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Unquestionably, business recruitment in 2021 is far different than it was in 2020…primarily because of COVID.  Similarly, its practice barely resembles how it was conducted a decade ago. In fact, business recruitment has always been an ever-evolving practice.

There is, however, one thing that has – and will – remain constant: successful business recruitment is built on relationships.

People do business with other people.

Think about it, your largest personal purchases are generally conducted with someone you have a relationship with.  You hire a real estate agent you know and trust to buy that home. If you are new to an area, you generally “shop” around for an agent until you find someone that makes you comfortable.  A professional you believe truly knows and understands the market and your needs.

That is why we recently traveled to the Dallas-Ft. Worth region, to strengthen and establish relationships with site consultants, brokers, and decision-makers.  In short, they will not do business in Wichita Falls if they don’t know or trust us.

These meetings are held with professionals we know and WANT to know.  We present details about our sites and buildings and outline our location assets.  We also provide an overview of the incentives Wichita Falls can offer to an industry.

More importantly…we listen.  We ask questions to gain better insight on how to serve the site selector, broker, and their clients.  We discover the factors that drive the prospect and whether Wichita Falls meets those requirements.  Sometimes, we also find out why we did not get a project and how to improve our standing for the next inquiry.

A great example was a meeting with Josh Bays of Site Selection Group.  We talked about a recent project that chose another location in Texas but Wichita Falls was a strong contender.  He praised the city for their commitment to invest $10 Million to improve the business park, something we all agree was desperately needed.  He, and others, stated that action will eventually provide a great return on investment for the region.  We agree.

Relationships aren’t built in one meeting

It should be understood, these meetings are not a “one and done” situation.  We continuously follow up and keep communicating with these key contacts.  We try to establish face-to-face meetings on a constant basis.  The goal is to stay “top of mind” with them whenever a project comes across their desk.

Wichita Falls is conducting business recruitment in a 21st-century strategy, with an understanding that old-school personal relationships continue to be our foundation for success.

David Leezer is the VP of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce.