Everything Counts – Personal Branding and Networking

March 28, 2009

 

memo2By Lee Abraham

 

Personal Branding is a big deal. Particularly in networking. Last couple of times out we got into the VCP Process® and building business relationships. In short, regardless of who we are or what we do, we go from Visibility to Credibility and finally Profitability as we strengthen relationships with our networking partners. Click here for more.

 

So far so good. Most people got that memo. But like anything else, there’s usually a gap between knowing and doing. Sometimes it’s a rebellion thing. We’ll talk about that later.

 

Good news. More often than not, people participating in a structured networking group are motivated to make money and are open to new ideas. The problem: people don’t know what they don’t know! So what do you say we get past theory and into the details of Personal Branding and Networking.

 

Everything Counts

 

Bottom line: How you are seen by others has everything to do with how many referrals you receive. Like it or not, everything you do and everything you say, either helps or hurts your Personal Brand. Including little things you rationalize in your mind as unimportant or unnecessary. 

 

So here we go. Over the next several blog posts we take the mystery out of mastering the VCP Process® with a Power Team “Best Practices” on the following topics:

 

Basic Meeting Etiquette: What to do, not do, and why

training1Contact Spheres: Creating Golden Goose sources for ongoing referrals

One to One Meetings: Face to face networking and training to build VCP

Referrals: Recognizing and converting opportunity into money making referrals 

Sales Force Updates: Training the Power Team

Testimonials: Bragging Buddy Tricks and Tips

Training: Investing in your own personal development

Visitors: Inviting and networking with new people

 

Basic Meeting Etiquette (part 1)

 

Basic Etiquette 101: Wear your name badge.

 

We start here for a reason. Name badges are a litmus test. Research shows there are four types of people as it relates to wearing a name badge. Please be honest with yourself on which category best describes you.

 

Let’s start on a positive note: people who wear their name badge.

 

While it seems trivial to many, the name badge from your networking group is important and has an impact on your networking efforts. badgeFor starters, the badge has a dual purpose. An easy ice breaker with your name and business for open networking and Visitors at your networking meeting, the badge also confirms an impression to Visitors that your group is organized and focused.

 

Subtle but true, seeing people wearing the same badge helps a visitor see your networking group’s structure, system, and more easily identify energized members participating enthusiastically, the three most important variables Visitors are looking for in a networking group.

 

Personal Development

 

OK, let’s take off the warm and fuzzy kid gloves and go bare knuckle: some folks simply don’t want to wear a name badge. Why? You heard me: they just don’t want to! Hey, whatever. While it was funny and cool to watch John Belushi’s “Badges?!? We don’t need no stinking badges!” in the all time classic comedy Blazing Saddles, the same is not true in a structured networking environment. Fact: Wearing your name badge makes a positive difference.

 

In many ways, success in a group setting is a function of Personal Development. We all lead by example whether we realize it or not. If you fall into this category of rebellion, I strongly suggest you pass a referral for yourself to the Business or Life Coach in your networking group, to work on it. That way, everyone wins.

 

Alright, now for a group hug. I know, sometimes you just forget the badge and that’s why you don’t have it on at your networking meeting. Fine. We still love ya. But c’mon now, let’s get it in gear and simply make the name badge a priority going forward. Believe it or not, wearing the badge will build your VCP with the other members of your networking group, and in turn, you will receive more referrals.

 

Plus, the more people wearing badges increases the percentages of the group making a favorable impression with Visitors, resulting in more applications for membership in your network.

 

badge21The Extra Mile

 

And now we come to the fourth group. These people are the Power Team Networkers you want on your team. That’s right, I’m talking about the folks who go the extra mile and wear their name at other business functions, in addition to their weekly networking meeting.

 

Whether it be Chamber of Commerce Mixers, or Industry Conferences and Trade Shows, wearing a name badge identifying you and your networking group is a powerful projection of your Personal Brand. Properly identified, you are now positioned to take a real interest in an other person’s product or service from the perspective of structured networking expert, talking with them of ways to add value to their business. And in the process, opening doors that might have otherwise remained closed.

 

Identity Crisis

 

OK, I lied. There is actually a fifth group. People who wear their own badge from their company or office. Yes, this is better than wearing no badge at all. But the group itself loses your contribution to the perception of structure and system in the Visitor’s mind. Further, you also weaken your message at an outside event when talking to another business person about the great networking group you belong to.

 

We agree, company pride is good. telescopeAnd important. But Power Team bling gets more done. Got flair? Wear both badges! Take a risk: be excited! Or take a bigger risk and keep yourself and your networking group a secret. The choice is yours.

 

Next time out, we put more ideas under the Power Team microscope, focusing on the little things you can do each week at your networking meeting to strengthen your Personal Brand, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow me on Twitter!