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The Benefits of a Local Networking Group


If there’s one lesson we’ve learned over these last three months, it’s that social connection plays a fundamental role in many people’s happiness and success—both personally and professionally. Because of wide-spread shelter-in-place orders, many social outlets and activities have been suspended, and for many, that means isolation from their professional communities as well.

From loss of communication with colleagues, to missing opportunities to grow and connect with a customer base, to missing out on professional development seminars and beyond, the effects of social distancing extend to every corner of the business world and are leaving many professionals feeling defeated and uninspired.

How to Grow Professionally and Stay Connected

Luckily, technology provides a means of connection when we can’t be physically together—and that plays a key part in continuing professional development during these times.

Greta, a wonderful member of our sales team, recently shared how she’s staying connected and honing her skills by meeting virtually with her local Business Network International (BNI) group.

Using BNI Groups to Grow Professionally

Every Thursday, Greta meets with her group (now via Zoom), which is made up of professionals from various industries including mortgage companies, financial institutions, car maintenance, heating and air conditioning, and more.

During each meeting, all members get a chance to pitch new products and services their company is offering, ask for referrals, and potentially sell to other professionals within the BNI group, all in hopes of making new connections and bringing in new business.

Making Connections and Getting New Business
Greta Presenting at BNI

When asked if these meetings open new doors, Greta said, “I didn’t get business at first—people need to gain your trust and get to know you because they’ll be referring their friends to you. But over time, I’ve definitely gained business. I have people ordering from the group, and they’ve referred me to their friends. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Aside from honing her public speaking skills and perfecting her elevator pitch, Greta mentioned that meeting with her BNI group has also helped her deal more frankly with her customers and provide more valuable service to them.

Providing More Value to Customers

When reflecting on how she’s grown as a salesperson since joining her BNI group, Greta said, “Things happen with orders—we have to get on the phone and help our regular online customers. But with my BNI group, if something goes wrong or they have questions, I’m going to actually see them face-to-face.”

Sometimes, technology creates a barrier that subconsciously minimizes the positive effects of customer service interactions—but Greta says that connecting with her BNI group customers in person helps her see her customers, especially her digital ones, in a new light.

She notes that she’s learned to approach service situations from a more human, empathic standpoint—whether virtual or in person. Not only does this make her a more skillful salesperson, but it increases customer retention too.

Identifying Market Needs

BNI groups are made up of professionals from industries across the board, and Greta noted that consistently communicating with people in different industries is incredibly valuable for her as a salesperson.

These interactions have trained her to identify the common needs and interests that ePromos can fulfill for other companies and professionals. And perhaps most importantly, Greta notes that she’s more confident in her abilities as a salesperson—she uses the insight she’s gained from these industry connections to create razor-sharp sales pitches that are more targeted and effective. In other words, her professional growth is benefitting everybody in the business.

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