Every club needs to get new members. However large it is, there will always be a trade or profession that isn’t yet represented. You can’t expect to turn up every week or fortnight and find that everything has magically happened without you doing anything to help. After all, this is a networking club and the clue is in the name. Your personal network is one of the things which you bring to the table and from that list of connections should come a selection of people you can invite to meetings.
So the growth of the networking club is a group effort, a point we have emphasised in this blog before. It’s also everybody’s responsibility to make sure that visitors are made welcome and included in conversations. There’s nothing worse than turning up at a new club and finding that everyone congregates in small groups that you are unable to break into. TLGC is often complimented on the effectiveness of our welcome and the fact that visitors feel at home straight away. It’s really important to make sure that the visitor sees the club at its best with all the attendant advantages which being a permanent part of it will bring.
The primary purpose of getting a visitor along in the first place is of course to try and get them to join. We allow two visits before we expect someone to make a decision but actually many people sign up more quickly than that. A fundamental mistake sometimes made in networking clubs is to assume that individuals will need two bites at the cherry before they make up their minds. Why? If they can see how fantastic a group it is, they’ll want to secure their place straight away surely?
It is not unusual sometimes to see a guest asking how they can join and then being given an application form and told to ‘bring it back next time.’ How deflating and demotivating is that? If people are keen to get on board straight away, then it is everybody’s responsibility to make sure they are given the opportunity to sign up then and there. If they have concerns, then deal with them, point out all the benefits of taking immediate action and then watch your networking club grow quickly.
We educate our members to try and encourage guests immediately. It’s not ‘cold calling’ or a ‘hard sell.’ After all, people are there voluntarily and must have some interest or they wouldn’t have bothered turning up in the first place. Talk to them, inspire them, motivate them and help the club manager to get signatures on the day. Don’t just wait for them to ‘come back next time.’