IT’S A NIGHTMARE COME TRUE:  Your board meeting is a bust. Halfway through the meeting you realize that things are definitely going downhill and your company’s shining light is diminishing by the minute. People you thought would show up didn’t. One long-time employee has managed to run away with the conversation—again. Even worse, your boss suddenly appears more interested in his iPhone than in the topics at hand. Not exactly a great marketing plug for you or your company, is it?

IF THIS SCENARIO SOUNDS ALL TOO FAMILIAR,  there’s good news. You can turn any meeting into a marketing advantage for your company, whether you’re leading an important client presentation, an industry association meeting or a board gathering. Here’s the secret: power up your marketing with what I call the “personal ask.” You’re unlikely to find the phrase in the dictionary, but “personal ask” is the term I’ve coined to describe a targeted, personal approach to marketing. Every business is a relationship business, right? It’s also a business of opportunity cost. Think about it: what are the intrinsic costs of losing a chance to effectively market your firm? Follow these tips for sure-fire ways to power up your marketing.

MAKE IT INDIVIDUAL.Target small. You don’t need to bring out the engraved stationery, but do consider a personal invitation. People like to offer their input and feel their contributions are valuable—not have their time wasted. Survey your colleagues and find out who you need to include in your meetings to add value, move the agenda forward and reach decisions. In this day and age, a personal touch really does count.

THINK BIG.Harness the power of your network. It’s all about access these days. Consult your member directory for the associations you belong to—it’s a great way to not only reinforce existing connections, but to make new ones. A call to a member may just get you the contacts you need a little faster. I know that I can get valuable advice on prospective hires, corporate strategy or even ideas for my next article by simply picking up the phone.

TAKE ADVANTAGE of social media, in a good way. Take LinkedIn, for instance. Estimates are that about 20 percent of this powerhouse’s 500 million users visit the site for its industry networking capabilities—at all levels of management. Go to your second level users, not just the first. Even more notable, industry experts say that LinkedIn adds a new member every second. If you’ve tried to pitch new business lately, you know it can be tough just getting past the gatekeepers. Here’s my question: if you’ve got access, why risk losing a marketing opportunity? Use it. My former boss used to say that any business is a handshake type of business. It’s time to get back to it.

Look at it this way- what’s the opportunity cost if you don’t?

First published in the Journal of Property Management

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