Learn the Right Questions

When you meet people and ask them what they do, be prepared to ask a few follow-up questions, such as:

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What needs are you currently looking to fill in your business?
  • Who is your ideal contact, or who is already working with the kind of people who are your ideal clients?

Not only are these questions going to better position you to find qualified referrals for the people you’re connecting with, but your sincerity and genuine interest in serving them will open the door to a reciprocal relationship.

It is also important to learn the right questions to ask your friends and family members to see where you can help fill their needs with your extensive network. One of the things we do in our meetings pretty early on—and the reason we do it is to help everyone in the group to understand the value every single member brings—is an exercise in which you leave the meeting, not with a sale, but with three qualifying questions from every member and business in the group that you can ask your friends. If you know the questions to ask, then the answers will help you dictate who to refer to. In addition, you are able to better meet the needs of your friends and families by leading them to the people who can help them with their relevant and timely needs.

Qualifying questions may include:

  • “Who are you currently using for your pest control?”
  • “When was the last time you checked to see if you are getting the most affordable car insurance?”
  • “Have you had your HVAC serviced lately? It’s important to do that before the change in seasons.”
  • “What’s one habit you feel is keeping you from allowing you to be as successful as possible?”
  • “Do you feel like your team members are working as efficiently as possible and are committed to your company’s objectives?”

As you can see, these questions are aimed at revealing the real needs of the people who are already in your life. When you are able to connect the two parties, you have served everyone. These questions are powerful tools in creating more value in all of your relationships and are on each one of our members' profiles on our website. This is also true for you. When you share your own qualifying questions on your profile, the other members are able to become spokespeople for you as well.

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Come to Serve

In order to be successful in networking, you must first understand what networking is really all about. It is about creating relationships, and the only way you’re going to build a relationship is by positioning yourself as a giver who can be trusted. When you walk through the doors, let your biggest question be, “How can I create value for the people I meet?” When you start out with that giving attitude, you will naturally attract people to you. That is what lies at the heart of networking.

Even when you meet someone who is not a good fit for the product or service you offer, you can be thinking about who you know who is the best fit for the person you’re talking to. When you are sincerely listening and sincerely care about the needs of others, you are positioned to help fill those needs in some way.

Fundamentally, at the end of the day, the biggest difference between NIA® and any other networking group is that our whole model is crafted to ensure we are adding value to our members and not meeting to impress the guests. We are meeting to serve you.

When you go to network, remember that you are there for a reason, which is to try and learn as much as you can about other people’s businesses. For NIA® members, this includes their families, what they do on vacation, what drives them as business owners, and their personal challenges and victories. That is the kind of relationship that facilitates deep and meaningful connections. When you know and trust each other, you will refer to each other. That kind of depth requires you to be somewhat vulnerable and open. If that vulnerability doesn’t come easily to you, or if you aren’t a natural networker, you will have a period of time where you have to overcome a measure of discomfort to get there. It helps to be prepared with the right questions that will immediately show your readiness to connect and offer value.

Owners vs. Employees

Business owners seem to better understand the fact that when you build relationships, multiple sales will follow. They understand that this takes time. One of the accidental consequences of Network In Action’s model of holding monthly instead of weekly meetings is that we have more business owners in our group than sales people. This means we are able to assemble groups of people who understand these principles from the get go.

In addition, there's no pressure on the business owners to run back to the office and say they got a sale. But if you're the sales person in the group, you're typically there because the business owner doesn't want to attend a weekly meeting. You have to go back to the sales manager or the owner and tell him what you've done every week, and you want to be able to say you got a sale. The very nature of the weekly meeting creates an environment where there are more people there who are interested in selling than networking.

Let go of the popcorn mentality that you have to leave with a sale. Instead, keep the mentality that, no matter what happens, at the end of the day, you have amplified your reach and now have more people who are able to talk about your business with others than you ever have before in your life.

For some people, this understanding comes easily. For others, they just can’t get there. And if you can’t get there, you are not going to find networking to be an effective way to grow your business or bring meaningful business to others. This will lead you to find fault with and criticize the leader, the model, the industry, and everyone in the group when, in reality, you didn’t go there with the right purpose in the first place.

Be a Value Creator

You have people who mistakenly come into a group who think that the concept of networking is that you go into a group and say, "Hey, open up your Rolodex and show it to me, and I will pick who I want out of there in order to get new business." I call that the popcorn mentality—the idea that it's going to happen fast and be a simple two-step process. You join and BAM! You have a new list of leads to call.

That’s the opposite of networking, which is very much the art of developing relationships. The old adage that anything worth working for takes time and commitment is true. Once people trust you, they will open up their heart and introduce you to the people they know who can help you. It has been said that networking is more like the law of the farm. You have to plant your seed, nurture it, and wait for the harvest.

Seasoned and skillful networkers understand this. They know that if they show up in a sell-only mode, they will alienate themselves from the rest of the group. It is counterproductive. I often see guests and novice networkers who just want to come to the group and sell. They might as well have a scarlet letter on their chest because in short order, the real networkers in the group will avoid them like the plague. In networking meetings, these types earn a reputation. Members see them coming and quickly find someone else to engage with.

If you have a sales-first mentality, you are forgetting the first premise of networking. Not only are you going to offend a lot of people, you’re never going to have the opportunity to cross the initial barrier of trust and gain access to referrals. If people don’t feel important to you beyond the sale, they certainly aren’t going to send people they love and respect your way to get the same treatment. You really have to be cognizant of the fact that you’re going to a networking environment first and foremost to build relationships.

Making the Change

At NIA®, we welcome the seasoned networkers as well as those who are excited to learn a better way.

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Building Your Community Through Service

At a Network In Action meeting North of Houston in the Woodlands, there are small groups of people scattered around the room busily discussing what charities and local service projects they want to get behind. During the discussion, it comes out that two of its group members have children with juvenile diabetes. One of those members volunteered just a few days before to head up this year’s Juvenile Diabetes Gala. The night he agreed to do that, he lay in bed with his eyes wide open, wondering where he was possibly ever going to get all the volunteers he needed to pull off that gala. However, when the NIA® group hears that two of its members have children with this disease, the entire group volunteers to work the gala in the fall. His problem of recruiting volunteers is over!

The gala ends up being a success, and today, that group is still heavily involved with raising money and participating in this annual event.

This emphasis on service and giving back is at the core of who we are as a company. It’s not separate from our culture—it is our culture. As we continue to grow the company and continue to make this a requirement, we want this to be our hallmark.

My last business was very lucrative, easily bringing in seven figures annually for a number of years. I always talked about creating a foundation, but never did it. It’s one of the great regrets of my life. We didn’t start where I felt we needed to first—which is to be socially responsible and conscious of those who aren’t as blessed as we might be. I decided when we started NIA® that we would not make that mistake again. With NIA®, we put first things first. We decided from day one that every one of our franchises would participate in some kind of community outreach project each year in order to give back to the communities that have been so good to us.

Therefore, when we sit down with prospective franchise owners, one of the things we always ask is, “What are you doing charitably?” We ask that question prior to the disclosure that heading up these projects is going to be one of their responsibilities as an owner. We want to make sure the seeds of that service are already there. It’s at the core of NIA®, how we choose our leaders, and how we choose our group members.

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Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

Our platform is geared toward creating actual relationships with other group members. As you take the time to form meaningful relationships with each member in your group, you will be able to do more than just pass along a phone number. When you refer a member from any industry, you’ll be able to honestly say, “This is a good guy. You’ll like him,” or “This is a trustworthy woman. She will bring integrity to your project.” You can say that with confidence because you can trust that the franchise owners have done their job and properly vetted the member.

These kinds of details make a difference, especially in our culture. They create an immediate emotional connection, which makes your prospect more likely to call. Research shows that people make decisions about whether to buy with their emotions first, and then use logic to justify the decision they’ve already made.

This is not only applicable to the referral or referee scenario. It is applicable to your relationships with the people you refer as well. If other members sincerely know and like you, your name and company are going to come to their minds much more readily when it’s time to pass it along. Your fellow group members will be able to refer you as confidently as you are able to refer them.

The Personality Profile

Before we approve your membership application for NIA®, we need to make sure that we are a good fit for each other. Your personality profile will reveal a bit about you and the way you value others. If you aren’t interested in forming relationships with the people you’re doing business with and business for, then we don’t want to waste your time. We have built our entire model around relationships. We are not in the business of transactions. We are in the business of people. At the end of the day, we live by our mantra: “Network In Action—helping people build relationships that last a lifetime.”

This is one of the main reasons we teach our franchise owners to never chase people. We recognize that if you have to chase someone now, the reality is that you will likely have to continue to chase that person once that individual is in the group. We don’t want our leaders to stuff their groups full of warm bodies for the sake of numbers. We make sure they are committed to building out groups of committed people. That is the best way to ensure the health and success of each collective group as well as the individual members themselves.

One of the greatest joys I have is going out with new franchise owners who are obviously eager and excited to build up their groups. Early on, they may have only three or four members, but then I see them meet with someone and, after the interview, they walk outside and say, “You know, I just don’t think I want that person in my group.” That’s when I know that we have trained them properly. It’s not about getting the transaction—it’s about enrolling the type of people who are committed to building relationships.

I had an appointment with a business owner and potential member, and as we sat down to talk, I just didn’t feel comfortable with him. He just seemed “slippery”. When we got to the end of the discussion and talked about our guaranteed ROI, he said he wanted thirty audiovisual jobs, “And I don’t hang TVs.” As we closed up the meeting, I walked back to my car thinking, Well, you’re not going to hang anything for Network In Action members because you’re not a fit for this group.

We look for people who have reasonable expectations for their results and who ask questions like, “Who are the other members of the group? Tell me about the makeup of your membership. I want to make sure I can be a help to them and refer other people to them.”

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Refer With Confidence

When you give a referral to your friends, family members, or other contacts, you are taking responsibility, at least in some measure, for the outcome. The idea is that those who trust you will also trust your referral. By extension, you carry some of the responsibility for the quality of the work of the person you refer.

But how can you be sure that you are lending your trust to someone who deserves it? If, God forbid, you pass a referral and there is a criminal element involved, that reflects poorly on you. In most organized networking models, there are zero checks and balances when it comes to the character or background of the people who are enrolling. Your business isn’t required to have five-star reviews in order for you to join. You aren’t personally required to have a clean criminal record. You aren’t vetted in any other way besides your ability to write a check. Sure, meeting with them regularly gives you a sense of comfort and familiarity, but you don’t really know what that person’s background looks like. So, how can you be sure that you are referring people who will protect your reputation as well as theirs?

At Network In Action, we make sure that you can always refer with confidence. Many companies join our networking groups for that reason alone. Recently, one new member, a CPA, commented that, “By joining NIA®, I will have quality companies to refer my customers to that I can trust.” She was confident in that statement because we vet all prospective members before they are allowed to join. Each member has successfully passed a criminal background check and undergone a personality profile test. The criminal background check looks at anything that might have happened that would reflect poorly on you or the NIA® community. This means you can trust that when you refer anyone in NIA® to one of your personal contacts you have some security in who is doing the work.

In the early days of NIA®, I had an experience where I drove out to an appointment with our franchise owner west of Houston. When I got there a few minutes late, I saw they’d left a note on the door for me to join them at a restaurant just down the street. Once I arrived, I was uncomfortable in that small booth space talking to the prospective member—an attorney—about NIA® while he was already enjoying his big burger. The longer I stayed, the more uncomfortable I became. There was something about this guy’s intensity and demeanor that was off-putting and cold. He stared at me with eyes that looked more like they belonged to an addict than an attorney.

As soon as I finished talking to him about NIA®, he immediately wanted to join. Our new franchise owner was eager to add a member, and I didn’t have the heart to turn him down based on my own gut feelings. We signed him up, had him fill out the personality profile, and ran his background check. He scored extremely low on the personality profile, and as if that weren’t enough, there was one small issue when we received the background report back at corporate: a conviction for manslaughter!

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NIA Business Networking Technology

A friend of mine joined a local networking group in Houston a couple of years ago and was told he had to attend an orientation class before he would be allowed to become a member of the group. This particular friend is a seasoned business owner and accomplished networker. I promise you that he could teach all of us a thing or two about networking. However, he was told in no uncertain terms that it was important that he be introduced into The BNI® Way.

Reluctantly, he agreed to attend and, as often happens in this big old city, he found himself running ten minutes late due to traffic problems. He showed up outside a locked door. After much banging on the door, the moderator finally made his way over to my friend and told him very pointedly that “showing up late was not the BNI® way,” and that he was going to have to return at another time. I cannot print here what his response was.

Fast forward two years, and he’s sipping wine at home while he’s watching the Network In Action tutorials from his phone—doing things The NIA® Way.

He has been a great contributor to his NIA® group for years.

In today’s world where our on-demand, technology-driven culture has made its way into every industry, the lack of technology in the world of networking groups is mind-boggling. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary to require you to take a few hours out of your busy schedule to learn how to be a good, loyal Kool-Aid drinker of whatever networking group you just joined. Most weekly, early-morning meetings run by volunteers rely on little slips of pink paper to keep track of referrals—both for the accounting of referrals from the collective group and for you personally to send and receive referrals. If you don’t happen to have one of those little slips of paper in your back pocket when you come across a referral for someone in your group, oh well! It’s frustrating watching all of these reports being given based on those bits of paper. Can that possibly be accurate? What if you did happen to capture a referral, but the paper ended up in the wash? Or crumpled up at the bottom of your purse? Or left on a countertop somewhere? It’s just not practical.

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Monthly Meetings: Higher-Quality Members

By holding meetings once a month, we are finding that more and more business owners are signing up and taking the time to attend—whereas weekly meetings tend to attract the employees and sales representatives. The truth of the matter is that if you ask business owners whether they have an extra one hundred hours they can block out of their calendar over the next twelve months, they are going to look at you like you’re crazy. However, we all know the importance of networking, so typically owners will send their salesperson in their place. But who would you rather network with? When you set up a one-to-one, you want to make sure you’re sitting across from the person who has the authority to write you a check and, better yet, has the power to refer you.

The majority of members are business owners

"Network In Action is for experienced professionals interested in networking. The majority of members are business owners with years of experience. I appreciate my group leader, Moose Rosenfeld, for his hands-on involvement in vetting potential members to ensure he is bringing in great referral partners."

Paula Marion
Simple Operational Solutions, Owner
NIA® Bellaire Group

In addition, holding fewer meetings attracts and retains higher numbers than the average early-morning get-together. The standard organized networking group averages fourteen members. We require our groups to be a minimum of twenty-five members, and many of our groups are maintaining long-term membership numbers of thirty-five or more. It’s not hard to figure out why. It’s just easier to book something into your regular schedule when it’s not asking so much of you.

At NIA®, we like to think that we ask you for less and deliver more.

Monthly Meetings: Expanded Networking Opportunities

I’m not sure which has exits clearing faster—Sunday morning church services or an early-morning networking group! You better not be near the door at the end, or you risk getting run over before you’re even out of the parking lot. When you’re meeting before your workday starts, you are going to be in a hurry to get out of there and start checking things off your to-do list. If you’re a business owner, you may have already missed a number of important calls just during breakfast.

I love the mini-meets!

"I loved the mini-meet today! It was great to see those who were there. NIA®’s mini-meets are often more well-attended than my other networking group’s mandatory meetings."

Scott Adelman
Adelman Insurance Services
NIA® Katy Connectors Group

This is one reason why we don’t hold early-morning meetings. Though our franchise contract allows franchise leaders to hold meetings when they like, we encourage all of our franchise owners to hold them in the afternoon. Today, 100 percent of the ninety-minute NIA® meetings are in fact being held between 3:00-5:00 p.m. in cities across the country. The impact of an afternoon meeting is that members are able to stay and visit with each other when it’s over.

By holding meetings in the afternoon, usually at the end of the workday, you have the time to visit. You can set up one-on-ones with other members in your group, ask more questions about a referral someone gave you, or just get to know members better in a relaxed atmosphere. You have the time to build relationships, which is ultimately what networking is all about. This means that you have the opportunity to come and more completely do what you came to do.

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Monthly Meetings: Saving Time

The first and most obvious benefit to having a once-a-month meeting is the amount of time that you save. This networking model gives you some additional eighty-plus hours in your schedule every year. You are able to carve out more time in your life and in your business for the things that are most important without sacrificing the value of being part of an organized group of people who are all supporting each other’s business growth.

It’s less time consuming, and I still get the same results, if not more

"One of the things that’s been an issue for me with all the other groups that I attend is time. I am practicing law, so it’s impossible for me to be out developing my business and practicing law at the same time. One of the great things about NIA® is we only have to get together for our meetings once a month. It’s less time consuming, and I still get the same results, if not more, by being part of NIA® than I did from the other groups I was involved with. In fact, this is by far the group I’ve had the most success getting business from."

Suzanne DuBose
NIA® Houston Group

Even the few hours you save every week make a big impact on your day. A recent study suggests that losing as little as thirty minutes of sleep can increase your insulin resistance, which raises your risk of diabetes and obesity. There are studies that have tracked the correlation between having to set the clocks back in the spring (i.e. losing an hour of sleep) and higher incidents of car accidents. In his article Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think, clinical psychologist Michael Breus, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, says that reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as ninety minutes for just one night can reduce your daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent. This cuts your work productivity by almost a third! Multiply that effect by four weeks, and you’re potentially losing over a day’s worth of productivity every month. How much is it costing you to wake up a couple of hours earlier once a week, in addition to the loss of your beauty sleep? (And let’s face it—some of us need that more than others.)

Monthly Meetings

Keith Duke sat in his chair, trying hard not to roll his eyes. It was 7:23 on a Tuesday morning. He had been up since 5:00. The drone of familiar voices around him, saying the same thing they said last week, and the week before, and the week before, made him restless in his seat. He understood the value of networking, but doing it this way—the way he’d always done it—was starting to take its toll on him.

“Before I found Network In Action, I had been in an organized networking organization for several years, and it had run its course for me. I was tired of the weekly meetings—of standing up and saying what I do every time, and if I had to hear the pest control person say he kills bugs one more time, I was going to go insane. I had to find something a step above the rest.”

One of the reasons he was first drawn to sign up as an NIA® member was because of our unique model of holding meetings once a month versus once a week. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons people are either leaving traditional networking groups and looking for an alternative.

There are thousands of people across the country who recognize the need for networking, but they either don’t want to or simply can’t attend weekly, early-morning networking meetings. Some people join local chapters anyway in hopes that they can make it work and then either leave or are kicked out after missing more than a couple meetings per year. Either way, the end results are the same: they just flushed hundreds of dollars in membership fees down the drain, and they are back where they started.

There are several reasons you may not be able to consistently attend weekly gatherings: Perhaps your clients span the United States and you are required to travel often. Maybe you are the parent responsible for getting your children dressed and fed in the morning before they go to school. Many business owners are up at dawn putting out fires and don’t even breathe until after lunchtime. You may be one of the majority of Americans who don’t particularly like getting up before the sun. Or, perhaps you are like many others who are currently attending the weekly ritual of repetition, and you’re just done with it.

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Qualified Networking Coaches

We do not sell franchises to just anyone with a checkbook. Our vetting process ensures that members will be put in groups where they can expect the best results and will be led by those who are qualified to coach them toward greater success. Our leaders come from various backgrounds within the business world and are able to draw on all of their valuable resources and experiences in order to help connect you with the people and resources you need in order to grow your business and to create a smoother ride for you as you expand.

One of the real benefits of NIA® is learning how to network

"One of the real benefits of NIA® is learning how to network. This is a classy organization that does everything right."

Fabiana Cuggionni
N2 Publishing
NIA® W. University Group

When someone approaches us about becoming a franchise owner, there is a laundry list of things we look for. We specifically award our franchises to people who share a common goal of helping our members grow their businesses and develop their companies. However, it isn’t enough for them to have the passion and drive to just do that. They have to be qualified to do so. For this reason, it is equally as important that our franchise owners are teachers and students of business. Most often, they have already run or are currently running successful organizations. This allows us to glean from their background whether they are capable of becoming the networking experts they need to be in order to carry our NIA® brand forward.

Our franchise training is extensive and ongoing. Not only do we train on every aspect of building out a group properly, we work tirelessly to make sure that our franchise owners reflect the culture that we are trying to create in our NIA® brand. So, not only must they be people of action, they must be committed to their communities as well. NIA® members enjoy the benefit of these committed, highly-trained, and vetted professionals both in regard to the on-going coaching seminars and the networking training provided.

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The Value of Networking

One of the topics we will consistently discuss in your regular monthly meeting is how to improve your networking skills. As previously mentioned, we encourage you to participate in every networking opportunity you can. Whether you’re networking within NIA® or mingling at other venues, we want to ensure you are equipped to do it as effectively as possible.

Every member gets to show off their skills

"One of the many things I love about NIA® is how every member gets an opportunity to show off their skills and talent. Thanks NIA®!"

Michael Reichek
Financial Service
NIA® W. University Group

There is more to networking than just getting names and numbers. So much more. In fact, as I stated before, I used to despise networking, but that was only because I didn’t understand how to do it right, and I was completely turned off by how it was being offered. I didn’t understand that my success was determined by my ability to build sound relationships. At NIA®, we have gleaned the most proven networking strategies in the industry, and we have drilled down on the best of the best. These are the strategies we are committed to incorporating into each monthly meeting and training you how to execute in any networking meeting you attend.

Monthly Coaching Sessions

One of the added benefits of your NIA® membership is our monthly coaching sessions that we offer. These are typically free, city-wide, ninety-minute networking events in which we have one of our NIA® members, an expert in a particular field, speak on a topic where that person’s experience can lend a hand to other members.

The information I have gleaned from these speakers is worth my annual membership.

"I recently volunteered to offer a seminar myself on 'How Disney Uses Customer Service for Marketing'. I am happy to say the seminar was attended by NIA® members from all over town. It was awesome and provided me and my company with great exposure.

Network In Action does a great job with trainings and coaching. It only makes sense that with so many members, there is a ton of expertise in every city. NIA® brings us all together monthly for an informational coaching session. I have no doubt the information I have gleaned from these speakers is worth my annual membership."

Mike Mallon
Storyteller Promotions, Owner
NIA® Bellair Group

One month, it may be on sales training. Next month, it may be on keeping up with the latest trends in social media. Another month, it may be focused on helping you with your accounts receivable or cash flow. Next time, we may feature a CPA who’s talking about how to put more money in your pocket and pay less in taxes.

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Ongoing Coaching

When you’re a business owner, you probably recognize the value of both coaching and networking. When you’re working with a coach, you are working with someone qualified to help you navigate the proverbial road less traveled—the road between where you are and where you want to be. Even if you are in the beginning stages of creating a vision of what you want to achieve and what is possible in terms of your future, you can bet that someone has traversed that road before.

When you’re networking, you are extending your reach through synergy and adding valuable contacts that are far more important than just filling a Rolodex. At the end of the day, relationships are what really matters, so networking is an essential part of growing your business.

So, both coaching and networking are vital to the lifeblood and efficiency of your enterprise. Often, the problem is that there are only so many dollars in your budget and only so many hours in a day. As a business owner, sales person, or entrepreneur, you are usually faced with having to choose one or the other. When you’re investing time and resources into coaching, your network may not be growing. When you’re working on growing and serving your network, coaching often has to wait for another day.

At NIA®, we recognize the importance of both of these, which is why we incorporate both into your membership. We have created a platform that includes ongoing business development, growth, and learning—all while helping you build relationships that last a lifetime.

Stacy Harris, First franchisee to own four groups

Stacy Harris, First franchisee to own four groups
NIA The Woodlands Groups, Texas

I started my image consulting business, Impressions, eleven years ago after working in the sales and marketing industries for about a decade. It was a good decision. Though being an entrepreneur is fraught with uncertainty and challenges, I found that I thrived as my own boss. Of course, one of the biggest hurdles all business owners face is getting their name and product to the masses. Since I started my business on a very limited budget, my only marketing strategy was my own blood, sweat, and tears. I have always been a relationship person, and I knew that if I could just meet people face to face and develop a relationship with them, I'd be able to build my business.

Fortunately, a friend of mine invited me to a professional networking event and the rest is history. I was totally mesmerized by this group of people who were meeting together to talk about their businesses and send customers to one another through the oldest (and best) marketing method in the book—word of mouth! I loved meeting all these new people, finding out about their businesses, and then figuring out ways to connect them to customers and clients who would bring them business. Nothing made me happier than to get a call or text from my networking buddies telling me that a referral I had sent them had turned into cold, hard cash.

For the next ten years, I attended as many networking events as I could fit in, narrowed down the ones that were the most mutually beneficial, and then I committed myself to being the best networker I could be. I studied the art of networking, I talked to people who I knew were good networkers, and I read books on networking. The result? Over the years, I became a great networker with a crazy amount of contacts and connections.

There was one networking group in particular that I had dedicated myself to for nine years. I served as president of that group multiple times and was always in a leadership role of some kind over those years. I excelled at leading and inspiring the group to hit new goals and set a big vision of success. It was a great experience, and I formed valuable relationships there, but after nine years, I had outgrown the group, and it was time for me to move on.

I found out about NIA® through, guess what, a networking partner. I drove an hour to visit my first NIA® meeting in May 2016. I was so impressed with the level of professionalism I saw in the whole concept of using technology to keep everyone in touch with each other and the business that was being generated by the members.

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Keith Duke, NIA Pioneer

Keith Duke, NIA Pioneer
NIA Spring Texas Group

My journey to becoming a professional networker with Network In Action has been an action-filled adventure. To tell the full story, I must go back quite a few years. I barely made it out of high school. I was the guy who would rebel against the system just to test it. I would wear sunglasses, show up to class two seconds after the bell, and ask question after question about assignments. Let’s just say that the principles all knew my name, and I went to a high school of nearly four thousand students, so you really had to work hard for all of the principles to know your name.

I tell that part of my story because testing the system is why I believe my path has taken me to entrepreneurship. I have worked for “the man” in the corporate world and, though I learned a lot, it was not my thing.

I have had several business ventures—from direct sales, to construction, to consulting—and now Network In Action. I came across Network In Action while running my construction and concrete business. It was such a great opportunity I couldn’t pass it up. I had been in an organized networking organization for several years, and it had run its course for me. I started to look for what else was out there, and as a good networker, I reached out to my network circle to see what they could refer. A mutual business professional introduced me to NIA®. I set up a time to go to a meeting and see what it was all about. When I arrived at the meeting, I was instantly blown away. The energy, the people, the welcoming atmosphere, and then the meeting itself. I had never seen a networking meeting that was so engaged with its members. I was used to meetings that were designed for the visitors. Attending a meeting that was structured around the members and building relationships during the meeting was really unique. However, even though I was there as a visitor, I still came away with loads of information. That meeting was run by Scott Talley. He gave me the complete rundown of what NIA® was all about. The things that really caught my attention were the monthly meetings, full-time leadership, and state-of-the-art technology. I had been a member of an organization that was stuck in the Stone Age and had no vision of moving into the twenty-first century. It was amazing that there could be a higher level of networking with proven results on a modern platform. When he told me about the franchise opportunity, he had me hooked. Now, I am an NIA® lifer!

My Leadership Principles

As a professional networker, I still visit other groups as a method to meet and grow my network. It is just something I believe we have to constantly do. If we as franchise owners are not improving our networking skills and growing our connections, we are not providing the best service to our members. As I attend these other events, it is so apparent how well NIA® is organized and structured to bring the best networking experience to its members.

My time in NIA® has been amazing. I have been very fortunate to be involved in two franchises. I created them six months apart, and I am so proud to say that I made a return on each of those investments in less than thirty days. I worked with a colleague to start and build two groups out to great success. It occurred to us that in order to grow the NIA® name and territory, we needed to split up. So, we did! Those two existing groups are still active, growing, and doing great things.

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Moose Rosenfeld, first franchisee

Moose Rosenfeld, First franchisee
NIA Galleria Group, Houston, Texas
NIA Bellaire Group, Bellaire, Texas

My father, Dickie, served as president and general manager of KILT, one of the most iconic radio stations in Houston, Texas. He spent thirty-eight years in the industry. This had a profound impact on me. I eventually got into radio sales in 1974 in San Antonio, Texas, and took the same path as my father, working my way up to sales manager and general manager roles at radio stations across the country. I learned that when you’re new to a market, you have to get to know people. I was blessed with a personality to have never met a stranger. I have always found it very easy to meet people, and that’s still true to this day.I have worked with businesses on the local level my entire career. From radio to Internet marketing, I have always had a passion for helping a business get more customers. I have always been the idea guy. Great ideas can sell lots of product. I’m still an idea guy today, but working with a different kind of product—people.

After my dad passed in 2000, radio was not the same to me. I retired from radio in 2003 and became on entrepreneur. I joined my first business networking group, Cooper Connection, in 2005. The idea of having a fellow member either use me or refer me was pretty remarkable. I got a lot of value out of the group. I still have friendships I developed at Cooper Connection and do business with several of them to this day. The group was run by an outstanding networker, Joann Cooper. At one time, she ran eight different chapters. I learned a great deal from her on how to run a great meeting. I was a member for a little over five years until Joann decided to shut it down in 2010.

I was a member of BNI® Memorial for over five years and made some great friends during that time, too. I served on the membership committee twice and filled the secretary/treasurer role before accepting an Ambassador role. I passed lots of referrals to our membership over the years.

When Scott Talley called me in November 2014 to tell me his idea of a new networking group he was starting called Network In Action, I personally thought he had gone crazy. Going up against the big guys? Was he kidding? However, I trusted him enough to investigate. After all, I know if you can’t dream it, it will never happen.

I came to his NIA® Heights launch in January 2015 and was impressed with his membership. I went to his February and March meetings, still as an observer. He was at well over thirty members and growing! After much soul searching, I decided in late March to move forward with being the first NIA® franchisee. It was a step of faith and a step for my future. I announced my decision to drop my membership with my BNI® group at the April meeting, much to the surprise of the members. I was always there. I had been part of their sales team for years. And now, no more Moose.

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