Looking for the Right Networking Group? Look for Power Partners!
I just dumped my networking group—a really hard decision for me, but like all
hard decisions, once it’s made, you wonder why you waited so long and why in the hell you agonized over this. Looking for the Right Networking Group? Look for Power Partners!
Networking: How else do you generate business/meet potential new clients?
I started my business five years ago in the worst economy known to man, and if I hadn’t networked, I wouldn’t have had a business. My first networking group was a wonderful support system—these entrepreneurs and small business colleagues were struggling with the same challenges and frustrations that I was. Besides getting business from this group, I was grateful for the friendships and intangible benefits—I gained confidence in myself as an industry expert, learned to give presentations and became poised and polished in front of groups. Like many good things, the good times didn’t last and it took me too long to recognize this and move on. Yet two of my best friends are people from that group—you build strong relationships when you meet every week and share the details of your life.
I was looking for power partners
I realized that what I wanted was power partners. Strategic alliances. People whose clients were my clients. In my old group, a mortgage broker, real estate agent and financial guy passed clients back and forth like hot potatoes. There was also a trades component—a plumber, painter, contractor and electrician—who were great power partners and always included each other on their projects and made each other a lot of money. I’m a team player and I wanted one of these relationships.
My power partners: web developers and business coaches
I joined another weekly networking group more than a year ago. I’m building a niche writing SEO web content, and good power partners for me are web developers. There was a web developer in this group and I gave him 4 referrals. In a year’s time, he gave me 0. Other good power partners for me are business coaches. They’re helping people reengineer their businesses, and they’ve got to need some help with their marketing, right? I gave the business coach 3 referrals; he gave me 0. After about 6 months, I started to like this group a lot less; at 8 months, I wasn’t buying into their smug sense of community. A few more months and I just didn’t come back—no grandstanding. Just a few words to the web designer/president that it wasn’t working for me.
I found a power partner!
I’ve found a power partner. A business coach, his clients need help with their marketing—which is, after all, what I do. Websites, newsletters, print materials, blogs and marketing strategies. I love working with him and I’m delighted with his referrals. Now, what can I do for him? I’m working with a couple of clients right now for whom I’m developing and implementing some marketing efforts. I think they could benefit from working with a business coach—he has a proven track record of helping his clients work fewer hours and make more money.
All I want is an introduction . . .
What I can do is introduce them and let him take it from there. And really, this is all I wanted from the developer and coach in my old group—just an intro—the rest is up to me. Let me start a dialog, meet for coffee, stay in touch. This may not be the right time or they may not have the money, but an introduction/recommendation from a trusted colleague is a great way to get your foot in the door. Sometimes I think we get a little too hung up on this whole business of referrals. Instead, think “introduction”. This is the beginning of the sales cycle and if you’re savvy, you’ll take it from there.
Need help with getting introductions to potential clients? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re marketing experts.