Perception Is Reality! — “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®.  Last month, 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 2 of the series.  Enjoy.



(Part 2 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

Last month, in Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  Click here to review that blog post.

In short, we described the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  In fact, The Networking Nomad™ is actually treating networking as if it were a direct sales competition and an exercise in prospecting for new clients.  As a result of this type of behavior, they never stay in a networking group long enough to cultivate long-term referral relationships.

The reason why we’re refreshing your memory is because we don’t want you to forget that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking.  And if you’re simply perceived as someone who focuses on his/her network buying your products or services, then any amount of time you invest in that particular network might not deliver you the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect.

You’ve heard us mention before that the VCP Process® to Networking (Visibility leads to Credibility which in turn leads to Profitability) describes the process of creation, growth, and strengthening of business relationships.  It’s useful for assessing the status of a relationship and where it fits in the process of getting referrals.

The Networking Nomad™ noted above is actually investing most, if not all, of his/her time in something we call pre-Visibility.  They’re not effective at getting consistent referrals because they’ve fallen into a trap. From time to time they run into a prospect they’ve met before, but aren’t really doing much else to deepen that relationship or work towards finding consistent Referral Sources.

Think about it.  Isn’t it better to have 6 referrals from one person in your network over the next 6-12-18 months rather than to have them become a client today?

There are major differences in the Sales Mindset versus the Networking (or more specifically Referral Marketing) Mindset.  For example, in Sales YOU are the center of the process:

  • YOU have to identify new prospects.
  • YOU have to go out there and meet the new prospects.
  • YOU need to build trust, credibility, and rapport with them.
  • YOU need to inch closer to the sale by conducting the needs analysis.
  • YOU need to respond to Requests for Proposal (RFP’s).
  • YOU need to send and reply to prospect emails.
  • YOU need to do everything you can to get that sale.
  • YOU get the picture?  😉

With the correct Networking Mindset, the process works WITHOUT YOU. Your well-trained Referral Sources and Referral Partners are spreading YOUR message within THEIR network – while you’re spending your time more effectively.

A successful networker has taken the time to seek and forge strong relationships with Contact Sphere Professionals who aim to serve the same or similar client target market.  Therefore, each new client of theirs can be a new client of yours.

And, that same successful networker is saving valuable time by having their network refer them into the sales process steps ahead of what they could’ve accomplish on their own.

Now that’s what we call leveraging another’s efforts.

But…you cannot accomplish this if your network perceives you as a PREDATOR versus a PARTNER.  Therein lays the difference between approaching Business Networking with a Sales Mindset versus a Networking Mindset.

At the end of the day, we understand and respect the fact that it’s your choice on which mindset you approach your networking efforts with.  However, understand that we believe your network will perceive you and deliver you the results that reflect your approach.

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you ever perceived someone as exhibiting behaviors of a Predator or a Partner when networking?  If so, what did you observe and what insights did you learn from this observation?” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and remember, at the end of the day, we’re only human and it’s important to learn from our own as well as other people’s successes and/or mistakes.

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 3 called “When Is Too Much Visibility, Well, Too Much ‘Visibility’?”

13 thoughts on “Perception Is Reality! — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

  1. First I have to say that I am already LOVING this series. I am definitely one who practices Givers Gain® and appreciate the value of building relationships.

    This post reminds me of an experience I had on Twitter two years ago with a new connector. He posted an announcement of an upcoming virtual networking event, where he defined that the purpose was to connect business people in his network. Now, the event in itself was what he said it would be — he gave each of us an opportunity to do a 30 second commercial, then provided each of us with a list of the attendees and their contact information.

    He then followed up with a phone call a few days later and proceeded to tell me why my business would fail if I didn’t have certain systems in place and that he had the “right” systems to offer me.

    From my perspective, he went right to the close without even finding out who I am and how we could possibly help each other. He was only interested in the sale.

    Now this may work for some, but I like to earn trust rather than dangle the networking mindset in front of people and then switch to a sales mindset.

    I wold love to get either (or both) your thoughts on this experience.

    Warmest regards and many thanks,

    1. Christine….first and foremost, THANKS FOR SHARING! Secondly, when I was reading your much appreciated feedback, the term that came to my mind was “Trojan Horse Predator”. In fact, this person did make the market perceive him as a partner by providing a platform to share and network. Yet, then (apparently) quickly shifted the focus to him/her and what he/she can do for you in the form of a service. As Dr. Misner says, “Even a blind squirrel can get a nut every once and while”….this person may have found some quick success by “closing” one of the people he/she called. However, this person will be back into the “hamster wheel” of prospecting next month because they haven’t focused on deepening long (or even medium term) relationships.

  2. Thanks for your insight, Shawn. Yep….it’s amazing how some people still confuse the very definition of Networking. What’s worse is that there are Sales Managers out there who worsen the scenario by telling their sales force to “go out there, do some networking, so you can hit your quota this month!”.

  3. Genius!! I love the major differences from the sales mindset versus the networking mindset. It makes a huge difference being aware of the facts that work to create a real relationship that delivers value. I completely agree and stand by the fact that your network will perceive you and deliver you the results that reflect your approach. Keep up the great work gentleman!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Mel. When I was reading what you shared, the first words that STOOD OUT to me were the fact that you said “Real Relationship”. Many times, people are after a quick-fix relationship when networking as can be seen by this blog post. Too many people are in situations where they need to “hit quota” and don’t value the benefits a “real relationships” as you said. Thanks again.

  4. This article is a perfect example of why it is so important to not be so aggressive in SELLING! In the cuthroat world of finacial advising, there is always a focus on closing cases. The problem with that mentality is although you might gain a client and lose the connection. Its the same as selling of the farm, for a short term gain, and a long term loss! Thanks again for the valueable reminder TR.

    1. We appreciate your insight, Marshall, about the plight of Financial Advisors. Distinguishing yourself in a market full of people who are focused on “sales” is the habit that successful networkers practice.

  5. TR – Great information, as I’m already quite used to getting any time you speak or write – keep up the great work!

    Slightly different tangent from my personal experience…

    I’ve never been one of those predators that we all love to hate.

    However, I’m so laid back and so afraid to be perceived as a “slimy sales guy” that I think I’ve gone too far the other way – until I started taking your course…

    That is, I think maybe people’s *perception* of me was that I was a nice guy, and yes, interested in doing the right thing and building a relationship.

    But maybe they thought I was so laid back (or to be more precise a “wuss”) that I wouldn’t follow up the right way, or take care of their referrals well enough.

    Again, I know that isn’t what you were really talking about, but trying to apply perception/reality to my life, that is what instantly hit me.


    1. Scott – YOUR insight is very valuable. This is an open discussion and all comments and feedback is appreciated. The purpose of this blog post is to stimulate discussion – no matter what direction it leads. Thanks for participating.

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