Seeking Engagement is Critical for Networking Groupsstring(52) "Seeking Engagement is Critical for Networking Groups"

Engagement involves a promise and an action. To achieve success in your business networking relationships, you and your networking partners must promise to support one another and then take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.

There are several ways to engage in this process and they all begin with a culture of learning – learning effective networking strategies, and learning about the members of the group. 

Get to Know Your Fellow Members

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network? 
  • Have you invested time to educate them on the key benefits of your business so that your products or services will be top of mind when they meet someone with a need for what you offer? 
  • Likewise, have you taken the time to become educated about your networking partners’ businesses so that you can do the same for them?

The more people in your networking group who are engaged in these activities, the more likely it is that the entire group will be generating more referrals for each other. The reason for this is a shared vision of success and a shared implementation of that vision.

Another way to be actively engaged and continuously educated about your fellow members’ businesses is to do regular and consistent individual meetings. I have seen this over and over – business professionals 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 your Unique Selling Proposition?
The best way to ensure your referral sources are going to remember what you do is to focus on communicating your business to them in laser-specific elements. In each of your regular one-to-one meetings, talk about a single key element, product, or benefit of what you do, including how your clients feel AFTER they work with you.

There is research behind my recommendation of reciprocal engagement between you and your referral partners. 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. They state that engagement includes “regular dialogue, quality of working relationships, perceptions of ethos and values of the organization, and recognition.” 

I believe the types of activities I’ve shared in this blog are critical to the long-term success of networking groups and their members. I encourage you to implement and practice these strategies to promote engagement within the membership of your group.

Is There an Emphasis on QUALITY in Your Networking Group?string(57) "Is There an Emphasis on QUALITY in Your Networking Group?"

For a business networking group to be successful and ensure optimum networking results for each of its members, the first thing the group needs to do is make certain they are embracing quality.

Embracing quality means being very selective about who you bring into the group. The only people you should be inviting into the group are quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude and are good at what they do. If an individual does not meet these criteria, they should not be permitted into the group, period.

Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships that are developed within any given networking group. It goes without saying that embracing quality also means building deep relationships among all referral partners in order to generate more referrals. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect. The strongest relationships go deep – far beyond the surface level of only knowing someone’s name and their job.

Another aspect of embracing quality is ensuring high level participation of the members, which means it is crucial that there is accountability within the group. One of the greatest strengths of a good network is that many of the members are friends. One of the biggest weaknesses, however, is that . . . well . . . many of the members are friends. And generally, friends don’t like to hold their friends accountable. You and your fellow members need to remember that the purpose of your group is not to be a friendship club. Your purpose is to be a referral group. To be able to generate quality referrals, all members of the group must hold each other accountable for maintaining quality participation, such as:
– attending each meeting
– upholding the Core Values of the organization
– bringing visitors and sponsoring new members
– being part of the group’s leadership team
– mentoring new members

 Expect the Best

Guess what? If you expect the best from your networking partners, you’ll get it. It is also true that if you expect less than the best from them, you will get that as well.
Why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option? People, like water, tend to seek the path of least resistance. The problem is that the path of least resistance may not be the best choice. Accountability within a networking group will help everyone involved  achieve excellence and get results.

The final part of embracing quality is applying the Givers Gain® philosophy within the networking group. When each member focuses on helping their fellow members achieve goals, gain referrals, and grow business, those fellow members will reciprocate by helping them, too. The more members who live this philosophy, particularly as it relates to business referrals, the more successful a group will be.

Successful business networking happens through the relationships we develop with the people in our networking group. When people get to know, like, and trust each other, they are willing to make introductions and referrals to contacts in their other networks. When networking groups foster a culture of quality, along with expectations and accountability, those referrals can turn into new customers and clients, which add new sales for the members in the group.




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