Visual Problem Solving: Network Maps

By: Eris Weaver | Date: January 31, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized

>If you follow all the network marketing gurus, you have joined several different kinds of business, service, and networking organizations in order to develop relationships that will lead to more clients. As I finished 2010 and planned for 2011, I made a Network Map to evaluate how effectively my groups have generated new clients over the past two years, and learned some interesting things!

Here’s how to do it.

Take a sheet of paper turned lengthwise. Put yourself in the center. Radiating out from yourself, draw in all the different groups to which you belong. You may want to also include groups that aren’t necessarily business-oriented — PTA, hobby groups, book club —  but which sometimes result in referrals.

Working outward, draw links from your networks to the people who have hired you directly or who have referred you to someone who has hired you.

You can color code things and make it fancy if you want, but don’t worry about what it looks like – this is drawing to figure things out, rather than drawing to represent something realistically or artistically!  (See my colleague Brandy Agerbeck’s great website on different types of drawing.)

Choose whatever time frame makes sense for you – I used my last two years worth of clients but a different scale may make more sense for your business.

You will start to see patterns – some branches will have lead to a greater number of clients than others.

Writing in the actual sales amounts from each client will show you which branches led to higher revenues. In my case, the cluster that led to the highest revenue was NOT the same as the one that generated the greatest number of sales.

Another thing I noted were the people who were great referrers – one individual who had never hired me herself had been responsible for referring me to three of my biggest clients. It is important to nurture your relationships with these connectors – take them out to lunch ASAP!

Later, I added in the length of time I have been involved in each of my networks – my membership in these groups ranged from one to over twenty years. Of the three networks that paid off the most for me, two were the ones to which I’d belonged for the longest amount of time. That shouldn’t have surprised me! It DID make me feel less anxious about some of my newer networks – I just need to be patient and give them more time.

If you try this exercise, I’d love to hear what things you learned from it!