We regularly get asked; “Why would I join a networking group, when we can just pay to attend events elsewhere as and when we want?”
Of course people can network as and when they want without joining a group or groups. We wouldn’t recommend that tactic. But let’s break down using a gym membership as an analogy.
Ask someone why they join a gym. What responses are you likely to get? Something like; to get myself in shape, to make myself stronger, to make myself healthier, to improve myself.
Now, change the word ‘myself’ in those responses to ‘my business’…
Perhaps not complete sense, but you get the idea. The principles are the same.
To get myself healthier – to get my business healthier
Improving the overall health of your business through networking can be in a number of ways.
New business is an obvious way of achieving that. As well as increasing your number of close connections and support network. Building strategic partners and potential referrers. Also friendships.
These will all contribute to the goal of increasing new business opportunities and thus making your business healthier.
To make myself stronger – to make my business stronger
Closely linked to the above. This isn’t just about increasing the number of connections made. It’s how you develop these new relationships to be mutually beneficial.
Business networking is a long-term relationship building exercise. Your approach should be how you can help someone just as importantly as how they can help you. The stronger the relationships, the more likely these are to be fruitful. In terms of help, referrals or even direct new business.
You don’t go to the gym a couple of times and expect a six pack. So you shouldn’t go to networking and expect new business or referrals right away.
To get myself fitter – to get my business fitter
People network for many reasons. Feedback from our members includes how they’ve used their membership to meet people they wouldn’t have otherwise. Learn from other members. Learn about competition. Learn from others who have parted with wisdom to implement in their business – to help it operate better. To help it get ‘fitter.
There are other elements when joining a gym that help you improve yourself. Not just the gym equipment.
The same applies with networking and our membership…
Whether you join a gym or a running club, you will see regular faces and over time begin to get to know them better. Eventually they may even become your training partner.
In networking terms, think of these people as your strategic partners who can complement your network and refer into your company.
We’ve had feedback from members that if they’ve not necessarily had direct new business, they’ve had lots of referred business from people they’ve built relationships with.
Some people need that extra motivation or accountability when it comes to training or going to the gym, right?
The same can apply for networking. We say to our members to view us as the personal trainer to help maximise membership to achieve objectives.
This could include facilitating introductions. Suggesting good people for them to speak to. Marketing support outside of the events. Increasing company awareness and much more.
Like a personal trainer, we will listen to your objectives and tailor our approach accordingly.
They say “you can’t outtrain a bad diet”. That 20% is achieved in the gym and 80% is achieved by good nutrition.
Treat your diet in networking terms as what you outside of the an event. Before and after. Consider this:
- Do you know who is attending?
- Can you connect up with other attendees beforehand?
- Can you identify who you want to meet and contact them?
- Did you meet someone at the event and say you’ll follow up?
We assist with this by sending out the delegate lists to each event a day in advance. We’re on hand to make introductions. Encouraging people to let us know who they want to meet. And if need be, facilitate this post event.
Pre and post networking event activity are crucial to achieving results from your networking.
Bigger health clubs and gyms have multiple sites around the country. Giving members levels of access and flexibility to use different venues, which is the same for us and our members too.
Our number of business clubs and membership levels have proven popular for members to either join multiple groups to actively grow their business into other areas geographically.
You may regularly hear the phrase ‘network with like-minded businesses’. But doesn’t that sound quite generic? A bit ‘buzzwordy’.
Well, when we say it, this is what we mean.
The mindset amongst our members is that of being supportive. It’s an open minded and collaborative approached. Thinking how they can help others. Serious about developing their business by building trusted relationships. Understanding the value in investing in their networking in order to grow.