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Thursday, March 25, 2010


Being There When It Counts with Rick Itzkowich

There's a good chance that when you’re committed to helping people and giving value -- you will be asked the "How can I help you?" question.

Are you prepared to answer?

Yesterday, I received the following message from a new connection I made on LinkedIn: "Rick, you give first in a BIG way! Thank you for my QuoteActions gift. The example you sent already helped me tonight. How can I help you?" When someone asks you the "How can I help you?" question, you have a great opportunity to get both some help and build your relationship. However, most people FAIL to capitalize on this opportunity.

To understand why it’s imperative you take advantage of this opening, you first must be familiar with the Referral Institute's, Creating Referrals for Life®, VCP model. VCP stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. Simply stated, VCP means that people first need to know you and trust you before they will do business with you.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to attempt to go from Visibility to Profitability without first building Credibility. Ironically, when they do this, they LOSE credibility -- making them much less likely to get to Profitability.

For example, if you sell real estate and I ask you the question, “How may I help you?" and you respond with the following standard answer, "If you know someone who is buying or selling a house, please send them my way." What are the odds I will do this?

The most likely outcome of this scenario is that I'm neither going to help you, nor will our relationship grow as a result of this interaction. Why? Because I don't yet TRUST you enough to be able to refer you business. The “please send people my way to purchase a six-figure home” request is inappropriate for the level of relationship we have. Simply put, it is asking too much, too soon!

By choosing to answer with this stock, inappropriate request, the realtor has wasted a chance to engage in more conversation with me. Unfortunately, my experience is that this type of "off the cuff" response is the norm for most people.

OK. So what can you do instead?

You should be ready to ask for something that I can easily accomplish. For example, think of your three-year old child asking you if they can help you out while you are preparing dinner in the kitchen. You probably wouldn’t say, "Sure. Please take these vegetables and slice them into tiny pieces using the sharp knife over there." You’re more likely to say something like, "Sure honey. Please put this plate on the table right next to the fork and spoon." The latter request will accomplish two things: Your child will give you a little help. More importantly, it will help your child feel good about being able to help you. When this happens, your relationship gets enhanced.

By the way, my response to the person's "How can I help you?" request at the beginning of the article, was to send her a link to my latest article and ask her to write a comment -- which she did. This not only helped me, but it also led to another conversation, which in turn has helped us increase our Visibility AND our Credibility with each other.

So how can I help you?

This month's QuoteAction is by Professor, Dr. Rob Gilbert:

"Stop selling and start helping instead."

Your action is to contact a friend or business associate and offer them your help.

Enjoy an Extraordinary Month!

Click *here* to find out more about QuoteActions and some of the other innovative products and services offered by THE NATIONAL NETWORKER.

As the creator of the QuoteActions, a unique relationship building system, Rick Itzkowich finds his articles, podcasts and blog messages regarding keeping your brand "top of mind" in high demand. His latest eBook, Social Networking for Business Profits, uses cost-effective follow up strategies. Rick is also the Co-founder and Vice President of Productive Learning & Leisure, a personal development training company for corporations and individuals. Rick can be reached at

For more about Rick Itzkowich, please click here.


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Betty Jo Waxman said...

Great article - and so true! I'd like to take it even one step farther: if you know you are going to be in the presence of someone who could do something significant for you, be prepared IN ADVANCE with a specific "ask" should the opportunity present itself. This advice was given to me by Dawn Lyons of the Referral Institute SF Bay and it came in handy when I was asked that exact question, "How can I help you?" by someone who has tremendous reach and credibility. I was able to answer with something specific, and had I not been prepared I would have likely gone blank, bumbled my answer, or asked for something less that what I ideally wanted.

Kerry Wiley BNIMa said...

Thank you Rick. Your quote actions are eerily relevant to my daily challenges. As for this article...I am a member of BNI and I get asked the question, "How can I help you?" all the time. I rarely know how to answer. This article has helped me to understand that this offer does not need to inspire the panic of being offered "only one magic wish". I can use the offers to help build relationship capitol with people who really do want to help me and who I would also like to help. VERY USEFUL. Thank you. You are a networking angel.

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The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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