Quoting from Don’t Forget About VCP When Networking Online by Dr Ivan Misner: “The important thing to learn and remember when you’re first getting involved in online networks is that the same principles apply to online and offline networking.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised–people behave differently online. Here’s what I mean. I recommend that people follow a VCP Process® in their networking, both online and offline. That is, your networking efforts must begin by achieving Visibility. Next, you can build Credibility in the network. Then, and only then, should you seek Profitability through pursuing business relationships with your contacts.”
Other realities of business that Dr Misner has analyzed, explained and documented are the ‘Contact Sphere’ and ‘Referral Partner’. As business people, we probably have all groups in the picture above. Focusing on 3 of them:
Co-opetition: Are they competition, contact sphere or new acquaintance? All are better than ‘scary unknown’. I will build Visibility and find out more if I follow them on Facebook, read their blogs and engage with or meet them.
Contact Sphere: The businesses / biz people who are likely to have similar customer profiles and business interests. As a web developer, my contact sphere – those with whom I already have contact and Credibility – includes Graphic Designers, Photographers, Printers, Computer Support Techs and more. I refer business to them. They will hopefully be grateful, which may prompt them to refer other business back to me. It’s called
“Givers Gain” ® If I give to you, you will likely be prompted to give back to me.
Referral Partners: The businesses / biz people who consistently bring you referrals that turn into business. And hopefully you are returning the favor! Which is Profitability. Looking through your customer list you will probably see a pattern of consistent referrers. Some friends and customers spontaneously nominate themselves as referrers, but ‘farming’ either of these groups is fraught. But the people in your contact sphere need are open to talking business and learning more about your business so they will be ready to refer to you.
It is mutually beneficial to deepen the relationships in your contact sphere. You need to find which of these people can become your referral partners. It does take trust, shared history and a certain amount of chemistry. So it will take time – whether online or face to face – but it is an effective investment of your time.
For the rest of this week we will be looking at ‘how’ to move your page through Visibility to Credibility to Profitability on Facebook. Of course it will take more than a week to actually do it, but we can review the strategy and approach in a week!