Before I moved to Spain I was invited by someone from my network to attend a network meeting very early in the morning. It felt kind of secretive, which I didn’t like and made me feel like I was lured into one of those pyramid schemes, but it turned out to be the result of the person introducing me being very new to all of it.
This breakfast meeting turned out to be the local chapter breakfast of BNI (NO affiliate link). And after I had shaken off the initial unease about the mystery it was shrouded with, I was impressed by the businesslike and goal oriented approach to networking. It is a cut to the chase approach, so no hours of small talk at all kinds of network meetings.
After a short introduction by the leader of the chapter, every member got a chance to introduce him- or herself and the business, and state what they were looking for. It wasn’t OK to say that you were looking for small business owners for instance, or for publishers. You had to be very specific and say I want to meet someone in sales at Firm Y or even I want I want an introduction to Mr. X at Firm Y. Of course, I having no clue what I was going to attend, hadn’t been able to prepare and had no specific contact or business to name. And this of course was immediately pointed out. During this round of short presentations everyone was supposed to take notes of everyone’s request. Afterwards stock was taken of all the possible introductions that could be made. After the meeting people were supposed to make introductions where they could and it was encouraged that all the members of the chapter would meet up 1-on-1 to get to know each other and each other’s business better.
Every chapter only allows one business from each industry. So two different advertising agencies cannot be a member of the same chapter or two law practices, printing businesses, photographers, copywriters, career coaches etc.
There is a yearly membership fee but you should be able to cover that with the leads and sales you generate and you have to attend the breakfast meeting every week. I think you can attend two breakfast meetings before you have to become a member.
If I had stayed in The Netherlands and continued my consultancy business I would have certainly become a member (although I would have had to get used to the early mornings). Instead I came to Spain and started Pepita Bos. Your DIY Marketing Mentor.
If you are a B2B business, check it out and contact a local chapter to see if you can attend some trial meetings and find out if it is something for you.
By Pepita Bos