Building relationships in business should be your goal
Networking goes wrong when you sell before building a relationship with your prospect. In my blog, I’ve talked a lot about relational sales versus transactional sales. The biggest disconnect in networking is that everyone wants to sell and no one wants to buy.
So, just imagine yourself with the sales skills of building relations with your prospects, and how different it feels to them when you don’t push your wares at first contact.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ivan Misner, a pro at building relationships in business!
Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization. The organization now has over:
- 8,800 chapters throughout every continent of the world
- last year alone, BNI generated 11.2 million referrals;
- resulting in $14.2 billion worth of business for its members
Check out his impressive resume:
- New York Times bestselling author
- Written over 23 books including Who’s in Your Room.
- Columnist for Entrepreneur.com and;
- Been a university professor as well as;
- A member of the board of trustees for the University of La Verne
- He’s called the Father of Modern Networking by CNN
- One of the top networking expert by Forbes
- One of the world’s leading experts of business networking
- Keynote speaker for major corporations and associations throughout the world
Hear what Dr. Ivan Misner has to say about the importance of sales skills when it comes to building relationships in business first…
Networking in today’s day and age
One of the things Ivan learned early on in networking is that it really is, and should be more relational than transactional. The idea of Givers Gain is that if I:
- give you business
- build a relationship with you
- refer and;
- help you
You will do the same for me. And it’s really based on that agile principle of what goes around, comes around. I’m going to support you, you support me.
Simply put, building relationships while networking has got to start somewhere. Rather than waiting for the new person you just met to do something, you’ve got to take the first step. Reach out, and try to help them. Helping someone whether you’re talking about referrals or building a friendship is one of the best ways to build a relationship in business.
There are a lot of different ways that you can network. However, way, way back at networking events, there wasn’t the philosophy of giving referrals instead of getting referrals. Typically, people go pass out business cards and try to get stuff. Everyone tries to sell to you. Have you ever walked out of those meetings feeling like you have been slimed, and needed to go shower because everybody in there was trying to sell to you?
Well, this is the reason Dr. Ivan Misner created BNI. He didn’t care for the mercenary groups that sell, sell, sell. Nor, did he like the social groups where it’s happy hour and hors d’oeuvre, and more importantly, no business being done.
BNI was born with the philosophy of “Givers Gain.” Ivan wanted to put together a group that had a focus on business but wasn’t mercenary. In addition, a group that had a focus on relationships, that was somewhat social but also had a level of accountability. Focusing on building a business the relational way. Putting relationships first is the glue that holds BNI together and what makes it so successful.
Do you have Sales Tourette’s?
Don’t sell to people when you first meet them. Matter of fact, don’t sell to them when you meet them the second time or the third time either. You got to build a relationship before you can start selling or getting referrals. This is critical when asking for referrals from people and getting on-going referrals!
Misner says “people are scanning the room – especially when they’re out networking.” When they are networking with someone, they think, “Oh my goodness! This person could make a big difference for me.” It’s like they almost start shaking. They can’t hold it back. It’s like, “You got to buy my product. And are you interested in what I have to offer?” And they just can’t hold it back.
Women are more relational and men are more transactional
Dr. Misner’s book ‘Business Networking and Sex: Not What You Think‘ is about the difference between men and women and how they network. He found that people who were more relational in their networking are far better at networking in terms of the percentage of the business they did than those who are transactional going straight for the sale. Don’t ask questions for the sale. Build a relationship.
Interestingly enough, we live in a day and age where relational is so much more important than ever before. One thing I’ve found with the professionals and sales gurus I’ve interviewed is that in today’s day and age, the polished, scripted sales presentation with a hard close…well, those days are pretty much over. By this, I mean they are done. You’ve got to get more relational. And that’s one of the things I love about BNI.
Now, here’s an interesting thing. I have the opportunity to speak on occasion to generic audiences where there are people who want to learn how to network. One of the things that I tell my audience is that I love how BNI in today’s world is tangible. What I mean by tangible, is that you have to show up once a week, get to face to face, belly to belly with I don’t know, 30, 40 other people in a chapter and talk to each other. This is becoming a unique experience in today’s world.
The more technologically advanced we become, the more important high touch connection is
Technology such as social media flattens the communication hierarchy. It enables people to communicate in a way that we couldn’t before. But that doesn’t replace face to face. Face to face networking like BNI is still incredibly powerful.
So, it’s not either or, it’s both. Face to face and social media.
Getting face to face with people and building relationships is tangible. Remember, that this concept is for any type of networking not just BNI.
I believe people with great sales skills know and practice the know, like, and trust factor. This is why they are able to build a referral business.
Sales skills and sales management
These important sales skills are what Ivan calls the VCP process, and this happens when meeting regularly to build relationships. If you want to build your business, you got to go from;
- visibility to;
- credibility to;
As a salesperson, building relationships in business must start first by being visible. People have to know who you are. If they don’t know who you are, they’re not going to refer you. Second, you have to establish credibility where people know who you are, they know what you do, they know you’re good at it, and they are willing to refer you. Third, you got to teach them how. Consequently, this is when you get the profitability, and that takes time it doesn’t happen overnight.
One of the things Ivan talks about is having a follow-up system. He calls it the 24, 7, 30;
- 24 hours, send them a card
- Seven days connect on social media,
- 30 days meet with the person face to face
On the other hand, you could send an email but everybody does email. Above all standout. Sending a card is unheard of in this day and age with most people. Sending that card as a follow-up, people are like, “Oh, this is different. This is unique. Talk about great sales management!
I sure hope you’ve learned sales skills of how to build upon relationships in this blog post and don’t forget to watch the interview above for more in-depth details with Dr. Ivan Misner.
p.s. catch Ivan’s latest book ‘Who’s in Your Room’