Friday, January 4, 2008

Networking Groups

Some Of the More Stupid Things I have done along the way:

So there I was the business losing money, staff turnover through the roof – remember I was still searching for the elusive one in seven successful sales people. So I started to grasp at straws – any straws!:

Networking groups

My experience of networking groups is that they can work quite well for sole traders particularly sole traders in trades. For example in the networking group I participated in there was one sub-group that had done very well for themselves – a plumber, carpenter, interior designer, painter. By definition one or other would be on a site – a new build house, an extension on a house, whatever and at the time they might see that the carpentry was unfinished. Hey presto I can recommend a good carpenter etc. etc.

For me referrals were few and far between and invariably very weak, really they just were one (very small!) step up from coldcalls. Also at the start I fond myself inundated with others within the group selling to me.

Part of the meeting that I was involved in required standing to publicly pass the business referrals at the meeting. After countless stand ups saying I have no referrals today and trying to say something nice about the meeting you find yourself buying off others in the group to avoid embarassment.

Then you find others doing the same back to you - so it sort of works! - just not how you want it to.

There are lots and lots of business networking groups out there. Remember these are money making activities and the organiser / umbrella group. Depending on the size of the network they can make lots of money in membership fees from the members. However, this might work for your business and may be worth a look.

So if you can stand getting out of bed early, being sold to by other members, returning regularly depressed then this could be the thing for you. However, if you are a sole trader in the trades then I actually have seen this type of networking group working quite well.

Some of the business meeting groups out there are

BNI, Business Over Breakfast, Small Business Referral Network, Business Referral Exchange but just google and you'll find lots.

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