Marketing Groups, Business Marketing Networks, Lead Generation Groups. Make friends, get leads!

Network Marketing groups are everywhere! You get to make friends with other motivated business people, get and receive sales leads, and have a tasty meal....sometimes even ON THEM! Here my account of two weekly groups and one that meets monthly.
By: Delayne Hiott - Top Cat Appliance Repair
June 2, 2010 - PRLog -- Business Marketing Networks, Networking Groups, or Lead Generation Groups.... whatever you call's a few reasons to get on board:  

* Helps to build your business
* Keeps you up to date with the business world
* Improves your public speaking
* Puts you in a network where everyone helps each other
* Allows you to bounce your ideas off others
* You can build long term friendships with like-minded individuals...and much more!

How do you know which networking group to pick with so many choices? Well, today I visited two such lead generating groups and here's the lowdown...

At 7:30 AM I attended a group networking meeting in St Petersburg Florida. I won't mention thier name, as other may have had a better experience than me. As I walked in, I was asked my name and told to pay $10 to enter. When a member asked what type of business I was in, I said that my company, Top Cat Appliance Repair ( ) performs, appliance repair services in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Pasco Counties in the Tampa Bay area. The Vice President's reply was that all they needed now was someone that sells appliances, then mentioned a competitor's name!

Are you kidding me? The other appliance company also provides service! I blew this off and went inside. For my $10.00 I got some cut fruit, an egg McMuffin knockoff and a Jr. cup of O.J.. The meeting started with everyone giving a 30 second elevator speech on thier businesses, followed by 2 speakers giving more detailed info on exactly what they do.

Afterwards, the other new guy and myself were directed to the "sign-up" table in the back. There I was told to fill out some forms and give a $100.00 "Application Fee". If this was approved, then I could pay another $375.00 for a 1 year membership. Oh yeah, the weekly McSomethings and meeting is an additional $10.00 a week. So it would cost $975.00 annually to possibly sit right next to my competitor that she very much had wanted to recruit!

After my objecting to the sign-up guy of the possibility of  her soliciting my competitor , I was assured that I would be the ONLY business for appliance repair, and if my largest competitor came aboard, he would be for major appliance sales only. C'mon now! When delivering a washer and dryer to a customer's home, where do you think that company will place thier refrigerator magnet? I'm guessing right in the spot where mine USED to be! No Thanks....I'll Pass! Though I did met a few nice people there, I found the atmosphere rather stuffy, and unwelcoming. I'll not be returning!

One last note: A box of member's biz cards were passed around and we two newbies were told to not place our cards in the box, but to hand them out individually after the meeting. To who? After leaving the sign-up table, I found most everyone had left!  

Next I headed to my 2ND meeting at a nice local restaurant, The Thirsty Marlin in Largo Florida, for a lunch meeting with the members of Professional Leads Network.( As I walked in, I was greeted by Ken Grote , the group's ringmaster, and then by a waiter to take my lunch order. I ordered the blackened shrimp...yummy!

Wow! These guys were different! No fancy-pants hotshot here! The folks in this group seemed almost like old friends. One nice fellow that welcomed me, Dick Powell of Rob Rick Outdoors gave a rather informative pitch on hurricane supplies that his business sold.

Though this was a smaller group of 12 or so, the networking members seemed to welcome me with open arms! We were all instructed to pass a handful of business cards to the person on our right and everyone took one, or more of my cards...Groovy! :) The dues with PLN were $175.00 per quarter, with an administration fee of $15.00...PLUS the meals are covered! Are you serious?!? I figure ANY lunch menu item plus a drink is at least going to be around 10-12 bucks, so the meetings, and business leads are pretty much FREE! Plus all of the smaller regional groups join forces quarterly or so and have fun get-togethers too!
Not too shabby a deal if you ask me!

Now if you live in the Tampa Bay area and can't get away on a weekly basis, Phillip Black has his social media "Monster Mixer" ( events on a monthly basis. There you can meet at least 100 people to network with. I've met some quality people here, and the atmosphere is fairly relaxed. For only $25.00.... this one is a MUST DO!  

My advice to you.....Check out several networking group meetings in your area. Go 2-3 times to get a real feel for things. We've all been on a date or two with a wonderful person, to later find that they were not what they seemed. By the way, I've heard nothing but good things about the first group. Maybe if I visited thier meeting next week instead of today, things would have been different.... I'll never know.

Look online and find a networking group in your area. You've got nothing to lose but.....LEADS!

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Delayne Hiott is Founder and President of Top Cat Appliance Repair. We are a BBB accredited, A+ rated appliance repair service that provides 2 HOUR Appliance Repair Services in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. We offer same day appliance repairs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee Counties on your Refrigerator, Freezer, Washing Machine, Clothes Dryer, Dishwasher, Ice Maker, Cooktop, Garbage Disposal, Stove, Oven, Wine Coolers etc...
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