Expose Yourself!–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

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®.  Four 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.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 4 of the series.  Enjoy.

(Part 4 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 3 of this series, we encouraged Business Networkers to honor the chronological steps of the VCP Process®.  In other words, we pointed out that generating a steady stream of referrals takes an investment in time — as well as in the people in your own network.  Take action, we recommended, and become visible.  However, be cautious about “too much Visibility”.

Today, we’d like to revisit and expand upon the following concept that was introduced last month:  If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with youYour role is to EXPOSE YOURSELF to your local business community in a valuable way so that people feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you.

Let’s dig deeper . . . If you’ve sought out Business Networking training and education in the past, you’ve most likely heard the following phrase: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.  However, today, we ask the question: “WHAT…do they know you for?”

You see, we believe that there is a strategic way to go about gaining Visibility in your local community.  We believe that if you lead with positive intentions and follow up with valuable contributions, professionals will, in time, feel a personal connection with you and feel compelled to assist you (i.e. pass you qualified referrals and/or connect you with Referral Partners).  Attempting to expedite the VCP Process® is almost never a good decision.  And sometimes, it may even backfire.

You may have observed this type of behavior before where people shift into what’s considered to be ‘Visibility’-overload.  In other words, every chance they get they’re doing random “stuff” (yes, that’s the technical term) to be visible without having any sort of thought out strategy.  Do you know what a “Drive-By” is at a networking event?  It’s when someone’s strategy (of lack thereof) is to meet everyone at a mixer.  As such, they’re focused on passing out their business cards to anyone and everyone versus staying in a conversation for longer than 60 seconds.  Has this ever happened to you?  What was your perception of this person?

This and other “Random Acts of Networking” ultimately defeat the overall objective which is to build trust and credibility through cultivating relationships.  Our fear is that people might be placing a lot of time into gaining Visibility, but NOT being able to capitalize on it.  And, it is for this reason that we’d like to introduce the term HYPER-Visibility™.  It’s when people try to get everyone to know them, see them, and hear them through a variety of different means in an effort to expedite the VCP Process® to Networking.  Whereas, in actuality, it typically backfires and may even be detrimental to their reputation and perceived as overkill.

As alluded to before, try not to be plagued by HYPER-Visibility™ and ask the question:  “WHY…do people know you?”

Is it because you:

  • Have volunteered to setup and break down your visitors table at your weekly networking event?
  • Have recently been awarded the “Helping Hand Award” in your local community?
  • Have numerous satisfied clients/customers who say positive things about you?

Or, is it because you:

  • Are at every single networking event in your local community (i.e. you’re everywhere!)?
  • Are the person who adds people to your weekly newsletter without permission?
  • Are constantly conducting ‘off the wall’ introductions (called Sales Manager Minutes in BNI) in an effort to be remembered?

Please be cautious that sometimes if those (albeit memorable, but) ‘off the wall’ introductions have nothing to do with training your network, they may not serve you well.  Being over the top could actually push some people away who might otherwise be keen to learning more about you.  Please also be aware that sometimes when you’re in roles of increased Visibility, your actions are clearer and even amplified.  For example, if you volunteer to help support your local networking group – or even any association or charity – your visibility will be enhanced and you’re typically in the spotlight or under a microscope.  Be cognizant, be strategic, and be prepared.

Visibility is an intricate part to the VCP Process®.   When strategically planned out, this exposure could be your biggest ally.  When attained for no particular rhyme or reason, it could be your biggest enemy.  Hmmm . . . food for thought, isn’t it?

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider that there are actually two different interpretations to the title of this blog post “Expose Yourself!”  First, it can be interpreted as the means by which you strategically and professionally navigate the first step of the VCP Process®.  Or, it can be interpreted that sometimes when you are too visible or seeking visibility for the wrong reasons (or with the wrong approach) you actually “Expose Yourself!”  Moving forward, our recommendation is to conduct an inventory of what steps you’re taking on a weekly basis to become visible within your own local community.  Then, decipher if they are effective at doing the job of helping you move beyond Visibility to Credibility.  If not, then please consider revising or replacing

We 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 5 called “Audit Your Activities.”

38 thoughts on “Expose Yourself!–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

  1. TR – your posts always make me stop and look at the way I network. This one really reinforces for me the insight that networking is about relationships, not sales. That’s probably the single most important thing I’ve learned from both BNI and Referral Institute. Thanks!

  2. TR,

    Thank your clarifying the distinction about the right and wrong way to be visible. Sometimes in my marketing frenzy I cross that line without knowing it – which makes my job twice as hard. Thanks again for the insights. You are truly a model to follow.

  3. TR, with you we are always learning. Thank you for that. Just when we think we know you come up with yet another thought provoking idea. Thank you for keeping us on our toes. Looking forward to the next event. I am willing to help you break down your table.

  4. Thank you for your clarifying the distinction between Visibility and being over exposed. There is a logical authentic way to network and you verbalize this so clearly. Thanks again for the insights. You are truly a model to follow.

    1. You’re quite welcome, Phil. Yes…there is a big distinction between becoming VISIBLE and becoming OVER EXPOSED. It’s unfortunate, but there are probably many people in many communities that are OVER EXPOSED.

  5. TR, You have a special way to impact our thinking process. Thank you so much for your invaluable networking lessons. We will continue to be more than ordinary, and we will consider you our mentor and friend. You Rock!

  6. TR thank you so much for your continued influence in networking. Every time I read your blog, site or have a conversation with you I gain more knowledge. Keep changing the world around you. Woody Woodward

    1. Aha…GREAT to hear from you, Woody. I appreciate your compliments. Coming from one “Go-Giver” to another…you add amazing value to the marketplace too. 🙂

  7. Overexposed is exactly what I was doing before I met you and attended the your class. Thanks for the insights to change that around for me. Networking without a plan is just spinning your wheels. Keep the good stuff coming TR, YOU ROCK!

  8. I guess that Hyper-Visibility makes one transparent. That transparency makes legitimate networkers” run for the hills”. T.R., this post is the next best thing to sitting across from you and picking your brain. You are one of the top referral minds that I have spoken to in my 4 year BNI career. Keep up the honest work!

    1. Wow! I’m speechless, Trent. Thank you SO MUCH for your very kinds words. I think you added much value to the conversation by saying the word “transparency”. That’s exactly correct. HYPER-Visibility does make one transparent…so be cautious of your intentions. ; )

  9. TR, I always appreciate your insight and the golden nuggets that you leave me to think about. This one is spot on. Sitting on the edge of my chair for Part 5 “Auditing Your Activities” .

    1. I appreciate YOU, Charlesetta. Thanks for your compliment. And…the fact that you are sitting on the edge of your chair right now makes me excited to start writing the next entry. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. This is a great article! There’s a lot really valuable advice and insight in this business networking blog. Thanks again for sharing TR!

  11. TR – as always, some very insightful observations – I really appreciate everything you do for the Referral Institute, but more than that the community as a whole.

    I like to think that I wasn’t “that guy”, but in trying not to be, I was quite visible without having a strategy and getting past visibility. Thanks to you and the Certified Networker program I figured out the right balance that works for me and fits in to how I like to do things.

    As we’ve discussed, the results have been amazing, and I can’t thank you enough.

    Talk to you soon.


    1. You are quite welcome, Scott. Yo a shining example of how within 3 months someone CAN turn their networking results around. Most people always have the heart and desire…that simply need to beef up on their skills – which is always learnable. 🙂

  12. TR Garland and Referralinstituteoc Institute changed my life and my business during less than 3 months, my ability to speak English language is between 5% to 25%.
    can you imagine how much is useful and powerful Referralinstituteoc Institute

    1. Thank you Farhad. You are TRULY a success story that I am very proud of. I am so happy for you and your wife. For those that don’t know, Farhad just received a referral for $6,000…and he hasn’t even finished the Referral Institute’s “signature” program yet – Certified Networker! People like Farhad…and stories like his…are why I do what I do. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. Excellent article! Where were you when I first started networking? LOL Great reminder that visibility comes from being of service to others. People can sense when we are coming from a place of authenticity vs. personal interest. As the article pointed out, visibility isn’t a race, it’s a journey. Thanks for sharing and for living by example!

    1. Ursula…can you imagine how far along people would be if they learn the SKILL of effective networking during their early 20’s? Personally, I’d be WAAAAAAY further along in my happiness and my business career. I appreciate you taking your time to read the post…and chime in.

  14. TR, thanks so much for the thoughtful and methodical networking strategies. Your insights and your presentations, both verbal and written, are most valuable!! I sincerely appreciate the perspective you share, and I wish you continued success!!

    1. Raj. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my insight. It’s my pleasure to share the valuable information that Dr. Ivan Misner has bestowed upon me…then we teamed up to deliver in this blog series. 🙂

  15. TR, I have learned SO much from this ! I think some industries are prone a longer VCP cycle than others ( learned that through Referral Institute instructors ! 🙂 , so putting this into practice appropriate is a learning process. Patience and consistency are the watch words ! Thanks for this info !!

    1. Celeste…I am so glad that you are learning from our contributions. I applaud you. Moving forward, let’s consider learning is one step, applying is the next, and consistency (staying immersed) follows that. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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