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Learning From a Networking Rock Star

Posted at 1:26 PM on Monday, December 12, 2005



Bob Burg is a networking Rock Star. After all, his book Endless Referrals, a well known text on the subject, has just come out in it's third edition. (Disclosure - I wrote a small piece that is included in the book - about blogs and networking.)

Bob also happens to be a friend of mine, and we were first connected through the second edition of this book. I've asked Bob to join me here on the blog of or a couple of days. Here is the first part of our interview. . .

Ok, I've called you a networking Rock Star, but isn't Networking a word which can be interpreted many different ways . . . and not all of them good?

Absolutely. In my opinion, far too many people still hold to the antiquated and preconceived notion of "Networking" as the stereotypical, slick, fast-talking salesperson who sticks a business card into the hand of every person they meet, blabbing on and on about themselves and their business and saying really clever things like, "Hey, let's do lunch" and "Have your people all my people." Obviously, that's not Networking. Instead, that's . . . well, actually, I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it's certainly not Networking.

My definition of Networking is simply, "The cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships." And the emphasis is on the "give" part. When done with genuine caring about the other person; their wants, their needs, their desires, and when following a specific system, a proven method of operation, it will result in a huge and dramatic increase in your referral-based business.

So, what is this so-called "Golden Rule of Networking" and why is it so important?

All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

Actually, that saying has been around for a long time. I certainly didn't make it up. But I encourage people to study that one sentence and consider all the implications involved. Read it again and again until the principle involved is totally internalized. I mean, think about it; as salespeople, our goal should be to develop and cultivate relationships with new people to the point that they feel so good about us; they know us, they like us and they trust us; the want to see us succeed, they want to help us find new business, and they want to be part of our lives.

My opinion is that any who approaches every new potential Networking relationship keeping in mind the "Golden Rule of Networking" will, in and of itself, be nine steps ahead in the game, in a ten-step game.

You speak about following a very specific system for Networking and Endless Referrals. What do you mean?

Well, let's start off with my definition of the word, "System." I define it as, "The process of predictably achieving a goal, based on a logical and specific set of how-to principles." The key word is predictable. In other words, if it's been proven and documented that by doing 'A' (the system) you can accomplish 'B' (the results you want), then all one need be willing to do is 'A' and they know that they can have their desired results. Predictability is the key, just like a McDonald's Restaurant. You don't go in their and try and change their system. You follow it, and you succeed. That doesn't mean you become brain-dead and stop innovating; it simply means that you based your actions of proven fundamentals that work.

I love how Michael Gerber, author of the classic bestseller, The E-Myth describes the benefits of using a system. He says (paraphrased) "Systems permit ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results, predictably."


More tomorrow.
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