Both in business and life, you need a proper network in order to be successful. That is why knowing how to build your network is a lucrative skill that’s worth learning. In this episode, Alex Mandossian shares his knowledge on how you can build your business network using three easy steps called the VCP Process, developed by the father of modern networking, Ivan Misner, himself. Learn the purpose of each step in creating the ideal network for your business and what exactly you need to be doing to progress the process further. Alex then emphasizes why it’s important to think long term and to take your time building your business from the ground up to secure and reap the profits.
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World’s Most Lucrative Skill
The show devoted to coaches, consultants, and other service professionals who want to get more premium clients but don’t enjoy the selling process. Is that you? We believe that seeding through storytelling is the new selling and no matter what you believe, I hope you agree that nothing happens in your business until something is sold. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in.
If you hate to sell, then this show is for you. After you read a few episodes, you’ll find out that selling can be fun as long as you know what to say when to say it, and how to say it. I can teach you. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, then you’re in the right place because this show teaches you how to sell by obliterating objections that typically can lead to personal rejection. If that sounds interesting to you, then all you need to do is lean forward and read carefully.
Although ethical influence is central to our discussions, you and I will also explore other fascinating and important topics such as growing your relationship capital, branding strategies, how to find great JV partners. Also, team-building outsourcing principles, client acquisition tactics, repurposing strategies, million-dollar habits, and ninja marketing tips to name a few. In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights that I believe are critical to making you a highly skilled ethical influencer.
Defining Business Network
You’ll discover number one, what a business network is by definition and what it is not. Number two, you’ll learn why building a business network is your single most lucrative skill. Three, you’ll learn how to build your business network in three simple steps. It’s called the VCP process. It stands for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. Read carefully because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can win the hearts of others with total and absolute certainty.
[bctt tweet=”Think local and act global.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
If English is your second language and over 50% of our readers are from outside of North America, I hope that you read this and all the other episodes, not once, not twice but three times because nothing empowers the fluency of learning a new language then learning the art and science of ethical influence.
The Father Of Modern Networking
The father of modern networking grew up in Covina, California about fifteen miles away from where I grew up, which is Pasadena, California. He graduated from Gladstone High School. Despite his ordinary beginnings, he is the Founder of the world’s largest business networking organization called BNI, which is Business Network International. He’s acknowledged as the Father of Modern Networking.
I’m talking about my good friend, Dr. Ivan Misner. The seeds of BNI were planted after Ivan started his consultancy business for many years. He was looking for referrals, not for himself, but for other colleagues. These colleagues were visible to him. They were credible to him. He trusted that they would collaborate and build profitable referral networks together. It was an idea. Ivan created this simple yet powerful two-word concept statement around which BNI operates.
It doesn’t matter what chapter you’re in. You’ll always hear this at BNI and that is Givers Gain. He expanded the network from North America to global and through a franchise-based business model. BNI is the largest networking group in the world. BNI has over 233,000 members in nearly 8,400 local chapters worldwide. Members meet weekly to discuss business and they support each other’s businesses by sharing referrals.
It claims to be the world’s leading referral organization and I believe that claim because it all started by thinking local and acting global. That’s what Ivan did. He didn’t set out to create a BNI. He did it initially for his colleagues, but by thinking local and acting global, BNI was born and it keeps growing. The key concept in referral marketing is all about relationships. Referral marketing works because these relationships work both ways.
They benefit both parties. It’s a win-win or no deal. Like Stephen Covey talked about in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s the lowest cost, highest profit way to grow any business, and you do that organically. There’s no cost of acquisition, but there is a cost of visibility and credibility, which leads to profitability, which is Ivan’s VCP process and that’s the topic for this episode.
If done systematically and you set aside time, 2 to 4 hours a week networking and referring without even belonging to BNI, then you can build out your network. With time leads, prospects, pre-qualified clients will come to you because of the principle of reciprocity. These relationships don’t spring up and they’re full grown. They must be nurtured like you would nurture any plant or let’s say apple tree.
As they grow and it’s fed by mutual trust and shared benefits, they evolve through three phases and that is the VCP process. You can do this deliberately and intentionally. VCP stands for Visibility, C stands for Credibility, and P stands for Profitability. Ivan coined this evolution of VCP and he considers it a form of farming versus hunting.
A farmer takes time to till soil to prepare it, plants the seeds and then you get the fruit of the harvest long after. Whereas a hunter is hungry or starving and wants to feed his or her family and goes out and hunts and that’s more transactional. If farming is relational, then hunting is transactional. Both work but the safety net, if you’re on that tight wire of building your business is the VCP process or the farming principle. The essence of the VCP is ethical influence. The keyword being ethical.
With visibility, it’s all about proximity being power, which is one of the previous episodes I talked about when I was highlighting Tony Robbins and what he’s created over the years. Profitability is the natural outgrowth of your visibility and credibility. Credibility is to be a proven expert, or at least to be a follow-through person. Someone with integrity, you do what you say. No big deal there, but it’s easier done than said.
[bctt tweet=”Profitability is the natural outgrowth of your visibility and credibility.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
The process is simple but not easy. If you’re a parent, then you know it takes patience to assist your kids in growing and turning into responsible adults. It’s the same way with your business. In the beginning, like childbirth, a business is messy, but over the years, as it grows and you build your business network, it becomes easier as long as you systematically and intentionally do business networking week after week. Most people don’t do this.
Farmers Versus Hunters, People Versus Projects
They’re transactional versus relational. They want to jump straight to profitability before the visibility and credibility has kicked in, which takes most of the time. Profitability can only be pot powered according to Ivan, and I believe this to be true by visibility and credibility. First, you have the seeds, visibility, then they flop into roots that are the credibility and then you get the fruits, which is profitability. Let’s talk about farmers versus hunters.
Zig Ziglar was known to talk about the phases of planning, preparing and expecting. I did a virtual book tour with his son, Tom. Born to Win was the book and that was the outgrowth of dozens of years of doing seminars and workshops. The result was a book called Born to Win. Farmers are patient. If you’re farming, you got to be patient because you got to allow the seeds to take root and only then can they take and deliver the fruit that you’re looking for.
For relationships to thrive, it’s not about hunting that’s transactional. Relationships to thrive require the farming principle. That takes time. Hunting is impatient and farming is patient. Hunting is okay. You can build a business that way, especially when you’re starting, but it’s about transactions. Farming is about thriving, whereas hunting is about surviving. You need to do both, especially if you’re a startup, but long-term networks, long-term relationships are all about farming.
Let’s talk about people versus projects. You can be efficient with projects. Business philosopher Peter Drucker, who taught at one of the Claremont Colleges where Ivan used to live near. Efficiency is about doing things right. With projects you can do things right, you have a deadline, you have X number of days, hours or weeks. With people, you can’t be efficient with them. You can only be effective. You can only do the right things.
With my children, if they are in a position where they need some support from me, I can’t look at my watch and say, “Breanna, you got 5 minutes,” or “Gabe, you got in a car accident, we got 3 minutes to talk about it. Go.” You can’t do that. When you’re disciplining children or you’re grooming them to be responsible adults or with team members or with your spouse if you have one or former spouse, if you have one of those. Whatever it may be, projects and people are different.
You can be efficient with projects, but you can only be effective with people. What about impatience? People want quick and easy profits. Everyone wants that. If you look at the outcome with lottery winners where people have won the lottery and all of a sudden, they have several million dollars in the bank, hand it to them. What happens after 2 or 3 years? Typically, it’s gone. Why? It’s because they’re not the person they needed to be that they weren’t the farmer, they were the hunter.
They made bad investments and all of a sudden all of that money is gone by making bad investments. Another element of impatience, especially in grooming prospects to become clients and then lifelong customers, clients, patients, students or members, whatever you call them, it’s irritable. We’ll call it irritability if you go from invisibility to profitability. If you’re not visible, if you’re not credible and you want to be from invisible to profitable, then you are irritable.
I’ve interviewed Dr. Ivan Misner several times and we’ve laughed about this because it happens a lot. You come out, maybe you met someone on social media, maybe you posted. Maybe you shook their hands or gave them a high five at an event, and then all of a sudden, you want to do a joint venture deal with them. Their response is, “Who are you?” How you become visible? For Ivan, it’s about writing over sixteen books. It’s about being a columnist on Entrepreneur.com and Business Insider.
He’s appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CNBC, BBC, and The Today Show. He’s out there. He’s visible. All of these don’t lead to profitability right away, but they do lead to credibility. He’s also on the board of trustees for the University of La Verne. Dr. Misner trademarked in April 2011 his name so that people can’t use it unscrupulously.
In that same year, I trademark my name because many digital marketers would put a Google AdWord that would say, “Don’t buy anything from Alex, Mandossian until you read this.” They would poach my name, my credibility and my visibility that they can be profitable. That was irritable, I trademark my name that I could send them a cease and desist letter for doing that because I own my name. Do you own your name? It’s a good tactic to do that.
Trademarking is inexpensive. What a business network is by definition, is about a group of individuals who have the same mind and together are a lot more powerful by referring to each other. If you think of people involved in a wedding, the vendors or the suppliers, Ivan calls them the wedding mafia. What do you get? You have the florist. You have the tuxedo and the dress shop. You have a wedding planner.
You have the photographer and you have all the people involved in that wedding. They can all be together as a unit, a business network to be referring to each other. One person could be the hub and start giving out leads as they come in and all the rest can do the same. A business network must be identified to be a business. In BNI, it’s not a support group. It’s not a recovery group. It’s a business network.
Once a week you meet and it’s compulsory. There’s usually one dentist, therapist, a florist in the group and you can pick any vocation. There’s one of each flavor. If someone else wants to come in and there are a symbol and person like that by invitation only, then they’re encouraged to start their group or look for another group in the same city. There are many chapters in the same city.
What a business network is not is a haphazard group of friends that know each other and are friendly with each other. A business network by definition refer to each other because they’re visible, they’re credible, and they end up being profitable. That’s why I believe more than public speaking, digital marketing, and running your software as a service, a SaaS architect. I know many people who have started. I’ve had my SaaS products with partners more than any other vocation.
If you’re a business networker and everyone can and should be one, it will be your single most lucrative skill and like any skill, it is a learnable skill. I recognize that you may not be doing it all the time or maybe you do, but it’s about selling your visibility and credibility so that people believe in you and the natural outgrowth is profitability. Building your business network is a process and the process that Ivan has coined and his trademark are called VCP.
By being visible, you become credible, then and only then through that visibility and credibility, you can become profitable. You can’t have that much control over profitability. Sometimes it’s a small percentage of all the people you’re visible and incredible too. It’s a lot easier when you get this vein of goal that you’ve been digging into or you get this deal flow that comes in overtime like farming and you’re harvesting from the same soil again and again.
Alexism: Entrepreneurship Is Like Skydiving
The Alexism for this episode is the following. Entrepreneurship is like skydiving. You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute to skydive more than once. When I say that from the stage, people laugh, but it’s true. You may be saying to yourself, “How is that relevant? How does that relate to what we talked about?”
Many people think that by having a business, you automatically will become profitable because people will be pounding down your door to do business with you. That’s like skydiving without a parachute. If you want a parachute, then build your business network so you can skydive again. I remember the first time I ever did my skydive, which was for my son’s eighteenth birthday. It was a gift for him.
I remember my skydiving companion, the person who I was attached to because it was my first jump from over 15,000 feet. It was a 1-minute free fall, which was exhilarating, and then the shoot opened up at about 5,500 feet. He told me, and he was originally from Sweden, he said it was his 300th skydive from an airplane.
I said, “How many times have you had to open up your backup parachute?” He said, “Only once.” I figured if 1/3 of 1% of the time, he had to open up his backup chute. That was good security for me to understand that what I was about to do with him was safe. It was a safe dive and we landed right on the mark. Entrepreneurship is like skydiving. You don’t need a parachute to skydive but you do need one to skydive more than once.
Business is about sales. You’ll get sales without a business network, but it will be transactional. If you want relational sales or deal flow that comes in, again and again, think like a farmer, plant those seeds, be visible, be credible and you will be profitable.
Let’s take a quick review of the insights you and I both rediscovered in this 56th episode. I want you to apply these and execute these because there’s nothing new, but maybe you’re looking at it through a new lens. It’s more systematic. Number one, you’ll learn what a business network is by definition and more importantly, what it’s not. Number two, you’ll learn why building a business network is your most lucrative skill.
Why not set aside 2 to 4 hours a week to block out time and drill deeper into existing relationships you have by following up with people you met at a Mastermind meeting or a workshop, at an intensive. Maybe someone you met on social media. Proximity Is Power. It was the topic of one of the previous episodes. If you have physical interaction with them, if you get to meet them face-to-face, nose-to-nose, belly-to-belly, toe-to-toe, as they say, it’ll be a lot more intimate and you will build that much faster.
Third, you learned how to build your business network in three simple steps. That’s the VCP process. Visibility first, credibility second and profitability third as a result. There is no invisibility to profitability because that leads to irritability. These insights will only work for you if you work them. Please make sure you execute what you’ve learned in this episode because I believe if you do, your future will be bigger.
[bctt tweet=”You can’t be efficient with people. You can only be effective.” username=”AlexMandossian”]
It’ll look brighter and most important, you’ll create it on your terms. If you’ve already given me a review on iTunes, then two words, thank you. I’ve been visible, I’ve been credible, and in this case, profitability means I’m getting a declaration from you on iTunes for others to read. That’s called profitability. If you’ve already given me a review, write down your biggest a-ha or your takeaway, whatever the big distinction was on an index card and hold onto it.
I urge you to do that every single week so that you can go back and review them. If you haven’t given me a review on iTunes, then I want you to give me one and if you go to AllSellingAside.com/iTunes, write down your biggest a-ha or your biggest takeaway in the review section. iTunes doesn’t ask you for your biggest takeaway or a-ha, it says the review. Rather than reviewing my entire show, let’s get specific for this episode if you believe it was valuable to you.
Reviewing the show like others ask you to do and other readers are not as powerful for me, are not as credible as giving a specific a-ha or distinction you learned here. It will mean much to me and it will mean much to others because as you give me a review, we’ll go up in the rankings and other people can get access to this content for free. I do it as a public service week after week, 25 years of sales and marketing know-how and it’s pruned into 25-minute chunks week after week.
Will you do that for me? It’ll take 3 minutes out of your day, but what you declare could provide you and others reading it, a valuable learning lesson. I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Did I? If I didn’t, read another episode and give your biggest takeaway or a-ha there and then give me five stars because I want five stars, although I can’t force it.
I have one final gift to give you the honor of this 56th episode. I hope you believe that business networking is the world’s most lucrative skill. The complimentary gift that means it’s free, it’s our four-part video eCourse that teaches you how to identify your target market, create your irresistible offer or message and capitalize on the most viable and lucrative media sources available to you. You’ll find that at MarketingOnlineMentor.com.
I hope our paths cross again. This is the show dedicated to making you an ethical influencer and brings you more certainty in every part of your life. Please do whatever it takes to join me because the topic is titled It’s a Wonderful Lie. You probably have heard of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Hopefully, that’s getting your curiosity.
I encourage you to invite a friend, a colleague or a study friend to read this blog. It’s no cost and they can get access to it at any time. You can read while you’re vacuuming the carpet at your apartment or home. You can do it while you’re working out, walking the dog, doing the dishes, whatever during your dead time. I can’t wait for us to connect and It’s a Wonderful Lie will be the topic. It’s going to be a super fun episode and I want you to join us with your study friend. I hope our paths cross again then.
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