Social networking in many ways has made sales reps more attached to our computers and phones, but there is one social network that lays its emphasis on getting people out and about in the real world. That network is Meetup. Meetup was launched in 2002 and currently boasts over 9.5 million members. Having recently completed a second round of funding, Meetup looks poised to raise its profile and continue to be a powerful tool for people wishing to organize in real life.
For independent sales reps in particular, Meetup presents a number of opportunities to make contacts with potential leads across many industries. Below are some tips on using Meetup to improve your professional skills and expand your list of leads.
Attending Existing Meetups
Signing up with Meetup is free. Create your profile and start looking for Meetups in your city or in any city you are visiting for work. Meetup will tell you how many Meetups are planned near your location. Use the search feature and find Meetups that are relevant to you. Search by your industry, your particular business or career interest, or even search for sales rep oriented Meetups to get together and talk shop with your fellow manufacturers reps or independent sales reps. It can be a great opportunity to network outside of your normal social circles.
Before you start joining Meetups willy-nilly, make sure you have goals in mind for what you want to get out of each event. Make a list of who you want to meet and what you want to accomplish. Meetups don’t necessarily have to be business oriented, and can be a great way to socialize and meet new people in general. If you know you have a common interest with someone who could be a great prospect, why not join the local Frisbee or craft brew Meetup and start a conversation?
Organizing Your Own Sales Rep Meetup
If you already network a great deal or have a large local network of contacts, organizing your own Meetup may be a great tactic to use to meet new people and make yourself a hub for local business interests. Meetup does charge a monthly fee for organizing groups of your own (between $9.99 – $14.99/mo, depending on your choice of plan), but if you can get a few leads out of your group, it’s a small price to pay. It will also help other Meetup members find you and help establish your reputation. If you already host networking events, Meetup can be a good way to improve attendance numbers. You’ll be able to organize attendees and RSVPs better, and the visibility of Meetup in Google is an added marketing bonus.
If you are an independent sales rep who uses Meetup, let us know in the comments. We’d love to know about your experiences with Meetup and any tips you are willing to share!