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Ideas for finding networks of potential clients

June 18, 2008
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One of the best and least expensive ways to market your detailing service is by networking with people. The problem is that most business owners don’t network with the right people. They join organizations that have a mixture of different industries. I’ve never liked this approach. I once joined a BNI (Business Networking International) and found that it was a huge waste of my time. I was networking with some people in this group who really didn’t have any interest in my business.

Then I discovered a better way to network. I listened to an audio called Networking with Millionaires by Thomas Stanley. Stanley interviewed several professionals from different service industries, and what he discovered was that the best networkers were those who focused on certain affinity groups. In other words, those who targeted certain niche organizations.

One example was a financial planner who had become a member of the food service industry. Now you’re probably thinking “Why is a financial planner becoming a member of the food service trade organization?”

Well, ask yourself this: How many other financial planners do you think were in the food service industry? You guessed it; none. Now being the only financial planner within that organization, who do you think most of these members came to when they were ready to invest some extra earnings? The lesson here is simple: if you want to network effectively, target well defined niche groups.

A few weeks ago, I joined my local Meetup group. If you’ve never heard of Meetup, go to www.Meetup.com. Meetup is a combination of Web 2.0 social networking and local area networking. So you can go to the site, look up your town and see all of the local organizations in your area. It’s really an amazing medium for meeting people in your target market. You’ll find Meetup groups in your area for just about every topic under the sun.

Look for car enthusiast Meetup groups in your town. These are people who are truly passionate about the vehicles they drive. You might find Mustang enthusiasts, Corvette enthusiasts, or even Rolls Royce enthusiasts. Using the site’s search engine, I found some organizations like this one http://carclub.meetup.com/9/ in the Dallas, Texas area. I did another search in my area for Ford Mustang groups, and while there was no official group listed, I found enthusiasts listed in my area who were looking for such a group to start up.

That’s the other great feature of Meetup.com. If you can’t find a car enthusiast group in your area, you have the option of starting your own organization. It only takes a few minutes. It takes no marketing on your part to get new members. I started a small business group in my area just over a month ago and already I have 19 members who have a joined. Think of the benefits of organizing a group that loves to discuss their cars. These are the same people that pay big bucks to have their vehicles polished immaculately. Isn’t this the market you want - passionate customers with a lot of disposable income to spend?
Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach Taylor at www.JonathanTaylorBlog.com.