Networking is Not working…

networking1Networking is Not working…

I was in a leads group and it was not working for me.” or “I built a social media page and it is not bringing me any new clients“. We hear this all the time and I remain unfazed and steadfast in my convictions of how to begin growing a business or how to take one to the next level. When I am talking to a new client about getting their business out in front of the right people the two main marketing success techniques I deploy are social media and word of mouth. Do not misunderstand, every media and marketing resource (print, banners, media, radio, etc) has its place and purpose. You will hear a different take no matter who you talk to but hands down the numbers do not lie – “WHEN USED CORRECTLY” S.M. & W.O.M. rule when it comes to comparing closing ratios. Now having said that, if you have not experienced the positive results my clients get from using these resources correctly you may have a few doubts.

The secret to real success in marketing is in the way you use it.

So they joined a group and expected money to fall from the sky or they built a social media presence and opened their doors expecting their grand opening post to create a line around the corner.
…and it did not happen.
Why does it work for some and not for others? In a nut shell it is all in the way it is used. In all things there is a level of correct action that is needed, in fact required and the level provided will effect your results. How do you improve your results?
First off just ‘attending’, ‘buying’ or ‘posting’ will not suffice. It is the same with all marketing there is a level of quality, action and engagement that is required for anything to succeed:
No amount of money or exposure will guarantee you paying clients if you do not have all the pieces in place.
Networking is a vital piece to your marketing plan but just joining the best professional network will not guarantee results.

So you have selected the best networking group in town, you are probably asking what next? How do I make this work?beehive
There are steps that must be taken in order to guarantee success. No list is ever complete as for each situation there are evolving needs, but the list below if followed will help you make vast strides towards improving your networking attempts.

  • From the moment you join and every moment thereafter understand this concept: You will not get anything of value if you do not contribute – the more than you put into it the better your return.
  • Choose a group that complements your industry and its needs. Square still does not fit into round.
  • Visit and meet with several members before committing. This is to make sure you are compatible and vice-versa.
  • Before you ask as a new member or guest – give. (reverse roles) If you just met someone and the first thing out of their mouth was a request for a need would you consider that person someone you would want to create a lasting professional relationship with?
  • Understand and comply to the best of your abilities with the structure of the group.  If they meet once a month block your calendar to make sure you are getting and giving your full benefits. If you cannot commit to the requirements of the group check to see if there are ways to offer an exchange.  Some groups allow for makeup sessions or other options for not fulfilling requirements of membership. If you are still not able – think twice before joining.
  • Whatever results you desire out of the group – make sure you are providing on a regular basis.
  • Understanding is key.  Every group will have an eclectic mix of abilities, personalities, commitment levels and benefits. Learning how to work within the variety to draw out the benefits will increase your return levels. One member might have more freedom than the next, one might have more resources and yet another might have more knowledge. Understanding the differences and helping them help you is KEY!
  • Working on your communication skills and using them professionally and in an adult way will increase your return as well.  I have said it many times most children act better than some adults. If there is a misunderstanding refrain from letting your emotions dictate your actions instead stick to the facts and discuss the situation.  It might not work every time but I can guarantee getting heated over a professional misdemeanor will not resolve anything.
  • FOLLOW UP – no matter the results, with not only the person referred to you but the member as well. EVEN if you cannot help – call the referral immediately, then check back with the member to let them know how it went. These are your golden eggs and must be treated better than your best red carpet abilities. If you do not understand this concept – do not join a network group as it will cause you and your business more damage that good.

I hope these tips help you with your networking efforts and if you had given up on this marketing avenue I hope you try again.  Introvert – extrovert it does not matter with the right group, a desire to succeed and effort in action networking is a beautiful as well as fun way to grow your business!

~K.Kirkland