How can you find out the group loyalty requirements before you venture forth?
Many groups have loyalty requirements in order to make sure that the leads you generate are exclusively for the members of the group. It is important that you make sure you know everything about the group before you join, and loyalty requirements can put a damper on other activities you have planned. If you find a group that does not have any requirements for loyalty, then you will have to interview members to see what other groups they belong to. If there is no focus on your group, then the leads will likely be watered down. Loyalty that excludes organizations such as Chamber membership or speaking groups should not be on the list of acceptable groups to join. Loyalty should be restricted to other leads groups. Make sure that others who belong to the group do buy into the loyalty issue. Often when there is a rule, someone will take advantage and belong to other groups in a different area. Loyalty will prove to be the making or breaking of any group.
If you do business with members of other groups, then you should make sure that they do not have restrictions with whom they may do business with. Some groups restrict using an outside source for some services from members. In my experience, to join one of the groups I was considering, members joining were required to drop their current printer service and give business to the member printer. It is NEVER wise to lose good business relationships through group loyalty requirements.
Loyalty in theory is supposed to lead to a closed group that supports your business and the other members. It does not necessarily mean that you cannot do business outside the group (you will have to make sure that this is not a requirement). Loyalty is often only one of the criteria for membership; you may also have an attendance factor, and a fee. In light of the criteria, you still have to measure the value.
Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com