I’m a big proponent of networking. Not only is it a fabulous way to meet like-minded business owners like yourself, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to receive quality leads and referrals.
The key to success in any networking group is easy: commitment. Be an active, professional, engaging member that contributes to and respects your fellow networkers by supporting them.
Sound familiar does it?
It should because just like in business (or sales), networking all comes down to relationship building (in July I wrote about cultivating quality relationships, be sure to check it out). Everyone knows we want to do business with people we know, like and trust, so what better way to attract new clients than from people you ALREADY know, like and trust?!
With all of the options out there how do you decide which networking group you should join?
Well, start by asking yourself a few questions…
- What do I want to accomplish by joining a networking group?
- Am I willing to refer other business owners to my family/friends?
- Do I have the time to commit to this group?
- Do the members of a prospective group align with your values and beliefs?
A few mistakes I’ve noticed at some of the groups I’m familiar with…
- People don’t view the meetings as a commitment. If you want to see results (gain leads/referrals/do business) you need to put the time in! Just like any other business meeting, put your weekly, monthly, whatever the frequency, networking group on the calendar.
- Taking calls and checking their phone constantly throughout the meeting. Would you rudely pull up your email or text messages in front of a client during a scheduled meeting? No way! So don’t do it when you’re amongst your peers, it’s just being a good professional. As my mentor says (she wrote a book with this title), “They Way You Do Anything, Is the Way You Do Everything”. Realize that how you show up at networking meetings is a direct reflection of how you show up elsewhere, including with referrals.
- Don’t be a lame referral source. Some newbies join and are all hyped up and excited to do business so they write up leads for everyone and their brother. Only those leads are dead ends. Make sure you leads are genuine business opportunities for someone and the person you write down on the form is actually expecting a phone call.
In the end, networking and the act of giving out referrals to those trusted professionals you’ve cultivated relationships with is just good business karma. You are creating a win/win/win for your network, the business owner receiving the lead and yourself as being a great connector.
What you get out of a networking group is typically in direct proportion to what you give. Just remember to give in the spirit of giving, not giving to get.
Have you had success with networking groups? Do you think they are worth the time and efforts?
In the meantime let’s chat! Sign up for a complimentary Strategy Call and let’s get you grounded and ready for your best year yet in 2016!
To Your Continued and Ever Growing Success,