This is a continuation of the previous post, Three Ways to Get More Involved in Professional Associations & Networking
Most service providers miss the boat on this entire topic, so I’m inclined to think that it is a universally bungled issue.
Becoming involved in local associations is like nurture marketing…. you are planting seeds that will grow into something you can harvest later. It is an investment of time, and revenue. The critical part is weighing the value of what you are spending your time, money and effort into. Don’t become bitter because you chose something that you are not passionate about. Let me give you a few examples.
I am a member of a local group called Northwest Entrepreneur Network. Every year we have an annual event called Entrepreneur University. I volunteer on the EU team, and this year helped with the design of the logo, and with a specific portion of the event. EU is a powerful, fun, action-packed day with great key-note speakers and sessions all day long for every topic on building and growing business. As someone involved in this event, I am associated with a high-quality production, and over time, get the opportunity to meet other key volunteers from large corporate organizations and other service providers who call on the same markets I do. So in this case, my involvement is about meeting other potential referrers more than joining to “hang out with” entrepreneurs who would potentially become clients. Running into entrepreneurs at NWEN is just a bonus. It is not the game plan.
It’s funny because organizations like these don’t want many service providers…… they want CEOs and other high level company execs to feel comfortable and don’t want them to be approached by providers all the time. It is the one ratio that people talk about in business organizations…. service providers to non-service provider members.
In the AeA (American Electronics Association) there is a limit as to the number of service providers allowed in… and dues are much steeper than any other association around here. Yet if you are a service provider with a strong offering for these members, it could be the best organization to get involved in.
My next example is a Chamber of Commerce. These organizations are typically in need of some good solid volunteers at any given time. I have been fortunate to be able to team up with a great chamber, the Bellevue Chamber. I am a member, and have brought ideas to them which they let me be involved in. Currently we’re preparing for an event called Driving for Results. This is a sales and customer service event. I recommended the speakers and sessions for this event, and know what a fantastic morning it is going to be. It becomes a win-win-win. The Chamber needs members to renew, and it is always looking to grow. Members join to get new business, and an event like this will give them just that… ideas on how to grow their businesses. Finally, presenters like the ones at this event need exposure….. so when we bring them all together, it is a major win.
The question is – how can you do this in YOUR community. Feel free to drop me an email and I’ll offer my ideas to help you add to one of your local associations. They need you, and you need them. But don’t go in with the mentality to be a “bottom feeder” – and try to scoop up potential clients – do it the right way and gain exposure…. become known as an expert in your field, and a dedicated worker that gets results.