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.