As I understand, Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI coined the term “contact sphere” in his book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret: Building Your Business With Word-of-Mouth Marketing. It’s an idea that a lot of new networkers miss out on so I thought I would pass it along.

Essentially, a contact sphere is the group of other businesses who serve that same target market as you do, but don’t compete with you. Here’s the cool thing about this. If you develop strong relationships within the members of your contact sphere, then when one member has a referral, quite often many of the rest of the sphere will benefit as well.

A good example of this would be people in the wedding industry. Florists, DJ’s, banquet halls, vacation planners, caterers, limousine services — all of them serve the nervous bride and groom — and they can each refer business to the others.

So take a look at your target market and see if you can find other folks who serve that same group. They just might end up making you very successful.

Photo credit: Bartek Ambrozik