It has been said that 80 percent of business today comes from referrals. People want to do business with people they know, like, trust and respect. I believe that with all my heart.
Because I believe that one of the best venues for developing strong referral relationships is at a leads exchange group, and because of my roots in that arena I am asked all the time about different groups
and how to select the “right” group. This is what I always say:
Talk to the members and ask
Is there a large turnover rate?–why?
Is it producing results or is it just a koffee klatch?
What do they like/dislike about the group?
What have they learned since joining?
How, besides receiving leads, have they benefited?
Do they feel their best interests are being looked after?
Look at the fees
How do the fees compare with traditional methods of advertising? Ask yourself if it is cost effective,–not, “is it expensive?” Everyone seems to know the cost of things, but not their value.
Consider the group’s structure
Some people like structure, some don’t. The structured groups, which usually meet weekly, and allow only one person per occupation to join, tend to produce the most results, and keep members focused on finding qualified leads for one another. Consider if the structure suits your personality. Will you be able to adhere to the rules and regulations?
Check to see if there is an opportunity for you to take on a leadership role. This is really important as it gives you the chance to show off how you do things. You will be seen as a leader and a good source of leads, which, in turn, will bring leads to you. Do an amazing job as a volunteer, and people will assume you’ll do an amazing job in your professional life, too.
Be honest about your level of commitment
Will you be able to attend the meetings regularly? Regular attendance is important for two reasons. First, it gives you the opportunity to reinforce who you are and what you do over and over again so that when someone in the group is in the market for your product or service, you will be the first person they think of. Secondly, regular attendance shows you care about the OTHER members and their business growth. If you’re not there to hear the presentations of the other members, what kind of a signal do you think you’re sending? Remember, Networking Superstars ™ go to these meetings to GIVE. Go with that attitude and you’ll be on the receiving end in no time.
If you’re not able to commit to regular attendance, then this format isn’t for you. Consider joining a group that is less structured and works more on a drop-in basis. Go as often as you can to create visibility. It will take you longer to get referrals from this type of group, but it can still be beneficial.
Make sure there is a code of ethics
In the same vein, ask if members provide references before they join. Remember, you’re making referrals. Your name is on the line. You need to know that the other people in the group are reputable, too. Find out who is running the group
What kind of experience do they have with this type of organization? Do they provide training on networking strategies and techniques? What other kinds of support are provided? What is there reputation in the community? Is it run by salaried professionals, full timers, or by people with other occupations, out for their own leads? Is it organized by people who understand the local business community or run from out-of state or province? Have there been any complaints lodged against them with the Better Business Bureau?
Figure out what you can contribute to the other members and to the group itself. That’s right. It’s all about giving. The more you give, the more you’ll get. It’s a simple law of nature: what goes around
Are you prepared to work hard for the others?
If all you do is attend the meetings and sit with your arms folded across your chest wondering where your leads are, you’re wasting your time. You’re also probably creating a very negative impression.
Do the people in the group seem to be of like mind?
If you don’t feel an attraction to the other members, you probably should keep searching for a group comprised of people with similar philosophies.
How long has the group been operating?
Does it feel like a good fit?–does it just feel right?
Once you’ve selected a group, DO NOT even THINK about joining another structured leads exchange group with only one person per occupation in it. If you do, the members of each group will wonder where your loyalty is. For example, if there is an accountant in each group and you have a lead for an accountant, who are you going to give it to?
Once you join a group, work the system, and the system will work for you. You will form long lasting business and personal relationships built on mutual trust and respect. You’ll learn a lot from the other members, and…you’ll have a lot of fun in the process!
Leni Chauvin is a Client Attraction expert who has has been
coaching ordinary people to build and market extraordinary
businesses since 1993. The strategies in her Attract Clients
Galore System(tm) have helped thousands of solo professionals
get more clients without having to spend a fortune to do it.
Subscribe to Leni’s newsletter for tips to help YOU grow YOUR