came to her networking efforts.  Her network was a mile wide but only an inch deep.  She had not taken the next, and most important, networking step with the many, many people in her wide-reaching network–she never devoted the time to developing the kind of rapport with any of them that would allow them really get to know her, like her, trust her, and want to pass her business.

I bring this up because I just recently saw the same thing with someone I’ve known for a few years.  He made a consistent habit of going to every single networking meeting/event he could go to and he was incredibly visible.   Not only was he always at networking meetings but he was always full of energy and enthusiasm from the time he arrived to the time he left.  Again, the problem was in no way due to a lack of activity, effort or enthusiasm in regard to putting himself out there and meeting new people; the problem was that he was running around so much that he never stopped long enough to spend the time necessary to establish the kind of long-term roots that lead to an ongoing, reciprocal referral relationship.

If your goal is to significantly grow your business, networking with your main focus being solely to make as many contacts as possible will not help you achieve your aim.  If you’re networking in this way, you’re also guaranteed to get burned out on networking because constantly being on the go and trying to keep track of hundreds of people who you don’t really know is exhausting.  There needs to be a balance between the visibility-creating aspect of your networking efforts and the credibility-creating aspects of your networking efforts.

What are your thoughts on the ideal networking focus/approach?  What do you feel your main networking focus is currently?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and, also, if you know someone with the type of  hyper-visibility networking style I describe in this blog, please share what you’ve observed as far as their networking technique and how you think it has worked out for them.  Thanks!

 

Sometimes You’ve Just ‘Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do’string(77) "Sometimes You’ve Just ‘Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do’"

I really believe that sometimes you’ve just ‘gotta do what you’ve gotta do’ in order to stay true to what you know is right.  Last week I happened to tell three of my staff members a personal story about a time back during my days of teaching college that they really responded to.  All three of them urged me to tell the story on one of my video blog posts because it focuses on something we all struggle with from time to time . . . doing the right thing when it’s not so easy to do.

In business and in life, we’re all faced with dilemmas once in a while where it seems like the only option is to abandon doing what we know is the right thing because we feel (or are made to feel) like we don’t have a choice.  However, there’s always a choice; even though sometimes doing the right thing involves making yourself uncomfortable and being willing to put yourself in a position you don’t want to be in, it’s still the right thing and that’s important to remember because we each have to live with our own decisions.

Watch the video to hear about a predicament I found myself in where my higher ups were trying to force me to break my word and go back on a commitment I’d made.  I was in a very uncomfortable situation and it put me in a position where my job was on the line if I didn’t do what I felt was wrong.  I’m glad to say, however, that to this day, I have no regrets in how I handled it and I hope that sharing this story causes others to really think about the importance of doing the right thing even when it could mean losing something that means a lot to you or something that you really need.

If you have a story of your own about how you stood up and did the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing even though it was really hard for you, I’d really love to hear it.  Please share your story in the comment forum below and, as with some of my other more recent video blogs, this one also features my good friend Bob.  If you know where Bob is hiding in this video, be one of the first ten people to share your story and to also add  a note after your story correctly pinpointing where you see Bob and I’ll send you a surprise gift that will help build your networking skills.  (Note: To ensure you receive your gift, please e-mail your name and complete mailing address to Lransom@bni.com with the subject line “Bob.”)  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Want Visibility, Credibility, & Profitability? First You Need One Thing . . . Relationshipsstring(96) "Want Visibility, Credibility, & Profitability? First You Need One Thing . . . Relationships"

I’ve mentioned the VCP Process® time and time again throughout the years on this blog site because we simply can’t achieve success at networking without strategically building visibility, earning credibility, and then ultimately gaining profitability.  The key to all three of these things, however, is found in one thing . . . relationships.

In this short video, my good friend Lisa Nichols and I explain how building quality relationships is the single most powerful thing you can do to position yourself for success and fulfillment in every area of your life.  As Lisa puts it, when you nurture your relationships with good intention, people will innately want to give back to you.  Lisa talks about how she has built her entire business through investing in quality relationships (as have I) and because of this, her business has grown by double digits each and every year.

Lisa and I are a perfect example of how building quality relationships with others can enrich your life and your business in amazing ways.  Over the years since we first met at a TLC Conference, we have developed a deep respect for one another and an irreplaceable friendship through our mutual dedication to helping each other in any way we can.

Watch the video now and think about how you might take specific actions in the coming weeks to invest in building quality relationships with those around you . . . who would you most like to approach and ask, “How can I help you? . . . Is there something I might be able to do for you in order to help you meet your goals?”

I would love to hear your feedback on this video or how you are going to take action in the near future toward nurturing your new and existing relationships.  Please leave your ideas and thoughts in the comment forum below–AND . . . I’ll send a surprise gift to the first ten people who add to their comment the correct answer as to where another of my good friends (Bob) is hiding in this video.  He may not be so easy to spot this time but I promise he’s there just begging to be noticed!  (NOTE: To ensure you receive your gift, you’ll need to send your full name and mailing address to Erin@bni.com after you leave your comment in the comment forum below).  Thanks in advance for your input and participation!

Bob2

Also, Bob says he really recommends that you click here (www.MotivatingTheMasses.com) to read more about Lisa and the inspiring work she does on a daily basis. 

 

Making Business Personal Is Sometimes a Very Good Thingstring(55) "Making Business Personal Is Sometimes a Very Good Thing"

In this short video, business networking expert Charlie Lawson demonstrates how powerful storytelling can be in relation to networking for your business and he does it by none other than . . . you guessed it . . . telling a story.

The fact is, you can tell someone what you do for a living all day long but chances are, that’s not going to make you stand out.  You need to start relaying true stories about how your products and services have had a significantly positive impact on the way your customers feel and the quality of their lives.

As Charlie says, “The story is what gets us and the more we make our stories about what we do in business personal, the more results we’re going to have.”

Do you have a powerful, standout story about how your products or services have impacted your customers?  If so, I’d really love to hear it–please share your story in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Upstring(37) "Networking Faux Pas: Not Following Up"

In this fourth installment of the Networking Faux Pas Series, I talk about the faux pas which I see happen most out of the faux pas topics I’ve discussed thus far.  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.

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!

Networking Faux Pas Series: Premature Solicitationstring(50) "Networking Faux Pas Series: Premature Solicitation"

In this second installment of the Networking Faux Pas Series, I talk about Premature Solicitation (a term you certainly don’t want to attempt to say three times fast as it very well may get you into a little bit of trouble . . .)–a classic example of how NOT to network.

I share a personal story of an occurrence where somebody tried to prematurely solicit me and I explain how I handled it–suffice it to say, that “somebody” will not get a second chance to make a first good impression.

As I mention at the end of the video, I highly encourage you to share your stories about premature solicitation and other networking faux pas in the comment forum below–I know I for one would love to hear about your experiences (what can I say . . . I always love a good story!) and I’m sure the rest of the BusinessNetworking.com community would love to as well.  Thanks!

5 Pointers on Giving Referralsstring(30) "5 Pointers on Giving Referrals"

Since business referrals are the principal tools and the valued currency of networking, you should make sure that yours are both timely and appropriate.  Here are five important points to consider in giving a good referral:

 

1. Listen for needs from the people you meet.  When you meet someone who expresses a need, tell her you know a person whose business can provide the product or service she’s looking for.  Tell her about your business experience, if any, with that person.  Give her the business card of the person you’re referring, and ask for hers.

2. Ask whether it is okay for the person or business you are referring to call.  This helps determine how hot the referral is.  If she says yes, fill out a referral slip (or use the back of your card) and give it to the person you referred.

3. When giving a referral to someone, be careful not to misrepresent the quality of the referral.  Your honesty about the prospect will be appreciated, even if the referral is tepid.

4. Whenever you have a hot referral for someone, don’t hang onto it.  Call the person you’ve referred right away; hot referrals have a way of cooling off quickly.  Provide as much information as possible about the prospect, including the prospect’s name, address, phone number, occupation, and any relevant information about the product or service the prospect is looking for.

5. Avoid giving bad referrals, such as:

  • News about a meeting for business owners, a chamber mixer, or any other business meeting.  This is an announcement, and potentially good information to have, but not a referral.
  • Providing someone with a better source for obtaining products.  Again, this is good information for someone, but not a business referral.
  • Giving the same referral to three different people in the same profession.
  • Referring someone to a prospect without telling the prospect that you have done so.
  • Giving someone a referral but telling him or her not to use your name with the prospect.

These tips will certainly help you get and stay on the right track in regard to giving referrals and if you have additional referral-giving tips to share, I’d love to hear them.  Please post your tips in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Enhancing Your Reputation through Referral Marketingstring(52) "Enhancing Your Reputation through Referral Marketing"

For those of you who think the referral process is the safest form of doing business, here’s some information that may surprise you . . . the referral process is, in reality, the least safe form of doing business yet it is well worth the risk if you do it right and it can significantly enhance your reputation and contribute to the growth of your business.

In this brief video, I talk about how referral marketing can not only enhance your reputation but can also result in a “win-win-win” situation for you, the person who refers people to you, and for the client who was referred to you and ends up using your products and services.

If you have a story or an example of how referral marketing helped you enhance your reputation, I’d love to hear it so please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

Authenticity Is the ‘New’ Audacitystring(46) "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.”

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