There are many reasons to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Some of the obvious ones are networking opportunities, community involvement, and the trust that Chamber affiliation builds with your customers. Of course, there are many more benefits you receive from becoming a Chamber member, but many people don’t fully enjoy them. They wrongly assume that by simply paying their annual membership dues lots of new business and friends will automatically show up. Without understanding how to make their Chamber experience work for them they give up on the Chamber in frustration.
Get Out Of The Chamber What You Put In
I’ve been a member of many Chambers of Commerce over the years and even served on several of their committees. That experience has given me the advantage of having talking to hundreds of Chamber members about their experience. Some people have felt the Chamber didn’t benefit them at all, while others claim it allowed their business to grow exponentially. How can two members of the same organization have two very different experiences? The answer is that you get out of the Chamber what you put into it.
If all you do is pay your membership fee you will get a welcome letter and a nice sticker to put on your front door. However, if you invest in building trusting, professional relationships with others through the Chamber the rewards in leads, sales, and friendships are potentially game changing for your business. Here are several ways to get more out of the Chamber by investing in other members.
1. Sign up for their newsletters or updates.
A great way to learn more about your peers at the Chamber and how you can support their business is to sign up for their company newsletter, ezine, or weekly email.
2. Support them online.
Support other Chamber members through any of the social media outlets they use and tell your network about them as well. Have you experienced their service or product first hand? Show your support by writing positive product reviews online.
3. Submit their news to other groups you are part of.
Be sure to share your Chamber peers’ news with other groups you may be part of. Think about professional, LinkedIn, or civic groups for example.
4. Invite them to be part of your seminars.
Invite fellow Chamber members to come speak at your company functions or the business seminars you are hosting. They will appreciate the opportunity to showcase their area of expertise and you will enhance your event with guest speakers.
5. Share or trade skills and expertise.
We are all experts at something. What is your “something”? Share that something with someone else at the Chamber. If you are good at writing ad copy and someone else is good at printing sales flyers then offer to share skills. You will probably help each attract more business this way.
6. Introduce them to your friends.
Be the first person to approach new Chamber members when they arrive. Be friendly and introduce them to others in the group. Your gesture will be remembered and appreciated forever.
7. Bring them to other functions.
Perhaps you are member of other organizations in addition to the Chamber. Invite one or two of your Chamber peers to attend other functions with you as your guest. Introduce them to your other associates. This will increase their circle of connections and you will look like a master networker.
8. Use their business first.
Support your fellow Chamber members by giving them preference when you shop. For example, if you need replacement windows for your home and one of the window companies is a Chamber member, give that company your business. Even if they cost a little more, the goodwill your business generates can be invaluable.