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    Believe it or not, one of the best ways to make connections that could lead to future business is by pursuing your interests and hobbies. Whether it’s a book club or a weekly basketball game, finding like-minded individuals who share your interests is a great way to build relationships. And, as we all know, authentic relationships lead to clients and referrals.

    Joining to Enjoy

    There are many different ways to find like-minded individuals in your area. Old school bulletin boards at the local grocery or library often list art, film and book groups in search of new members. Your health club or fitness center may post team activities, or other group sporting events. Then, there’s the internet and apps:

    • Meetup – This website helps people find groups meeting in their local area. You can even start your own group. The site covers everything from outdoor and adventure sports to food and drink; from Sci-Fi and games to fashion and beauty. Meetup also has an iOS and Android app.
    • GroupSpaces – GroupSpaces is Meetup on steroids. The site describes itself as “the premier platform for managing membership groups – clubs, hobbies, charities, professional associations, alumni networks, and more.” Users are able to make connections as well as start and manage groups.
    • – This no-frills site describes itself as “a word-of-mouth effort to bring people together from all over for fun and low-key events without paying membership fees.” MEETin Groups are an example of how the internet can be used as a powerful tool to help make new friends without cost. To find a group simply search by city.

    Some more apps to explore:

    • Circle lets you search by location and interests
    • YPlan lists nearby outings and events
    • Citysocializer is an iOS only app and is a social network that features cultural events in your area

    The Long Game

    This is not your monthly meeting at the Chamber of Commerce dinner where business is the first priority and making friends a happy accident. Meeting like-minded folks in your area is about having fun, doing something you really enjoy, and making friends in the process. There’s no selling involved. This is leisure time where the gregarious part of being in sales takes the lead.

    But remember, real relationships are built on trust. Whether you join a film group, dance class, or softball team, if your reason for joining is selling, it won’t take long for others to realize what you’re up to. So go have a good time. The referrals will follow.

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