It’s All About Your Mindset–“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®.  Today begins the much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which address this and contain some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  TR and I hope you’ll enjoy the series as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

(Part 1 of 12 of the “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking” Series)


Let’s restate that word again out loud because it is the essence of why leading sales professionals and small business owners invest their valuable time in Business Networking activities.


We think that probably the best representation of ‘leverage’ as it relates to the topic at hand is J. Paul Getty’s famous quote, “I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 people than 100 percent of my own efforts.”

You see, the difference between the success or failure of someone who is networking as a way of generating revenue is most likely what their perspective of ‘networking’ is.

Story after story is reported to us about people who believe that if they cease going to networking meetings and mixers every single week that their revenue will STOP.  Their perspective is that if they do not maintain a high activity of mixing and mingling with new people that they aren’t ‘networking.’  The truth is that their personal definition of Business Networking appears to be skewed.

Their own description of activities that THEY are performing sounds a lot like selling, doesn’t it?

At its core, Business Networking is “selling through your network, NOT to your network.”  Applying the foundational basics includes building relationships first, amassing trust and credibility in time, and then asking for referrals.  Don’t expect your network to buy from you.  If they do, that’s a bonus – but don’t plan on it or even try to encourage it.  It might actually backfire.

We see it all the time.  People are attracted to the size of the event (i.e., your city or county’s biggest mixer) or the size of the weekly group such as a local BNI Chapter.  These individuals are most likely sales people looking for a Buyer’s Club to help them achieve their quota – nothing more.  Once they pitch their network and a small percentage of people buy from them, they consider that group or network tapped out.  In this instance, you’ll hear these individuals murmuring, “Oh, that networking group isn’t a good one.  I tried it out for 3-4 months, but they don’t pass any referrals.”  They then move on to another networking group and repeat the same self-centered activities (i.e., the rinse and repeat).

Once another 3-4 months rolls by again and they tap out that small percentage of kind souls that purchase from them, it’s back on the meandering trail to wander around and find that next networking group…and the next…and the next.  This is why we’d like to introduce the moniker The Networking Nomad™ — as it fits this type of person and their behavior.

Remember, Business Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting.’  It takes time to cultivate relationships.  But once you dedicate the effort, we believe these relationships ultimately allow you to ‘harvest’ referrals for a lifetime.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Has my definition of Business Networking evolved through the years?  If so, what events or insights from others influenced this evolution?”

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 2 called “Perception IS Reality!”

Also, we highly encourage you to leave your feedback in the comments section below . . .

25 thoughts on “It’s All About Your Mindset–“Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

  1. Love the rinse and repeat comment. As a Director Consultant,we do hear such comments often. I have made the Networking Disconnect presentation often yet we do come in with the “WIIFM” attitude every few weeks!
    So a constant reminder is almost necessary, specially with the long term members as the newer members are well aware if the confidence curve. Good article.

  2. Thank you for your comment and insight, Suraj. Yes…it’s a shame that we all hear “those” types of comments. I guess it’s somewhat acceptable if people really don’t know any better. However, if they continue to have that mindset after attending BNI’s MSP or any other networking group’s Membership Training….THEN it’s an issue!

  3. Thank you both for providing this timely and insightful info.

    Too many are focused on the linear (who they’re speaking to directly) rather than the residual (who the person they’re speaking to knows) benefits of business networking.

    As someone who is extremely passionate about networking and dedicated to mastering this fine art, I will be front and center each month to learn more about this powerful process.

    Many thanks!

    1. CLB….you are welcome!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your insights. It sounds like you have a good handle on the mindset needed to succeed. Are you mentoring others to share this same mindset?

  4. Being a Life Coach, I’ve always loved and valued deep relationships. Dr. Ivan Misner and BNI have taught me that I can effectively market, using this same gift and pleasure. Thank you!

    1. Yes, Tammi. The truth of the matter is that introverts who don’t formally “enjoy” networking and meeting many, many people can actually be MORE successful than extroverts in generating referrals. You see, if someone just focuses on a few key relationships and digs DEEP like you enjoy to do….they can actually produce better results than if they spread themselves thin with many, many relationships. Thanks again.

  5. I love “The Networking Nomad” – great visual and very accurate. My problem is different than most, as I’m happy to build and cultivate relationships, but I don’t turn them to the “P” part like I should. Of course, that is why I engaged with you, as I can’t imagine anyone better to help us. I’ve become more and more sure of that decision the more time I’ve spent with you. Thank You!

    1. Scott….you are not alone. Many, many people get caught in “the Credibility Quadrant” as I call it. Meaning that they go through V and C…but then get stuck there and can’t get into Profitability with their business relationships. Stay tuned for advice on how to ensure this doesn’t happen. Thanks for your feedback. 🙂

  6. Hi TR!
    Great article and thanks for sharing. I find the VCP model the most powerful model in Referral Relationships and I love when people suddenly get it and realise how they can maxmise their relationships and where they got stuck. I love The Networking Nomad and have come across a few of those in my time! Can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

    1. Jenni…..ah yes….The Networking Nomad. Haven’t we all come across some of “them” during our years of business? Thanks for your comment. It means a lot to us.

  7. Networking Nomad is such a perfect moniker. A nomad is basically a person who journeys through a desolate land trying to find his next meal (sale). The fact that he is “networking” by meeting many people, does not change the fact that he is still wandering through a baron land. Much better to be a Networking Farmer! A farmer is a person who cultivates nourishes his network by passing them referrals, advice, and promoting their goods and services. The rewards are of course a bountiful crop of business!!!

  8. TR – Thanks for your commitment to helping our group be more efficient and productive in our networking efforts.I especially can relate to the concept of cultivating relationships through “farming” efforts as opposed to “hunting” and bagging a referral. Looking forward to next week’s lesson.

    1. Kim. I appreciate your compliment as well as your feedback that you can “relate” to the concept (or metaphor) of farming versus hunting. Too many times, people assume they know how to network. And…this assumption may cause them to spin their wheels longer than they have to.

  9. T.R. thank you for helping me quantify what my instincts were telling me about adding value to others as an integral part of my business.

  10. I have been meeting more business owners and exchanging numbers with the intention of getting to gethe to find how we can be of mutual benifit to each other. I followed up and they haven’t returned my calls. what kind of message could I leave to peak their intrest?

    1. Clyde. Wow…GREAT question! Thanks for asking. I could spend an hour or two going through all sorts of potential “scripts” on recommended verbiage to use to get someone’s attention. I really could. However, every person’s messaging is different because every person’s life experiences are different. In other words, your MESSAGING on why “you do what you do” will be completely different than even one of your competitors or colleagues. People do business with PEOPLE, not their PROFESSION. And, as a result, people will do business with YOU because of YOU (and who you are). So, in the end, all of your messaging (presentations, chit chat, coffee talk, and even voicemail) should be CLYDE-centric (i.e. relating to your uniqueness). The Referral Institute has an amazing 4 hour workshop called “Finding Your Starting Point” that helps our clients figure out and really connect with the words and messaging to convey to the marketplace to generate referrals on a weekly basis. But…this blog series in NOT intended to upsell anyone on anything. It’s intended to give value information for our readers within the context and limited functionality of comments and replies. HOWEVER, here’s a valuable tidbit of information that I believe I can leave you with…………………………………………………………………………….my recommendation to you is to NOT only focus on seeking the correct “words” to use when leaving voicemails for people you met. I would also focus on TAKING THE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS to compel these people to WANT to meet with you. For example, are you sending Thank You Cards to people you meet that have PERSONALIZED MESSAGES in them? When networking, did you listen to them intently and find out what’s important to them? Let’s say someone you met mentioned they are up for a promotion or their daughter is a ballerina or they make great Referral Partners with CPA’s. Did you include THAT type of personal message in your Thank You Cards…or did you just write the industry-standard????????????????? It is my personal belief that if someone wrote me a card after I met them at a networking events and they said something like, “Dear TR. It was great meeting with you at the XYZ Event last week. If I remember correctly, you are interested in being introduced to CPA’s because you advised me that they make good Referral Partners for you. Please forgive me that none come to mind right now. However, I will keep this type of connection for you on the top of mind mind and look forward to making a valuable connection for you in the near future. Let’s stay in touch”…..if someone send me THAT type of card that showed they have POSITIVE INTENTION on contributing to my success….I would be returning ANY phone call they make into me!!!! So, in conclusion, my recommendation is to not only focus on what words to use when leaving voicemails…….I’d also focus on what actions you can take to COMPEL these people to WANT to meet with you. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. ATTENTION READERS: This format is intended to support as much interaction as possible. For that reason, I’m encouraging all of you to read my response to Clyde (ABOVE) and please comment with any feedback you may have on what else Clyde can DO (action) to compel people he meets to return his call or meet with him again? Thanks.

  12. Hi TR, I’m very new to business networking. I invested my saving in a networking business and I am very excited to expanding my network. Although, we are given trainings, I am also very eager to learn the business myself and put an effort to make it grow. This blog is giving me so much insights.. Thank you! I love reading the comments too, I’m gaining more knowledge from people with experience. Im looking forward to applying these to my new network. Can you give me important tips on how to get a good start?

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