Tuesday, March 24, 2009

R.O.I. for The Branded Networker

American journalist, essayist and satirist, H.L. Mencken once coined an oft-repeated phrase; "Those than can do. Those that can't ... teach".

Mencken believed every community produces only a few people who are “distinguished by their will and personal achievement.” In other words, there are only a few legitimate "experts" out there who have earned their reputations, through their deeds and accomplishments.

As such, an "expert" in personal branding never has to “teach.”

Like Shannon, they simply “do.”

Shannon is one of those people with that rare ability to shift from "consummate business professional" to becoming your "B.F.F." in less time than it takes to compose a text message. Married to Mark, and the mother of two more than active boys, Shannon balances life and career as easily as those gentle summer breezes, returning soon to a backyard deck near you.

Despite being blocked out of every real estate publication in Metro Halifax, Shannon has built her business on a foundation of professional, yet genuine personal networking. Very much involved in her community, Shannon is now using social media to leverage her personal brand in a way that others are beginning to notice. More than 75% of her Halifax-based business with PropertyGuys.com, has come through referrals as Shannon continues to expand and enjoy her Return On Influence.

What is Shannon Gavin's secret to being a successful, Branded Networker?

"Network 'actively' not 'passively'. 'Passive' networking is going to the business to business wine and cheese gorges – which are useless until you are effectively established. Meaning, you have credibility and people will be asking for your card instead of simply trying to do the "biz card exchange shuffle". 'Active' networking is giving back! It is establishing your credibility and trust in your community. You are your brand! Dress well and do a bit of homework. Be prepared to be asked lots of questions about your industry but don't be the one to bring it up. Let that happen organically. The crossover of this relationship will happen on its own with this approach and alleviate the risk of looking or sounding like a Joe Schmo.'Active' networking is getting involved! If you have a good Chamber then it will have committees – join one! Show up (usually once a month) and be engaging around the table. Chose a committee that you like. Volunteer – chose something that means something to you! Volunteering is the best form of networking and will help to establish your R.O.I. (Return on Influence) in your community /territory. It may be for a charity of a planning committee for your municipality, school board etc. Schedule it like you would work and be committed to at least 2-6 hours per month. After all, it is business development".

Lately, Shannon's focus has been on Twitter, where she dialogues with hundreds including Ashton Kutcher, Dave Matthews, John Mayer and Gary Vaynerchuk. About six weeks ago, she engaged in a Twitter conversation with a gentleman who was asking about CMHC stats she had posted about specific neighbourhoods in the Halifax area. A dialogue ensued. With hundreds of others following the on-line exchange, Shannon was able to display her industry expertise, professionalism as well as showcase her PropertyGuys.com brand. The discussion continued to the point where the gentlemen indicated he had a blog about an environmentally responsible home which Shannon researched and commented on. And as of this past weekend, Shannon is now ready to list a property he intends to put up for sale through PropertyGuys.com.

Shannon Gavin is an ideal example of a business professional who has grasped the concept of personal branding and is now taking it to the next level through social media; which has handed anyone (including you) the keys, the car and the gasoline to your future success. At no time in human history have you been more empowered to let your voice and thoughts be heard, as long as you are prepared to invest the time.

Effective personal brands are a mix of reputation, recognition and execution.

You might want to build a brand around:

Being helpful = Shannon Gavin / Chris Brogan.
Being adventurous = Richard Branson / Elizabeth Clark
Being stylish = Martha Stewart
Being luxurious = Donald Trump
Being over the top = David Lee Roth / Pete Luckett
Being innovative = Guy Kawasaki / Tim Ferriss
Being huggable = Jim Gilbert
Being candid = Gary Vaynerchuk
Being approachable = Scott “the Nametag Guy” Ginsberg
Being corny = Janet & Greta Podleski
Being sincere = Bruce MacNaughton / Ron MacLean

Or, being whatever it is that matters most to you.

Naturally, you will have to determine whether you are capable of sustaining that story. And just so we are clear, personal branding isn’t playing a role. It becomes quickly apparent if you’re trying to someone you’re not. Be the only person you can be. Yourself. Don Cherry is the same guy, camera on or off.

Mitch Joel, president of Montreal's Twist Image, is of the opinion "Electronic entities are becoming more important than ever before.Marketing is moving away from the 'how many' to the 'who you are' model." Contributing to a blog is a great way to get noticed, especially if you want to send a message to a blogger's audience and sign it with your name, organization and web address.

Today, the Branded Networker knows that networking is much more than passing out business cards. It involves building and nurturing relationships over time, expecting nothing in return, contributing to conversations in a way that will bring value to others.

How well are you using your talents to help others achieve their goals?

Are you branded as a "go-getter" so people will have faith and trust in you to get the job done, or do others see you as a "go-homer", counting the seconds until quitting time, doing as less as possible in the shortest amount of time?

Have your networking efforts been directed towards building social or monetary equity?

Which of those efforts would most impact your R.O.I. - Return on Influence?

"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own" BOB BURG

p.s... "The Branded Networker" seminar returns to Charlottetown, PEI, this Thursday, March 26, 2009. Here is what Maureen had to say, the last time we made the trip across Confederation Bridge.


1 comment:

Ken LeBlanc said...

Congrats Shannon! You Rock!!!!