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.
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR MINDSET
(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 . . .