Expose Yourself!–”Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series 05/21/12
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 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.
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.”