Follow Your Spend

Follow Your Spend

Referrals are everywhere; you just need to know how to look. You spend money almost every day, as do all your staff, family and friends. Have you ever considered asking your suppliers as visitors to the Chapter?

I can already hear the sharp intakes of breath as you think you might be letting go of your trade secrets by inviting the companies that supply the products you sell, but I am not talking about that. My chief supplier is a server hosting company based 500 km from my office, so there is no point inviting them. However, my business uses a raft of other services supplied by local companies. For example, our office cleaning company, the company supplying us with our water cooler water, and our computer repair company, etc. The people who do the day to day stuff that keeps us able to operate.

These companies are ideal candidates for visiting the group for three reasons. Firstly, they may have a need for something that one of your Chapter member’s supplies, secondly, one of your Chapter members may be interested in their services and goods, and finally, they could become a member of the Chapter.

Good, general business service companies are the backbone of solid networking groups. Just look at your group, I would say that 65- 75% of the membership can offer their services to just about any company you know. So, inviting your suppliers to the meeting will add to the wholeness of the services your Chapter has to offer.

A good exercise is to consider someone who is setting up a new business, for example, someone setting up a computer shop. Think about all the help the company may need, from buildings to electrical installation, from publicity to staffing, and then think about who in your Chapter covers these needs. If there are gaps in the Chapter, think who in your supply chain might help and then use this as a basis for inviting suppliers to your group. You can do the same exercise by considering a family who is moving into town to start a new life. Who do you know who can help them?

The flip side of the supply chain is also true. Who amongst your customers do you think might be a possible visitor. Well, the answer is every one of them!

If your company puts out a regular newsletter, why not include an item about the group Not only will it be a nice human interest story, but you might inspire them without any hard sell to come and visit the Chapter. You will see at the end of this chapter I have written an article you might write for your newsletter. Please feel free to use and adapt it.

I introduce the concept of my active business networking to every prospective customer I visit. I use it as a way of helping to describe how and why I run my company the way I do. The principles of the group and helping people are enshrined in how I run my website company. Often, this explanation is enough to tempt people into visiting the Chapter.

Here is a typical way I introduce networking to my suppliers and customers.

One aspect of our business we try to promote actively is our membership of a local business networking group. The group brings together many companies (but only one from each profession), to share contacts and opportunities in a spirit of mutual support.

Each week at 6.45am, XXXX attends the local Chapter meeting, at which, they network with local businesses, and pass on information and introductions to potential business.

The organisation offers a structured meeting and networking system that allows members to help each other, and in doing so be helped themselves.

Over our years of membership, we have gained valuable business and customers, but have also been able to help people, by referring them to professional companies we know and trust to help them with their needs. It helps us to do business better.

‘Getting up early was hard at first’ said XXXX, ‘but now I look forward to the meetings, as they are always inspirational and very interesting, and we give and get a lot of business’.

The XXX Chapter has XX members, and meets every XXXX morning, at 6.45 am, at the XYZ meeting place. The breakfast is excellent, and the ‘business on toast’ is even better.

If you think you might want to visit our Group and see the potential it has to offer you, please call me on XXXXXXXX, and I will look forward to welcoming you as my guest.

By following your spend and looking at your suppliers, you are going to find companies you might not even have considered inviting to the group, and think about it, if you use them they must be good!