ROR Essential Elements - 2 A Clear Business Proposition

 

As described in previous articles, Return on Relationships is fundamentally 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…?

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 2nd of these in more detail - YOUR Value Proposition (i.e. your business). Previously in this series was your "Personal Brand" (i.e. You.).

This article is about what you do, building on who you are. The key aspect being that when you explain what you do, people understand it in such a way that they can:

a) Recognise a potential opportunity for you to apply your knowledge, skills and experience and, therefore, make qualified referrals for you
b) Brief the "prospect" on who you are and what you do in a way that makes sense, thereby warming them up for you

The key aspect here is that, when asked "What do you do?", you don't simply say "I'm a(n) XYZ" like they're supposed to completely understand what that means(!!). You have to illustrate by example - you can explain by telling them about a recent project that you were involved in, what your role was and how you added value to the outcome. This makes you more memorable as a person, but it also means that the other person has a far better grasp of precisely what you do…. You have differentiated yourself! Making their ability to sell you easier, much easier!

We hear much said about "elevator pitches" and other trite phrases which all basically mean getting to the point quickly, but meaningfully. The fact is, that if what you're saying is interesting and of value, then you don't have 30, 60 or 90 seconds to get your message across, you have a number of minutes……because people want to hear what you have to say. BUT, but, you have to reciprocate! You have to afford the other person the same courtesy they afforded you and you have to listen actively. Moreover, you need to interact, especially if their "pitch" is poor - seek clarification, help them to tighten up their messages. They will appreciate it (generally) and, more importantly, they will remember you for your efforts.

If your business proposition is technically complex - whether it is IT, Mergers and Acquisitions, Accountancy, or whatever, then there's an added challenge - you have to help them understand what you do, probably by using analogies.

People also tend to think that networking is for the self-employed - WRONG!!

In a later article the whole topic of internal networking will be covered, but here it's important to recognise that networking is simply about meeting people, understanding who they are and what they do, and being able to use this information to help them and others who you know……. Whether that's within your organisation, or externally.

It's all about Reputation in the Marketplace - whatever your marketplace happens to be!

The simple truth is that your reputation in the marketplace is dictated by how many people understand you, and what you do, and trust your abilities enough to recommend you to others with confidence. It's a closely coupled combination of factors - the number and quality of people you are directly connected to, the number and quality of people THEY are connected to and the degree to which your contacts are happy to refer you to someone else, because they feel comfortable that in promoting you, they will not jeopardise their own reputation.

Having ticked all those boxes, it's now a question of whether they know enough about what you do to correctly identify and qualify an opportunity for you and then feel confident explaining how you can solve the problem they think they have identified….. their ability to do this effectively is a direct reflection on your ability to clearly explain your value proposition in the first place. If you've explained yourself badly, how can you expect others to promote you effectively…..?

So, in summary, it's your duty to yourself, your business and your network to present who you are and what you do in clear, easy to understand terms, such that others can bring you well qualified business opportunities. Likewise, it's your duty to clearly undertsand and be able to articulate the business propositions of others for the same reasons.

Do this and ROR will be a reality for you............