I’ve always believed that it’s critical for businesspeople to participate in a range of networks, from fairly informal networks like chambers of commerce to dedicated networks like BNI, where people meet to pass referrals. More recently, online business networks such as Linkedin and Ecademy have emerged, and these should now also be part of your networking activity.
The important thing to learn and remember when you’re first getting involved in online networks is that the same principles apply to online and offline networking.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised–people behave differently online. Here’s what I mean. I recommend that people follow a VCP Process® in their networking, both online and offline. That is, your networking efforts must begin by achieving Visibility. Next, you can build Credibility in the network. Then, and only then, should you seek Profitability through pursuing business relationships with your contacts.
What happens in online networks, however, is that people try to skip “V” and “C” and jump straight to “P.” In other words, they start hunting for referrals before they have built up trust and relationships with the people they want to do business with.
I give my thoughts on how to approach online business networking in my latest show on online business TV network yourBusinessChannel. You can watch it for free by clicking here.