Organizing Your Local Council Team around Networking
Networking by itself does not guarantee any sales. Networking is a way to promote yourself to certain individuals or organizations and let them know what it is that you do. The hope is that they will provide you referrals or sponsor your business or help you find employment or put you together with other people who might help you expand your business. Networking requires a great deal of effort and time. Simply joining a group of individuals who express an interest to share leads with each other is not true networking. This halfhearted approach to networking rarely results in any new business.
Unfortunately, many of the individuals who contact us to help them form local elder planning councils think that this simple approach to networking – where a group of people work together and magically leads flow between them – will result in more business. It has been our experience that it takes more than just rubbing shoulders with service providers or advisers in the community to create more business and make your local elder planning council work.
The type of networking that you should do as a local council is to work together as a group and reach out to organizations and employers in the community and let them know what you do as a council. This type of networking will bring better results.
One way to network in the community is for your members to join organizations that serve aging seniors. Participate in their activities and speak at luncheons and provide service for the organizations. Another related way to work with organizations is to provide continuing education for their members and develop a relationship with the members in this way. These relationships will in turn result in expanding your influence among a great number of different providers and advisers in the community.
Another way to network in the community is to organize your group as a community service organization and provide those services through the members of the group. Part of your community support consists of a one-stop shopping service for aging seniors. Another valuable part of your service is to offer your council solutions to church groups, senior centers, employers, retirement communities, community service organizations, elder care services and facilities and so forth. This relationship approach to networking will result in requests for the guidance and advice from the members of your group.
The strongest council team networking efforts center around promoting the group through educational workshops sponsored by various organizations and businesses. The networking occurs when members of the council reach out with this particular service to educate employees, residents, patients, church members and other individuals in the community through their sponsoring employers or organizations.
If done properly, educational workshops will result in requests for assistance from the individuals who attend those workshops. Of course, getting in front of those individuals in the first place is a result of the networking that your group will do in gaining sponsors for these presentations.
These leads generated through workshops will then be serviced by members of the group in various ways. Perhaps, someone in the group will meet with the individual requesting assistance and go through a survey or check list to determine what services or advice are actually needed. This may result in setting up appointments for various members of the group. Another approach would be to actually do some sort of formal planning for individuals requesting help and as a result of this planning, appointments will be made for various members of the council.
The Successful Senior Marketing System from the National Care Planning Council provides detailed instructions on how to do the type of networking that we describe in this article. For members of the NCPC or if you want to join the NCPC, you can obtain this valuable system at our cost. Even though we are giving it away, it is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business income to you to use this new marketing system.
This approach to networking that we have described will result in much more business for council members than just expecting referrals from each other. This does not mean that the group should ignore referrals from each other. However, there has to be an organized approach to producing Intergroup referrals. We will talk about this organized approach in the next article which covers a concept we call collaborative marketing.