Professional associations, or knowledge networks, have been around longer than almost any other kind of group, from the medieval guilds to crafts associations to today’s professional groups and industry associations. The primary purpose is for the exchange of information and ideas, in both intra-industry and inter-industry.
Some of these types of groups limit membership to their own industry. However, quite a few groups that represent industries other than your own will allow you to join as an associate member of their organization. This can connect you with a concentrated target market, including many top-quality contacts. Indeed, many of your best current clients who are looking for their own competitive edge, may be members of industry associations. You can ask them which open-membership groups they belong to and explore the possibility of joining a few of them. This can give you an opportunity to meet prospects of the same quality as your best clients.
Groups In Your Own Industry
The other part of your knowledge network should be groups in your own industry. It is true that many of your competitors may also be members but consider the advantages. You will stay abreast of developments in your industry, find out what your competitors are up to, and study the competition’s presentations and brochures. You may also discover opportunities to collaborate with competitors whose specialties are different from yours or who need help on a big project.
Knowledge networks present great business networking opportunities. If you are looking to build more relationships and increase your referral marketing, I recommend that you investigate your local professional associations to determine which ones you might be able to join. Get involved with these organizations so that you can experience the benefits of a knowledge network.
Are you part of a knowledge network? I would love to hear your stories in the comment section.