Networking Tip #7 – Choosing the right team
Follow this logic for a bit:
If you are going to get serious about networking, then joining a referral networking group is a good idea.
But, which group is right for you?
Too many people join a networking group simply because they like the people in it. That’s all we’ll and good, but you’re there for the referrals and to build your business. So, it stands to reason that you should check how many referrals are being passed every week. If the group isn’t passing referrals consistently, then they are not a networking group. They are a social club. Since I’m a business coach, I tend to like groups that tract their numbers carefully. That way I know how serious they are about business.
In order for the group to pass you qualified referrals, they need to have a network of customers that fit your target demographic. Take a look at what businesses are members and ask yourself if their client base is also a good fit for you. Does your product or service offering compliment theirs or conflict?
You also need to be able to give referrals in return. So, would your client base have a need for the products or services offered by the other members? Not all, but maybe at least half of the group.
Does this networking group have the right level of structure for you? Is it very loose in the meeting agenda or possibly too strict for your taste. Can you see yourself adjusting to the format or will that always be a source of frustration for you?
What is the cost of membership? This is a touchy question for some people. If your mindset is that you want to spend as little as possible, then I humbly suggest the group you join will have a similar mindset and the referrals you receive will be of similar quality. There are many networking groups who are proud to say that they don’t have any kind of financial commitment for membership. Take a good look at the group. Check the size of its membership. How long do members stay? And, of course, are referrals being passed every week? Often, you will find that low commitment leads to low performance. On the other hand, there are some groups that charge a hefty fee for membership and they still don’t pass many referrals. But, in general, the more commitment that is required, the more serious the members are about passing well-qualified business to each other. By and large, you get what you pay for with networking groups.
Another point to consider is whether the networking group offers education and tools for the members to learn more about networking effectively. Books, videos, articles, newsletters, podcasts, weekly educational moments, public speaking training, etc. can help the members gain confidence in their networking skills.
Still, one more thing is whether the networking group has connections outside of its membership such as, is it part of a larger organization that can help expand your sphere of influence? You may be a local business and don’t care or you may have unlimited geography and this could be helpful.
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If you want some assistance with choosing the right networking group for you, contact me.