Engagement is an absolutely critical step in the networking process. It involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success in your group of networking relationships, you and your relationships must promise to support one another and then take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.
There are many ways that you can become engaged. Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network? Have you taken the time to educate them regularly on the key features of your business so that your products or services will be top of mind in the event they meet someone with a need for what you supply? Have you taken the time to become educated on the key features of your networking relationships’ businesses so that you can do the same?
The higher the number of people in your network who are engaged in these activities, the more likely it is that the entire group will be generating more referrals. The reason for this is a shared vision of success and a shared implementation of that vision.
Another way to be actively engaged and educated about each others’ businesses is to do regular and consistent meetings. Over and over, I see that business owners who have regular one-to-one meetings with their business networking relationships tend to both give AND get more referrals.
Lastly, are you focusing on what your going to say about your business when you meet with people? The best way to ensure your referral sources are going to remember what you do is to focus on communicating your business to them by breaking it down into laser-specific elements. Sharp-shoot your pitch, don’t shotgun it. In each of your regular one-to-one meetings, talk about one key element, product, or benefit of what you do.
According to Psychology Today, research has found that people who are “actively engaged” in a business environment are “43% more productive” than those who are not. Furthermore, they state that engagement includes “regular dialogue, quality of working relationships, perceptions of ethos and values of the organization, and recognition.” There’s research behind my recommending reciprocal engagement between you and your referral partners. In fact, it’s critical to your success–and theirs.
This week, think about new ways in which you can support your networking partners in order to promote engagement within your networking group. I’d love to hear what ideas you come up with so please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!