Trade Association Membership "How to Build Relationships & Close Profitable Sales"
In my own experience joining business trade associations can be a valuable strategy for networking and expanding your influence within a specific industry. To do this effectively, you should indeed execute every step strategically. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to go about it:
1-Identify Your Targeted Industries:
I began by identifying the specific industries that are most relevant to my business and expertise. You should consider which sectors align with your products, services, or interests.
2-Research Prospective Associations:
Once you've pinpointed the industries, research the trade associations that cater to your prospects, look for associations that are respected and have a significant presence in the industry. The internet and industry directories can be excellent sources for this information.
Learn as much as you can about these associations and their memberships. Find out the following:
What is the association's mission and goals?
Who are their current members?
What types of events, publications, and resources do they offer?
What are the membership fees and requirements?
Do they have a code of ethics or conduct that members must adhere to that align with yours.
4-Align Your Expertise:
Assess how your experience and expertise align with the association’s goals and the needs of its members.
Consider the ways you can contribute or add value. This may involve:
Sharing your industry knowledge through articles, webinars, or presentations.
Offering mentorship or consulting services to other members.
Collaborating on industry research or projects.
Volunteering your time to serve on committees or in leadership roles.
When I used this strategy, I had three articles published in a trade magazine. I booked a speaking gig as a result of one of the articles. And closed some business.
5-Networking and Building Relationships:
Attend events, seminars, and conferences hosted by the association. These are excellent opportunities to meet other members and build relationships. Networking is a crucial aspect of trade association involvement.
When you're confident that you can provide value and that the association aligns with your goals, fill out the membership application. Be prepared to explain how your expertise and experience will benefit the association and its members. Prior to filling out the application I have conversations with the president about the association and why I want to join. I have often said, “if I am to join your association, I want to contribute. What committees would you suggest I join.” I often get suggestions before I fill out the application.
After becoming a member, it's essential to be an active and engaged participant. I have made it a point to immediately attend meetings, engage in discussions, and contribute to the association's initiatives. This is how you establish your presence and credibility within the group.
8-Evaluate Your Progress:
Remember this is a business activity. You should periodically assess your involvement in the association. Are you achieving your goals, and is the association meeting your expectations? If not, consider adjusting your strategy or looking for other opportunities.
Stay up-to-date with industry trends and the association's activities. This ensures that you remain a valuable member and continue to contribute effectively.
10-Leverage the Network:
Utilize the relationships and knowledge gained through the association to enhance your business and professional growth. You can find potential referral partners, clients, and collaborators within the network.
Remember that the key to successfully joining a business trade association is to be genuine in your intentions, actively participate, and provide value to the organization and its members. Over time, your involvement can lead to valuable opportunities, both professionally and personally.