Decisions, Decisions: What Organization(s) do I Join?

Earlier this week I got you thinking about joining organizations to find potential clients and referral sources. There are many options for you to join, so how do you begin deciding which ones to check out?  Begin by asking others who are in your sector what kinds of association meeting they attend or organizations they belong to and why they do it.  I just spoke to someone yesterday who recommended I go to the Ad Club and I said, “Won’t they all just be my competitors?”  She said, “Not necessarily,” and explained how I could benefit.  My next step is to check them out online and then perhaps attend an event.

Once you get to an event, you don’t try to meet everyone in the room; that’s not only intimidating, but it doesn’t yield results.  Instead, have an honest, in-depth conversation with one, two or three people (at most).  Really try to understand what makes THEM tick and don’t worry about yourself.

You’ve attended two-three events as a guest and found an organization whose audience is made up primarily of your ideal clients or influencers to those clients. It will offer you new perspectives and new faces.  The only catch? – All of your competitors are members and you’re not sure how to set yourself apart.  Is it still worth it for you to join?  The answer is: it depends.  When lots of your competitors are there, it does take a bit longer to differentiate yourself, but it may be worthwhile.  After all, there’s a reason your competitors are there.  My favorite way of differentiating yourself in a conversation is to just say, “Unlike other nutrition consultants, I _____.”  It’s not your goal to make them sound like they are idiots and you’re the only good one; but more to help them make a clear distinction.  It may be, “Unlike other nutrition consultants, I focus on women over 60.” Or, “I use a methodology based on ‘clean eating’.”  Get the difference?

Still not sure where to start, whether to join, or how to start participating once you’ve pulled the trigger? Call me and I will help you make the most out of your networking.

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