Doing one-to-one meetings with new networking contacts has become a common practice and if you’ve been to a coffee or sandwich shop lately, you’ll see the phenomenon in abundance. Having participated in more of these than I care to remember, I can tell you that most people come to these appointments completely unprepared. Occasionally someone will check a Linked In profile or even visit a web site. But as far as having an agenda or goals for the meeting, well, not too often. Most of the people who have prepared for the meeting have prepared to sell something to me. But that’s another story.
I like the GAINS Profile approach offered by Dr. Ivan Misner in World’s Best Known Marketing Secret and that we utilize in the Referral Institute. GAINS is an acronym for Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills. Another, popular with some realtors is FORD: Family, Organizations, Recreation, and Dreams. Both can help guide conversation into productive getting-to-know-you information. And I like the idea of GAINS as a verb, as in, “GAINS your referral partners.” It’s also good to remember that GAINS’ing is an on-going process. We all have examples of the bar tender, mechanic, barber, shop owner, fill-in-the-blank, who chats up the customers and makes them feel valuable and appreciated. (Think Matt Capozzi at Capozzi’s NY Deli.)
GAINS is a tactical tool that becomes much more effective when used strategically. As part of an on-going referral marketing effort, it becomes a part of the way you do business. And gathering this information on a continuing basis demonstrates interest and continues rapport building.
Read a book recently, “Click, The Magic of Instant Connections” by Ori and Rom Brafman. They cite 3 critical elements in making connections with others: the VSP model. Hmmmm. (I like the model because it only has 3 elements. After only a few hours of repetition I was able to remember them.) Applying VSP as we GAINS our way through life can make these activities even more effective.