If you are looking to join a Business Networking Group, there are tips and techniques that can enhance your networking experience. In the real estate industry, we can greatly benefit by participating in a networking group. For many agents and mortgage professionals - business networking is essential for the growth of your career. In the current economy, networking also serves as a support group for those looking to ride out the current market. If you have trouble finding the perfect networking group- you can always create you own via Meetup.com, but be prepared to dedicate the time and energy necessary to keep a group going strong.
1. Attend all scheduled meetings, on a consistent basis. It may seem obvious, but as with many things in business, its about "suiting up and showing up" consistently. It may be difficult in these times to stay optimistic, however an important aspect of outlasting a major crisis is simply the ability to "Shift" along with it. Attend scheduled events frequently to gain the most benefit from the group.
2. Be Memorable. First impressions are important, but at a networking event where you are exchanging many business cards- its easy to forget conversations and contacts shortly after. If you have specific branding for your niche, try to incorporate it into your attire or marketing materials. Wear interesting apparel or bright tie. Your appearance is a reflection of your business and profession.
3. Load Your Pockets with Business Cards. This is pretty self explanatory, but there are many times that I have met other professionals who fail to carry business cards. This is a "MUST" for effective networking. You should also bring a notepad and pen in the event that a referral comes your way. You will show the referral source that you are eager and prepared. When given the option to give your information, or to obtain the leads information, always opt for obtaining a leads information so that you are in control of calling them, and not waiting for them to call you.
4. Follow Up. If you have attended a networking event before- then you know you will bring home many business cards. The key is to follow up with those referral sources who are most relevant to your industry. Once you follow up with them, brief them and educate them on how they can help and talk up/sell your business. Once you obtain a lead, follow up with them immediately, preferably in a few hours or the same day. You don't want to risk losing business by not acting in a timely fashion.
5. Treat the Referrer like Gold. Of course you should give 100% to any lead source that comes your way, as you would with every client. However, its important to realize the importance of a good referral source. Send them a small "thank you" gift each time they send a referral your way. Thank them in person and over email/phone when you can. Once you close business, send them yet another small "thank you" gift, card or email. It will keep the relationship on good standing and remind them that you haven't forgotten them.
6. Share Leads. Many professionals are guilty of attending networking events with the intention of generating more business for themselves, and its easy to forget about others expectations. When you join a group, depending on how it is structured, members are attending to build their businesses, just as you are looking to build yours. Remember that "An open hand is ready to receive abundant blessing in return". You need to reach out and give sometimes in order to receive.
Are you located in the Westchester, NY or Fairfield, CT area and looking to join a great networking group? Check out my group "The Westchester Professionals Networking Group".