Madison Oberg and Taryn Gray-Delahunty explain how Echelon is a great space to get to know people, and to build a strong foundation of potential referral sources.
Yes, Echelon is a great space to get to know people, and to build a strong foundation of potential referral sources. But you only truly benefit from your membership when you really take advantage of it. As a group moderator and communications chair, we are well-versed in the benefits of Echelon, so here are our tips to get the most out of your Echelon Membership:
Show Up Physically
It may be obvious but showing up is the most simple and important action you can take to reap the benefits of your membership. Not only are you, or your employer in some cases, paying to be there, but you cannot form connections with people when you aren’t there. Whether it be virtual or in person, your hosts and moderators take a lot of time to plan discussion topics, open up their offices, and provide drinks and snacks. Additionally, your fellow group members who attend take time to connect with you and engage with the group. We all get busy but showing your group members, moderators, and hosts that you value their time by making the effort to be there speaks volumes. Simply put, you’re more likely to get a referral from someone who knows who you are.
Show Up Mentally
Not only is it important to physically (or virtually) be present, but showing up mentally is just as important. We are all guilty of checking emails while on a Zoom call – work demands your attention! But you never know what you’ll learn about your fellow group members when you take the time to actually listen and engage. So, take the time to get in a good headspace and come ready and open to discuss whatever your moderator has in store. Don’t forget, they take a lot of time to come up with thoughtful and valuable discussion topics so the least you can do is participate. Joining in on discussions to build connections with one another is a key element in the “know, like, trust, refer” cycle.
Know & Use the Benefits
Echelon offers a lot of amazing business development and marketing perks including TopTrustedAdvisors.com listings for E1 members, E2 for associate level employees, specialty groups, the blog, the Echelon Radio Podcast, Echelon Professional Magazine, social media and more. There are so many opportunities to help take you and your business to the next level. All of these business development and marketing tools are great but only if you use them! Writing a blog post once per quarter is an easy way to get your name out there, and to have content you can easily share on both your website and your LinkedIn. Share podcasts with your social media network or clients to further establish yourself as an expert. Join specialty groups to connect with members you might not have a chance to meet otherwise. It’s about so much more than just showing up to your monthly meeting. Engage outside of them and watch your network expand exponentially.
We are both introverts, so Madison jokes around saying, “I’m great at networking because I hate networking.” What she means is, rather than going into an Echelon meeting thinking she’s going to develop some business, she goes in hoping to make a real connection and learn something new. Echelon provides a unique space to get to know professionals on a level beyond the surface – “there’s lots of lawyers in LA, but people hire the Obergs because they want to work with… the Obergs!” Similarly, we want to send our clients to people we know, like, and trust; if our only impression of you is missing most of our group meetings or playing on your phone the whole time you’re there…we’re probably not going to have you as a top of mind referral.
It Is What You Make Of It
Want Echelon to be an absolute game-changer in your business? Then make it one! Focus on helping it grow by inviting prospects to join the organization. Share about it! Tell clients, your virtual network, another service provider you meet at an event who might benefit from it about the organization. Engage with the Echelon social media accounts as a simple, more passive way to help the organization grow and be more visible to others. Bring your associate level employees into Echelon 2. It’s a fantastic way to introduce them to networking, begin building their own book of business, and an offering that no other local networking organization provides! And of course, while we know it can be tough to make additional time in your month, we suggest prioritizing guesting at least once per quarter.
As service providers, our reputation is essential to our business. Echelon provides a great opportunity to meet other providers and create meaningful and productive relationships. However, the benefits only go as far as you take them – so show up, lean in, and enjoy all that your membership has to offer!