No new members of networking clubs, leads or tips groups, etc. should be un-vetted!
Vetting; Verb. – Pertaining to an investigation. Vetting is a process of examination and evaluation, generally referring to performing a background check on someone before offering him or her employment, conferring an award, etc. A thorough and diligent review of a prospective person or project prior to a hiring or investment decision. Investigate (someone) thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.
Never recommend a new member (or a business) unless you know them and trust them. Finding talented people to include in your network is a talent unto itself. This hunt should be energizing, exciting and inclusive of many different people to serve all the member’s needs.
If you are going to take business networking seriously, then all members should be screened and vetted. How can you truly support or refer someone you don’t know very well (or trust)? It wouldn’t hurt to talk to their past customers, and business associates. Why so picky? There is so much at stake. Why? Because every time you refer someone in your group to someone else you stake your reputation on their performance. Never underestimate how bad performance reflects upon you. A vetted connector is a powerful connector and powerful connectors network better together.
Rather than leaving it to chance, you’re much better off vetting your new members. Form a special committee of three or five members to screen the applications of new members. Develop some guidelines and stick to them. Trusting your fellow networkers helps you establish solid business relationships which helps in the development and exchange of quality business referrals.
The comprehensive nature of vetting will sometime include private investigation services and social networking monitoring to ensure an accurate profile and honorable reputation of the person being considered for membership. What is their reputational capital? Vetting requirements give the group the ability to make the claim that their members are honorable and trustworthy.
From a new member’s point of view vetting will cause them to think twice about using techniques that might be frowned upon by the group. It demonstrates the groups reliance on professional standards. It helps weed out the losers. When you make it a little harder to join the group, in general, people become more interested. Very few groups go to the trouble of vetting new members. That’s exactly why your group might want to consider doing it. It will help develop dedicated business bonds with others in your group.
A close alliance with all members – not just the new ones – that reduces rogue behavior and benefits many should be what you are looking for. The objective is to protect, support, serve and reassure your members that the reputations of all members are checked before they can join the group.
To me it’s a selling point when I refer someone to my friends. I can honestly say, “I work with a network of trusted, vetted and elite business professionals whose integrity is assured.”
I know to some this may seem extreme. Why is vetting important? Because we want to know that the new member is who they say they are. I started 10 business networking groups when I lived in Tulsa many years ago. All of our members were vetted before they could join – they had to provide references which were all checked before their membership was accepted and approved. What that meant to the group was that every single member could be trusted and recommended with complete confidence.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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