Networking Skills: Has Your Pond Dried Up?
More tales from the front line of networking ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 15/05/2019 @ 8:00AM
During a recent conversation over breakfast, my networking partner said, ''I'm thinking of changing my networking group Jacky. The first year I got lots of business and now I get hardly any at all. It's dried up'' ...
Good networking skills will show you what to do if you feel your pond has dried up!
photo by ken treloar on unsplash
He was right of course. It is time to review what is happening, but not necessarily time to move on. After all, unless he examines the cause, he is likely to repeat the same mistakes.
"Here are some of the reasons this may happen. Some of
them of his making, but not always!"
Where to start? Well, let's start where he was coming from. "The group is wrong for me, I'm hard to refer." Well if he got work the first year then at that time the group wasn't finding it hard to refer him, was it?
So, what's different about the group now? Has the dynamic in the group changed? Every networking group has its own energy and atmosphere which is generated by the people in the room. No matter what the format is, the result will depend on the chemistry between this particular mix of people.
So, have key people left? Is the group being led by a different person or people? Have new members arrived with a different agenda or emphasis? Not everyone goes networking to give referrals.
Which brings me to the second point about the group dynamic. Maybe it hasn't changed, but he had never realised it. It turned out that the referrals he was receiving were not referrals at all, they were sales. He spent the first year selling to the room and members bought from him. By the second year, he had exhausted the supply of members who needed or wanted his services.
I'll come back to how his own behaviour contributed to that, but first, let's look at the culture of this particular group. Is the same happening for most other people in that group? Has the group got an internal economy such as sales between members is the primary expectation of this group? So, for members of this group, people started buying his services. This is quite normal and sensible for established members, who may try you out first before referring you.
An externally focused group will then begin introductions to their wider network. So, when assessing a group, notice if the flow of business around other members is wider than just buying from each other.
"Now, if others are getting external referrals and you're not, it's time to examine your own behaviour!"
Let's start with the most obvious reason: others have tried you out. Were they thrilled with your service? Did they get the results they wanted and expected? Did you treat them as your best clients and go the extra mile to give them a great experience? How do you know?
Secondly, are you introducing them to people you know? Nothing will motivate people to give more than when you gave to them first. So, go through the membership of the group and look at how often you have introduced them to their ideal clients. If you haven't then now would be a good time to start.
Even when you and the others in the group want to refer to each other, there is a myriad of reasons why it just doesn't happen. Much too much for a single blog post ... so invest in your own education to find out what is making your networking group (your pond) dry up. It may not be what you think it is.
So, sign up for my weekly blog delivered direct to your inbox on more tips (see the form at the top of the screen?) then book a no-obligation call with me to talk through what you are doing (or not doing) that will keep your pond topped up, and stop it from drying up!
If you would you like to learn more networking skills, do give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's 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 “aha” 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!
More blog posts for you to enjoy ...