About a week ago, I attended (and sponsored (check out page 2)) the 2012 AGC of Virginia Annual Convention at the Homestead. Aside from being a great venue and a wonderful time with my wife and many of the friends I have made while participating in this organization of construction professionals, the event was a great networking opportunity. The food was great. The meetings and banquet were entertaining. Most importantly, the various activities from shooting (and missing) sporting clays to the Friday night entertainment gave me a wonderful opportunity to interact with clients, potential clients and friends in an informal manner.
While much has been (rightly) made of the marketing and business opportunities of social media and Web 2.0, as a construction attorney, I still cannot beat face to face interaction for fun and client development. My view is that contractors (and legal clients in general) are more likely to trust and therefore hire those that they know personally. Friendships can and do grow into attorney client relationships.
This is particularly true with the construction industry in Virginia (and presumably elsewhere). Contractors and subcontractors are more likely to work with those they know, whether through an association like the AGC, or a breakfast meeting. The recent convention refreshed many of these in person bonds and acted as another reminder of why I am so active in the organization. In short, while a web presence is necessary, I would not give up the personal aspects of marketing. Not only are a smile and a handshake a great combination for business development, they can, and do, lead to friendships that go beyond the potential business.
Thanks to all of you that said “hi” at The Homestead. I appreciate the old friendships strengthened and the new ones made. I also got to put faces to many folks that I’d talked to on the phone or interacted with online. I really do enjoy meeting people in the Virginia construction industry and hope that we’ll catch up again soon.
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