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Referrals are crucial to building a strong, profitable and thriving business. Referrals given and received are leverage and once in motion, keep perpetuating as long as the relationships with your referral partners are nurtured and strengthened. Business professionals that exchange referrals regularly have taken the time to continue building their relationships so that each person has confidence in the other person, knows they can trust them to follow through and take really good care of the referrals given.

“The VCP Process® describes the process of creation, growth and strengthening of business, professional and personal relationships,” writes Ivan Misner, Chairman of BNI. Understanding this process helps us assess the status of a relationship and where it currently fits in the process of receiving referrals from other business professionals, your customers and clients, as well as friends and family.

And just as a reminder, VCP is the acronym for Visibility, Credibility, Profitability.

Understanding The VCP Process® helps you nurture the growth and health of a relationship, guiding it to become more effective, rewarding and enjoyable. Whether with a potential friend, client, customer, co-worker, vendor, colleague, family member or associate, understanding this process will make it much more rewarding.

For business professionals, the VCP Process® is a referral process, not a sales process. It all starts with Visibility and that means networking.

Many business professionals don’t understand the importance of business networking. They often think it’s a waste of time. However, networking in the business community is a powerful activity and one that, if done regularly, consistently, skillfully and mindfully, will reap sweet rewards.

“Networking at its core is about taking the time to build genuine, trusted relationships,” continues Dr. Misner. Just because you run around all day to networking events, meeting new people, shaking hands, passing out and receiving business cards, does not mean your efforts will get you referrals.

But the process does start with attending business gatherings, such as business mixers, chamber ribbon cuttings, referral group meetings, Toastmasters, and service organizations as often as possible. Showing up and being consistent will help you become visible. Visibility means that people recognize you and usually know your name. But this is just the first step in developing solid relationships that are based in trust and growing confidence in one another. There’s still much work to be done.

The next step is building credibility, the “C” in The VCP Process®.