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Networking Now - How Do We Adapt?

This article or Blog is for all of the Passionate Networkers out there, to help you cope well in this changing daily landscape of doing business. I am one of these people, so I wanted to share my story about the ways that I have adapted over the past three weeks. This is my personal story on Corona Virus and how I have coped in my networking business.

The Way It Used To Be For Me

I have been a member of a weekly networking group for the past 12.5 years, attending each week during that time. It has been an important part of my week and I have made so many outstanding business relationships of trust during that time. Each week that we attend we look forward to catching up with each other within our networking groups and giving and receiving referrals and making the right connections for our fellow members.

Eight years ago, on 17th March 2012, I commenced my own weekly networking group known as Networkers Referral Group known as NRG. I have run weekly group meetings across Brisbane each week since then. I have helped many people grow strong referral based businesses.

All that changed for me on Monday morning at 9:00am 9th March 2020. My Accountant Robert Moore from Invigor8 Accountants, rang me to say that he needed to talk to me about my business and the future of how I was going to conduct my weekly meetings. A big Shock. My mind was literally reeling with what he was saying to me.

How The Coronavirus Changed My Business That Day

Robert said I need to talk to you straight and inform you that how you ran your business needs to change, immediately. You need to adapt.
You need to take your business online from next week. I am here to help you do that. I have contacted my client Tristram Morgan from Microsoft 365 Group to assist you with this change, he is standing by to talk with you this morning and he will do all that he can to make this happen and he will train your Assistant Rachael to learn this new technology.

I rang Tristram at 10:00am and he spoke to me about how to do this. We started planning together how this would work for my weekly networking groups in Brisbane. When my Assistant Rachael came in at 11:00am that morning as usual, I made her a coffee and we sat down together and we talked openly and honestly about using Microsoft 365 Teams. I said that Kim, (Tristram’s Trainer) was going to be teaching you how to now run this new online platform. Over the next few days, Rachael learnt a new online platform. On Tuesday 17th March at 11:45am, we were ready to take our networking groups online. Kim was standing by online to assist Rachael for this first meeting and patiently guided her through this new process. NRG Brisbane CBD Connect Group met online for the very first time. It was a huge success. We had both members and new guests waiting and ready at 11:30am to sign in and be included into the meeting. We have Pivoted and Adapted in only a week to a whole new way of not only doing business, but also keeping our members engaged and informed each day of our progress through our Members Only Facebook Group. I could post daily and my members could still interact with one another. They bravely adapted to this new technology, thanks to Tristram, Kim and Rachael.

Go to a networking group with a plan in mind – Consider these following 8 point

  1. Be on time. Make sure that you Login online a bit earlier so that the host can invite you into the meeting.
  2. Ensure that you have a notebook with you to record the ideal client that your members want to connect with this week. Take notes about your Speakers Talk
  3. Dress professionally. Smile and be warm and genuine
  4. Have your referrals and closed business written up and sent via email to your Stats person prior to the meeting
  5. Make sure that you have done your Coffee Meeting with one of your members over the last week to deepen your knowledge of them and their business
  6. Be supportive of your Leadership Team during this difficult time of change. Now is not the time complain and be difficult
  7. Look forward and enjoy your group meeting each week. Be proactive and keep a lookout for opportunities and referrals and connections with the members of your group to help grow their business
  8. Follow up promptly any referrals and connections given to you at the meeting within 24 hours.

Coffee Meetings Now

I have been doing weekly Coffee Meetings for the past 12.5 years. This is how I have built my business, in a very affordable and effective way. I knew it was essential that I continue doing this and encourage my members to also do the same. If we stopped doing this, I knew it would make a significant difference on the number of referrals and connections that my members would receive each week and to then impact on their businesses, cash flow and their bottom line. This I believe is the single most important thing to keep my members and their businesses strong through these uncertain times.

Networking is not something that you do in isolation, it is something you do with other people. Some of my members are in self-isolation right now, but they are still doing Coffee Meetings together. They are now building relationships and still referring business to one another,.but now online.

This is the very heart of a great Networking Group. NRG is certainly this and so much more.

The Business World Has Changed

With Corona Virus affecting most businesses now and many business people and employees now working from a Home Office, life is a lot more complicated and stressful.

We still need that human contact with trusted and strong business associates.This is when our weekly networking groups have become so vital to my members. We can still meet each week, we can still do our Coffee Meetings online or by phone, trust is still there and we will continue to build our businesses. I cannot imagine how hard it must be without the support of my business associates and members in my weekly networking group. It must be so tough not to have that business support system in place right now.

Strong Leadership Needed Right Now

Many of our members have stood up and offered Free Pro-Bono initial advice to our members. Our Accountants, Lawyers, Financial Planners and Bookkeepers. They have been diligently researching the new government initiatives as they have been released and have been sending emails, posting in our Facebook Group, so that they can reach out and help all of our members across our three groups right now. We have cared for each other and helped and supported each other. Meeting online each week is the culmination of the week that has been, not the week ahead, as it once was.

At NRG We Can Help You

If you do not have this same sort of support system in place for you and your business, then please reach out and contact me. Our Leadership Team and myself are here to assist you in any way that we can. We can connect you with Professional People with big hearts, who are our members of the Networkers Referral Group (NRG). We do not want you to be in business alone right now when there are people that can help you. Please contact me.

Please email Rose Gibbens – Director Networkers Referral Group
Email address: rose@nrggroups.com.au