What’s that you’re mumbling? You don’t like networking and have no interest, anyway? It drains you? It never works? You don’t have time? You don’t need to? It’s phony, self-serving, fake, inauthentic, superficial, conniving, manipulative, and useless? Hold it right there. Take a sip of water. Pull yourself together. I’m going to give you 17 reasons why you might want to think again…
A quick story…
BNI is the world’s most successful business referral organisation. A couple of months ago the Assistant National Director of BNI Phil Berg came up here to do a couple of trainings for us as a favour. But on the first day we as a team got to have lunch with him and it was…. profound. One of the many tough questions he posed us was: can we consider networking as an income strategy? So he set us that task, to identify how many ways membership of a networking organisation can make you money. We ended up with 17 ways.
Why Networking is important in business
Here’s my theory – we work to earn money to pay for the things we want to do when we’re not at work
Isn’t that true though? We earn money to fund our lifestyle and our family, yes?
You go networking so you can have a team of well trained, motivated introducers who look out and listen out for referrals for you all week, every week.
You often hear figures bandied about by BNI Director Consultants like me and Scott. The average person in our region makes £33,000 a year from their membership. Oh yeah? How? Maybe you’re not making anywhere near that and you’d like to make more, yes?
Are you going to networking events, or are you using networking events?
What are the 17 ways then?
If you’re in business then statistically speaking you’ll know 1000 people. Your phone contacts, Xmas card list, Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections. Average is 1000.
If a visitor join your networking group, then obviously you’re going to see them every week and they’ll learn what you do from your short presentations. But here’s a good question – How are you marketing to the visitors who don’t join?
So let me quickly outline the 17 ways to make money from networking, then you can ask yourself- how many am I doing?
Here you go:
- The referrals you receive – the whole reason you’re here. An opportunity to do business with someone who knows what you do and who’s in the market to buy. Hopefully you get them as a result of your networking efforts. If not, maybe you’re in the wrong group?
- Follow up every visitor to your group > book an appointment to go see them > help them get referrals and you may well end up doing business with them. They’ve met you and know who you are and what you do – and they also know about n1000 people who might need your services.
- 121’s with the members > fastest way to the money through networking. I can learn more about you in 60 minutes than I would in 60 weeks.
- Bring referrals. If you bring referrals to the group, you get referrals from the group
- Bring visitors – they spend on average £1000 with the members. Someone in the room profits from visitors being there.
- A great 60 second presentation > visitors may well book you at the end of the meeting, so if you get a chance to stand up and present, have a prepared script ready so you can blow the doors off the place. Look out for something we’re putting together to help you rock your talk.
- 121’s with the group leaders and organisers. They are working with other groups so have large networks. Or at least they know everyone in the group as they deal with all of them.
- Invite appropriate visitors for the group. Who are they looking for? What industries would be a good fit? If they have a strong wedding and events group, do they have a florist? Or a limo hire company as a member yet? And if there’s going to be a guest speaker, who would be great for them to have in the audience? The right message to the right audience
- If the group is going to have a featured speaker then why not set up a Facebook Event. List it online as far in advance as you can and each day post about it, asking for the right audience to attend. Big up their credentials and stories about them.
- Attend trainings – if your group offers additional skills workshops then you’re in a room of networkers who you might not have met yet.
- Does your group have a new Member quick start training? If so, go along, even if you’ve done it before. You’re sitting next to brand new members. Book a 121!
- Consider volunteering for an organiser role > back to point 7. If your group has a treasurer or social events organiser, that makes you more visible and you have more clout.
- Venues need services – have you approached the group’s venue with your products and services? If not, why not? Have you invited them to visit the group?
- Build your power team > team up with complimentary categories that serve the same customers. One client becomes work for several people. Getting married – florist, jeweller, limo hire, events planner. The trades work well together – a new bathroom is work for the tiler, electrician, decorator. You should be inviting categories that grow your team within your team
- Mentoring a new member. You spend more time with that one person than anyone else. That’s 1000 potential new contacts. So offer to take a rookie under your wing.
- When you introduce a referral during the meeting mention what activity generated it. What triggered it? What were the circumstances, helps us understand the triggers. Trains everyone else to find that member more business.
- Your networking group website built by the resident web person – have a profile of each member, contact details and a visit booking form.
What if you USED networking rather than just going?
Picture yourself adding 1 new income stream to your networking activity
What would happen if you did all 17 of these?
Just suppose you had 50 members in your group sharing £4 million pounds of business between the members. That’s £80,000 each.
back to my story…
So we were sitting having lunch with BNI Assistant National Director Phil berg, and me and Scott had been asked “How many income streams are there in BNI?” Scott went first.
He said the one I was thinking of. But by the time we were done, we had 17.
It’s made me rethink what I’m doing with my weekly networking, and I hope it’s inspired you 🙂
So that’s 17 ways to make money from networking, I’d invite you to ask yourself- how many am I doing? Then add a new one to your weekly activity.
And if you’re currently not in a regular networking group, or you’re not inspired by yours, get in touch and I’ll introduce you to my guys.