"When I arrived at my first Network In Action 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 the 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. Now, I am an NIA® lifer!"
When you are first introduced to Network In Action, the first thing you’ll hear are the seven ways that we are unique in the world of networking. However, I would argue that all seven of them boil down to just one: everything we do is built around adding value for our members, as opposed to just putting on a show for the guests. Let me demonstrate:
- Our guarantee: We guarantee you a return on your investment so that you know upfront that you aren’t taking a gamble with your investment. In addition, your professional leader enters into a partnership with you to ensure that you receive that ROI.
- Professional leadership instead of a volunteer: You are entering into a real partnership. Your franchise owner or community builder is someone who is committed to ensuring your success. In addition, the group maintains its numbers and value indefinitely, so you don’t have to worry about what we refer to as the annual networking roller-coaster.
- Ongoing coaching: Monthly coaching sessions are designed to help you continue to grow and improve your business in a variety of ways. You never have to choose between coaching and networking again.
- Monthly meetings held in the afternoon instead of weekly morning meetings: This makes it easier for you to work it into your schedule. In addition, this means that more business owners are making the time to come instead of sending their salespeople, which improves the quality of our membership across the board.
- Technology: We use technology so that it’s easier for you to pass and receive referrals and stay connected without face-to-face meetings.
- Marketplace: The NIA® marketplace gives you a place to offer your unique promotions to all of our hundreds of members across the entire country. This is free marketing to an audience that has already been qualified.
- Refer with confidence: Each member completes a background check and a personality profile so that you can refer to your personal network of friends, family members, and colleagues with confidence. In addition, it allows us to screen members before they join to ensure that you are guaranteed to be part of a group of high-caliber individuals.
Everything we do is about you! That is no accident. As I sat down and spent hours combing through the on-line reviews of networking groups, I made a list of all the things that people hated about the popular networking groups out there, and then I set out to create the exact opposite. It’s really no surprise that we’ve been able to create an organization that people love.
Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest
Other networking meetings are a dog and pony show for guests. The meeting’s focus is aimed at increasing the group’s membership, and that is done by convincing visitors that they have to join. The entire structure of the weekly meeting is geared toward that purpose. As a member, that should be insulting.
Think about it. All the members stand and give their elevator pitches, one at a time. Do I need to hear this every single week of the year? Do I really need to hear the pest control guy say, “Hi, I’m Joe with Joe’s Pest Control, and I kill bugs dead” over and over again?
There are literally thousands of hours being wasted every week all across the globe as members of networking groups are required to sit back and watch as members stand up and (re)spout their company line with the only goal being to impress the guests so that the group will grow by some percent of the number of whatever warm bodies have shown up that day. Sometimes I wonder what people sitting in those networking groups are really thinking while so much of their precious time is being wasted. Next time you are in one of those meetings, watch how many members are either holding side-bar conversations or mimicking what the member is saying for the fifty-second week in a row.
Then they move on to the main attraction: announcing how many leads have been passed around. This benign ritual creates an unhealthy networking environment. As a God-loving Catholic, I sure don’t want to have to stand up in front of the church and confess my sins every week. Why would I want to do that with my networking group? This results in horrible leads being passed, just for the sake of avoiding the public humiliation of admitting you don’t have one to share! You wouldn’t dare have zero to pass on, so you either dig up some name and number of some guy you don’t even know or, if you don’t have a referral to pass, you are required to say something great about the organization. That way the members are impressed because they see either a lead being passed—which might as well be monopoly money—or they hear a testimonial from a Kool-Aid drinker.
As a member, you know this going in to each meeting. You are no longer excited when someone puts that slip of pink paper into your hand. It is more likely to be fool’s gold than a referral with value. However, you sit through this, week after week, because this is the only way you know how to network. Until now, this has been the best option you have had.
You agree to the song and dance as a member because you need those warm bodies to join just as desperately as the next person. That’s because these groups are rife with people with the popcorn mentality—that if you don’t leave with a sale today, you’ve wasted your time. That environment is not conducive to building long-term relationships of trust that will bring you a return. That means that after you’ve gathered the low-hanging fruit from the current members, you need more members.
So, you play along and continue to go through the motions, week after mind-numbing week. After all, the guests don’t know that you are passing garbage or that maybe you really don't believe the company line. A percentage of those guests, regardless of how few, will decide to jump in, and the cycle repeats itself. And if they are members long enough, they can even become your next group leader!
And with that, another sucker is born, and the ritual continues.
At NIA®, we haven’t just improved on that model. We have chosen to go in an entirely different direction because a more mature approach to building out a group is expected from today’s business owners.
A Different Type of Meeting
We have crafted a model that is 100 percent focused on our members’ success and growth, both personally and professionally. We believe that when we lead with this kind of value and integrity, the membership will naturally grow.
Our members know that when they step into an NIA® meeting, 100 percent of the attention will be on them and that everything that happens within those ninety minutes is geared toward helping them grow their businesses. There is no wasted time impressing guests with make believe. Our franchise owners are the membership committee, and trust me when I say they are trained and prepared to run professional groups the way today’s business owners expect them to be run.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.