Friday, June 22, 2012
"If I were a Locksmith... I would be a member of the National Locksmith Association"
Well DUH. Chambers of Commerce of Trade Associations are NOT leads clubs. If you think paying dues and being listed in the member directory will have any benefit you have been mislead.
Now before I go on to rant here.... I need to give full disclosure:
I used to work at the Austin Chamber of Commerce and have been a member (on and off) for several years. My wife also works for a member driven business organization. Plus I am an active member of the National Speakers Association (I will be speaking to the NSA Youth Conference this summer at the annual conference, and running the event's "Learning Lounge"). I have seen lots of benefits, directly and indirectly, from my participation in these types of groups. But I am a joiner, and if I was a locksmith I would be a supporter of the National Locksmith Association.
Joining an Industry or Trade Association does not mean you will get instant clients. These groups are not designed to funnel leads to their members, but they do provide many opportunities that can be morphed into business if the member is actively involved and prepared to listen, learn and make meaningful contacts through networking.
These groups are about the people. Since all opportunities come from people, without connecting to other members you are running away from opportunities. I had one professional speaker tell me she never joined NSA because associating with other speakers ("the competition") is not the best use of her time. She told me she puts her time only where potential clients are present so she can "get" business.
Sounds one sided... show up where you can take... not where you can give to an industry's future success. If everyone just goes where they can take from others, then eventually nobody goes anywhere! Just saying.
My business has grown because of what I have learned from NSA (and other speakers) and from referrals and introductions shared. Additionally there are many association executives who are starting to ask their vendors (speakers, meeting professionals, transportation providers, etc...) if they are members of their own industry or trade associations,.... as it makes no sense for membership driven groups to hire vendors who do not support their own industries. They believe it is hypocritical to sing the praises of participation in member driven organizations while not supporting the cause of other groups.
Now there is always the politics that pop up when you bring people together. In all groups there are those who feel shunned if they are passed over for accolades and attention. But I suggest never joining a group expecting them to honor you and you will never be disappointed. Instead join to learn, network and serve others. You cannot keep score in your participation (I helped twice, others only helped me once, etc...) as the time frame is impossible to determine. If you get pissed and storm out you might had done so just before your efforts delivered ROI.
If you have not looked at your choices of groups that serve your industry in some time... take a fresh look. Join your industry or trade association and attend the national and local events. But do more than attend... serve the group in some way. Your investment comes back (as long as you are not keeping score!).
Have A Great Day