by Lyne Noella, CEO, WavePlay LLC
A professional association or group provides a great opportunity to attract new business via interaction with the community. An effective group helps you expand your network, efficiently meet with professionals and prospects, and gain new ideas and market intelligence. How do you know which groups are right for you? Take a look at these 10 tips for evaluating a professional association or group for business development purposes:
1. Can the membership committee provide stats? Start with the facts. Ask about the composition of the group, how many new members join yearly and/or renew, how many attend meetings, and so on.
2. Does the group include customers of your firm? This is a great way to stay in front of your customers and learn about their challenges and latest initiatives.
3. Does the group include prospects? If so, will the group under consideration provide you with a stage to demonstrate your leadership and value proposition?
4. Do high-quality referral sources belong? Those who deal with multiple businesses are often in a position to introduce you to potential customers. For instance, attorneys, accountants and other consultants may swing new business your way from their own client base when they recognize a fit.
5. Are community leaders present? Community leaders can smooth the path for your key initiatives and make helpful introductions that lead to new business.
6. Are your competitors members of the group? This may indicate a membership that is ideal for doing business with your firm. In addition, interacting with competitors provides you with market intelligence you may not otherwise receive.
7. Does the group focus on your specific industry or service niche? You may pick up exciting ideas and introductions in groups that are dedicated to your focus area.
8. Do you see advisers and key thinkers in the group? These advisers can positively influence your personal professional development as well as the success of your firm.
9. Are the meeting locations convenient to your work or home? Convenience is a key factor in determining whether you will attend meetings on a regular basis.
10. Does the group have multiple locations or chapters? If you travel, a multi-location group can provide a helpful network, new opportunities, and great meeting spots.
Keep in mind that associations and groups, like businesses, have vibrancy life cycles. Ask those in your professional network which groups are working for them. Finally, remember that membership quality is crucial: a group does not have to be large to be effective.
Lyne Noella is CEO of WavePlay LLC (www.waveplayllc.com), a boutique agency that helps executives solve problems and meet goals via introductions and professional events. Contact Lyne at Lyne.Noella@waveplayllc.com