Perception Is Reality! — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series 03/19/12
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®. 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.
PERCEPTION IS REALITY!
(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’?”