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Joining a chamber of commerce?

Realtor mentioned that the chamber of commerce has lead groups but other than that what would be the advantage of joining? - by Thomas
Realtor mentioned that the chamber of commerce has lead groups but other than that what would be the advantage of joining?
Thomas here is a list of things I pulled from the Chamber website:
  • Networking and promotion opportunities
  • Supports your local community
  • Business resources
  • Affiliation
  • Member discounts
  • Chamber events
  • Influence in local politics
- by realtor
Thomas,

I think there are a lot of benefits to being active in a Chamber. It has always made me feel more part of the community, and you keep up with what's happening.

But, it's also great for business. My experience has been that if you join a Chamber, you need to get involved (like everyone says about every group!).

Volunteer for the membership committee, for example. You'll usually be involved in welcoming new members, promoting membership, following up on leads from people who have asked about membership, etc.

What a great way to call someone - as a Chamber representative. And, during the conversation, darned if the other person doesn't usually ask what you do for a living!

I always preferred things like Chamber events over lead groups. Guess I just never got the hang of participating in a lead group. But, attending Chamber events, meeting bunches of new people - having that face to face opportunity. It's just been a lot more successful for me.

You do have to take a low key approach, tho. People at Chamber functions are there to relax and network. They don't want to be "sold". So, I always found it much better to ask them about what they do, and then the discussion would get around to what I do. And, if it happened that the products/services I had to offer would make sense for them, I'd follow up after the meeting.

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Those are some good reasons. ;bg

I do not see myself as a social butterfly but what the heck. :un - by Thomas
I do not see myself as a social butterfly but what the heck. :un
Try it, you might like it. ;bg - by AZBroker
Those are some good reasons. ;bg

I do not see myself as a social butterfly but what the heck. :un
I agree with AZ. The great thing about it is that you don't have to be a social butterfly. If you're contacting someone who has asked for information about joining the chamber, it's really a business call.

And, at events, you don't have to know how to make small talk. When you introduce yourself to someone, they usually have a name badge showing their name and company. I'd just say: "Hi, I'm Kathleen. What does ABC Widget Company do?" or, "What do you do over at IBM?" assuming that it's a big enough company, and you'd sound like an idiot if you didn't know what they do. :yi

Since people love to talk about themselves, that may be the last thing you need to say. Then, if you sell promotional materials for example, you could say: "Do you guys put your logo on pens and coffee mugs to give out at your trade shows?" Oh, really? Well, maybe I could be helpful to someone over there sometime, because it happens that I provide the best pens in the area. If I give you a call sometime maybe you could point me toward the person I should talk to?" Assuming that the conversation has gone well, and you feel comfortable, etc. And, of course, you have a ton of business cards and exchange them with anyone breathing so you've got their number.

It's really easier than you might think. Worth a shot!

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
You make it sound so good Kathleen. Maybe I should give it a try too. ;wi - by Calvin
Well, just remember how bad I am at lead groups. I think it depends on the individual. But, if you're looking for networking opportunities, I'd check it out. You can always go to a couple events before you join and see how it goes.

;bg

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
Having had some involvment with my own local Chamber of Commerce, I would definitely recommend to business people that they join their local Chamber. They are great for networking, information, exchanging tips and advice, and many of them run courses which I have found to be quite good. - by telegraph.hill
In addition to all of the above, I've also found I've gotten some great discounts and cost-effective programs through my chamber of commerce. A friend of mine who is also a member justifies the cost of becoming a member by figuring that all the free food he gets throughout the year at various events adds up to more than he would have paid to feed himself on those days. Interesting thought.

Also, one advantage I've found is that I qualify for better health insurance rates by going through the chamber's plan geared toward small businesses. - by Coda1108
A friend of mine who is also a member justifies the cost of becoming a member by figuring that all the free food he gets throughout the year at various events adds up to more than he would have paid to feed himself on those days.
Man that is sad. ;bg - by WobblyBox
How much rubber chicken can a person eat?

I know a lot of small biz ownes who have found the C of C to be worth it. If you make one decent contact or attend one class that helps you sell something, it's paid for itself.

Susan - by susana
Just want to clarify that my friend made his "case" about feeding himself as justifying the cost in a tongue-in-cheek way. That's how I was thinking when I typed it, but reading back on the post now I realize this may not have come across.

On a serious note, I have found that chamber membership has been an overall profitable experience, even though I seldomly offer my business services to consumers or businesses in my immediate area. I still get favorable pricing on necessities; group rates for insurance; and of course the occassional lead.

Another benefit is the accessibility you can extend to your own contacts. One of my record label clients has an act on tour. I suggested the band play in my area. When they did, I spread the word throughout my Chamber Of Commerce connections, and therefore the local media as well. Word spread rather quickly, and the band had a very successful show. I was able to provide an extra benefit to my customer who is extremely grateful for the extra effort. Really, it was my local C of C connection that made most of it happen. - by Coda1108
Another benefit is the accessibility you can extend to your own contacts. One of my record label clients has an act on tour. I suggested the band play in my area. When they did, I spread the word throughout my Chamber Of Commerce connections, and therefore the local media as well. Word spread rather quickly, and the band had a very successful show. I was able to provide an extra benefit to my customer who is extremely grateful for the extra effort. Really, it was my local C of C connection that made most of it happen.
Excellent use of your newtwork Coda. People helping people. ;wi - by AZBroker
I read in my Avon sales information that it is good to join or at least contact your local Chamber of Commerce so that you can find out who new members of the community are. You could volunteer to put some items in the Welcome Wagon basket. Sounds like a good idea to me. - by ozzie
I agree with Kathleen. Joining the Chamber of Commerce is a good thing to do for business networking. Even better as she says, is to get involved in volunteering on committees. Getting involved on a higher level shows you truly care about the organization. It also puts you in touch with people who are high on the totem pole.

This type of involvement will open up opportunities for speaking, writing articles, and who knows what else. It's a great way to get your name and your company in front of a lot of influential people. - by Jim Klein
If you're going to join, spend some quality time developing your 60 second commercial or elevator pitch. Everyone there seems to do the "I do this" approach.

Talk about what you can DO for those in the audience.

Susan - by susana
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