Since I started working for McGrath Pest Control, one of the things I really wanted to try and do is network the business. I knew we had a fairly successful business, but I also realized there was so much more out there. I just had to figure out the best way to get our name in front of lots of different types of people for as little price as possible.
My dad, in the past, had tried many different types of advertising from yellow pages to billboards. All of which were expensive with small results compared to the old faithful word of mouth. I knew I had to come up with another form of advertising that gave me the word of mouth referrals but to a large amount of people. One of my customers introduced me to the world of business networking. He told me he was forming a quarterly function where I would be able to meet 30 to 40 other small business owners with the same goals of meeting new people and creating contacts. I thought this sounded great so I decided to attend and ended up joining this networking group.
I had no idea what I was doing while attending these meeting. There were so many people there chatting and talking and for the most part they all seemed like they knew each other and were friends. I knew two people, the host and my wife, both of who already used my services. That first meeting I kinda walked around with my drink in my hand hoping either I would see someone I knew or someone would come up to me and start a conversation. I kinda felt like I was at my first coed jr high dance.
Well we ended up getting our food and sitting at a table with just another couple there. Good thing for me they were a very nice couple and our wives hit it off right away. I found out he was in the promotions business, so I think he was more excited to meet me cause he saw fresh meat that he could try and get more business from. We chatted for a few hours, exchanged business cards, and just talked about of businesses and past. It was great getting to know him cause he already knew a lot of the people there and he was able to either point out certain people or introduce me to some of his friends.
We left there that night not sure if it was all worth the trouble of going. I did know one thing though. The food was good and the beer was cold. I did like that part of the networking group. A few days later I saw on my call sheet that I was headed to the house of the promotional and marketing guy that I had met. He actually called the office and set up an appointment for me to spray his house. So, wow, I actually got at least one new customer from that night. We quickly became friends and began to show me a whole new world of advertising, business networking. I was hooked.