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5 Ways to Increase Your Results from Networking Groups

by Bill Cates
How to Make Your Formal Networking Group Work for You

Have you ever been part of a networking group where all the referrals seem to go to the gift basket lady, the printer, and the handyman?


No surprise there.  It’s a much easier referral.


The largest formal networking organization is BNI (Business Network International) founded by Ivan Misner.  It is a strong organization, doing wonderful work for many small business owners and salespeople.  Yet…


In one week, I had 3 conversations with 3 financial professionals who were members of a formal networking group, but not having great results getting referrals.


What’s that all about?  After all, every member is supposed to provide referrals to the other members.


So, What’s a Networker to Do?


The truth is – and there are exceptions – most financial professionals don’t fare as well as other members of these groups.


The primary reason for this is that most members either don’t feel comfortable having conversations about money and/or don’t know how to recognize someone who needs the assistance of a financial professional – for planning, insurance, and/or investments.


5 Ways to Increase Your Results from Your Formal Networking Group


  1. Be honest with yourself. Are you referable?  Do your fellow networkers truly understand the value you bring to your clients?  Bring your value to life with stories, anecdotes, and short case studies.
  2. Teach your colleagues how to recognize a quality prospect for you AND how to best connect those people to you.  Word of mouth isn’t enough. You have to get introduced in some way.
  3. Use your connections in your group as potential resources for your clients. Connect your clients and prospects to members of your group when appropriate. In this way, you can provide value to others by leveraging who you know – being a resource for prospects and clients that go beyond the work you do.
  4. Consider letting your group members know about your educational events and client appreciation events. Sometimes that’s an easier referral for them to provide. They might bring someone to the event.
  5. One veteran financial professional is using his group to get referrals to other Centers of Influence, like CPAs and attorneys.  He’s not expecting introductions to prospects, but introductions to folks who can make those introductions.


Ultimately, your success in any networking group may be more dependent on the makeup of the group itself.  Some groups just seem to have a mix of members more conducive to the referrals you want than other groups.  Use your best bait and best fishing equipment, but if the fish aren’t biting, cut bait and try another spot.


Here are a few other resources and ideas to consider:



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