The Chamber of Commerce is the central hub of the business community in your town. It is a great opportunity to meet the leaders of the business community and to network with other business owners nearby. They host monthly meetings where you can network and interact and use these as a chance to make connections and expand your referral network. But membership in the Chamber is an investment and you need to go to your next chamber meeting with a plan to make the most out of it. Let’s have a look at how you can make that happen.
- Set some goals. What do you want to gain from your membership in the chamber? This is a marketing opportunity so you need to know ahead of time what you want from it. Who do you want to connect with? How many new clients will it take for you to recover what you spent on membership and the time you spent attending meetings and such? Most people who go to Chamber of Commerce meeting go there with no concrete plan other than to “meet people”. You can do better than that. Figure out what you want from the event and make it happen.
- What makes a successful event? Is it walking away with a couple of business cards while handing out a couple of your own? No, you need to fill your pipeline with leads, not only that you need partners willing to send you referrals. Determine what that number is, what do you need to make this event a success?
- What is your closing rate? How many leads does it take before you turn it into a sale? This is where a CRM comes in handy, you can classify your leads according to where they are in the process, new prospect, leads, referrals, presentation booked and a closed deal. The further down your pipeline the fewer prospects you will have so keeping that pipeline full is crucial.
- You don’t need to go to every event. You can determine which events will help you get the most out of your chamber membership. Try many of them out first and work from there, you may only want to attend meetings once or twice per month.
- Use your membership! Membership often comes with discounts at local businesses, take advantage of the discount and use this as another opportunity to meet with local business owners.
If this sounds like a lot of work to you, you’re right it is but it is also worth it. This is why you looked into a membership in the first place. The Chamber doesn’t guarantee you sales, but it does give you the chance to make contacts and get referrals. You need to put in the work!