How Integrated Are You in Your Client’s Industry?
I have learned from some of the best rainmakers that the most fertile ground for building their practice within any given industry is through active trade association membership. That assertion should be obvious to anyone interested in developing a Go-To presence within a given industry, but I rarely see evidence of action. In fact, when I inquire as to which industry or trade associations the members of any industry group are active within, I will rarely elicit more than one association name and that association is usually the prized possession of one of the most senior partners in the group – “so it’s taken.”
This assumes that any given industry will only have one association representing industry participants. But as I outlined in a previous article on how industries splinter into numerous sub-industries (GET GRANULAR), there may indeed be a larger number of sub-industry groupings. The attached Ag and Food Industry illustration is one example showing 22 sub-industries groups comprising over 57 various trade groups.
Let’s remember just a few of the BENEFITS from being active in any Industry Organization:
• can enhance your professional reputation as evidenced by your investment of time and energy in being actively involved;
• offers opportunities to work with members on projects that increase your profile and exposure;
• offers a framework to connect with C-Suite decision-makers;
• provides a sounding board for identifying and exploring common problems that you can help with;
• helps you understand the internal dynamics and language of the industry, and develop your skills through participating in industry-specific educational events;
• keeps you informed of emerging trends – how the industry is growing and changing.
Meanwhile, here are some PRESCRIPTIVE ACTIONS to consider taking:
• Identify a significant problem, from the latest regulatory hurdle to disruptive consumer expectations, of great concern to member companies.
• Author and provide industry members with a prescriptive White Paper or Case Study to position yourself as a thought leader on the specific issue.
(The association may have a listserv or email directory of members that share an interest in this chosen topic.)
• Inquire of the association whether they would host, and also participate and contribute content to, a Webinar for member firms to detail action plans and answer member’s questions to help address this issue.
• Compile a target list of members and their particular issues as your best prospects. Explore offering in-house presentations for this group at one of their C-suite meetings or perhaps via webinar (or both).
• Consider engaging in joint marketing with one of the association’s other (non-competing) professional service member firms, that also has interests in serving this particular industry.
SO, get out there and get involved in these many Industry Associations!