Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Math of Networking

Mike McCaleb of Cookie Advantage is a master networker. We spent a few minutes talking about the networking he’s doing after a Rotary Club meeting.

Mike is a member of nine different networking organizations and is preparing to start a tenth. These range from leads clubs to service clubs to chambers of commerce.

Mike’s not just a member. He’s involved. He attends all meetings. And why not? The meetings are over breakfast or lunch. “I’m going to eat anyway,” he explains.

“Do the math,” says Mike, when explaining the benefits to his business. “I’m connecting 400 people every week. If each of them know an average of 200 people, that 80 thousand people I can reach with first hand information about my business.”

Mike’s goal in networking is to explain his business well enough to people for them to explain it to others when the opportunity arises. His business is inexpensively mailing cookies to customers with a thank you note and survey card. It’s a proven customer retention method and he sees his job as making it as easy as possible for time pressed business owners to retain customers.

“We do all the work on your behalf,” he tells people, “and you get all the credit.”

Networking is the blocking and tackling of business. It’s fundamental. If you’re B2C, it’s important. If you’re B2B, it’s critical.

Mike is a vendor in the Service Roundtable’s Roundtable Rewards program where contractors in the Service Roundtable get a 5% rebate from Cookie Advantage. He got involved because I networked with him at Rotary. Tony Fuentes, the General Manager of Sam Pack’s Ford Country of Lewisville, introduced me to Mike. I met Tony through networking and bought my last car from him.

That’s the way networking works. Business is built on relationships and people prefer to do business with the people they know. When Mike meets with 400 people over the course of a week, he’s meeting with potential customers and vendors. These are also community centers of influence who can introduce Mike to other customers and vendors. Your circle of influence when you’re engaging community centers of influence spreads far. In Mike’s case, it reaches 80 thousand.

How about you? Do you eat lunch by yourself? Why not get involved with a service or civic club? Why not meet for breakfast with a networking group? Why not get involved with your school alumni? Why not expand your circle of influence? If you can join 100 people through two or three groups a week and each of them knows 200, that’s a 20 thousand strong circle of influence. Do the math.

No comments:

Post a Comment