It is important to understand that networking groups represent a sales force. A member can, in essence, create a large group of marketing professionals that purposefully go into the “real business world” and forward business to other members in the group. The most important part of that process is to clearly understand why another member would “go to bat” for you, and how best to encourage those other members in your group to actually take the time, energy and effort to send you that business contact.
The process is centered around mutual obligation created by the clear understanding that in generating leads for other members, they will in turn generate leads for you, and the more leads you give the more you will receive.
Leads can come in many forms, and are not always as direct as we think. A lead can be an idea on how to better tackle a problem or business issue more efficiently. It can be an idea for additional or different marketing strategies or expanded sales base. A lead could include ideas on funding or opportunities for different business concepts all together. A lead in an effective network group can take all sorts of forms including personal support in good or difficult situations. This is another form of currency used in the payment of your sales force. So, when I hear from a member that he or she has a limited source of leads for any one person In the group, I can elude to these thoughts. A direct business lead is great, but to build on the obligation the group may have for you, expand your thinking to include all that you can give in addition to the more traditional business lead. Sometimes it has a greater value!