And Now a Word from…
Maria Elena Duron/United States
A monthly column featuring a new guest author from around the world!
Personal Word of Mouth Needs Three Networks
How do you choose the networks that to be involved in?
Choosing to join an organization, affiliation or networking group is a hefty decision. You are about to invest valuable dollars and even more valuable time involving yourself with this group. How do you know which groups to involve yourself in? How do you know “how many” is a good mix? When is it time to say “no”? Three networks maximum will keep you focused. You can do more however, do so with great thought, because it can dramatically water down your other efforts. Want to know which three networks?
1. A Social Service Network: For example, a church group, Rotary Club, Lion Clubs, a non-profit committee or board.
A Social Service Network provides you variety in your contacts along with a chance to deepen relationships with people who have similar interests. A social service network, however, is not about doing business….it is about the “mission” of the organization…for the greater good, for “service above self.” Going in with an announcement of “I’m looking for business” will be met with resistance and scorn. Instead, use this opportunity to showcase your wonderful talent (talent is AS IMPORTANT as treasure to non-profit, volunteer groups) and build relationships with those who have similar interests. It is important that you are “genuine” in your interest in the organization and its program. If you’re not, that “music” will play loud and clear to the members who are there for the MISSION. Utilize this opportunity to “make a difference”, “be seen and remembered” and to “showcase you work ethic”…remember, how effective you are as a VOLUNTEER speaks to how effective a person you are in business.
2. An Industry Specific Network: For example, for an accountant an accounting society; for a engineer, the Permian Basin Society of Engineers, etc.
An Industry Specific Network, keeps you “in the know” and at the “cutting edge” of your industry. Who wants to work with an accountant who is well-versed in the 1998 tax laws?! We want someone who is on the cutting edge of their industry. We associate with those who exceed their industry standards and can keep us in the inside loop.
3. A Hard Contact Network: For example, a community based leads group that can tell you the “in’s & out’s” of what is happening in your community; a Connections Club, that keeps you in contact with professionals in their industries…the real “movers & shakers”!
A Hard Contact Network keeps you in the know on the local front. It will keep you posted on new buildings before the ground is broken; about new businesses before the signs are posted and leadership moves before announcements are made.
The key here is to make sure that you have someone who is truly in the know as opposed to people “posing” that they’re in the know. If you’re not sure, start asking around, especially those who are in community leadership….they’ll be happy to share their input.
Maria Elena Duron is CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks | a word of mouth marketing firm – Creating Conversation, Community, Connection and Commerce around Your Brand. She is author of the book, Mouth-to-Mouth Marketing and a columnist for several print and online publications