Located in Portland, Oregon, the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME) provides a structure for all types of entrepreneurs to network with, learn from, and counsel each other. While the name of the organization includes the word “minority”, everyone in business is welcome to learn and contribute. One of the organization’s descriptive phrases is “Everybody’s In, Nobody’s Out”, repeated often by Sam Brooks.
OAME considers everyone worthy with whom to build relationships and partnerships. The organization knows that each person has value that should benefit someone else. Through building networking relationships and partnerships all parties can enhance their status and find success in their businesses.
Whenever we attend networking meetings we must never, ever disregard anyone whom we meet. We must never prejudge anyone as not “good enough” with whom to meet and attempt to build a networking relationship. We all are looking for that next prospect who we want to turn into a customer. However, not everyone will be a prospect who will become our customer, but we should not ignore the opportunity to network with them.
When we meet someone new in a networking meeting, we should consider that they will become one of four types of contacts. They will become either a prospect to be a customer, or a possible networking partner, or both. The fourth type of contact is one who cannot fit into any of the former three. They may be someone whom we cannot trust, who has business habits that we cannot support, or is just not ready to become one of the former three contacts with us. If they are not ready now, perhaps they will be soon
We cannot anticipate in which of these categories the people we meet will be a member. We must take the time to meet one-on-one with them and determine which type of contact they will be. Obviously someone might start out as one category but may move to be one of the other ones as time passes. As our relationship matures, the networking partner may become a customer as well. In addition, a customer may become a client.
Clients are customers who have escalated their relationship with us. They may have a recurring order with us, or they may initiate orders themselves. They may be ready to try additional products or services before we even market them, reacting to the news of some new offering from us. They trust us, refer others to us, and always have our mutual interests at heart. They are our partners in more ways than one.
When we practice Gratitude Marketing we show everyone how much we appreciate others and have gratitude for whatever these others do, whether those actions are directed towards us or other persons. Our Gratitude Marketing must apply to everyone, without any exceptions. In other words, “Everybody’d In, Nobody’s Out”.