Reasons To Join A Networking Referral Group
If you are a small business owner, have you ever considered joining a Networking Referral Group? Just about every community has a networking organization where business people and entrepreneurs meet and try to build their businesses. The networking group offers a lot of benefits for your business. By joining one of these groups, which is a nominal fee, you have the opportunity to meet with some really great people within your community and form business alliances. I belong to a group called Tiger Networking and since I joined a few months ago, my business has increased. I highly recommend joining any group that build business relationships for you. Below are five benefits that you gain by joining one of these groups… This article was originally published by this author, James Fowler, on www.myfivebest.com.
One of the hardest ways to make a sale is through a cold call. It is estimated that only one percent of cold calls actually work. The reason? You have to catch someone at the exact time they are ready to make a purchase. Cold calls take up a lot of time with very little payoff. A proven method of making a sale is through an introduction or a referral. In fact you can increase your chances of a sale up to 90% of the time with these methods. This is where a networking group has its strength. They become an additional sales force for you. You, in turn, return the favor by suggesting them to people that might need their services. For instance, you might come across someone in your day-to-day business dealings who is in need of a plumber. There is a plumber in your group, so you would hand off their card to this person. They will call the plumber because you are someone they know and respect and you suggested the plumber to them.
It is sometimes hard for people to find your business. It isn’t because of a lack of advertising, or you aren’t getting the right word of mouth. It is because you aren’t exposing yourself to the right types of people who can get you the clientele that you need. This is where the networking group really shines. Each week you have the opportunity to stand up, tell the people in the group and their guests about your business. In some groups, like the one I belong to, there is a second round where you can talk about any promotions you have going on for the week or what you are looking for. This is usually the time when people pass out leads that they have for you to follow up upon. That’s really amazing! They hand out information to people who may be interested in YOUR business!
Most of the Networking Referral groups also have a web site that lets you explain what your business is about. Some even have brochures or booklets with this information, as well. Having your web site listed on another web site can sometimes be difficult to do, but with a networking group, it comes par for the course. Why is this important you may be asking? Because it is another link leading people to your web site. This is part of what is known as search engine optimization (SEO). An easy way to understand why more links are important is to think of your web site as a needle in a haystack known as the World Wide Web. That’s a lot of straw! So what is a way of being found in that haystack? Put out more needles (i.e. links to your web site) for people to find. Listings like these are a way of going about doing this.
Another benefit of belonging to a networking organization is becoming a power partner. I have talked about these in the past with a concept called N.E.E.R.s (Naturally Existing Economic Relationships). It is a way for people who have similar, but not exact businesses, to push business towards the other. In our group, I am a web guy. I have partnered up with a technology firm that kills computer viruses and creates hardware configurations for business. It’s a good match. There are many options here. A mortgage broker can team up with a real estate company, a sign maker can align themselves with a printing company, and so on and so on. It doesn’t even have to be two businesspeople. More could be added and the more that you have, the more business you will acquire.
I don’t know how many business people I have spoken with that can’t tell you what they do or what they are looking for. They stumble and bumble their way through their introduction to you and ruin that important first impression. Either that, or they give you a completely canned and obviously-memorized, sing-song tagline that is hard to be taken seriously. The sales pitch – or the “30 second elevator speech” – is often the only chance you get when you meet a new customer. It is called the elevator speech because it is supposed to be a clear, concise summary of what you are trying to accomplish in your business. The origin of the term is not known, but is believed to be American in origin, since elevators are called “lifts” in other English-speaking countries. Where can you perfect your elevator speech? In a Networking Referral group! You give one or two of them in every meeting and of course, with practice comes perfection…