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  • Bob Burg

“A no-nonsense approach to building your business through relationships.”

~ Jane Applegate, syndicated Los Angeles Times columnist

All Things Being Equal…

April 12th, 2010 by Bob Burg

Unlike its stereotype, Networking is not based on hitting up every new person you meet with some clever line about how great your product or service is while slapping a business card into their hand.

I often define Networking as, “The cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships.” The focus is on the “give” part. When doing this correctly, with a genuine caring about the other person, with a focus on their needs, their wants, their desires…and when following a proven system of application, you can truly accelerate both your direct and referral business.

That leads to what I call the “Golden Rule of Networking”, and that is, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

This is — in my opinion — the essence of networking. In fact, if you were to keep only that one sentence in mind whenever meeting or transacting with anyone, you’ll be nine steps ahead in the game…in a ten-step game.

“All things being equal, people will do business with and
refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

In other words, if two or more sellers have a product, price, know-how, or any other determining factor which might come into play that is pretty much the same, or equal, it’s that man or woman who has successfully created the “know, like and trust” relationship with the prospect or referral source who will obtain that sale or referral.

Successful selling has become more relationship-oriented; more relational than transactional. People want to do business that way, and who can blame them? After all, the trust factor between human beings (and especially as it relates to business) is probably at an all-time low. Prospects are worried about being schemed, scammed, taken advantage of, or just not treated right. They want to do business with someone they know, like and trust.

So, obviously, as you know, either from this article or if you’ve ever read any of my books or seen me speak in person, I put a lot of stock in the “Know, like and trust factor.”

However, with that in mind, let me ask you this? Do you think “Know, like and trust is everything? Is there ever a time when it’s not enough?

We’ll explore this in our next article.

25 Responses to “All Things Being Equal…”
  1. Great post Bob. I am just about to post something on networking from the position of giving and not getting. I have picked up The Go-Giver and Seth Godin’s Linchpin which deals with the subject in some detail.

    All the very best.

  2. **Jeannie said at 6:47 am on

    Bob, I know of you through Paul V. Harris.
    Thank you for this reminder. I do agree that selling still has a lot to do with relationships and trust. And I thought this was over.


  3. Bob, thanks for this reminder. I will share it with my networking club for our meetup tonight. We have a monthly Beer and Wings event and some of our members are not coming because of the “slap in the face” with a business card. This reminder is timely, especially as I read Go Givers Sell More.

    You are a leader and a mentor my friend…

    Stuart Crawford
    ULISTIC Inc.

  4. Steve Boyett said at 8:15 am on

    Bob, thanks for this post. Too often, networking becomes a self-promotion plan. Keep up the great work and posts!

  5. Beth Bridges said at 10:22 am on

    Hi Bob,

    I think that “know, like, and trust” is ‘enough’ the vast majority of the time. On occasion, the price difference is just too much to overcome, the service isn’t needed and very rarely, you know and like someone a great deal, but you just don’t trust the quality of their product.

    It is “enough” so much of the time that you would be foolish to ignore or discount it. Then, once you find yourself well-liked, appreciated, and trusted but still not making the sales you think you should, then examine your product/service.

    Thank you Bob, what a great question to ask.

    Beth Bridges
    The Networking Motivator ™

  6. Bob Burg said at 1:18 pm on

    Hi Julian. Thank you for your comment. Not sure I’m understanding what you mean when you say “not getting.” While the focus should always be on giving (i.e., adding value to the other person), if by “getting” you mean “receiving”…receiving is the natural result of giving. Again, focus on providing value to the other, and without “emotional attachment” to receiving, but be careful about denying the receiving aspect, as though something about it is not righteous. That’s the “treacherous dichotomy” or “false dilemma” that John David Mann and I discuss in Go-Givers Sell More.

    Hi Jeannie, great to know you are friends with Paul. He’s a great guy with very terrific information.

    Thank you Stuart. Tell everyone there I said hello!

    Steve, thank you, my friend. I always appreciate your kind words.

  7. Bob Burg said at 1:25 pm on

    Beth, my apologies. Did not mean to skip over your excellent comment. Yes, that’s what we’ll take a look at tomorrow. Sometimes there are specific aspects of the situation that “are what they are” and will even trump “know, like and trust.” And price is only one of them. We’ll look at it more tomorrow. Of course, being the professional networker you already are, this is something you teach. I LOVE your second paragraph! In fact, we can take it the opposite way, as well. If you know you have a tremendous product or service and there is definitely a “want, need and desire” for it and you’re not making sales, it’s time to examine whether or not people know, like and trust you. Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your sharing your wisdom with us.

  8. Geneva said at 3:19 pm on

    Thank you Bob,
    I love this:”Successful selling has become more relationship-oriented; more relational than transactional.”

    I was returning something at a dept. store yesterday and the “Customer Service” person barely said, “Thank You” after the transaction was over. One would ask, “Well why didn’t you start a conversation?” I usually do, except when I want to do an occasional experiment.

    What are their chances of me continuing to purchase products from that store? I am not going to base my shopping experience on what that one person did or didn’t do.
    When you think about the fact that the consumer knows more about what they are shopping for than some of the employees, the only thing said employees are required to provide is excellence. Often the checkers, or CSR’s are the front line of a particular store, just as distributors, etc are front-line for networking. Know, like, & trust are critical elements one should never get enough of & never stop striving to reciprocate. In my particular case, I have to understand they “know” the service I receive is valuable, I “like” the service I receive & “trust” they will represent, not just their products/services, but themselves.
    What is the saying, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care?

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