There has always been a subset of independent logistics professionals who have the attitude that paying a membership in a network equates to the right to others' business. And they almost always live to regret it, whether they know that or not. Of the few companies who don't renew on membership the most common complaint by far is that these companies did not get back their return "investment" in business from other members. When I have look at the companies who make such statements I have found that 90% of the time these are the very guys who did not come to the annual general meeting. In other words, they believe simply joining the group should guarantee their income.Â
My friends, this type of thinking is simply wrong!
I've been around in the business for quite some time and I can assure you that logistics networks are the best way to get solid business funneled back into your sales pipeline - bar none. But membership alone will never be optimal. If you want the golden ring of success you will have to:
If you don't do these three things you are fooling yourself to think that membership alone will work in getting you business. Of course, there will be the one off guys who because they are in a critical location, have the right equipment or a unique market niche will be able to glean good pickings from being simply a flag on the map. But the truth be told the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" is much more à propos. The people who show themselves at the meetings will be in the forefront of the minds of the other network members when it comes time to dole out business. And those who make certain that they follow up on the network meetings will get even much further. And the companies who go to the meetings, make sure to follow up and also makes sure that the network gets news out about them during the year do even better.
You see, if your business is living it is always competing. This fact doesn't stop simply because you have paid a subscription fee. Membership into our club will make sure you get more business as long as you enter the clubhouse and actually be a member. Otherwise you have relegated yourself to simply being a contact entry on a very expensive directory which is of little use to you and not much more of a use to your fellow network members. You have to interact and grow and commit yourself to helping your fellow network members doing the same. You have to see this investment in terms of years and not months. And if you do that, well, let's just say your business will grow by leaps and bounds.
About the author:
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN's networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), Perishable Logistics Specialists Network (PLSN) and AONrelocations (AONr). Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.
Gary Dale welcomes all sorts of interactions. If you have questions or comments about anything Gary Dale has written here you may contact him directly by e-mail.