Double The Size Of Your Network Group In Just Five Minutes
It's all about working smarter, not harder ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 21/10/2015 @ 8:00AM
I love it when I see what I advise coming good in practice. That's what it's all about isn't it? No point in teaching the stuff if it doesn't work ...
Get out there and start inviting people to your networking group!
copyright: flynt / 123rf stock photo
I help one of my referral partners and long-time client, Roger Eddowes of Essendon Accounts and Tax run his own networking groups. Now, there's a bit of a history about this, so I'll tell you the whole story and then give you some tips from this experience that you can use in your own networking.
"That way, you'll get a better return on the investment in time and money!"
Roger met me at a networking group meeting over 4 years ago now. The group, which was run by an outside organisation never really got off the ground and a year later just five of us turned up for a meeting and even the organiser wasn't there!
I announced that it was going to be my last meeting and that the only reason I had been turning up was that I liked the business discussions that the five of us had each month.
Upon which the others said "that's the only reason we've been coming too!" So I said "why don't we ditch the organiser and just meet for breakfast?" Roger agreed to do the coordination and Ted Maley organised a venue with a private breakfast room.
I suggested that we used this as an opportunity to invite other people who would be good connections for each other and within 3 months we had grown to over 20 people and had outgrown the room.
Within the year, the group was firmly established as Roger's networking group and he had opened a second group in Towcester as part of his referral marketing strategy.
Now things do change in business and, due to other pressures for most of us and a change in venue, the original group lost momentum. When we met for our September meeting this year we were back to just seven of us again.
So the meeting turned into a session on how to grow the group again! We went back to basics and talked about what we knew worked. As a private business club, we agreed to invite people specifically to meet other members of the group.
It took me less than 5 minutes, in another meeting I was having that day, to invite someone I wanted to introduce to Roger and last week we were back up to 15 people with a buzzy atmosphere of like-minded professional people, and a wealth of opportunities to help each other.
My guest also met several other people who will prove useful to her and has since referred me onto someone she knows who fits my profile of an ideal client.
"What a great result for all of us!"
So as promised earlier, here are some tips for how you can use the referral marketing 'best practice' behind this to increase the return on investment you get from your networking group, whether you run it yourself or just attend.
Keep your mind set as Giver's Gain®
It is all about giving within a strategy so forget about building a group for the sake of building a group, instead keep firmly in your mind "what can I give to these particular people?" Invite people to meet specific people.
Make sure you have a strategy
You're in business so you're allowed to benefit too! You have decided to gain business by referrals. You know you need to surround yourself with people who are willing and able to refer you to your ideal clients. You know you need to be in constant contact with these people to build and maintain that referral relationship. The best way to do this is to meet the majority of them at one regular networking event.
Achieve multiple outcomes
If this one simple activity can help a lot of people, that really is working smarter rather than harder, isn't it? One invitation given in just five short minutes can build your reputation as the person to know because you already know the right people. In return, this will motivate a whole host of people to want to help you. Who are they?
The two people who you are introducing to each other?
The rest of the group?
The larger group will bring more opportunities for them and encourage their guests to come again.
The network organiser?
Their group gains a reputation for getting results and thrives.
This will save you loads of time in the future because these key people in your network are right there in the room with you on a regular basis!
So what's stopping you? Get out there and start inviting people to your networking groups!
And if you're considering starting a group of your own, or just need help improving your referral marketing skills, call me on 07970 638857, let's grab a coffee sometime soon and see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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