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®. Ten 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. In the past, we’ve co-authored the articles. Today, I’m proud to share with you Part 10 of the series – which is written entirely by TR as a Guest Blogger. Please comment below and let us know what you think.
AUTHENTICITY IS THE ‘NEW’ AUDACITY
(Part 10 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)
Have you ever heard the following phrase: “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business”?
I have. And every time I hear it, it still disappoints me. Today, business is personal and people do business with ME because of ME, and they should do business with YOU because of YOU – not because you perfected some PowerPoint presentation or recently attended a Sales seminar on how to overcome a prospect’s objections.
Nowadays the consumer marketplace that fuels the economy sets the criteria on how they wish to be treated. Consequently, to society today the term ‘overcoming objections’ sounds a lot more like the following descriptive words:
When it comes to buying, purchasing, or investing criteria, I don’t know about you, but the concept of being ‘closed’ and the terminology used in the Traditional Sales Model doesn’t translate that well with me – and probably society overall for that matter. I don’t want to be ‘convinced’ of anything and my guess is that you don’t either. If you’re interested in creating a long-term client/customer relationship, it’s my presumption that it’s probably not in your best interest to start off by persuading, manipulating, or convincing your potential client to do business with you. Don’t you agree?
Yet the sad truth is that, today, it’s probably a safe bet that we could go to Amazon.com and search books on the topic of Sales. It’s also probably a safe bet that we’d find hundreds (and potentially even thousands) of Sales books with their title including the words ‘Persuasion Techniques’, ‘How To Close The Sale’, and even ‘How To Overcome Objections.’ Yes, people who employ these tactics will get results. I’ll concede that point. But these tactics continue to reinforce the lifestyle of a HUNTER – behaviors that are long gone as conduct that small business owners and entrepreneurs idolize.
Remember, Business Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting’. It takes time to cultivate relationships. But once you dedicate the effort, these relationships ultimately allow you to ‘harvest’ referrals for a lifetime. Today, people choose to do business with other people because of:
- Who they are
- What they stand for and
- The lessons that life has taught them through their own personal experiences that uniquely qualify them to offer the marketplace a product or service in a way that only they could deliver.
If you seek Client relationships, today’s customers aren’t just buying what you sell. They’re buying who you are. If you seek Strategic Partner relationships, people refer other people – NOT the product or service they offer or the actual company that they represent.
When networking and getting to know other professionals, if you shy away from who you are, what you stand for, and what personal experiences life has revealed to you, then your message most likely will not resonate today and you may not get the results that you expect. Don’t make a mess of your message by trying to recite the ‘About Us’ Section of your company’s website when you first meet people. What is captivating to other professionals these days is congruency with how you communicate that you are a real person through your attitude, behavior, and actions.
The definition of Audacity according to Wikipedia is to be BOLD, COURAGEOUS, or have CHUTZPAH. I say that it’s pretty bold to be yourself with all your wonderful flaws (nobody’s perfect) because it proves your authenticity and attracts connection. Everybody has relationships, yet few people relate. Strive to be one of the few. If you truly act like yourself all the time and not just in your personal life, then people will be able to relate. This builds trust, credibility, and camaraderie. If your behavior is different depending on whether you’re in a personal or professional environment, then you may be attracting people who are attracted to who you’re pretending to be. And, it’s my belief that this is not the recipe for a long term professional relationship that’ll provide a steady stream of referrals.
In the grand scheme of things, you devote your time networking at the local Chamber of Commerce, Association Mixers, and even weekly BNI meetings to receive a return on your investment (ROI) in the form of regular referrals. Navigating the VCP Process® to networking from Visibility to Credibility all the way to Profitability would most likely then be your goal. Based on the marketplace’s value on authenticity today, I personally believe that your easiest path to Profitability is to start by simply being yourself. Isn’t that a sigh of relief?
In closing, a successful small business owner’s mission is not solely to take the action to network. It’s about taking the actions to ensure that you connect and relate with others when you network that really counts. I 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 11 called “Don’t Make a Mess of Your Message.”