When I was a kid, I loved going into the deep end of the pool. To me, it was where the big kids swam, where the great divers performed their tricks, where the real fun happened. I felt that the games we played got more challenging, navigating water that was way over our heads. It also wasn’t as crowded either. The smaller, less stronger kids tended to stay in the shallow end, with the adults that were there to supervise them. Less people meant more freedom to roam without bumping into another swimmer.
Fast forward to today and I find myself enjoying the same preference as a business professional. I prefer to swim in the deep end rather than the shallow. Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and Chairman of Business Networking International (BNI), said as much in an article he wrote in August of this year. Swimming (networking) in the shallow waters has its benefits – many more people, ease of navigation, fewer events to schedule. Attending monthly events at your local Chamber will typically draw a larger crowd of professionals, which is a great way to be visible within a group setting. However, this is really the shallow end of the pool. Relationships are more superficial, simply due to that lack of time. In order to develop those deeper, more influential relationships within that same Chamber, becoming involved in various committees will ensure you enter the deeper section of the pool. Yes, there will be fewer individuals, but those people will be the ones you begin to “know, like, and trust.” Building that solid foundation is key to successful referral marketing.
No matter what the group or organization, be aware and deliberate with which end of the pool you decide to navigate. If you are purposeful, you will avoid saying the words you hear others say, “I didn’t get anything out of it.” When you hear those words, you know what part of the pool they were frequenting.
Keep it targeted.