How To Maximize Your Chamber Membership
Ever wonder how to maximize your chamber membership?
If you run a business, you’ve likely thought about joining a chamber…and maybe you did join. Your chamber membership doesn’t create sales nor will it do anything for your business…unless you work it. In this episode we talk about how to maximize your chamber membership by doing very specific activities. When you listen to this episode, place yourself mentally in a room with a bunch of other business owners who also want to maximize their chamber membership. How do you stand out? How do you help people remember you?
Contrary to what some believe is a simple way to get business, having a membership in a chamber is hard work…if you’re doing it right. What if I said it may take you 5 years to recover all the money you put into your membership? It could take less, but it may not. The length of time it takes to get a return on your money is a direct relationship with how people see you, how people feel about you, and what they know about you.
Key To Success With Your Chamber Membership
The first key to success with your chamber membership is to belong to a great chamber. A great chamber consists of a vast array of members of all sizes, a willingness of the chamber members to connect and network, and a willingness of the chamber employees to help small businesses. Keep in mind that you’ll attract more with honey than vinegar in that how you approach the chamber will have a dramatic impact on how they will or will not help you.
When you join a chamber, the fastest way to NOT maximize your chamber membership is to push business cards into people’s hands, talk about yourself the entire time, and not have any goals when you walk into an event, breakfast, luncheon, etc. You will not be seen as serious and people will avoid you.
If you want to maximize your chamber membership you need to do these key things:
- Get to know the people who work at the chamber. They are there to make sure the events are successful, that people are having a good time, and people are networking. Use, and I don’t like saying that word in that way, but use the hard-working people who work at the chamber to get you some introductions. Have them put you in front of the people you want to meet. They know everyone. Use that to your advantage.
- You’re not there to sell. No one came to buy anything, so don’t try to sell anything. Also, don’t come across as salesy, used car salesperson, pushy, or anything like that. Make people want to know about you before you talk about yourself.
- Be specific in your asks/referrals. Know who you’re there to meet. If you don’t know who you’re looking for, make a detailed list of who you want to talk to. Use that list to identify who is there that matches that description…see number 1 and have them introduce you.
- Treat the membership as a referral source. Track your success. Don’t ignore the fact that you purchased your membership. How much do you spend every month, quarter, year in the chamber. Are you seeing any referrals, leads, or other items you can measure to say, this is worth it because I’m getting good leads. They may not all close, but that’s on you, not the chamber. Your job is to help them buy, not the chamber.
We hope these tips help you network better at the chamber while helping you maximize your chamber membership.
NOTE: Some links may be affiliate links, which means we get paid a commission when you purchase, but it the cost remains the same for you.
Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.
All right, welcome back everybody to The Slow Pitch. And today we’re going to talk about how to sell at a chamber, essentially, a lot of people go to a chamber and think, boy, if I just join, you know, it gets set up, and then I should be able to just make a whole bunch of money, money should just pour in. And that is not how it works, I’m afraid. So let’s get started.
You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.
So I’ve got a couple of bullet points I want to go through real quick. And I want to make sure that these are very clear. And then I’m not telling you that if you do these things, you know, money will pour in as well. But these are the things that you need to do to make sure that you’re doing the right things. So that money will show up later, there’s no get rich, quick scheme with the chamber, it doesn’t work that way. Basically, what you have to keep in mind is it’s like any other networking that you do, or any other process that you do, you’re planting seeds. And for those people that are out there who are not planting seeds, when they go to chambers, or other functions of networking, you’ll know these people, they’re the ones that are just pressing cards in your hand, doing all the talking, asking very little questions. And they’re there. They’re not there to help you. They’re there to help themselves. And those are the people that I like to try to avoid. I can’t stand those kinds of people, and I’m sure most people don’t. So that said, how do you really make in-roads in getting leads and working into a point where you can start to get some sales out of a chamber situation. If I would, I’m gonna give you I’m gonna start out with the number one ultra secret tip/trick that I tell people, I hate to share this because this is the most effective use of your time when you’re at a chamber. If you’re a member, and you’ve just joined, you’re at an advantage. And here’s what I mean by that. So it may seem like everybody knows each other. But the reality is not everybody knows as many people as you think they do. But I will tell you this, nine times out of 10, most of the people that work at the Chamber, know most of the people that are there, or at least have been introduced or have come in contact with them before you have. So my first tip is to get to know the staff or the members that are working at this at the Chamber itself. By doing that, you’re going to first get to know them, get to know what they like to do, who they are, what they’re all about, start to get to know them personally. And I know that sounds odd, like when you join this chamber, and now you’re just going to get to know the chamber people. But here’s how you, here’s what you need to start to think about when you go to the next chamber function. Let’s say you’ve already already met some of the people that work at the chamber and so on, you go to the next chamber function you walk in, and you should be first off talking to the people that work at the chamber. And you should ask the question, you know, I don’t know very many people here. Who should I? Who should I talk to? And they’re going to ask you, well, who do you want to be in front of? Or what do you want? And who do you want to meet. And at that point, you can give them a quick elevator pitch that 30-second commercial that we talked about a long time ago. And you give them that and they go, “Hmm, let me think about it.” And they’ll look around the room. And they’ll literally walk you up to the person that you just described, if they’re there.
That said, if they’re not there, they’ll actually keep that in mind the next time they see you as well. So future functions, I’ll go oh, hey, this person, you need to meet them. And as you start to get to know them individually, and as a person, they will start to help you that way. And that’s that’s their job. That’s what they’re, that’s what they’re there for. They’re there to help connect the business community to each other. That’s what their goal is, right? So you should be doing that and allowing them to do that for you. That is the number one tip I would give anybody who joins the chamber, they know everybody have them introduce you. It does two things. One, it gets you in front of people you want to meet. But number two, you actually get a warm introduction from somebody who knows all the people, and they’re the people that everybody else comes into contact as well. And suddenly you have some clout by being introduced by that person from the chamber. That’s why it’s the number one tip.
Number two, or the second tip, that I want to give is you’re not there to sell. So they introduce you don’t go start selling them do not do that. The number one thing you can do to get yourself kind of like shunned out of a chamber if you will, or feel like you’re not getting anywhere, you’re gonna waste a lot of time, effort and money. And I’m gonna tell you right now it’s the easiest thing to do is to not sell that is the it’s so easy to just not sell. Your goal is to do the next thing. And that is build relationships. You’re not there to sell. You’re not there to press cards in people’s hands. You’re not there to tell them what you do. And that sounds counterintuitive, but the number one thing you should be doing thing is asking questions of other people. So when you go to the thought of you’re not there to sell, the next step is building relationships, building relationships becomes who out there in this group of people see the same type of people that I want to see who in this group actually has a client that I want to have as a client that we don’t compete, so that they can introduce you to that person. It’s that simple. And by building the relationship with those types of people, you build some trust, and over time that will show up at your doorstep as a referral, you’ll learn how to start asking questions to about who they use it as in your field. So if, if you’re there and talking to an individual who services a certain type of business that you want to get in front of, they may have somebody in their back pocket that they refer business off to already. So your goal is to not try to circumvent their other people, your goal is to become their second option, hey, if you ever needed a backup, I’m happy to become a backup for you. Because what that does is it just says, Hey, I know you already have a relationship. But things happen. Sometimes I know what you know, we all know that things happen. Why don’t you just put my card in your in your Rolodex. And if you ever need it, you have it. And that’s the whole idea. You’re building and planting seeds.
And I think the last tip that I would give you is you want to treat every function that you go to whether it’s a chamber or otherwise, but mostly in chambers, as if it’s your referral network. So all these intertwine all together. But if you think of it as your referral network, so first, the people that work there, the staff, they should be referral sources for you. Quietly, they will be the ones that are at the meetings at the different functions. And they’re going to introduce you to the people that you want to be introduced to because you asked. The people that you’re meeting, they’ll also introduce you. And so you have to nurture that type of relationship with those people that work at the Chamber, but also, more importantly, the people that you get introduced to. So go grab a cup of coffee. And by the way, and we’ve talked about this in a previous show, but when you network, and one to one with somebody else, your job is not to talk the whole time, your job is to ask questions, if you haven’t asked any questions. And I mean, like, you should be asking all the questions so that they feel like they’re the only ones talking, that will make a big difference. Because they’ll remember you, you took an interest in them. And they will think of you as the person that actually will listen and and they care about you. And when you start to do that you’re building this referral network over time.
These are the top four things that I would suggest to anybody joining a chamber. I know they’re sound simple, and no, they are simple. But so many times when I go to functions into different chamber events, I do not see this and it frustrates me. Because if you’re doing things the right way, you’re not there to sell me. Nobody came to the chamber function to buy. Nobody walked in and said, You know, I could use a new logo design. I could use a new financial planner today. No, nobody walks in doing that. But what they did walk in and say, Hey, I’d like to meet some other people who can give me business. And so if you keep that in mind, all of these pieces fit together, don’t sell, get to know the staff. And remember, you’re building a relationship over time, build that referral network. And this works with not just chambers. It works with any other networking group, think of the chamber as any other networking group, and you’ll be fine. But signing up for a chamber does not inherently mean you’re going to start to make some money, get to know the people it will make overtime it will make a difference for you. Hope that helps. And until next time, slow down and close more.
Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW. That’s 608-708-7569 Or you can email them to Questions@TheSlowPitch.com. Slow Down and Close More.
Thanks as always, for listening today. If you’d like this podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at The Slow Pitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis. And we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on TheSlowPitch.com And we’ll be back with another episode soon.