Last week I had an opportunity speak to two professional organizations. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Ion Strategic Partners, one of the fastest growing networking organizations for entrepreneurs. In an environment where people are talking about how bad the economy is, these organizations are planning for growth.
I had the pleasure of announcing Ion’s Strategic’s growth into 2011. One mindset principle they adopt is the Principle of Belief, which says, what you believe with feeling and confiction becomes your reality. Some people hope some even say "I’ll believe it when I see it!" But these attendees knew that it is not until you believe it, that you will see it. They grew to over 120 members in just 10 months and expect to achieve 400 by the first quarter in 2011. The power of setting goals!
Throughout the years, I’ve realized that even though I can’t always see things happening, I must believe. Each time I step out in faith, I’m amazed at what happens. When you put yourself out there, it’s interesting who you meet. Take Dr. Ivan Misner, Chairman and Founder of BNI, the world’s largest networking organization and Senior Partner of Referral Institute, for example. In my interview with Dr. Misner, he shared how just one relationship led to him meeting Chicken Soup for the Soul Best-Selling Author, Jack Canfield and movie mogul, Sr. Richard Branson.
Listen in to get valuable tips from the Networking Guru himself on how changes you make today, yield giant leaps later.
Read on for this week’s high-content article with an information-rich networking process from the NY Times Best-Seller Networking Like A Pro.
Sure Fire Steps to Profitability
“Any successful relationship, whether personal or business, is unique to every pair of individuals and evolves over time. It starts out tentative, fragile, full of unfulfilled possibilities and expectations. It grows stronger with experience and familiarity. It matures into trust and commitment. As it deepens, it evolves through three phases: visibility, credibility, and profitability” states Dr. Ivan Misner along with David Alexander & Brian Hilliard in the New York Times Best Selling book, Networking Like a Pro Turning Contacts into Connections.
In my recent interview on my Navigating Change Radio Show, Dr. Misner explains a process of creating relationships in networking. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, growing relationships are essential to building a sustainable business. Many business owners make the mistake of meeting someone and immediately trying to get a sale before they’ve nurtured the relationship.
There are two really important steps before you jump to profitability suggests Dr. Misner. It’s a process called VCP:
Visibility is about awareness. That is, you’re visible to each other or a potential customer becomes aware of the nature of your business. You two begin to communicate and establish links. The greater your visibility, the:
· More widely known you become.
· More information you obtain about others.
· More opportunities you will be exposed to.
· Better your chances of being recognized as someone to whom others can or should refer business.
In this step, it’s important that you obtain information about the other person with whom you are establishing visibility. Many entrepreneurs want to do what I call the verbal vomit, that is, they want to share all about their business with others and the other person doesn’t get in a word. In this step, it is important to find out about the other person first. As the relationships deepens, you’ll have your turn.
The next step in this process is Credibility. Only when you and a new acquaintance begin to form expectations and those expectations are fulfilled, your relationships enter this stage. Credibility is gained through reliability. In this stage you want to keep appointments, promises and do what you say you’re going to do. This can also be gained through third parties. Here’s where others you’ve done business with can create credibility, like through testimonials or even references.
When you’ve mastered visibility and demonstrated credibility, it is then you move into profitability. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of confusing direct selling and networking. In networking it is necessary to cultivate the relationships (as outlined in visibility and credibility.) It’s when you’ve created a solid foundation in those two steps you move on. In profitability, the relationship is mutually rewarding and both partners are gaining satisfaction. The relationship probably won’t endure if it doesn’t profit both partners, states Dr. Misner.
With every process or formula there is an important element: time. It can happen quickly or take a year even three years. If you want a real life inspiration to the practicality of this process, listen to how Dr. Misner through one relationship went on to meet Chicken Soup for the Soul Author, Jack Canfield and music mogul, world adventurer and owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson.
One change in the way you network today, yields giant leaps later.
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Lisa Mininni is radio show host, best-selling author and President of Excellerate Associates, home of The Entrepreneurial Edge System, the only national training system helping entrepreneurs fill their business in record time. For your free copy of Get Ready, Get Set, Go! eBook, visit http://www.freebusinessplanformat.com