Sue Ann and I attended the Milam Community Theater’s (MCT) “Night on the Town” tonight. It included a nicely catered dinner of roast beast and veggies followed by MCT’s presentation of Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest. I won’t comment on the play here, but Suna was asked to write a review for the local newspaper.
So why am I mentioning dinner out on a business blog? I wanted to point out the power of networking and advertising at these otherwise “social events.” For dinner and the play, we were seated with the Cameron city manager, the host of a local radio broadcast, and two other business owners. In the audience was our insurance broker, a real estate broker, a lawyer, and several other Milam County elites.
All of these local big wigs had at least one thing in common: we had all helped sponsor MCT’s season this year. And we got to mingle with them and revel in that commonality.
While this kind of networking inevitably brings about new business contacts, that isn’t why you do it. As our mantra says, “People first, profits seconds.” In large cities or small towns, relationships are how you get things done. You have to be nice to people first, and you have to be nice to them because they are people—not because of “who they are.” I actually enjoyed the company we were in and only mentioned our business when someone else brought it up. But now when people see my name on a permit application, they have a friendly face to associate with it. When they know someone who needs help selling or buying a home, they know someone who (I hope) made a good impression on them to refer.
And there is the sponsorship aspect. Our ad will appear in every playbill for the current MCT theater season. It is a very low cost form of advertising and networking.