I attended a networking group with a client this past week. There are currently 32 members in the group and average attendance is close to 80%. He has been a member of the group for nine months and has received only one referral that resulted in business.
My client further shared that he knew the names and businesses of ¾ of the members. My next question was “how do you differentiate yourself”? In developing a marketing plan for a business one of key components is how to differentiate from the rest of the competition. The same principle applies in a networking group, at a social or any other event where you want to be remembered.
Let’s focus on networking groups in this article. If a networking group is well organized, each member should have complete contact information on the entire group. That should include: home address, spouse name and birthday, children’s names and birthday and wedding anniversary. If it’s not available, gather the information yourself. The following are several ways to help you differentiate:
- Send birthday cards to the children, perhaps a small gift.
- Send anniversary and birthday cards to the spouse
- Bring something of value for each member to each meeting: a gift from a vendor, a pertinent article, a magazine subscription ( many professional magazines offer free subscriptions)
- Be the first person to arrive at a meeting and greet everyone.
- Offer a free subscription to your value based e-newsletter.
- Have an after work wine and cheese party at your office
- Invite the group to a breakfast meeting with an important” information sharing” speaker.
- Be proud of your group (if you are not, quit) and take every opportunity to talk about the members and the services they offer. Giving referrals is the best way to be remembered.
- Publish the services available through your referral network in your newsletter or keep it on your web site. List only the service/products available and they will call you to make the introduction.
Like any other marketing effort, consistence has to be there.
If you practice the “principle of differentiation” a networking group will produce the desired results.
Nick J. Petra CFP Our business is growing and I would like to help grow yours .email@example.com