Business groups that exist purely for the purpose of networking can be very productive or a complete waste of time—or somewhere in the middle. We encourage attorneys to be cautious about groups that demand a certain number of leads per meeting or risk being fined. However, there are many good groups that can become great referral sources. Finding the right one requires going to the meetings and accurately assessing the members.
Do they meet at a convenient location? There are people who will drive 45 minutes to a meeting if the leads are good. If your time is already tight, this may not be a good fit. If the room is filled with quality professionals, it may be worthwhile.
Do they meet regularly? Scattershot meetings or meetings that are re-scheduled often will not work. You can’t build a relationship if you don’t meet on a regular basis. Weekly may be too time consuming for you. Monthly may not be enough time to really know people.
Who is in the group? Check them out on LinkedIn to see if these are quality professionals who you would want to be associated with.
How organized are they? A group that does not have a website, Facebook Group or LinkedIn group may be out of touch with today’s market. Another way to measure the proficiency level of the group: how do they communicate with each other and what is the quality of the communications?
How many members do they have? A larger group will give you more opportunities to meet more people, unfortunately you might not get to know everyone well. But if there are 15 members or less, it’s less likely that it will be a productive group.
Define in very specific terms exactly what is needed to make the group worthwhile. Consider how many clients you would need to get to have a good ROI. Remember that the cost of networking groups is not only in fees, but in time. Do you need six clients in six months? Twelve clients in six months? If your measure of success is clear, you will know in a relatively short period of time whether or not to continue.