ivan-misner.jpgDo you dream about rubbing elbows with Richard Branson on his private island? Ivan Misner's done just that--and he owes it all to his networking expertise. He shared a few of his secrets Monday as part of our Growth 2.0 conference in Miami.

Visibility, Credibility, Profitability.
They make up the core foundation of effective networking--but only when used in the proper order. The first step is to be visible in the community so that people know who you are and what you do. Next, you have to build credibility by proving that you're good at what you do--and your own confidence isn't enough; it's about other people's confidence in you. Only after those two steps can you attempt profitability through referrals. It's not a sales process--ignore it at the risk of jumping straight to invisibility.

The key is moving through the phases with your contacts by recognizing how to communicate with each and by asking how you can help them rather than trying to sell them anything. You're not there to sell--you're there to be a connector. What are the biggest challenges your peers face? Learn that, and you'll know how to help them. But to do that, you have to listen

Introvert or Extrovert?
Despite what you might think, both can have equal success as networkers. It's just a matter of figuring out where you fall and what you can do about it. If you're an extrovert, you have no trouble talking to people, so learn to listen. If you're an introvert, you love to hear other people's stories, but you need to work on getting your own out there.

12 x 12 x 12

Perception is reality. What do you look like from 12 feet away when you enter a room? Word of mouth is always working--whether it's for or against you--so if you want to be seen as a professional, look the part. What do you look like from 12 inches away? And what are your first 12 words? Do you know your own business well enough to explain your unique selling proposition?

The Time-Confidence Curve
No matter what business you're in, it's going to take you a certain amount of time to establish confidence with consumers. If you're a florist, you're more likely to gain that trust more quickly than if you're a real estate agent or a financial advisor. Regardless of what business you're in, knowing where you fit on this curve is a big part of gaining confidence.