There are a dozen ways the Consortium brings value to its members:
- Effective Referral-based Business Development
- Building Relationships
- A way to get through gatekeepers (a Trojan Horse)
- Social and Entertainment
- Interesting Activities and Events
- Deal flow
- Peer advice and sounding board (Mastermind)
- Sharing New Ideas
- Meeting Damn Interesting People
- Slack channel to share ideas, connections and collaborate
Effective Referral-based Business Development
The Consortium has proven to be a very effective lead-generation engine to drive new business for its members. The first year the Consortium was formed over $500,000 worth of referrals were made between members.
Active members and guests meet at the monthly meeting, and start interesting conversations. I’ve seen those conversations spill out in the parking lot till 10:30 at night because they are so interesting. A lot of the networking and relationship-building also goes on outside the monthly meetings in one-on-ones. In the monthly meeting we explicitly take time to set up one-on-ones with someone else in the group. More often than not, more than one one-on-one is set up at the monthly meeting. That is because everyone is excited to meet other interesting people and build relationships.
Social and Entertainment
Very common feedback from existing Active Members, I’ve heard is, “Corey, getting more business from the Consortium for me is extra credit. A more important aspect of the Consortium is the social aspect of the group, meeting interesting people and having a sounding board of smart people I get to meet.”
A way to get through gatekeepers, a Trojan Horse
The Consortium works as a Trojan Horse to very comfortably get you through gatekeepers by offering a gift to a person you want to meet. Here’s how it works. You want to have a conversation with a prospective client or someone you just want to meet. You lead your introduction with, “ I thought you might be interested in knowing something that might be valuable for your business called Consortium Partners. I found it to be very useful in business development and is a great social network of damn interesting people. Would you like to know more”? In practice this has been demonstrated to be very effective at getting conversation going with people that wouldn’t ordinarily be open to picking up the phone.
The organization was founded on members from the IT. We are expanding to other professional services. Members in the same industry can drive business toward each other much more effectively than in a typical business networking group because they understand their industry.
Meeting Damn Interesting People (DIPsters)
The Consortium is full of Damn Interesting People, I referred to as DIPsters. here’s a definition now found in the Urban Dictionary.
Urban Dictionary definition: DIPster
A damn interesting person who others admire because of their lifestyle, interests, hobbies, or ability to squeeze the juice out of life. DIPster comes from the acronym, DIP for Damn Interesting Person with the suffix -ster used to form the noun associated with the group of damn interesting people and counters the meaning of dip, or stupid.
Interesting Activities and Events
It turns out that the social aspect of being around interesting people and doing interesting activities has been a big value to Consortium members. In addition to the meeting and hanging out together there are other opportunities and events. This is yet to be fully fleshed-out. Here are some ideas:
- Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Scheduled for September 2019. 3 Consortium members are confirmed.
- Annual conference in an interesting area with activities that the members are interested in doing, such as Costa Rica, skiing in Colorado, our national parks.
- group trips, for example, a road trip to Eastern Utah: Escalante National Monument, New Wave, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, the Arches, etc.
- Heroes for Children poker tournament
- Deacons of Deadwood ball
- Go to prison (Prison Entrepreneurship Program)
$500K of known deal flow were referred in the first year. This is an underestimate. A challenge is to accurately quantify the deal flow. Improving on this ability is an opportunity.
Members can list their businesses on the Directory. This give the member market exposure to prospective clients, is a gateway for opportunities broadcasted from other members and share contact information with other members.
Peer advise and sounding board (Mastermind)
The Consortium serves as a peer-to-peer sounding board or Mastermind group. Members are getting together one-on-one or in groups to share ideas from other experts within the organization and create new opportunities in business among themselves. A specific example is the Cyber special interest group (Cyber SIG) that has formed in the Houston chapter.
A recent member just told me that because we are in the same industry, the Consortium is is more relevant and valuable to them than their experience in Vistage.
Sharing New Ideas
A selection criteria for being a Consortium member is being “Damn Interesting”. That translates into being around very smart individuals on the leading edge of technology. As a result being among these smart members, we get to hear and share them among ourselves in these special interest groups, one-on-ones and educational seminars. The Consortium has become a valuable place for finding out what is new in our industry. Keeping pace within the technology industry is value for business. The Consortium is very effective for those members that take advantage of their membership.
In addition to what members are learning through one-on-ones and sounding boards among each other, formal training in the areas have and will be done in:
- Value pricing Seminar
- Sales and business development training
- Leading Edge Technical training and awareness (NFC, for example)
Abundance versus Scarcity is counter-intuitively more effective
Most Referral organization are organized using scarcity thinking where only one member can be from a given industry sector. We believe in abundance thinking which means more business.
Most referral partners know many CPAs, attorneys, Managed IT companies, etc. So limiting the referral to the single choice in the group may not be the best recommendation for the customer.
What really happens is the referral partner will recommend the partner they trust regardless if they are in the group or not. That trust comes from a relationship built over time.
We’ve discovered a counter-intuitive better way to drive more business. We believe there is plenty of business to go around. Abundance thinking.
Since we all are in the same industry, IT, we are better listeners for each other because we understand each others businesses better than someone outside our industry.
Private Slack channel
The Consortium members have access to a private Slack channel to share ideas, connections and collaborate.