Business networking groups love to talk about what you gain by giving and how important that is in their cultures, but it all started and comes back to the phrase “Give, Get, Grow…Repeat” ™. Your small business won’t be around long enough unless you figure out how to complete all phases of this simple statement.
When you are networking, you need to start out by giving something of value. That can be using the other persons services or products yourself, engaging in a committee to help out members, or/and sponsoring new members into the group to help it grow. More members mean more business for everyone.
How do you provide goods referrals to others when you are just starting in a new group? It’s the fundamentals. Listen, learn and build relationships. Listen to the needs of others. Learn how they define a good referral for their business. Start building the relationships. Networking is not a hit and run game. You are in this for the long run. The phrase isn’t “Get, Grow, Run”.
How do you build momentum?
How do you build momentum in “giving”? You can’t continuously purchase the goods and services of your networking group. You need to expand where your referrals come from. Do these 4 things and that will start to happen naturally.
- Have your roster handy at all times. The old way was to have printed copies of your networking group names, businesses and addresses that you could hand out or that people could pick up off your desk/counter. This still works, but we live in a digital world. When you introduce someone on your roster, having a picture, bio and short introduction video personalizes that business and makes that small business seem BIG!
- Display the business cards of your networking group around your office or storefront. When you are confident enough to openly display their businesses in yours, people will believe that you must know what you are talking about and have great relationships with them.
- Add a link to your networking groups roster page on your webpage. Again, you want to be a referral source for great businesses in your area, because that makes you more worthwhile to your customers and suppliers.
Time to turn the corner.
You are a practiced “giver”. You will now see that the “getting” side starts to come naturally from everyone else. They have been testing you out by using your products or services themselves, but now your full-blown membership benefits will start kicking in and “growth” is coming.
All that’s left is to “repeat”.
Networking groups are for the long run, not hit and run accidents to build your business. These people will become the lifeblood of long-term growth. In good times and bad. Just ask the people who stuck with their networking groups on Zoom over the past two years what a blessing it was to have a team working with them.