Everyone who is in business wants to do well. Successful entrepreneurs and professionals understand the importance of a strong network to help their business grow. However, building a strong network is an investment of time – time to build relationships and time to educate fellow networkers about what you do and who are your best customers.
There is also the investment of time in ourselves; we need to be really clear about our own target market which will help us identify our Contact Spheres, and then help us to strategically develop our Power Team.
What is your target market? Most simply defined, it is the specific set of clients whose needs you are trying to meet with your business. Instead of trying to sell to everyone, focus on those people who have the greatest potential to need or desire your products and services. When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being very little to anyone.
Many people struggle with identifying exactly what their target market is and are often too general when talking about it. A good starting point is to have a clear understanding of who your ideal customers are. Look at your past sales to identify the types of clients that are the best fit for what you want to do. Most businesses have a couple of specific target markets for the services or products they provide.
A Contact Sphere is a group of business professionals who have a symbiotic relationship. They are in compatible, non-competitive professions. For instance: event planner, caterer, photographer, florist, and travel agent. I recently talked with my good
friend Tom Fleming, who has been involved with BNI® since 1996, about Contact Spheres and Power Teams. He shared his definition of a Contact Sphere:
Those companies in non-competing industries that serve the exact same target market that you have, which means their client list is a list of potential customers for you, too.
Tom said he thinks that the concept of Contact Sphere is a noun. It’s that list of industries that don’t compete with you but serve that same target market. And a Power Team is that Contact Sphere in action. So, he thinks of Power Teams as a verb.
I also view them as concentric circles, where the Contact Sphere is all the potential people that you could be working with, and the Power Team is the people that you are actually working with.
A Power Team is a group of people that are in complimentary professions. They work with the same client without taking business away from each other. How do you build your Power Team? The first step is to get to know the people in your Contact Sphere and get to know their industries. Begin to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them. It’s important to find out as much as possible about these potential referral partners so that you can send them the type of business they are looking for. You can find a list of 10 questions to ask your Power Team partner here.
Successful Power Teams recognize that they need structure – preset meeting days, times, and locations – at least twice a month, with an agenda for the meeting. They have accountability and engagement, too. Are people showing up to the Power Team meeting and are they participating? Are they engaged in proactively generating referrals for other people on the Power Team? Effective Power Teams also have leadership and communication. Tom shares a link to a Power Team meeting agenda in BNI Podcast #775.
Start with defining a target market to be able to give your referral partners a mental picture of the best customer to refer to you. Then identify all of the professions and industries who share that target market, and who are not your competitors, to build your Contact Sphere. A Power Team is where you put the Contact Sphere to work. You work together with intention and commitment, to help each other by identifying referrals and connecting those referrals to fellow Power Team members.
Are you part of a Power Team? I’d love to hear your success stories.
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