Last week’s topic discussing the correlation between gratitude in elevator pitches and success in networking groups struck a real chord with readers. This week’s topic is essentially the opposite of gratitude: resentment. And it can be a death sentence to not only leads, but can cast a cloud over an entire networking group.
If you have been in a networking group for any length of time and done your share of one-on-ones, you might hear grumblings from fellow members about certain members not passing them business. These grumblings can get even louder if your fellow member has passed leads to the member they are complaining about. As somebody who has a vested interest in the overall success of your networking group, it’s your job to get your fellow member off the “whine without the cheese”.
That’s not saying they might not have a beef. Yet complaining about somebody not passing referrals never solved the problem. If anything, it creates an animosity that casts a cloud over your group and makes others uncomfortable—and that diminishes the effectiveness of the group.
So, what do you do? Whether it’s you feeling this way or a fellow group member, suggest taking a good look in the mirror and asking a few questions:
- Have I done a one-on-one with this person (you’d be surprised how many people expect referrals without having sat down with said person)?
- Did I present myself in a way that makes me easy to refer? Sometimes preparing a list of people you’re looking to be referred to and a list of how you can help them makes it much easier to pass a referral.
- If you have passed your fellow networking group member a lead did you take following steps:
- Contact the lead to let them know somebody from your networking group would be reaching out to them?
- Did you follow up with your fellow group member to see whether they connected with your referral and whether or not it was the right kind of referral?
- Follow up with the referral.
If you go through this series of questions and come up with blank, set up another one-on-one with your fellow networking member (you can do as many of those as you need, there is no limit). Be direct, but without being accusatory or hostile. For example, you might say:
“I was hoping we’d be good sources of leads and referrals for each other. Is there anything you can tell me about your business that might help me pass more referrals your way?”
Granted, this is not really addressing the problem. But once they answer that question, most people will reciprocate and ask how they can help you. That should lead to a discussion that will get you an answer. Nine times out of 10, the answer will not be directly about you, but something about them.
What you really want to get out of this exercise is an answer that can cease the resentment. A good rule of thumb in life and networking groups—if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Grumbling about what you’re not getting from other group members typically makes you look as bad as the person you’re complaining about. And the last thing you want is that frustration giving other members of your group a reason to hesitate in passing referrals to you, too.