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Using your business networking group more effectively relies on networking relationship building. 

Networking relationship building in a business networking group

But, I hear you scream,  you don’t have time for everybody! Some people are more, or less, likely to help you meet your networking objectives. Focusing on those that are more likely to be useful makes sense. This article is part of a series on business networking groups, “Finding referrals for members of your business networking group” looked at helping others. This article is helping yourself to get you more referrals.

Grading your networking contacts.

Grading contacts from your business networking group, allows you to focus your networking relationship building on the most important.

  • A lister: Knows lots of your target audience and could really help you. They could provide you with a continual stream of referrals.
  • B lister: Might know some people you’re looking for. It’s possible they will be able to give you some referrals, but not a continuous stream.
  • C lister: Unlikely to be a lot of use to you. Never write people off, you just don’t know – but we all choose (or should) to prioritise (or not).

Who are are your A-listers? More importantly, how will you deepen your relationship with these people? Download our guide to getting referrals from a business networking group, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.

How good are your networking relationships?

The Excedia 5 level relationship model gives you a way of measuring the relationship with your most important contacts (A-listers). Your networking one to one meetings can help you improve relationships, so you both get more referrals.The Excedia 5 level relationship model for networking relationship building

  1. Level 1 (Identify). This is where someone first comes onto your radar. You know their name, but you have never communicated with them. Click to read more about level one. Who don’t you yet know that could help you?
  2. Level 2 (Connect). You are now having conversations, in real life or on social media. It’s the ‘sniffing dog stage of a relationship’, as you both ask yourself – ‘Do I like them’. Conversations, at this level of the relationship, are often  ‘small talk’. Click here to for more about level 2 relationships and how to improve them.
  3. Level 3 (Engage). Probably the most relationship level. Only relationships at level 3 or above, give you real benefits. Asking for favours from people at a level 1 or 2 easily causes embarrassment, damaging the relationship. Click for more on level three and to moving them to level 4.
  4. Level 4 (Collaborate). You are regularly communicating, both on an ad-hoc or formal basis. You’re probably regularly passing business opportunities to each other or introducing each other to members of your network. Your aim for relationships with key members of your networking group and others introducers is to take it to level 4. Click for how to get to level 4 relationships
  5. Level 5 (Inner Circle). Here the boundaries between the personal and professional relationship have become blurred. You know that your relationship has reached this point when you find yourself sharing in each other’s personal life. Click here for more on level 5

Business networking relationship building.

Your business networking group makes it easy to be in regular contact with all members and to rapidly get them to level 3. Remember this networking triangle is about focus, as the time and effort to keep level 4 & 5 relationships going is far higher than for level 3. However there are greater rewards. What will you do to move people on?

  • Audit your key relationships.
  • More regular one to ones with the A listers in your networking group.
  • Have relationship plans for your key relationships.
  • Create your own plan, and then execute it.
  • Download our guide to getting referrals from a business networking group, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.

How do you undertake the right networking relationship building for you?

 
Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.