Many professionals and entrepreneurs know that whatever the current business climate might be, their networking groups are a consistent place for business referrals, resources, and support. Relationships built with like-minded people who want to help each other succeed are the ones that can sustain a business in challenging times.
I’ve heard wonderful stories from people whose investment in building strong relationships has made the difference in their business surviving and even thriving.
However, I am also surprised when those same people who say, “I love my networking group!” are often the ones who consistently attend the meetings alone. Without a visitor. Without inviting a friend to go with them.
I’m hearing a lot of excuses about why professionals who love business networking aren’t inviting other people to enjoy it, too. These are some of the excuses:
‘The economy is not good.’
‘The economy is too good.’
‘I don’t know anyone to invite.’
‘People I invite don’t show up.’
Well, guess what? I’ve been hearing the same excuses for the past 36 years!
Why Invite People to Network with You
If you have received business from your networking groups, you KNOW the benefits of referral marketing. Remember, it’s okay to share. It’s okay to share those business opportunities with others, especially with people that you already know.
Think about every place you do business with – either professionally or personally. THEY may be looking to grow their company or increase their client base. As one of their customers, you obviously know, like, and trust them enough to give them your business, so why not invite them to meet your networking group?
There are enough business opportunities for everyone. When you embrace a Givers Gain® attitude and an abundance mindset, you know that sharing opportunities with others can bring beneficial connections, increased business referrals, and the joy of helping someone else succeed.
When the economy is not good, people are struggling, they may not know where to turn to for help with their business – they need their networking group.
When the economy is good, people need their networking group because their competition is making it difficult for them to be successful. A trusted group of fellow professionals becomes a reliable source of referrals in ALL economies.
Don’t Know Anyone
Guess what? In the early days of BNI® I once said these words, “I don’t have anybody else to invite.” Well, was I wrong! A BNI Member gave me suggestions that helped me find lots of people to invite.
More ideas of who you can take to visit your networking group:
Your company’s vendors
Your company’s customers and clients
Your family and friends
Your neighbors – personal near your home, and work neighbors near your office
People you like. People who are fun. People you care about and want to help.
There are LOTS of people just waiting to meet your networking partners. Invite them.
They Don’t Show Up
“People I invite don’t show up.” That has happened to me. Yes, I’m the Founder of BNI, the world’s largest networking organization, and it has happened to me, too. It’s okay.
Dr. Mark Goulston says, “We have a lot less control over winning or losing at something than we do over trying or quitting something. Always try. You can eventually win. If you always quit, you can never win.”
This is so true. Get over the fear of rejection. Someone who says ‘no thanks’ to your invitation does not diminish your success in any way. Keep inviting. Some will say yes, some will say no. Continue inviting anyway. Keep giving people the opportunity to learn about networking.
Remember, excuses don’t bring results. You can have excuses, or you can have success.
Think back to your first visit with your favorite networking group. Think about the person that let go of their excuses and decided to invite YOU to that meeting.
Whether your business networking is in-person or online, you can extend an invitation to have someone visit the meeting with you.
Give up the excuses and INVITE. You’ll both be glad you did.