This past January I passed ownership of my networking group, NetWorks! Boise, to her new owner. I created this group in October of 2007. I had a good run but I’m also getting a bit long in the tooth and it was time to focus on my other passion, training businesses on how to best leverage Nimble CRM.
NetWorks! was designed to be what I would call an “active networking group”. Its entire purpose is to provide opportunities by way of warm calls and referrals and introductions for its members. Other groups, for example service organizations like Rotary, are more passive. In other words, it’s still networking but not as a focus.
You can put folks into an active networking environment but that does not mean that they will be active networkers. In fact, my experience has shown that most, not all, will approach this opportunity passively and that’s a shame.
What are the characteristics of an active networker?
- You bring leads and, when appropriate referrals, each and every week.
- You meet with other members offsite in an effort to better understand their business and their needs.
- You develop power partner relationships with appropriate members. Power partners are next level networking relationships.
- When you receive a lead or a referral, you thank and you advise on the progress of the opportunity to the giver publicly and privately.
- You earn the right to receive referrals. You don’t just expect them,
- You take every opportunity provided to present to the group.
- You actively take part in building the group by introducing potential new members to the opportunity.
Organized networking opportunities will generally, not always, involve some level of investment of time and money. Because it is an investment, with an expected return, it should not be considered to be a cost.
Furthermore, that dollar investment may be being borne by your employer rather than your personal checkbook. Does this mean that there should be less incentive to maximize returns? It shouldn’t but it often seems to.
I will just say this. Prior to opening my last groups, I had created another group in the early 90’s and I had also belonged to groups run by others. Some of these groups were flat out abysmal but I always, ALWAYS made them pay.
While others were passive networkers, at best, I was always highly active and, as a result, I have personally sold well in excess of $1,000,000 in products as a direct result of my networking efforts. Paid for a lot of dues.
Regardless of whether or not any monetary investment is your responsibility, it is entirely beyond me why you would choose to belong to any networking organization without devoting the needed time and efforts to see it succeed. But, folks are gonna’ do what folks are gonna’ do.
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