ROR – The Essential Elements for Success


Return on Relationships is fundamentally about the success you can derive by building a network of mutual advocates, a network of people who you Like, Trust and Respect, where everyone is adding value to everyone else in their respective networks – the concept of 1+1=3 multiplied many times, across countries, continents and timezones.

The guiding principles are “Like, Trust and Respect”, because you wouldn’t refer, recommend, or do business with someone if you didn’t, would you…?

There are a number of key aspects that are critical to achieving a high ROR and this article aims to summarise these, as follows (each of which will be the subject of an individual future article):

1. A clear personal proposition
It’s important that people you meet and network with, both face-2-face and online “get you” – understand who you are and what you stand for. This is basically your Personal Brand. It must make sense, be comfortable and be harmonious……. If what you say and what you do seem to conflict and there are contradictions between what you say you stand for and how you behave, then Like Trust and Respect are in jeopardy before you even start.

2. A clear value proposition
If people are going to recommend you, they obviously need to understand what you do, what you’re good at. Story-telling is important in this context. Don’t just say “I’m a Project Manager” when someone asks what you do, take a couple of minutes to describe a project you have managed and help them to understand what you’re good at and why.

3. Invest Your Time Wisely
Going back to “Like, Trust and Respect”, it’s critical that you invest your time with people who fulfil these criteria and, if your network’s any good, there should be a steady stream of new people being introduced to you by others who already meet the “standards”. It’s also important that when you meet new people you decide for yourself if you think you are going to “L,T & R” them and act accordingly – investing your time and energy in someone you would never consider doing business with, or recommending, is likely to be a complete waste of time.

4. Make the effort with everyone you meet
In the same way you are always improving your own messages and your network, take the time to do the same for others – help them with their propositions and share your experiences to ensure that they remember you and feel they gained value from your time. Make sure that you understand what they do clearly enough that you are able to provide qualified recommendations and to connect them confidently to other members of your network, or (occasionally) arrive at the conclusion that they are not someone you can advocate or do business with.

5. Invest time in maintaining your network
By using a combination of tools and networks, you can build and strengthen your network very rapidly and ensure that the people you need to find and refer are always close at hand. Updating, refreshing, cleansing and contacting your network should be something you actually spend time on and schedule into your diary on a regular basis. Remember that your network can become the vehicle that carries you throughout your career – like any vehicle, the better you look after it, the more reliably it will serve you.

6. Your network is your Route to Market
You should never consider your network to be your market, it is your route to market – never try to sell to your network……. If you explain who you are and what you do and someone wants to buy, that’s different! But don’t SELL! You are unlikely to make an advocate of someone you have “pitched” and lost.

7. Network internally as well as externally
Networking is just as important inside your organisation as it is outside, whether you’re an employee, contractor or Consultant. To be regarded as a Social Networking Expert, it's essential that you take the time to build strong relationships and to assist people whenever you can. The better people understand what you do (and you, them) the more effective and valuable you will be within that organisation.