A colleague recently mentioned to me that her organization was being bombarded by vendors wanting her to buy their products and services. She was trying to figure out some way to deal with all of the calls…I told her it was simple. Support the people and companies that support you.
What does that mean?
- Buy products and services from your clients and customers
- Support the companies that sponsor your association meetings and conferences
- Give those people that volunteer with you the chance to bid for your business
It’s not naïve for companies to give time and money to organizations that align with their business. Happens all the time. Companies do this so they can demonstrate their expertise and commitment – in a very casual, non-salesy kind of way. The hope is that when a person needs products and services they remember that company.
What’s naïve is for the recipient of that pro bono work or financial gift to forget about the company when they need something. Now, I’m not saying that you have to pay more for a product or service. Nor that you should accept crappy customer service. Just that when the time comes, people should look to the companies who have been supporting them day in and day out first. If they don’t get the job done, then fine…go wherever you need to go.
I was recently the volunteer president of a non-profit organization and I made sure that this was our mantra. We bought from the companies that supported our conference. We told members to buy from sponsors and exhibitors. Our conference partners always appreciated it and said one of the reasons they continued to support the organization was because we supported them.
Sure, you could figure it’s somebody else’s responsibility to do that. After all, you like your current vendor and it’s too much trouble to switch now even though they don’t sponsor your association functions. Just don’t be surprised when dues and registration rates go up. Or volunteers have to pay their own way because sponsorships have dropped off.
Lots of companies are vying for people’s attention right now. Get to know the people that are supporting you.