How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
From Networking to Mastermind Alliance
Guest articles > From Networking to Mastermind Alliance
by: Dean Horn
‘A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can change the course of history’ – Gandhi.
I’ve been attending several networking meetings over the last few weeks and I have been looking for the definitive group that can most effectively support my business. These meetings can be expensive (in time and money) and it can be tricky where best to spend this portion of your marketing budget.
There are some hugely successful groups and organisations around generating millions in sales referrals for eager Network Members. There are often rules, regulations and commitments enforced to ensure you are working hard for your fellow networkers and pulling your weight in referrals. This provides motivation to deliver, but can lead to poor leads, rushed together last minute to save face, embarrassment and a dressing down from the Organisers (to whom you pay your considerable subscriptions).
The process and targets however bring the result and although the structured approach may not suit everybody, it cannot be denied that motivation, focus and requirement to deliver the result breeds the success. When wholly committed to what seems like a proven method this system is attractive to outgoing, driven Business Owners.
There are reasons why it may HAVE to be this way.
There are a myriad of fledgling groups forming and filling up the calendar week, not to mention every ‘hour’ god sends on twitter, bringing businesses together to meet and greet.
After attending some newer meetings consistently for several weeks there is an air that the formats and attendance may not be sustainable. My feeling is that in reality most businesses are looking to hook up for the obvious quick wins in attendance at the meeting – and run, particularly at these fledgling groups.
The more experienced networkers, versed in the networking etiquette and prepared to do the hard yards of ‘giving to get’ go about their admirable work of bringing leads to the table – only to be let down by lack of reciprocity or apathy for their business, particularly if it is a more complex service led proposition. This is no ones fault, long term networking for business results is an ethos that may only be understood following specific training. If only some have the necessary skill set then the groups effectiveness will no doubt suffer.
The same faces show each week after the initial buzz has died down and what is left is a business breakfast or social club, valuable contacts, but quite one dimensional in potential orders that the group may deliver. No requirements, targets, goals or expectations of the group (usually to create an informal atmosphere) breeds low referral performance and therefore nullifies what the networking meeting promised to deliver at the outset.
The ‘sixty second intro’ becomes less and less relevant to frequent attendees as there is little new content to listen to, and the group at some point is likely to disband.
In familiarity, trust and unity you have strength. A Forum of entrepreneurial, thoughtful, hard-working, dynamic individuals with a wealth of knowledge, experience and knowhow ready for action.
You have formed a Mastermind Alliance!
Collaborate together at the networking meet or break away and form a new group with new objectives.
Define a major definite purpose for the group to focus minds.
What do you want to achieve together (I suggest profit or material gain)
What roles will people play?
Where are your strengths individually and as a team?
If you are unsure of where to start or how to take the group forward choose a recent article or book on a particular business topic and review it together at your next meeting. This will provoke amazing business insights and discussions to elevate your personal and Company performance.
Take a particular business problem of one of your Alliance and work together to solve it. Brainstorm. Mind-map. Be strength in numbers. We all see things differently and ‘fresh eyes’ can be invaluable. Are there opportunities for your businesses to work more closely together on joint campaigns or initiatives?
Guest speakers are valuable at networking events – how great would it be to invite a specific individual that can fill knowledge gaps identified by your Alliance?
Your new group will still refer business to one another. In fact this is inevitable as you will not only know what their product does, but also understand their core values and beliefs that underpin it.
So here’s to ditching the bacon sandwich, social talk and sixty seconds and replacing it with a Definite Purpose – Hard Talk, challenge, problem solving, thought-provoking, support and coaching to deliver the result.
With over 20 years experience in B2B sales, B2C sales and General Management, Dean is establishing himself as an authority in sales and business practices through 'Sell Ideas'. He also took time to pursue a degree in Business Law and was called as a Barrister at Lincoln's Inn 2008, specialising in Company, Commercial and Employment law. He lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire with his wife Samantha and their two year old son.
Contributor: Dean Horn
Published here on: 28-Jul-13
Classification: Sales, Networking, Communication