06 Aug Will You Get Business From A Members’ Club?
Is it worth Joining a Members’ Club to Promote Your Brand and meet New Clients?
I apologise to anyone living anywhere you don’t have the option to join a Members’ Club, but you may still be curious about this one anyway!
Twice in the last week have I met clients at their London Members clubs. The second time, as I sat back on the red velvet sofa, I pondered whether joining a club like this is a rather attractive way of bringing in new business…or just a swanky place to take clients.
I’m not a member of a club right at the moment, although I’ve had my time. Of course, in my twenties it was all about The Groucho, that nirvana that anyone who was anyone in the media lusted after joining. As a someone who couldn’t yet afford to clothe herself in a Primark work wardrobe, yet alone pay the joining fees of a club like this, The Groucho was tantalisingly out of my league, which meant that I spent as much time as possible befriending people who could take me there.
Members’ Clubs began, I believe, as a way around the old draconian drinking laws, and, to be sure, many of them had strong reputations as the place to go after hours. The old Adam Street Club was one such destination, a fond favourite of mine, and where I actually took my second husband on our first date. It had a rough and ready, slightly gothic feel to it, far, far removed from many of the prepackaged clubs around today.
And then I got serious about business and joined the IOD. To be honest, I was so surprised when one of clients considered me IOD material and offered to put me up for membership that I said yes without thinking. Up until then, I had been holding my consultations at home, which was nice and easy for me on the day, but the day before demanded a tiresome clean of the house that left me feeling resentful and very unlike the entrepreneurial goddess I inspired to be.
And so I moved my intensives to the IOD in Pall Mall. What heaven. Cappuccino on demand, a good buzzy atmosphere, lovely architecture…I just felt much more serious about things. Investigating the “can I get clients?” side of my membership, I did go along to a few events in Pall Mall but found them very suity: a nest of business-card thrusters. I realised that my actual clients weren’t going to be found here. I left after three years, but have to give the IOD due respect for making me feel more professional and helping me get to another level.
Next on the list was Lynne Franks’ Beehive, a Covent Garden based members’ club for women only (although male guests were permitted). Now sadly defunct, The Beehive was an exercise in shabby chic decor, with herbal teas for every mood swing, and lunchtime sessions on health and holistic matters to provide light entertainment. I very much enjoyed my time here, where advertising on a board and table was actively promoted and everyone was eager to know what you were up to. I don’t think my male clients were initially very comfortable, but many of them eventually said they found it a calm haven. This may have been down to the scented candles.
I currently tend to meet my clients in hotel lounges, partly because I like to adjust my venues to my mood, or that particular client or sector, and partly because I’ve realised I get bored if I keep going to same location, day after day. Working from home as I do, I like the fact that I have all the variety of London at my fingertips, and don’t feel the need to create another home from home…
That’s not to say I wouldn’t be seduced by another club. I love the idea of a club with a good social programme, and the lure of being introduced to a whole new social set is quite appealing, Notice I said social set. I don’t really believe that a club is going to open a whole new reservoir of clients for you, especially if that is your sole reason for joining. Contacts, yes, and I’m all about building contacts and seeing who knows who. But not clients. They are quite simply not places you can sell. So, I would encourage anyone considering joining a club to look at their motives first, and work out what they want from it, and whether that could be delivered better elsewhere.
However, even now, decades on from my Groucho days, there is still something special about saying “let’s meet at my club”.
Join me at one of my hand-picked London hotel venues to work on raising your visibility in a crowded market, creating a strategic marketing plan that’s tailored to fit you. When you work on visibility raising activities that suit your skills, your interests and the time and resources you realistically have available, it’s more likely to happen. Find out more about this here.
Please do share your views on Members’ Clubs. Have they worked for you?