My concern, frankly, is that at least some people will see this book's title and incorrectly conclude that its subject is direct or multi-level marketing. True, the material which Misner, Macedonio, and Garrison provide can be of substantial value to those within downlines who sell products directly and/or supervise others who do. However, this book's core concepts are really relevant to any relationship which is (key point) mutually beneficial to everyone involved, and that is as true of personal relationships as it is of business relationships. In fact, because people do business with other people, not with companies, all relationships are essentially personal. The authors acknowledge the value of "The Golden Rule" but stress that "The Platinum Rule" is even more important: Do until others as they would be done to. I agree. This is precisely what New Positioning is all about: Establishing and then sustaining positive perceptions of one's self re a given product or service, not of one's perceptions of that product's or service's functions, features, and benefits, etc. Ultimately, the perceived value of almost any experience is determined by how I feel about myself as a result of (let's say) patronizing a Starbucks, driving a luxury car, or purchasing a long-term annuity.
The authors employ a clever device when presenting and then develop their key points: They pose a series of statements and then explain why each is either a "delusion" or a "truth"...and why. Here are five examples:
"Networking is a fad."
Delusion: "Networking is no more a fad than sales and marketing."
"To be good at networking, you have to be a real `people person.'"
Delusion: "A good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionally."
"The person benefiting the most in the referral process is the person receiving the referral."
Sometimes: "Your number one responsibility is to make your referral source look good."
"Your referral strategy should be customized for each referral source and sales prospect."
True: and "always remember the Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated."
"It is best to limit the number and types of networking groups you belong to."
True: In this case, "it's possible to attend too many networking groups, and its possible to attend too few."
Re this last point, I presume to add that any group (not only one whose primary purpose is marketing) can offer legitimate and appropriate opportunities to increase and expand one's network. For example, with parents at a youth sports event, with those at a wedding reception or holiday party, with others who attend the same conference or convention,
and with fellow members of a local chamber in attendance at a monthly meeting.
To me, one of the authors' most important and valuable insights is that mutually-beneficial networking requires a cohesive, comprehensive, and resource-effective [in italics] system [end italics]. Hence the need to set specific objectives, rigorously evaluate options, select only those strategies ("hammers") and tactics ("nails') which can help to achieve the desired objectives, and then implement what amounts to a "game plan" with prudence (e.g. do not waste time and energy), persistence (i.e. think in terms of a marathon rather than a sprint), and patience.
As the authors advise, networking initiatives must be focused and disciplined, to be sure, but be prepared to respond effectively to unexpected opportunities "to connect" with people in need of assistance and consider it a privilege to provide it, especially (repeat, especially) if that need is unrelated to what you or your organization sells. "I can't answer that question [or solve that problem] but I know people who can. I'll ask them to get in touch with you right away. "Of course, needs are seldom revealed, at least immediately, during a social conversation with some whom you've just met. Hence the importance of having authentic curiosity about what others think and feel, care about, worry about, etc. as well as about what they do and how they do.
In this context, I am reminded of a conversation years ago with a woman (whose name I forget) who conducts workshops based on the concept of "The 60-Second Miracle." She explained that she asks all workshop participants to imagine sitting next to someone on a plane or meeting someone at a party who asks, "What do you do?" Each participant spends a few minutes writing out her or his response and then all responses are read aloud. (Here's where it gets interesting.) She - let's call her Wendy - then dismisses the lengthy responses as ineffective and explains "The 60-Second Miracle." Initially, people really don't care where you live, the name of your organization, your title, etc. When they first meet you, and ask what you do, you have about 10 seconds to "connect." If you don't, people will be polite as the conversation continues but their possible interest in what you do has been lost, indeed forfeited. What does Wendy suggest? Here's one scenario:
Q: What do you do?
A: Lots of people have problems with XXXX. I solve them.
Q: What kinds of problems?
A: The most common include [cite 2-3].
Q: How do you solve them?
A: Here's an example. Let's say the problem is X. I [fill in and be brief].
#1: Listen, I have problems like that. Do you have a business card with you?
#2: I don't have problems like that but I know someone who does. Do you have a business card with you?
All this take no more than 60 seconds. More often than not, if the interaction is managed effectively, what Wendy calls a "miracle" occurs.
Credit Misner, Macedonio, and Garrison with providing the cohesive, comprehensive, and resource-effective [in italics] system [end italics] to which I referred earlier. They include dozens of real-world examples and all of their advice is eminently practical, indeed immediately do-able. However, make no mistake: Effective networking requires prudence, persistence, and patience. Most important, the ultimate result should be mutually-beneficial relationships which must be, like a garden, cultivated and nourished with meticulous and - yes - loving care.