As a membership networking organisation, we regularly get asked, “why join a networking group, when we can just pay to attend events elsewhere as and when we want?”
Now of course people can network as and when they want without joining a group or groups, but with it being the New Year, let’s break down our typical response to this question in a more relevant way – by comparing a gym membership for your health to a networking membership for your business.
If you were to ask someone why they join a gym, what are the answers you’re going to get? Something like; to get myself fitter, to make myself stronger, to make myself healthier, to improve myself.
Now, reword those answers changing the word ‘myself’ to ‘my business’…
Obviously, it doesn’t make complete sense, but the principles are the same:
To get myself healthier – to get my business healthier
To improve the overall health of your business through networking can be in a number of ways. Obviously direct new business is the number one priority (in most cases), however increasing your number of close connections, strategic partners and potential referrers will all contribute to the goal of increasing new business opportunities to make your business healthier.
To make myself stronger – to make my business stronger
Closely linked to the above, but this isn’t just about increasing the number of connections made, but how you develop these new relationships to be mutually beneficial. As a long-term relationship building exercise, business networking should be viewed about what you can do for someone just as importantly as what they can potentially do for you. The stronger the relationships, the more likely they are to help, refer or even give business.
To get myself fitter – to get my business fitter
People network for many reasons, with feedback from our members including how they’ve used their membership to not just meet new people, but to learn from other members, learn about competition, and from various people who have parted with wisdom to implement in their business – to help it operate better.
Joining a gym will also unearth opportunities to assist with improving yourself, aside from just using the gym equipment. The same applies with our membership and business clubs…
Whether you join a gym or a running club, you will see regular faces and over time begin to get to know them better, and 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 they’ve not necessarily had direct new business, but they’ve had lots of referred business from people they’ve built relationships with.
Some people just need that extra motivation or accountability when it comes to training or going to the gym, right? The same can apply for networking, and we can be viewed as the personal trainer for our members for them to maximise membership to help achieve results. This could be from facilitating introductions, suggesting good people for them to speak to, to marketing support outside of the events to increase company awareness, and much more.
They say that to achieve your health and fitness goals, 80% of this is achieved outside of the gym based around your nutrition. Treat your diet in networking terms as what you are doing before and after they event. Do you know who is attending? Have you met someone and said you’ll follow up? Was someone there that you wanted to meet but didn’t get a chance to? This is something we assist with by sending out the delegate lists to each event in advance, being on hand to make introductions, and facilitate this post event too. Pre and post networking event activity are both part of the long-term plan to achieve your goal.
Much like some of the bigger health clubs and gyms, many have multiple sites around the country, giving members levels of access to use facilities, which is the same for us and our members too. With a growing number of business clubs, our different membership levels have proven popular for members to either join multiple groups to actively grow their business into other areas geographically or allowing them to attend other groups as they like on a pay as you go basis at their convenience.
You regularly hear the phrase ‘network with like-minded businesses’, but doesn’t that seem quite generic? Well, when we say it, this is what we mean. The mindset amongst our members is that of being supportive, progressive and forward thinking, serious about developing their business by building trusted relationships, and understanding the value in investing in their networking in order to grow.
We all know those people that go to the gym once and never go back because they don’t see results straight away. The same can be said with your networking! To this day, it still baffles me when I arrange a follow up call or meeting with a first-time visitor to one of our events and their response is, “the event was great, but I haven’t had any new business from it yet so I don’t think it’s for us.” At least at this point, we establish this person or company is perhaps not the right fit for our membership and not of the like-minded mindset of our members!
Are you ready to invest in your business networking in 2019 much like your body and health? Get in touch to discuss our various membership options and to arrange attending as a visitor to one of our many upcoming events to try it out for yourself!