Despite the explosion of Social Media, make no mistake about it, there is still a place in the business world for the traditional “Leads Group”. While Social Media is a great tool for reaching out and finding new connections, networking remains very much a contact sport. Nothing can replace getting “nose-to-nose and toes-to-toes”, doing it on a regular schedule, and doing it with the people you have built a relationship with!
Therefore, if you have taken the first step and joined a local group, you might as well take those critical steps that will be necessary in order for you to ensure your success. I recommend a two-stage process which will involve a minimum commitment from you, to the group, of six months. If you are unable or unwilling to follow these suggestions, save yourself both the time and the money and don’t even get started. On the other hand, if you are ready to substantially increase your earnings, please read on …..
Phase I – First 3 Months – You first need to understand that being new in an established group means that you are an unknown to the existing members. Sure, you look nice and seem nice but …. that is not going to get you referrals and grant you immediate access to the other members. Speaking for myself (and for most others), if I am going to refer somebody to one of my valued clients, I need to be 100% confident that my referral will be a positive experience for all involved. If it isn’t, I am the one with the most to lose. These are privileges that must be earned. How do you do that?
- Be at every meeting. Arrive early to network one-on-one and leave late to do the same.
- Show genuine interest in getting to know your fellow members, their business, and what you can do to help them.
- Be sure to bring quality leads to each meeting and try your best to bring referrals and leads for specific members.
- Say “thank you” often and be vocal about acknowledging any success you may have achieved as a part of being in the group or based on help from a specific member(s).
- Do not immediately seek direct assistance from any member, try to get too close straight out of the gate, or ask any member to do business with you directly. This is a definite buzz killer and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to recover. You must earn the right to engage directly with any member. They don’t yet know who you are or what you do or how you do it. Learning that, and developing that comfort level with you, takes time and you must be willing to allow that.
- Be sure to take advantage of whatever tools your group might offer as well as any events that it’s members might participate in.
Phase II – Next 3 Months and Continuing – If you have practiced all of the suggestions found in Phase I and have done so for a minimum of 3 months, you are now ready to take networking with your group to the next level. Of course, this does assume that you are not some sort of dirt bag to being with 🙂
- Continue with all of the best practices that you followed in Phase I. Your consistency in displaying the basics is an absolute must.
- Start to become more vocal about your personal needs and ask the group for their help.
- Seek to engage with individual members outside of the group setting. Coffee or a tasty adult beverage, for example.
- I would strongly suggest that you never approach another member about doing business with you directly. If you are taking care of business on your end, if there is an opportunity for another member to do business with you, they will be happy to bring that directly to you.
- Take advantage of any opportunity you may be presented with to get the members of the group more familiar with you and your business. Most groups will encourage members to sign up to do a 15-20 minute presentation at a scheduled meeting. This presentation may or may not even need to be about your business. It may be about a skill or passion that you have that would be of value to the other members. This also allows you to demonstrate that you are more than just a suit 🙂
- If your group has members assume leadership roles, be thinking about how you may fit into one of these. I’m constantly amazed by how most members will shun these opportunities.
- Always remember that “givers get”. Place your fellow members’ needs above your own and you will also be rewarded in excess of your investment!
Six months! If you practice all of these things and have not seen a substantial increase in your revenues, I would suggest that you have not practiced all of these things. I know that it works! I guarantee that it works!
- How To Network A Room Effectively (encourageblogging.com)
- 5 Reasons Your Business Should be Sponsoring Social Media Events (windmillnetworking.com)