This post is specifically geared toward a question that I receive regularly about how to integrate networking into the marketing plans of companies or those in business development. Once you find a group that you’ve identified to be a good fit within your target market, how do you gain the best results? How do you prosper within this networking environment?
We’ll go over the goals or results you want to get both from giving to the group and receiving from the group. Remember that it’s important to have goals for both of these. Only worrying about what you receive and not at all about giving back is not the mark of a good networker. So keep that in mind as we get started.
First and foremost, decide on a timeframe for your goals. For example, six months from now. Within that time frame, what are the results you want in terms of using other people’s products or services? How many group members’ products or services do you want to adopt? The second question is, how much do you want to receive from the others in the group? How many of them would you like to convert into customers? These numbers can be either dollar amounts, or headcounts.
Next up is outside referrals. How many outside referrals do you want to give to the group? So these would be people in your network, such as friends, family, and colleagues who could potentially benefit from the products and services offered by the other group members. Once you have that number thought out, also think about how much you want to receive in terms of outside referrals. Again, you can think of these figures in dollars or headcounts.
The third thing we’ll look at is relational goals. This goes hand-in-hand with both giving and receiving. How many one-on-ones do you want to do during your chosen timeframe? What is the specific number you should shoot for? One-on-one meetings allow you to get to know other businesses on a deeper level. During these meetings, strive to understand the core of each business, as well as the owner and what type of referrals are ideal for them.
Finally, what are the other, perhaps financially intangible, results you want to receive? These could be giving or receiving. An example would be improving your public speaking skills. Or perhaps, as you go to these networking meetings, you learn to stick to a schedule better. Or maybe you like to socialize, and the meetings are just something you want to do for fun. Those are all intangible results for being involved in a networking group. Decide which results you’d like to see and how many, and go from there.
I challenge you to take action on this today, and have fun doing it.