Been there, done that…but, do it again, and again, and again.
The Wichita Falls Chamber recruitment effort has traveled a lot over the past 18 months. Some of the events and locations are:
- Site Selectors Guild in Dallas and Orlando
- Fabtech Trade Show in Chicago with Team Texas
- Westec Trade Show in Long Beach with Team Texas
- A Team Texas Mission Trip to Arizona
- Economix in Phoenix
- Wichita Falls Site Consultant Meetings in Dallas
- Wichita Falls Site Consultant Meetings in Atlanta and Greenville, SC
Maybe you have seen our travels through social media postings. Some may wonder why would go to Dallas, Atlanta, and Greenville and see the same people when we meet at events like Site Selectors Guild? Good question.
First, not everyone is a member of the Site Selectors Guild and thus they don’t attend those events.
Second, repetition breeds familiarity which creates an atmosphere of trust and comfort. Basically, you do business with people you know and trust, the same holds true in economic developers. A community is more likely to get an opportunity to submit for a project IF the site selector knows and trusts you.
Third, we do this to not only reinforce our story but to present fresh new programs. Since we’ve started our recruitment efforts in late 2019; the Wichita Falls Chamber has unveiled its Relocation Worker Incentive, upgraded the Wichita Falls Business Park, implemented our Virtual Spec Building, created our Remote Worker Incentive Program, contracted with a local tech industry to design a 3-D Walk Through platform and – most recently – began the process of creating an aviation/aerospace business park next to our airport.
Fourth, it is imperative we make Wichita Falls a “top of mind” element to these key contacts. Site consultants meet with hundreds of economic developers every year. If we only have one meeting, we are a lost voice in a large crowd. Continually reaching out and communicating keeps us fresh in their minds.
Finally, relationships are valuable, and they must be maintained.
For example, in early February, I met with several site consultants in Atlanta and Greenville; most knew Wichita Falls and had some sort of interaction with us over the past year or two.
Generally, the first question is “what’s new in Wichita Falls?” That is important! They are NOT asking “where is Wichita Falls?” or “tell me about Wichita Falls.” They already know us. They know our story. They want an UPDATE, not an introduction.
One of the more satisfying parts of this last trip was another predominant question which was “can you tell me/us more about this Remote Worker Incentive?”
That says our remote worker incentive is innovative and substantive enough to catch their attention. Workforce is a dominant factor for their clients, and they take notice of any economic development organization trying to help them address this issue.
The Wichita Falls Chamber uses a number of avenues to reach site consultants, prospect industries, and senior real estate executives. While the way we have conducted outreach efforts has changed over the years, there is one constant. Personal meetings on a continuous basis have always been, and will always be, the best way to market your region.
Which is why Wichita Falls will be a loud voice in a large crowd. We get noticed.
David A. Leezer is the Vice President of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber.