Power Groups

 
Power Groups

Even though most networking groups only allows one member per group per profession, there are always members of the group with whom you can forge close links. These close teams, or Power Groups as some people call them, are allied professions that can provide services or products that complement each other.

This is one of the true powers of being involved in a business networking group, providing complete solutions for customers from one close knit group. For example you might have a florist – photographer - caterer Power Group that can help with parties, weddings and other social functions. The obvious one is the building industry who often work very closely together.

On the worksheet attached you will see a framework of columns. This is designed to allow you to sketch out your Power Group. Together these teams are very strong and can generate a substantial number of referrals. Once complete you should conduct Recons with the Complementary and Business General categories as a matter of urgency.

By doing this you will be able to refer them with confidence, but do not ignore the rest of the group. Everyone’s sphere of influence will be different, so for a rounded approach, make every other dance with a general member of your Chapter.

Complementary
These are companies you know you can find referrals for and work with on projects for customers.

Business General
These are the general services that will be easy to find referrals for a wider range of your contacts.

Specialist
These are them members of the chapter who are a little more specialist and not so ‘main stream’ for day to day referring.

There are a few downsides to very close working relationships, the biggest one being if the other person doesn’t quite measure up on a job you have brought them in on. What do you do?

You treat them like any other supplier who has not done what was expected. You ask them why things went wrong and what they intend doing about it. Do not put up with unprofessional work just because you have breakfast with them one day a week. Often the true measure of a company is what they do when they drop the ball and let’s be honest everyone makes mistakes.

By talking things through and working to a resolution of the issues, your working relationship will become stronger as you know that the other member knows you expect their best work. Additionally, you will have more peace of mind when referring them.

Other issues happen when closely aligned professions have crossovers in their offerings. This happens quite a lot and it can often take some good, hard, professional discussions to come to a working relationship. One area that has a large crossover of skills is the Printer – Web Designer – Marketer Power Group.

I know from experience that all will probably offer graphic design services. This can be both an issue and a blessing. I have had the situation many times within my own company when we have had too much graphic design work to cope with and was happy to pass this on to my fellow group members. I did not consider it a challenge but more of an opportunity, it means that I know I have extra capacity I can call on when I need it.

There were occasions when working with these other companies that we only got the smallest part of the job in hand, as the others had used their in-house skills to do the parts we also could do. This too should not be a negative. The other companies knew our skills and used us for those.

One other potential difficulty of working with closely related businesses is that they will often have pre-existing relationships with companies similar to your own, quite often long-standing ones.

This is often seen as an obstacle but should really be an opportunity. Imagine you are a house painter and a new builder joins the Chapter. Even though the builder may have a painter they already use when they join there will be a time when that painter is unavailable and at this point the builder should be prepared to explore what you have to offer. To do this the painter and builder need to know what each other can do. The answer is to do recons and be totally honest each other.

It may be that you have a building referral you can pass on to the builder. It might seem strange to give work to someone who you know never gives you a referral, but that is where the spirit of networking lies. To give with no expectation of return or reward is the spirit of networking.

The other thing is that as you get a good reputation as a painter and receive good raps and reports from other members and the builder will start to take notice. It is a long-term process, but eventually both parties will see there is benefit from working with each other. Working as a team adds strength to all those involved. Especially in networking groups where the members tend to be smaller companies that don’t have unlimited resources. You need to identify who is in your Power Group, and work with them.

Module Actions
Define your Power Groups
Formulate Recon Plan to cement relationships

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