Many people make the mistake of joining networking groups under the misapprehension that it will yield immediate success and pay instant dividends. The reality of course is that it often takes a while to build relationships and see a return on your investment. This is because networking should be viewed as a journey and long-term vision. It is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. If you invest in your networking and plan your journey, then you are far more likely to reach your desired destination and see results. BNI is the ideal vehicle for your journey. It is all about investing in your business and planning for long-term success. Your fellow BNI colleagues make the perfect companions. Here are a few tips for your journey…
Plan your journey – Where do you want to go and how do you gauge your progress? It is not just about monetary return; it is also about business development and expanding your network. Make the most of the added value on offer. If you feel you are not progressing as you would like then review the situation and actively seek a reason. This way you can improve and move forward.
Share your experiences – On every journey there are good and bad experiences. Sharing these with your fellow networkers in the form of interesting stories can help you stand out and be memorable. It’s great to share stories of how you have helped your clients and overcome challenging situations. This keeps you top of mind when suitable opportunities arise in their respective networks.
Be prepared to learn – Learning is one of the most rewarding journeys we can make and developing our professional practice is invaluable to becoming the best networker we can be. A good networking group offers far more than just monetary return; it also represents a huge source of support and advice. Learn from your fellow members and strive to improve. A change in direction may be just what you need to get where you want to be.
Everyone’s journey is different – Everyone travels at a different pace and approaches things in different ways. There are always merits and drawbacks to the various routes we take but if we take the time to understand the ways in which our fellow professionals approach things then we can forge better and more effective relationships. Good networking groups will cultivate a culture of shared success, where collective progression brings individual reward.
It’s not all about speed – Be patient. If you invest in your networking and take the time to get to know your fellow networkers then you will get a better standard of referrals. Quality is better than quantity. The more information you can give your colleagues, the easier it is for them to find suitable opportunities. Don’t expect people to shoe-horn you in to situations and force you on their contacts, that won’t help anyone. Networking is about sewing seeds and growing relationships that bring results.
So just remember, you can go a long way sat in your networking chair!