Local Area Networking – Is Effective
Sales and Marketing includes Social and Business Networking activities. It may not be your favorite task. If it isn’t, you should hire or contract with somebody who will get out there and be social with various local networking groups and associations while promoting your business or brand.
Even if your product/service is marketed on an international scale, you will always need good local connections to provide you with some of the support services you need. You might even find reciprocal benefit from local contacts that are looking for your service. Most people prefer to do business with someone they have met in person rather than a vendor from across the country.
All things being equal, most of us prefer to do business with someone that we know, like, and trust. And, trust is more easily conveyed with in-person encounters.
Local Social Networking – Business Essential
An essential need for your growing or even a well established business is the continued necessity to attract new customers. Even if our client list is full, there is an element of attrition that demands that you constantly continue to market your brand.
Social Networking includes any opportunity you have to mix and mingle at a friendly event or local venue without the trappings of a “business meeting”. By participating in activities such as this, you not only get a chance to meet other business owners and professional service providers that are dealing with the same challenges as you, but you can make contacts on a different level.
The next time you can pay it forward and send a referral to those whom you know, you will be increasing the odds that they will do the same for you. As a matter of fact, you should not expect that every other business owner you meet will end up doing business with you. Rather, you will be pleasantly surprised when the phone rings and the conversation begins with “Susan suggested to me that I should call you. You have been highly recommended.”
It is these “second-hand” referrals that you will eventually receive by attending local social events that become some of your best customers or clients. They have contacted you with a glowing testimonial from someone else. Get out there and mix it up.
Local Business Networking – My Favorites
I suggest that you belong to at least two different dues paying local business networks or trade associations. You should calendar regular attendance to their events, not just be a listed memeber. In addition you should periodically attend other offerings in your local area whenever you can.
I live in the the greater Seattle, Washington area and would like to give a shout-out to some of my favorites. If you also do business in this area, tell them I sent you if you decide to join.
My all time favorite is the local chapter of eWomen Networking. I observed this great networking group for about 3 years before I found time in my personal calendar to join. It is one of the best and most professional networking groups I have ever been a member of. Here is a link to my personal video testimonial for them. Why I Love eWomen Network
The current Managing Director is Debbie Whitlock and she does a fantastic job of keeping the momentum going. The monthly Accelerated Networking Event is great. You are welcome to attend a couple events as a guest before you join and the dues will not break your bank account. Here is a link to the Live Networking Events. If you decide to check it out, make sure you tell them that Howard – That Sales Guy sent you and introduce yourself to me when you attend.
The best ClubHouse around with many local connections is the Master Builders Association. It is the nation’s largest local homebuilders association, serving the Greater Seattle area and all of King and Snohomish counties. It currently has about 3,000 members.
If you’re looking to buy, build, remodel or maintain your home, they’re the trusted source for industry professional referrals and practical information on getting the job done right. And who doesn’t live in a home and need or provide some home related services to the community.
I enjoy my membership and highly recommend it. One of the key benefits that I like is access to the best clubhouse in the area. You can rent their facilities at a favorable members rate if you ever need to. I also enjoy the access to many well established local businesses.
Don’t limit your exposure to regular networking groups. Mix it up in order to meet new people
Attend advertised local events sponsored by other networking groups.
Be sure that you mention “Howard Howell” when they ask how you heard about this event.
I’ll be there. If you can be there, be sure to find and introduce yourself to me. Let me know what you do. You never know, I may know somebody that needs your service.