Which networking clubs?
Which Networking Clubs?
When you first start up in business most of us need to find new clients.
Unless you are a prolific online guy like well me. Dagnamit I am gonna blow my trumpet here: with 35,000 people engaged in Fans and group members on Facebook, over 2,000 followers on Twitter and 5050 LinkedIn contacts, you better start networking, in fact saying that even with my enviable social media reach I still network twice to three times a week!
Q) What was networking called before there was networking?
Breakfast clubs seem to be the flavour of the moment and BNI (Business Networking International) leading the field here with bleary eyed people meeting for a cholesterol ridden breakfast at various hotels and pubs all over the world, all passing round leads over the table. BNI was started by Ivan Misner in the early eighties and you can hardly go to any capital city worldwide without a BNI club or two.
BNI founder Ivan is very wealthy and many an entrepreneur will say good luck to him, as will I, however the money does drip feed all the way to the top, as it does in all business.
However above anything else. I wish everyone in BNI was not so secret about where all the money goes, it’s kind of obvious!
In the networking fraternity many of the smaller clubs will openly berate BNI’s tactic of pressuring their members to give leads, I have been to many BNI clubs, here and was a member of one in the Far East, and even the most strict of clubs were not that strict.
On the other hand I have seen many BNI wannabe network clubs, where they don’t pass a lead one week to the next, hardly worth going really!
BNI sits in at around £500 per year excluding breakfast fees the smaller clubs may have just as many members and is around 20-30% cheaper, but just make sure you are happy with their discipline and it fits in with your own code and ethics. BNI will boast about how much money they have passed between the members, yes they do, but try to temper that with the fact they are selling a membership to you, and Mr Misner gets richer by the day.
I also have an issue with employees being members of clubs, I have found in my experience that many employees are there to please the boss and are only half interested, when they are given a lead you can see their ears pop up, but when it comes to passing leads to their fellow members it’s a kind of well ‘the boss should be doing this. They rarely buy anything directly from you either, hiding behind the I am not the decision maker excuse. Just watch out for clubs with lots of employees!
My top tip for networking are:
Go to as many as possible at first as a visitor to find the best one for you, there are many different types of characters in these clubs, and you won’t be liked by everyone all the time, but you can get a feel for the clubs, and see where your industry fits in as they will almost all have a ‘lock out policy’ of only one trade per club.
After three weeks of visiting you will be losing the will to live and middle afternoons you will be fighting off the urge for a three hour power nap, and snapping at everyone! once you know where you fit in join, then do a maximum two meets a week, three if one is later on. You can not be creative or even helpful doing more!
Go to sell! But not for yourself, go with an attitude of finding your fellow members leads to your network, then you will see the magic happen, of reciprocation, you will start to get many leads back as people start to trust you and business does get done!
Try to keep a full English breakfast down to twice a week or you may find the that one day if you should cut yourself, and just fried eggs will pour out your veins!
If networking and using Facebook is just to much for your constitution to bear, then sign up for Biz-find leads, we get our members to tell us what they want to buy then we sell these leads to you simple!