28 Aug How to Use Business Networking Groups
Business networking groups such as BNI, LeTip, and Biz to Biz are a great way of effective word-of-mouth marketing and increasing your business connections.
It helps you make new contacts, expand your business experience, learn from others in your field and polish your social skills.
If you already are a member of such a group or intend to join one soon, here are five ways to make the most out of it:
1. Give to gain:
Since you joined a group of networking and not self-promotion, you need to assist others in their needs before expecting them to do the same for you. This can be in the form of a review, a referral, or any other need they might have.
This will help them warm up to you more easily, and they would be more sincerely interested in helping you out too. And this is just the start of your relationship; remember to keep things mutual so that both of you can benefit from each other.
2. Prepare your presentations well in advance:
If you are part of a networking group, you might get chances for short presentations that barely last a minute. You should keep that minute as concise and informative as possible and have a clear agenda and goal of what you wish to achieve by it.
The more generic your presentation is, the less impressive it will be, so stick to one or two very specific things for better results.
3. Market to your network’s sphere:
Since you are all businesspersons here, you will all obviously have a sphere of influence. Instead of targeting your network, targeting their spheres holds greater promise.
Know the individuals in the network and the kind of clients they get, and request for a referral according to that.
4. Follow up properly on the referrals:
If someone sends a referral your way, make sure to follow up and fulfill that referral as best as you can because your credibility can decrease significantly otherwise.
People that are referred also hold great potential of becoming your permanent client or at least letting others know of the quality of your work.
So if you slack off on a referral or keep rejecting whenever one comes your way, you might stop getting referrals at all.
5. Be interactive:
Even if you are an introvert, you will need to get out of your shell in order to generate business properly. Especially if you are part of a networking group, you will need to be amiable and forthcoming for others to open up to you.
A great way to do this is to arrive early at the meetings. This will give you the opportunity to interact with others on a more personal level since there won’t be many people around.
If you aren’t that talkative, you can always ask others about themselves. This way you won’t feel pressured to talk, and the other person will also appreciate your consideration.