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Posted on 05.31.2011

One Cool Marketing Story

The other day we were meeting with an executive team of an architectural firm to present the marketing plan we’d developed for them.  Since the firm had told us their biggest challenge is finding out about projects before they are already granted to other firms, part of our plan included strategic networking.  That’s code for getting out there in the marketplace and hobnobbing with people who make or influence hiring or contracting decisions. We were discussing why every member of the firm should belong to non-trade organizations and should serve on community boards and committees.  As is typical with busy people, some in the room squawked a bit about having to spend time cultivating relationships with people who, in their view, were not in a position to make contracting decisions at all, much less for an architectural design firm. I loved it when the CEO of the firm piped up with a great personal story.  He said: “When I was getting my masters degree, I was working part time as a waiter and got to know people who I’d never been exposed to before. I didn’t realize it at the time, but almost none of them were destined to continue work as waiters.  They went on to follow their respective career paths, and these days we do business with each other.  I’ve designed their homes and worked on their commercial real estate projects - all as a direct result of building relationships with a group of waiters.  I would never have imagined we’d continue to use each other’s services after all these years.  That networking effort was about as good as anything I’ve ever done to generate business.” It’s simple, I know.  But in this day of high tech and online communications, sometimes we forget the payoff (and pure pleasure) of just nurturing in-face, person to person relationships.

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