Good Things Come to Those Who Network Well
My 11 year-old son Noah and I spent some quality time together today at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, thanks to the free admission tickets, parking and lunch door prize I won from The Hudson River Community Credit Union, as a result of networking at the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Vendor Fair. Aside from the great door prize, one of the reasons I love the Rensselaer Chamber is the fact that it’s a connection hothouse for small businesses like mine on the growth curve.
As we finished our lunch under The Great Escape North Grove Pavilion (declared “delicious” by Mr. Best the Younger) while sharing dining space with the Credit Union’s employees and customers, Noah held up his hand in appreciation. “High-five on your power networking, Mom,” he said, clearly pleased and proud of how my business networking had benefited him. We also stopped at The Hudson River Community Credit Union’s booth at the Pavilion and thanked the Marketing Team for the door prize, and they rewarded us further by taking Noah’s picture for their website.
Our Great Escape trip is a great metaphor for the rewards of networking well and how the success can cascade and ripple out like a stone skipped on the water of our SmAlbany economy to benefit many. Great networking:
- Creates new opportunities, experiences, connections, and customers for all involved in the networking contact;
- Is an ongoing, symbiotic process – it must be a two-way street to ensure both authenticity and results;
- Shines the reputations of all involved by the good will (in this case, the door prize) which invariably ignites success for all involved;
- Allows us networking mavens to creatively connect the dots to create new and successful customer opportunities / transactions. Like the Melanie Griffith character Tess McGill in Working Girl who put together Trask Industries and a radio station acquisition from reading articles in both Forbes and The New York Post (“Trask, radio; Trask, radio.”);
- Can be long-cycle, short-cycle, direct or indirect: while we can’t control where the act of networking will take us, the fact that we have taken action (and continue to take action) keeps our businesses, and therefore our economy, moving forward;
- Is fun, rewarding and ultimately profitable for all involved in the networking contact (in that order).
I consider networking at any vendor fair the opportunity to meet new customers, vendors and partners. The act of introducing myself, handing my business card to the company representative / owner manning / womanning the vendor booth is an act of marketing, connection and economic good will, especially considering that these vendors usually pay for the privilege of participating in any vendor fair and the very least I can do is stop and say hello. The door prizes I win are a symbol of my perpetual-motion marketing work. The people / business connections are priceless.
Eleven years ago, when I was 7 months pregnant with Noah, I won five door prizes at a CRHRA Vendor Fair using the same philosophy. At this year’s Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Vendor Fair, the door prize from The Hudson River Community Credit Union was one of four door prizes that I won. I’m grateful for the generosity of all of these good vendor fair participants, and that I’m 60 pounds lighter 11 years later.
Come on in and join the fun: walk the next Vendor Fair with me. We need to spread the door-prize wealth around and more importantly: ignite our mutual success by continuing to make these critical and long-reaching business connections.