As I became more involved in PSALA, I came to realize something that should have been obvious: Like most organizations, PSALA simply could not exist without our Business Partners. We talk about the value of our relationships with our Business Partners. We often express our gratitude for their energy and advice. However, until I sat down and looked at the budget, until I realized that our Business Partners contribute the vast majority of our revenue, and our Membership dues only a small fraction, I couldn’t appreciate how critical our Business Partners are to the future of our organization. Our Business Partners make it possible to provide scholarships, hold events, coordinate activities, and bring outstanding education to our region.
Something else I learned as I got to know more people at these great companies is the unique way our Business Partners think about our Members. In other associations, the sponsors can be pushy, disconnected, or focused entirely on sales. That’s not PSALA’s Business Partners. We have heard time and again that our Business Partners view their role as advisors and friends, and that the value PSALA brings is in building relationships, not just providing a list of leads. It is through the trust they build with each hand shake and conversation that allows them to earn the opportunity to be the go-to providers for our firms. This is special, it is unusual, and it should not be taken lightly.
With everything they do to make our organization possible, here’s three things you can do to help support our Business Partners:
1) Know Your BP’s: We are all bombarded daily with solicitations from dozens of vendors. The Business Partner Directory, once a printed booklet, is now on the PSALA website. It’s easy to print the page and have a copy by your desk for quick reference. When I am looking for a solution for my firm, I turn to this list first. Similarly, when I see a call come through from a Business Partner, those are the calls I take.
2) Learn Something New: Sometimes when a Business Partner reaches out, you may not need their services at that time. As any Business Partner will tell you, they are interested in making a connection first and a sale later. Be up front with your needs, but grab coffee or lunch and learn about what that Business Partner does. You never know what you will learn or how that connection might help you in the future.
3) Leverage Knowledge and Experience: Firms large and small are interested in legal trends. We are asked almost daily, “what are other firms doing?” While PSALA has great resources to share information, our Business Partners have some of the most up-to-date and incisive industry knowledge. Let your Business Partners be your go-to resource for information and bring those insights back to your firm.