You Gotta Pay To Play


William Wilson, CEO

There was a high profile CEO that I once wanted to meet. I called and sent emails literally for weeks. But I could not get . I had heard he was a really cool guy, and that he would be a great contact and potential client. This sounded great, but if I couldn’t reach him, this bit of information was useless. I found out there was a golf tournament at Ballantyne Country Club. Now I’m smart enough to know that a significant part of my client base plays golf. So I went there with the intention of playing, and maybe meeting some potential clients. Until I found out there was a $350 entry fee. WHOOOOAA! I didn’t have $350 to play in a golf tournament. I had bills! I needed to eat! I can’t waste this money playing golf. So I drove away. While on the road, a voice in my head said, “You can’t afford NOT to play in this tournament. You’re trying to reach high net worth people. This is what they do.” So I started calculating my money. My bills were caught up, so I had at least 60 days before anything started getting cut off. So, I bit the bullet and paid the fee. While sitting at my table waiting for the tournament to start, who sits down next to me? THAT SAME CEO I HAD BEEN TRYING TO MEET. We talked for 5 minutes and hit it off well. In less than 10 minutes, I had his cell phone number, personal email, and a lunch meeting set. He is now one of my best clients. This would never had happened if I hadn’t taken a chance and spent the money.

There’s an old adage, “It takes money to make money.” There is a lot of truth to that. The single most asked professional question I get is   “How do I get in front of high net worth people?” The answer is pretty simple. Go where they are! If you want to see whales, you go to the ocean. If you want to see lions, you go to Africa, or the zoo. If you want to meet executives and high net worth people, you go there they are. It’s not rocket science. In my experience, I have made the majority of my contacts at golf tournaments, business breakfasts, non-profit events, cultural events and through their friends. These events do tend to be a bit pricey, but worth it. The average price I spend to get into events is around $75-%150. I don’t go to as many events as I used to. As you start to establish relationships, your network grows through the meeting of their friends at social functions; not necessarily events.

Helpful hint, you WILL NOT find them at an events that start on Friday night at 10pm, or whose marketing includes the terms “drink specials”, “grown and sexy” and “security strictly enforced”. Nor will you find them at “networking events” with $20 entry fees. Those aren’t networking events, those are parties.

If you want to expand your business, you have to expand your network. Sometimes, that requires expanding your wallet. You are investing in your business, and your future. If you aren’t willing to put your money where your mouth is, then don’t be upset that you always see the same people everywhere you go. Birds of a feather, right? When you’re serious about doing more business, you’ll make your move. If not. You won’t. But that’s your decision. Until next time….

God bless and dress well,

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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4 thoughts on “You Gotta Pay To Play

  1. Correct William! That is the reason I give to whatever political campaign I am supporting that election year. I have attended fundraising dinners and conference calls with the First Lady where I was able to tell her what is important to my clients and family.

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