How to Really Benefit from Associations (Part 1 of 3-Part Series)
Looking for new leads, new contacts, new business opportunities? Do what nine out of 10 adults do, according to a recent article by the American Society of Association Executives. Join an Association. Choose from over 130,000 associations in the United States alone that represent practically any industry at national, international, regional, state and local levels.
- Part I: "How to Develop Industry Contacts"
- Part II: "Tips For Improved Networking in Associations"
- Part III: "Researching Associations in Your Industries"
HOW TO DEVELOP INDUSTRY CONTACTS
1. Keep lists of industry associations that your company and clients are affiliated with handy.
2. Bookmark the association websites and place their contact information in separate computer and print folders.
3. Contact all associations where appropriate and let them know that as a member and affiliate with your client who is a member, you'd like them to add your personal mailing info & email address to their member lists so that you get their member guides, newsletters, press releases & other announcements, etc.
4. Stay in touch monthly or bi-monthly with association contacts you meet either in person or via the phone, fax or email. Attend events when possible and volunteer on committees. When you can't attend, ask for minutes of the meetings or follow up in the next newsletter. Follow up & congratulate speakers & other (workshop) presenters; asked to be placed on their mailing lists, etc. Note that many groups still have difficulties with electronic communications, so reach out with the phone. Note: If emailing, keep your emails in the "Sent" folder until you hear back. If you don't hear back, your email most probably never reached the recipient, so call to touch base.
5. Log communications in a notebook or separate online file and follow up.
6. Keep hard copy folders for each organization to hold the membership guide, latest newsletter, URL & other contact info. What works well is to use 3-ring plastic page inserts where you can insert a bunch of papers, a brochure & other goodies into one packet, then just insert the entire pack into a 3-ring binder. Or file the plastic packets in a file cabinet for quick retrieval.
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