In our industry full of acronyms (CAI, MCIOA, CCAM, CRM, CIC, HOA, CPA and too many more to mention), how is another one going to make your world a better place? Simple – this acronym is an equation and it works.
Recently, we were brainstorming ways to help new vendor/service members get the most out of their membership. The step is, of course, to get involved. Getting involved builds relationships and paves the road to results. The most successful and profitable vendor/service members (and businesses in general) are the ones that have built relationships and are therefore trusted by the general members. The challenge is that building a relationship takes time and effort. These two things seem to be in short supply now that many of us are multi-tasking, dealing with reduced budgets and less support staff. However, the VCP concept that I learned from BNI (Business Network International) Founder and CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner in his CD "Networking Secrets” is that getting involved leads to the first stage in this equation’s sequence:
By joining, participating and offering your talents to CAI as a whole, you’re able to work with your potential clients first as a colleague. Whether you volunteer as an ambassador, Vision Awards committee member or Manager luncheon speaker, you will be working with general members. This allows you a chance to get to know them on a personal level. It also lets you reveal other talents a client will be looking for, such as your communication, organizational and out of paradigm thinking skills. Many companies spend thousands of dollars in advertising to convince prospective clients of the same thing. Once you have built trust as a colleague and are given the chance to show your professional skills, your visibility gives you the chance to gain:
So, a general member/Property Manager has given your company the chance to bid, perform service or has even paid your final invoice. Great! You still have to build credibility. This part of the process usually takes the longest. Things like following up on loose ends of a project, addressing referrals from the client, and repeatedly demonstrating why you are the best choice in your specific profession will help build your credibility. Many companies drop the ball in this phase, focusing only on the short term. It’s the long-term relationship building that leads to credibility, more referrals and:
Receiving and giving referrals. True profitability is when the relationship has been built so strong that both parties trust, respect and want to see each other succeed. Companies that see profits stay consistent year after year may have followed this method without even realizing it. One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects is to ask for referrals. After you have built your credibility with a client or even another vendor/service member don’t be afraid to ask them for other people you can start the equation with. One of the fastest ways to receive a referral is to pass referrals.
Visibility. Credibility. Profitability. The way to start making the equation work for you is by getting involved. CAI is constantly looking for volunteers. Remember that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.
VCP = long-term profitability.