I was inspired by a question asked of me by a top producer recently. The question was this: I belong to a referral group that has met once a week for the past 4 months. No sales yet. What could I be missing?
I guess you can see why I didn’t use this as the title. But a great question, nonetheless!
Since I’m not attending the events with him, it’s hard to say what this agent is missing. So, I answered his question with a few more questions. (I’m funny like that.) If you’re a part of a networking group, chamber, association, or whatever, ask yourself the following questions and consider my insight.
1. Are you attending every meeting?
You can’t just show up to networking meetings when you feel like it. (I’m tempted to use the term willy-nilly.) You must be an active and frequent participant. Remember, it’s all about the relationship. If you focus on relationship, the business will be there. And how can you focus on developing relationships if you’re not attending enough meetings?
2. Are you paying attention to other members of the group when they’re speaking?
If the meeting is structured (e.g. a hard contact networking group) and attendees get an opportunity to deliver a presentation (some groups offer 30 seconds or a minute), it’s time for you to take note. Yes, literally take notes so you can follow up on what you’re listening to and see who you need to get to know. Why? So you can help them and they can help you. If you are more focused on the bagels and coffee, there are missed opportunities — for everyone!
3. Are fellow members paying attention to you?
You can only expect this privilege if you pay attention to them. (See above.) That said, you must deliver a meaningful presentation (elevator pitch) that is articulate, a bit entertaining, planned, focused, and with a call to action. A good model I’ve referred to in the past is the PEEC Statement — your Profession, Expertise, Environments (target market), and Call to Action (who you want to meet or be connected to). If you can do this and change it up slightly for every meeting, you’re on your way. (HINT: Costumes and props work well!)
4. Are you meeting with other members one-on-one or in small groups? Why should you do this? So you can learn more about them and their businesses. So you can learn how to refer them business. So you can get to know what they do when they’re not talking business. So you can build solid relationships. So they can get to know you too and refer you lots of business. Focus on the relationship and the business will be there. (Are you seeing a theme?)
5. Are you generating referral business to other members?