ROR Essential Elements - 1 A Clear Personal Proposition


As previously described, Return on Relationships is basically about building a network of mutual advocates, who all add value to each other – the concept of 1+1=3 on a potentially global scale. It’s all about “Like, Trust and Respect”, because you wouldn’t refer, recommend, or do business with someone if you didn’t, would you…? Trusted introductions also accelerate the process of finding new contacts and doing business.

There are a number of key aspects, previously summarised in “ROR – The Essential Elements for Success” (see below) that are critical to achieving a high ROR and this article aims to address the first of these in a bit more detail – YOU!

This is what you might describe as your “Personal Brand”. In earlier articles the concept of Reputation in the Marketplace was discussed, here we will go deeper into this concept and the surrounding issues….

Your Personal Brand is how you are perceived by others who know you personally, and by people who only know you by “reputation”, having never actually met you. This is your Reputation in the Marketplace.

The critical (and slightly scary) aspect of this is that the “guardians” of your reputation are the people who know you – it is they who deliver the key messages about you into the marketplace, they are the ones who talk about you and they recommend you………. or, don’t – and, make no mistake, it can work against you if you don’t achieve expectations!

Most people would agree that if you walk into a room “cold” (e.g. an interview) you have just a few seconds in which to create the right impression and, thereby, dictate the likely outcome. In this context, first impressions count for a lot.

With ROR it’s somewhat different, because every potentially “cold” situation will have been “warmed up” by your advocate(s). You will never go into a situation cold if ROR is working for you, because all your meetings will be by referral or recommendation. A referral here is a direct introduction – someone who Likes, Trusts and Respects you and recommends you directly to someone else. Whereas, a “recommendation” is a friend of a friend, or an indirect referral (i.e. “A friend of mine has recommended X (who they Like, Trust and Respect) who they think can help you with this”).

Arguably, there are two main aspects to your Personal Brand

– You, the person (e.g. what you look like, how you talk, your car, etc. – the presentation)
– Your “Business proposition” (e.g. your expertise - your knowledge, skills and experience, your value to the client, etc.)

In this article, we are only considering you - the person: how you come across and the ease with which you make it possible for people to “Like, Trust and Respect” you and, therefore, the likelihood that they will feel comfortable referring you to others, or others to you. This is where an Extrovert, with even very limited knowledge, can win the business relatively easily compared to an Introvert Expert……. simply because the Extrovert often comes across to the other person far better than the Introvert, despite the Extrovert’s shallow knowledge.

This can be especially true when you add a cultural dimension. For instance, Indians tend to be modest and quite “humble”, with an unwillingness to speak up and volunteer opinions, which completely masks the fact that they may have numerous post-graduate qualifications and could “wipe the floor” with anyone else in the room given the opportunity.

The bottom line is this – if you don’t present yourself (as a person) and the value of your knowledge, skill and experience – i.e. your “Business Proposition” (see next article) in a way that is credible and easily understood by your potential advocates, then your reputation in the marketplace is being limited by only one thing – YOU!

Having said all of this, it obviously assumes that you have the right network around you, in order to advocate you credibly and represent you in the way you would wish to be represented and this will be covered in future articles.

However, the key factor is that YOU add up – that is to say, you create realistic expectations of yourself in the minds of others and you live up to them, because people hate surprises, especially unpleasant surprises! If your Personal Proposition is clear and credible, then you have a solid foundation on which to build the other aspects that will deliver fantastic ROR.