It’s possible to spend so much time running around and making appearances that you don’t have time to build deep relationships and develop credibility. Activity is not the same thing as accomplishment. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it isn’t really very helpful. Visibility is important, but by itself, it won’t create credibility or profitability. Not to mention running around attending every possible networking event in order to establish visibility is a good way to get burned out.
Take the time to build depth in your relationships. Choose a few networking groups and attend regularly. Meet with people one on one and get to know them. Have conversations with people on BNI Connect, so that if you visit their groups, you’ll already have something in common. You might even find a power partnership with someone in another chapter.
Do you know someone who suffers from hyperactive visibility? Share your stories in the comments.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 347 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you?
I am doing great, Priscilla. We have an interesting topic today about hyper active visibility being good or bad. As a rule, I would generally say it is not as good as people think. Let me tell you why.
Years ago, I met a woman who was really known in the community as a consummate networker. She had hundreds, I mean hundreds, if not thousands of contacts. It gave her a wide ranging network made up of people of all walks of life. She was really well known as a go-to person if anyone needed anything.
Then one day during a conversation with her, she dropped a bomb on me. She said her networking efforts weren’t paying off. She actually went on at length about all the groups that she went to, all the people that she met and how she made all these contacts and was continuing to make more or spend more and more time in going to networking events, but she wasn’t actually getting much solid business from her efforts. She asked me why wasn’t she seeing any real results?
Despite her great talent for making contacts and gaining tons of visibility, she really was never very good at getting to the heart of what networking is really about, that is building the relationships. She was so busy running around and making appearances that she never really learned how to work the networks that she had built in order to build these relationships with people and build credibility with them.
It’s true, I believe, that she was visible in the community. Very, very visible. The problem was that she viewed activity as accomplishment when it came to her networking efforts. Her network was- and I have used this expression in podcasts before. Her network was a mile wide but only an inch deep. Everyone thought that she was incredibly successful because everyone knew who she was, but the truth is she hadn’t taken the next and the most important step in the networking process. Many people do this.
She hadn’t devoted the time to developing the kind of rapport with many of the people in her network that would allow them to really get to know her, like her, trust her, and want to pass business to her.
Now, I bring this up because I just recently saw the exact same thing happen with somebody whom I have known for a few years. This is a guy who made a consistent habit of going to every single networking meeting event that he could go to. He was incredibly visible. He was not only at networking meetings, but he was always full of energy and enthusiasm from the time he arrived. He was the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Again, the problem was in no way due to lack of activity. He was struggling, by the way, in business. The problem was not do to lack of activity. It was not due to lack of effort or enthusiasm. He was very enthusiastic. The problem, I believe, is that he was running around so much that he didn’t stop long enough to spend the time necessary to establish the kind of long-term roots that lead to ongoingI s reciprocal referral relationships.
When you are operating like that, when you are operating in these sorts of high octane efforts, it is easy to burn yourself out. I saw that certainly happen with this guy.
So if you are a BNI member and your goal is to significantly grow your business, networking with your main focus being solely to make as many contacts as possible will not help you achieve your aim. If you are networking this way, you are going to get burned out on the people you are connecting with, get annoyed with everybody because they are not passing business to you.
There needs to be a balance between the visibility creating aspect of your efforts and the credibility creating aspects of your networking efforts. If you don’t get that balance, you will see people- and you have probably seen them, Priscilla. People who come and go and they may come and go in BNI. They may come and go in some other network. They may come and go in your community. They probably come and go in business.
They are rising star, shining, running around like a chicken with their head cut off, just going from group to group to group, not really settling down, not being focused, not really building the relationships- and then either burning themselves out or they just get tired or not getting the business that they think they are going to get because they are running around so much and not really going deep and building the relationship.
Yeah, I totally agree and maybe not doing any work in addition to all that.
Yeah, but if you were to ask them if they are working, they would tell you, “Oh yeah. I have gone to this meeting and this meeting.”
You know, there is a danger in what I am saying here because sometimes people will say are you saying don’t go out and go to different groups? That is not what I am saying at all. Be active in the community. Go to the chamber. Go to BNI. Be active in a service club. But also have some balance in what you are doing.
As you go to these groups that you are building there, meet with them one to one. Meet with individuals that you connect with at these different organizations, BNI in particular. That is why we always say one to ones are so important. One of the ways to get past just that visibility and to establish the credibility is to have those one to ones.
We talked about this in a previous podcast, Priscilla, the importance of having people use your services. Work with them in some way. Have them use your service or use their service so that you can get to know who they are a little better and know the kind of work that they do. Do those kinds of things. Don’t just run around. Don’t flip from networking group to networking group and think that you are building a powerful personal network because you are not. You are building a very broad network but not a very deep network.
Yeah, I agree with you completely. How do you think it works best for members to visit other groups? How do you think the most effective way to do that- to sort of take advantage of what BNI offers, which is that you can be a guest in another group if you want to and you don’t have a competing profession.
One of the things I recommend is- you can just drop in on another group if you wanted. But one of the things I ‘d recommend is start connecting with people through BNI Connect. Have conversations with them through other groups. Connect with them as a contact. Have conversations with them beforehand so that when you go to meet them, you already have something in common. You started to build the relationship.
That is particularly true for people who want to network not only in their local community but maybe outside of their county, outside of their state, outside of their country. They want to start connecting with people farther away. If you can do it first through BNI Connect and have conversations with people, when you show up, you are not a stranger. You are networking with somebody that you already have a little bit of a relationship with.
I think that is the way to break into some other areas and to use the power of the global network that we have created. BNI is much bigger than just the individual chapter, and the more people can focus on that and see that, certainly the more successful they will be.
Just one more thing about that. You might be able to search of businesses that you could have a power partnership with, right, in other places?
Yes. Absolutely. That’s a great idea. If you don’t have that in your chapter, it is possible to find that in another chapter. I have actually seen members who found that kind of relationship in another chapter and got that person in another chapter to send an employee, an associate or a partner to the original chapter, to the chapter that person is coming from so they end up creating a relationship but then ended up coming back to their chapter through a partner or associate.
That is a great idea.
Yeah, I have seen that a lot. So for everyone listening to the podcast, if you know someone with that type of hyper visibility networking style that I have talked about here today with Priscilla, I would love for you to describe that here on the blog. Don’t name names or give a specific name. We are not looking to throw anybody under the bus.
I would love to hear your stories about people in whom you have seen this sort of hyper active networking style and if you have seen it crash and burn as I have seen it. Here is the real message: networking is a marathon not a sprint. It is something that you do over a long period of time. There is no reason to burn yourself out.
Build the business. Build the relationship. Take the time. It’s a not a race. If it’s a race, it is not a sprint. That is for sure. So let me hear your stories. Thanks, Priscilla.
That’s great advice. I totally agree with you, Dr. Misner, and than you so much for pointing it out.
Okay. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.