Are you a part of a networking group? How did you decide on which one to join?
I personally hate the concept of networking groups because of the notion that you attend these meetings to sell yourself and your services. Too frequently I’ve arrived at a leads group with one too many sales guy personas – you know the type, leans back in their chair, disregards your needs, and goes on about how they are the best of the best? Yea, I see one of those and run for the hills.
How do you find a group that focuses on relationships?
If you have the time and personality, absolutely start one yourself. Build your tribe from the ground up while focusing on the success of others. Or, if you are more of an introvert, set out to attend different groups in your area until you find one that feels right.
A client first introduced me to the BNI group I’ve taken leadership roles in and immediately I got the sense that this group was different. From the conscious disregard of some BNI policies to the personal friendships that have blossomed, this networking group has turned into one of the lifelines of my business!
Other groups I’ve been a part of didn’t quite feel authentic or never lead to true business being passed.
What does it take to get business from a RELATIONSHIP networking group?
Commitment. Hands down being committed to your networking group is the way to get business. For members within the group I share as much information as each individual needs (within reason) to excel at their marketing. Through doing this, some folks have jumped right into their social media profiles while other take one look at me and ask how much it will be for BIMS to manage their accounts.
The main goal of networking should be gaining access to members’ networks.
Within our group, typically 75% of the business passed is to outside referrals, which means we are introducing each other to people not in the group. Though many of the members have hired our team, we currently have a handful of 4th tier referrals (e.g. a referral from a member, passed a referral, who then introduced us to another business). Rather than the small project from the first referral being the end all be all, our team strives to exceed expectations so that our clients want to introduce us to the other business owners they know!
Have you started your own networking or MeetUp group or have you been constantly let down by groups filled with the typical salesman? I’d love to hear your experiences below!