Summer is here and it slows down! However, most of us are doing business in one form or another. To ensure you are reaching out to grow your own business or your chapter remember that chambers of commerce usually do not shut down for the 3 months of summer and they can be the most dynamic place to find “power partners” and new business owners who are looking to grow their own business.
Attend your local chamber and if you are not a member consider becoming a member so you can get to know these people. We are not in conflict with chambers of commerce because they allow so many to join under the same category. There really is no limit. LeTip on the other hand and your chapter specifically, only allows one person to hold the business category in the chapter. No duplicates. You are the only banker, residential real estate person, plumber or chiropractor in the chapter. We are loyal to YOU and do not allow others to attend or belong in your specific category. You truly create your own sales force by being a member.
You may ask, how does a chamber of commerce help me? They hold mixers often, inviting new members and current members to attend and network together. Anyone not familiar with our type of networking is there looking for how we do it they just don’t know it yet. We all know word of mouth referral is the very best you can have. So we are creating that kind of referral by attending and talking about our members and selves to others.
When attending a chamber mixer, do not allow yourself to be caught up in discussion for more than five minutes with anyone! You need to work the room to find prospects or power partners for your self. When speaking with them, take a business card. When you turn away from them mark each card with a 1 through 10. I wear something that has pockets so I can keep my 6 to 10 cards in one side and the others 1-5 in the opposite pocket. I am screening each person for personality, category, like ability, interest, etc. If you get into my 1 through 5 pile you go into my data base to drip information on or I invite you to a later date event. If you were a 6 through 10 you get a personal email from me the very next day and or an opportunity to have coffee, a meeting, whatever it is that works for both of you. These are the folks I want to do business with. I move around the room as quickly as possible and some times I get caught taking more than five minutes. Those folks are almost always on my top 6-10 list! It has become a game with me to see how many business cards I can end up with at the end of the night, number them and then have a really great prospect list to work from. Not only do I number them, I try to put a word, a thought something down on the card that rattles my brain into remembering our conversation. When you make it personal you are already half way to building a relationship that is warm and inviting instead of a cold call or just another phone call. Build the relationship that is what we do!
Have fun with this, go with a few others from your chapter. Set up a contest to see who can get the most cards and code them before the night is out. Then it is time to make phone calls, send invitations to your chapter meeting but above all else, have fun! Make it exciting for those you are inviting and remember to ask them to attend your chapter meeting. Use confirmation of reservation and make your prospects FEEL important! It works!
Other networking events are happening all over town as well, attend as many as you have time for and see how it changes your perception of availability of people who are looking to grow their business!
Let’s grow and do not let Summer get in the way!
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Kim Marie Branch-Pettid
40 Years of helping build businesses just like yours, everyday of the week.