A chamber membership is an investment in your business. As an investment, you undoubtedly expect a return. While it’s easy to look at what you paid for membership and how many new customers were sent you way through the chamber and calculate your return that way, there’s more to it than just that. For instance, did you know that your customers receive multiple benefits from you being a chamber member and those benefits can increase their loyalty? Here are 5 examples of how they win with your chamber membership:
1. You're in the Know
When you’re a member of the chamber you know what’s going on in the business community. You can pass this information along to your customers and look like a hero. For instance, let’s say you own a bakery. Your customer comes in for her morning coffee discouraged that she can’t find a job. As a chamber member, you’re plugged in to the businesses that are hiring. You not only tell her about the position but you’re able to give her a referral to the owner who you know through the chamber. You’re helping both her and him and they both love you for it.
2. You Have Inside Knowledge (and Tickets) for Events
Chambers host some of the best events in town. As a member, you may be able to purchase tickets earlier or bring an interested guest. Again, you come off looking like a rock star to your customer or vendor.
3. You Know About Legislative Initiatives
The chamber is busy working behind the scenes for all businesses in your area. But most people don’t know what the chamber is lobbying for. If you’re a member of the chamber, you not only know but you can share that information with your customers as it may apply to their businesses as well.
4. You Become a Resource
If you use your chamber membership to become a resource for your customers and share that information with them, you become very important to them. Not only does this make them like and trust you but it also makes you invaluable as they begin to know you as someone who is plugged in. You become a connector in the community and someone they patronize to get the inside scoop. This type of standing is much harder for your competitors to replicate and will make your customers more loyal. Loyal customers are long-time customers which means more sales.
5. You Hire the Best
Earlier, I mentioned as a chamber member you know who’s hiring. But there’s another employment benefit to you being part of the chamber. You can find very skilled professionals for your business. As a chamber member, you get to meet a wide variety of people and expand not only your sales networking but your career network as well. You also have an entry to the hidden job market, those valued employees who aren’t actively looking for work.
A chamber membership is an investment in your business but there’s more behind it than simply what you pay out versus how many customers are referred to you. The chamber offers many benefits to your business, the least of which is helping you establish yourself as a resource in the community and that improves your visibility and customer loyalty.
And those things are invaluable.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.