Credibility Archives - Page 4 of 5 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Too Much Visibility?–“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®.  Two 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 3 of the series.  Enjoy.

WHEN IS TOO MUCH VISIBILITY, WELL, TOO MUCH ‘VISIBILITY’?
(Part 3 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced you to the moniker – The Networking Nomad™.  In short, this moniker describes the type of networker who appears to be misinterpreting the very definition of Business Networking.  Click here to review that blog post.  In Part 2 of this series, we recommended you understand that ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to networking – and we encouraged you to be careful about whether or not your network perceives you as a PREDATOR or a PARTNER.  Click here to review that blog post.

Today, we’d like you to give some serious thought to the very first letter in the VCP Process® to Networking.  In short, your goal should be to first enter Visibility with people, then perform activities that will help you build trust and Credibility with them, and finally through time and the strengthening of that relationship, they will most likely pass you consistent referrals in the Profitability stage.  After all, “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Years ago, only the elite networkers were privy to this powerful concept.  These days, chances are this valuable information has trickled down to the average networker.  This is both a good thing – and a bad thing.  From our perspective, the good thing is that the average networker is now aware of this concept.  The bad thing is that the average networker typically misinterprets and mismanages the implementation of this concept.  Don’t agree?  Please hear us out . . .

Remember the movie “A Few Good Men” with Jack Nicholson where he forcefully delivers the famous line “You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”?  Well, the facts are clear and the truth in business networking is that the average networker’s strategy doesn’t focus on successfully navigating through the VCP Process® and doesn’t focus on finding Referral Partners whom they cultivate long term, mutually beneficial relationships with to provide them consistent referrals.  Or worse yet, the average networker has no strategy at all.

The goal of networking is to build the ultimate network of professionals who, when asked:

  • Can and will support you
  • Can provide you with information to make you more valuable
  • Can vouch for you
  • Can lend you their credibility when introducing you to people in their networks
  • Can refer to you on a consistent basis

If you put yourself out in the marketplace as a person of value, others will want to connect with you.  Your 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.  Most people have no concept of this strategy.  That’s what makes it so potent.  And then the dilemma is that a large percentage of those exposed to this strategy will never do the hard work that it takes for success to become a reality.  But, as noted above, the average networker typically misinterprets this concept.

Here’s an example:

Ivan met a woman years ago who told him she was the consummate networker – 100’s of contacts and a wide-ranging network of people from all walks of life.  Then one day in a conversation with him, she dropped a bombshell and said her networking efforts weren’t paying off.  She went on at some length about all the groups she went to, people she met, and how she made all these contacts but wasn’t getting any business.  The truth is that she was so busy running around and making appearances that she wasn’t learning how to actually ‘work’ these networks and build deep relationships.

A music teacher once told his students: “Lousy practice makes a lousy musician.”  The same holds true for networking; lousy networking makes a lousy networker!  This is why “practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect.”

In closing, we’d like to recommend that you consider reflecting back upon your own networking journey and ask yourself:  “Have you exhausted all opportunities in your local community to attend Business Networking and/or Referral Marketing Training workshops?  Have you sought out an expert or someone that has proven results from their networking efforts that you can ask to be your accountability partner?  And…if you have attended workshops in the past, what are the results you’re getting today?  If you’re not getting the number of referrals you expect, maybe it’s time to revisit those workshops?”

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 4 called “Expose Yourself!”

New Blog Series with Top Referral Marketing Trainer TR Garland!

In this video, TR Garland and I announce the launch of our new, 12-month, BusinessNetworking.com blog series  “Navigating the VCP Process® to Networking,”

TR is not only my good friend, he is one of the top referral marketing trainers in the world and he and I co-authored the #1 Amazon Best-seller Building the Ultimate Network together.  I am really excited to be doing this new blog series with TR because he is in the top 1% across the globe in regard to understanding how to implement referral marketing effectively and this series is going to be a huge resource for people in learning how to understand and  implement the VCP (Visibility, Credibility, Profitability) Process® effectively to produce real, business-boosting results from networking efforts.

Whether you’re a businessperson, an entrepreneur, a novice or seasoned networker, or simply someone who wants to learn, be sure to come back to this site on Monday (2/20/12) which is when we will be posting the first blog in the series! 

So what do you think?  Are you as excited about this new series as TR and I are?  Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts . . .

What Do You Do When People You Don’t Know Ask For Business?

I received an e-mail this year from a man named Robert and it contained an excellent question.  The full message read:

Good morning, Dr. Misner.

I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.

When it comes to networking and being a connector, how do you handle requests from people you barely know (or don’t know at all) who ask you to give them the names of your contacts so they can connect with those people for their own ventures or projects?

For example, I received a message from a woman I met years ago via the Chamber of Commerce. She was laid off by the Chamber and now is attempting to find her niche. She sent me a message on LinkedIn that read:

“Hello and Happy summer! Do you know personally any life/disability agents or financial planners? I need to meet as many as possible in RVA to see if they can use our medical services at Portamedic to complete the medical portion of the insurance applications. Please forward any names to me if you do. Thank you.”

This is a great question, Robert.

When people contact me with requests like the one you’ve described, I refer them to my article on the VCP Process and explain to them that though I appreciate them reaching out to me, we’re not even at “visibility” yet.  In order for me to feel comfortable referring them, I would need to build a relationship over time that gets us to strong “credibility.”   When most people read the article, they move on to someone else because they think that networking is about “direct selling” and they don’t understand that it is about long-term relationship building.

How would you respond to this and what is your “policy” for giving referrals?  Please leave your feedback in the comment section.

 

Get to Know the Go-to Items on Your Referral Marketing Checklist

Last week I had a couple of blog readers comment that they felt they would benefit from a detailed description of each of the items on the checklist of materials for a successful word-of-mouth campaign.  Thank you to Betsy Maniotis and Adam Erstelle for taking the time to send in their feedback and I’m more than happy to comply with their requests for the list below.

1)  Testimonial letters from satisfied clients–Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to showcase the quality of the products or services you provide.  You can keep hard copies in a binder, or you can post them to your website.  If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can ask the clients in your network to “recommend” you.

2)  Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products–A professional photo, or headshot, is important for promotional opportunities and for your social media profiles.  Photos of your office or business operation and products help to legitimize your business and gain credibility.

3)  Logos of your key customers–You can put these on your website to show the type of clients you have successfully served.

4)  A list of your memberships and affiliations–This is very helpful when you meet someone for the first time — it’s a great way to see if you have mutual acquaintances or business associates.  It may also lead to an introduction to someone in one of your organizations to whom you have been hoping to be introduced.

5)  Question-and-answer sheets–One of the quickest ways to learn about a person’s business as a networker — and for him to learn about yours — is to make the initial meeting as organized as possible.  A sheet with questions that you can each ask each other can ensure you don’t forget to find out the most important information about each other’s businesses, the information that could lead to a referral the quickest!

6)  Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned–These items can rank almost as high on the credibility factor as testimonials.

7)  Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned–Writing articles (or being professionally mentioned in them) is a great way to become known as an expert in your field — and people like to know they are working with experts.

8)  A one-page flier–You should have a brief overview of your business ready to pass along at all times — both a hard copy to fax and an electronic copy to e-mail — in case you meet someone while networking who wants to quickly pass along your information to a prospective client she knows.

9)  New-product or service announcements or press releases–As you network, make sure the people who might potentially hire you — or refer others to you — are immediately informed when you offer new products or services, or if you are expanding you operations geographically, or of any other achievements that might help further establish you.  The best way to do this is through press releases and announcements.  In addition to submitting these to news outlets, you can also hand these out at meetings, or you can post them on your website and on your social media accounts.

10)  Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs–This may seem like a no-brainer, but quite often I’ve noticed that business owners are too busy running their business and neglect their collateral materials.  If you hand out a brochure that doesn’t list your most recent offerings, you could miss a chance of earning the business of someone looking for just these offerings.

11)  Items that reflect your “brand”–These items go a long way in building the consistency and recognition of your brand: Logos, trademarks, service marks, patterns, designs you’ve used, posters, banners, and display materials used at trade shows.

12)  Items that help you explain your business to your network–These can include: your annual report, capability statement and prospectus; your motto, mission statement or service pledge; or even a written history of your company.  You can also use information from newsletters or news-type publications, survey results (from surveys created and compiled by you or by others in your industry), presentation notes or slides (including audio or video), advertisements you’ve run, or audio or video presentations.

13)  Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients–Keeping this information top-of-mind will come in very handy if you are at a networking event and have the opportunity to talk to a prospective client in depth.  The prospect may have a specific need that is similar in scope to jobs you have already bid on, and having the ability to quickly refer back to previously-completed proposals may give you an edge with the prospect.

14)  Articles on trends affecting your target market–Keeping up with issues and news items that are important to people helps you to be able to target your conversation and, subsequently, your products and services more directly to your prospects whom you want to turn into clients.

Remember, this is  not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

Do You Have the Right Materials for a Successful Word-of-Mouth Campaign?

In order to run a successful word-of-mouth campaign, you need to build an arsenal of credibility-enhancing materials.  You should always have these at your disposal to make the most of every networking opportunity.

Below is a checklist of items you may already have available or wish to begin assembling, which can be used as collateral materials in developing your desired image.  These are not ranked in a particular; they are all key components of the toolkit of a successful word-of-mouth campaign.

Note: Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

1-Testimonial letters from satisfied clients

2-Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products

3-Logos of your key customers

4-A list of your memberships and affiliations

5-Question-and-answer sheets

6-Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned

7-Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned

8-A one-page flier

9-New-product or service announcements or press releases

10-Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs

11-Items that reflect your “brand”

12-Items that help you explain your business to your network

13-Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients

14-Articles on trends affecting your target market

For the sake of space,  I didn’t go into much detail here regarding each of the items in this list but I can certainly go into plenty more of an explanation as to what these items entail.

I’ll leave it up to all of you blog readers to weigh in on whether or not you’d like to see a follow up blog explaining each of the items listed above . . . so, leave a comment and let me know–should I write a blog giving the details regarding these items?  Thumbs up, or thumbs down?? . . . Thanks!

Credibility Is Crucial, But How Do You Build It?

It’s amazing what a word-of-mouth campaign can do for your business.  People rely on recommendations from trusted sources much more than they do from mere advertisements.  The best thing is, the costs associated with running a successful word-of-mouth campaign are usually a fraction of what a traditional advertising campaign can run!

However, as the saying goes, “there is no free lunch.”  What you save in dollars spent, you must replace with time and effort.  Simply saying to yourself that you are going to market via word of mouth does not guarantee immediate success.

I consistently tell people interested in networking that two of the most crucial things they need to do in order to achieve results from their networking efforts are to plan and execute a schedule of networking events and activities that will put them in front of people and they will also need to begin building their credibility.

So how do you begin building your credibility? There can be a variety of ways to do this depending on whom you are trying to build credibility with, however, in my experience, one of the absolute most important ways to build credibility is to always, always, always hold yourself to the highest ethical standards. Be fair in your pricing, make sure the work you are hired to do is provided with the highest standards in quality; and certainly never over-promise and under-deliver.

What are some of the best ways you have found to build credibility with others when networking?  Do you have a story about a way you built credibility with someone that was particularly effective?  If so, l’d love to hear it—please leave a comment in the comments section!

Jack Canfield Talks about Why the VCP Process® Makes Sense

A couple of weeks ago, Jack Canfield and I did a one-hour interview where we talked about business networking and success principles.  In about a month, the video of the interview will be available to view on Jack’s website (www.JackCanfield.com) in the “Inner Circle” section.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out the 3-minute video above where Jack talks about some of what he picked up about networking during our interview and why the VCP Process® really strikes a chord with him.

Do You Want To Become a Best-Selling Author? Here’s Your Chance. . .

I’m working on a new project with Nick Nanton, Esq., The Celebrity Lawyer, which gives small business owners, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople around the world the opportunity to establish themselves as experts in their field by achieving best-selling author status.

We recorded a call outlining the details of the project last month and you can listen to the call for free by clicking here.  If you have ever been interested in becoming a best-selling author, I highly encourage you to listen to the call today as registration for participation in the project ends this Friday (3-25-11).

One of the reasons I chose to become involved with this project is because I firmly believe that being recognized as a best-selling author is a highly effective way for businesspeople to establish credibility as an expert in their field and drive business, and I wanted to be a part of an initiative that helps give people this opportunity.  I also think that Nick Nanton is the perfect person to partner with in a project of this nature because of his experience and his background in promoting hundreds of authors to best-seller status.

Nick is known as The Celebrity Lawyer and Agent to the top Celebrity Experts for his role in developing and marketing business and professional experts, through personal branding, to help them gain credibility and recognition for their accomplishments.  He is recognized as one of the top thought leaders in the business world and has co-authored 8 best-selling books, including Celebrity Branding You!®.  Nick has led the marketing and PR campaigns that have driven more than 100 authors to best-selling status.

If you’d like to find out more about this opportunity, listen to the free recording of the call. You will learn how you can:

  • Become a Best-Selling Author
  • Position Yourself Above Your Competition
  • Use Your Best-Seller Status in Your Marketing to Grow Your Business
  • Use a Book to Drive Traffic and Lead-Generation on Your Website
  • Repurpose Your Content to Get Business Even from People Who Don’t Buy or Read Your Book
  • And More

CLICK HERE to listen to the free recorded call now.

Don’t Make This Mistake at Your Next Networking Event

If you were sitting in an important meeting with your biggest client and you got a text message, would you stop listening to your client and completely tune him out in order to respond to the text message?

What if you got a phone call . . . would you stop mid-presentation as you were pitching your most important client about your newest product in order to answer the call??  Of course you wouldn’t!  That would be a blatantly rude move on your part and it would put your most valued client relationship at risk.

So, why in the world would anybody ever even consider looking at their mobile phone during a networking meeting?? Make no mistake, a good reason for looking at, picking up, or using your mobile phone in any way during any type of networking meeting does not exist!

One of the fastest ways to ruin your credibility and earn yourself a reputation as being rude, unprofessional, and undeserving of referrals is to use your mobile phone during a networking meeting. It virtually screams to your networking partner(s): I don’t care what you have to say because I have better things to do right now and this meeting is not worth my time.

If you want results from your networking efforts, which I’m assuming you do if you’re reading this blog, then that is the last thing you would ever feel about or  say to anyone in your network.  But, if you’re using your mobile phone during meetings with people in your referral network, I promise you–not only is that the exact message you are sending them, you’re also wasting their time and yours.

So, do yourself a favor and check your phone one last time before your networking meeting . . . check that it is completely turned off and don’t turn it back on until you leave the meeting.  Remember, networking meetings and mobile phones don’t mix!

Being Right But Doing It All Wrong!

The business I’m in involves a lot of coaching and guiding of franchisees to teach them how to coach and guide entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professionals to generate referrals for themselves and others.  Sometimes this feels a little like ‘herding cats’; entrepreneurs hate being told what to do and it takes a real skill set to move them in a direction that involves a lot of hard work but will help them achieve the results they want.

One of the biggest challenges I have in this process is not with the actual entrepreneur or salesperson but with the individual I’m coaching to be able to guide the entrepreneur or salesperson. These people have gone through many hours of training, tend to have a fair amount of field experience, and have support manuals that exceed a thousand pages of documentation to assist in the process.   They are true expertsI’ve discovered, however, that sometimes expertise can actually be a problem. Just because your expertise may arm you with the knowledge to recognize the solution to a problem or challenge, it doesn’t mean other people are going to automatically ‘believe’ you know the solution and/or want you to actually tell them the solution.  I know that sounds counter intuitive; however, if you’ve ever raised a child, you know that this is often times absolutely true!

So, let’s say you’re an expert.  You know you’re an expert.  You know that you can help someone else.  You also know that this “someone else” is a grownup who runs their own business or is an independent sales rep who chose their particular career for good reason . . . they like the freedom of being independent.  How do you move these people in the right direction?

I had a person who worked for my company who once went into one of my locations and was appalled by how badly things were being run by the members of the group.  She let them know in no uncertain terms what they were doing wrong and how they needed to turn it around. Her assessment of the situation and the solutions she proposed were spot on but her presentation of them was all wrong. She was so blunt with the group’s members that she received a very negative reaction from them and ended up leaving the place an even bigger mess than it was when she first walked in.  When I met with her to talk about how she might have done things differently, she grew furious with me for not supporting her since she was right and the members of the group were wrong.  I wasn’t arguing that she was right–she was.  The problem I had was how she handled the situation–in that area, she was completely wrong. I tried to explain this to her by sharing one of my favorite sayings relating to the dilemma:  “Don’t burn down the barn to roast the pig.” In other words, don’t make things worse than you found them when you were trying to fix them in the first place.

She could never really wrap her head around the concept that people may not welcome her advice with enthusiasm and agree with her stance on an issue when she was clearly right.  She didn’t work for me for much longer (make of that what you will) and, eventually, we got an expert to work with that group who ‘listened’ to their issues,  Built relationships with the group members, and then coached them into achieving the greatness they had within them.  It’s important to note that this process took time and patience.

There are two things I try to teach people in this situation.

First, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you want people to listen to you when you are coaching them or re-directing them, they have to know that you care about them and want them to succeed.  If they don’t know this down to their core – they will not listen to your advice.  Ever.

Second, is a saying given to me by mother on a paper weight when I was about 16 years old and I was running an uphill battle for a student council race.  My mother gave me this paper weight (which is still on my desk in my home to this date).  The paper weight says: Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” When she gave me that, she explained that I had to learn how to work “with” people – not “through” people.  She said that even if I did know the answer to a problem – it did no good if no one else believed me.  That advice helped me win the election and it has helped me many times throughout my life.  I have to admit that I don’t always use it as well as I can – however, when I do use it, things almost always go more smoothly.

The bottom line is this: being right doesn’t help much if no one is willing to follow you.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Maybe you can share a story . . . but, remember to keep it positive.  Let’s focus on positive outcomes more than just horror stories.

The Networking Disconnect

I was at a big networking event with more than 500 people in the UK this summer, and the person who spoke before me asked the audience: “How many of you came here hoping to do some business–maybe make a sale?”  More than half the people in the audience raised their hands. He then asked, “How many of you are here hoping to buy something?”  No one raised a hand–not one single person! This is the networking disconnect.

If you are going to networking events hoping to sell something, you’re dreaming. Don’t confuse direct selling with networking. Effective networking is about developing relationships. I know, I know . . . there’s always someone out there who says, “But, Ivan, I’ve made a sale by attending a networking event!”  OK . . . I’m not saying it doesn’t ever happen–it does.  I’m just saying it happens about as often as a solar eclipse. Face it, even a blind squirrel can find a nut. Any businessperson can stumble on some business at a networking meeting from time to time. However, when you have most of the people at an event trying to sell and virtually no one there to buy, you’re crazy if you think the odds are in your favor to “sell” at a networking event.

So why go?  You go because networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about developing relationships with other business professionals. Sometimes you go to a networking event to increase your visibility, sometimes you go to establish further credibility with people you know, and sometimes you may even go to meet a long-time referral partner and do some business. In any case, the true master networkers know that networking events are about moving through the VCP Process and not about closing deals.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yeah, But I’m Different

An old friend of mine, Don Osborne, shared with me some material he wrote many years ago about how many of us use the “I’m different” syndrome to simply avoid doing something we don’t want to do. I’ve revised it a bit and am sharing it with you here today.  I hope you find it interesting.

When it comes to ourselves, we’re always the exception.  Everybody else should do what’s been proved to work. Personal development works as soon as we stop treating ourselves as the exception. True, everyone is unique–but not different when it comes to self-development. 

 Perhaps it’s only procrastination that leads us to declare that we’re “different.” Or our “circumstances” prevent us from agreeing to follow proven methods of self improvement. Maybe it’s the fear of success or failure in making changes. There are all kinds of legitimate concerns, but none is an adequate excuse for not engaging in self-development activities. There is no good excuse for not following the basics. 

Everybody who has achieved success has succumbed to the basics. In fact, many success stories talk about fighting the urge to reinvent the wheel and sticking to what’s been proved to work. Why we fight city hall on “I’ll succeed without doing what’s been proved,” I don’t know. But it’s a fight you’re going to have to lose if you want to win the battle for an improved lifestyle.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy or a major event to send you down the road of self-development.  True, most of the success stories we hear about or grab the headlines are like that. You could wait for, or create, a spectacular situation to spur you on. Most stories of success go untold because they weren’t born out of tragedy. Rather, they were born out of frustration, and being sick and tired of being “sick and tired.”

The reality is that most of us are living out our own story in quiet desperation. A story sufficient enough to make you different. The kind of different that qualifies you as unique and, therefore, a candidate for the tried-and-true methods of self-development.

Stop hiding behind the excuse of “I’m different.” Accept what all who have succeeded know: The basics work, no exceptions.

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