Since networking is a big part of how we attract business, there are lots of networking books on our shelves. One of our favorites is Networking Like a Pro by Ivan Misner.
Ivan Misner is the founder of BNI, the world's largest business networking organization. In Networking Like a Pro, Misner outlines the strategies for successful networking and reminds us all that networking is a skill that needs to be honed over time. It's not about fast cash.
Networking success isn't measured necessarily by how many referrals one gets becuase a referral network can take years to build successfully. Instead, networking success can be measured by how well a contact remembers you in 72 hours. Contacts won't remember you positively if you handed them a business card and then walked away. They'll remember you negatively if you blabbed about your own business without engaging them in conversation.
The myth that everyone is connected by 6 degrees of separation is tackled in this book. Most people are not well connected at all and the 6 degrees rule does not hold true for about 71% of the population. Good networkers strive to be a part of the 29% that can successfully meet the people they need to meet.
Misner talks about your unique selling proposition which is not unlike an elevator speech in that it is a brief description of th epurpose of your business stated in the most succinct way possible. In your unique selling proposition, your goal is to get your message across but that less is more. Short and sweet is the point.
Misner also explains the three step process by which networking works. He calls it the VCP - Visibility, Credibility, Profitability. You can become visible by attending networking functions, following up with one-to-one conversations, and holding leadership roles in the networking groups to which you belong. You increase your credibility by fulfilling expectations in each relationship. Be reliable and trust worthy over time to increase your credibility. Profitability is the result of building these relationships.
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