Growing a company is a constant lesson in growing pains. New business isn’t guaranteed, and when you’ve tapped out your referral network, the next steps can be uncertain.
I am religiously opposed to spammy sales outreach. You know, those emails that cast a broad net, with no clear message. I don’t like to be the recipient of those communications, and I certainly don’t want to be the perpetrator.
So, I’m doing other things to get introduced to new people… people who may not need my services, but who work with companies that might.
Taking the Pain Out of Networking
Recently, I’ve joined Ellevate, formerly that first-gen organization called 85Broads. When I was at Citibank, this group was the bad boy (okay, bad girl) of networking groups, helping women in financial services connect with one another, since they didn’t have access to the places men gathered and made deals—the executive dining room or the men’s room.
Today, Ellevate is a broader organization where I’ve met some fascinating women doing amazing things. I simply love their approach.
I am religiously opposed to spammy sales outreach.
One of the descriptors on the website lists, “Experience networking you won't dread—access world class speakers and get your questions answered from women who've been in your shoes.”
There’s no better source of education than someone who has walked in your pumps.
I am also part of a referral group called Centricity. We are a tight knit group of mid-market business people who meet weekly via Zoom.
We follow a streamlined process, managed by a facilitator, which helps us really get to know one another so we can refer people whom we’ve grown to trust.
It’s a slow build—just as you might expect when you’re getting to know someone deeply enough to feel comfortable referring them. It is hard work, and an early 7:30 a.m. time slot, but one that’s personally rewarding.
You Share, I Share, We All Benefit
The great thing about these types of “out of the box” networking groups is you get to meet professionals from a broad set of experiences.
It is hard work, but one that’s personally rewarding.
So, for example, if you’re in the burgeoning podcasting arena, you might connect with other digital marketing gurus (makes sense).
Or, you may discover an opportunity to expand a hospital’s reach with a healthcare marketing channel not previously thought of by the marketing team. Same with a law firm, or a financial institution.
It’s all about sharing knowledge, experiences, and trust. When you feel confident in the relationships you create, you can build a foundation that’s mutually beneficial for all.