Saturday, November 30, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
Member benefits vary from Chamber to Chamber, but one often-overlooked universal benefit is the Chamber directory. All Chamber members are listed in an annually updated directory that's provided to both members and non-members for free. The benefits here are twofold. First, your listing in the directory means that other Chamber members who need your type of product are likely to reach out to you before trying non-member businesses in your industry. That means that you can hope for some good windfall prospects to come your way just from having your name in the directory. And second, that directory is a wonderful source of leads. At a minimum, the directory provides each member's contact information and industry. Some directories also provide details such as their company size and how long they've been in business. The directory is essentially a perfect, free lead list for you with a built-in opener... you can approach these leads with the information that, like them, you are a member of the local Chamber.
Chamber events are also terrific networking opportunities. The Chamber of Commerce will usually have regularly scheduled “mixers” in which members can meet and greet each other. You can make the most of these opportunities by volunteering to speak at such a mixer. Most Chamber members are local small business owners who are likely interested in learning more about sales techniques. Who better than you to teach them? If you enjoy writing you can also volunteer to contribute articles to the Chamber newsletter. Many Chambers of Commerce also participate in outside events, such as local charities and business-related city events – these are particularly useful for B2C salespeople. The Chamber newsletter will mention upcoming events, which makes it easy for you to decide which ones to attend.
Before you join the Chamber, ask your sales manager if you can offer a discount or other special deal for Chamber members. You may be able to advertise this promotion in the Chamber directory or newsletter; if not, at least write up a flyer and distribute it at those mixers. You can also set aside the occasional day to call on members in person and see if you can kick-start some sales.
It's likely that salespeople from other companies will also join the Chamber of Commerce. If you can track down a few other salespeople from non-competing businesses, you have the start of a great referral group. You and the other salespeople can exchange leads and generally help each other out. And Chamber events allow you to keep an eye on those salespeople who are direct competitors!
Finding your local Chamber of Commerce shouldn't be difficult. Fire up your computer browser and search for 'chamber of commerce' using your favorite search engine. Salespeople in the big city may have several Chambers in the area. In that case, try dropping by a mixer or two and take a look at their directories to see which one would be the best fit for you.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
People love to share stories of positive business experiences and services with the people they know in order to give them a positive experience as well. How will you hold up your end of the bargain? Will you shine when you receive a referral? It’s important to make sure you’re organized with simple systems in place to make the process of creating a new client relationship seamless.
These suggestions will provide a great foundation to create your own systems.
Follow up fast:
Create a golden rule for follow-up time for a referral after receiving it. Once someone sends business your way, you don’t want to lose it before you gain it by letting too much time pass before acting on it. A long lag time could look like you aren’t interested or you are too busy to take on new business. A good rule of thumb is to contact your new lead within 24 hours.
Capture contact info:
Create a basic intake form to capture important information while speaking with your new contact. In today’s busy world, a vital thing you need to know is your client’s preferred method of contact. Do they want a call, an email, a Facebook message or a text to set up an appointment or receive a reminder? I’m still a bit surprised that most of my business contact is now through email or Facebook and I’m receiving more and more texts from clients while phone calls are dwindling.
You have received business on a silver platter at no cost to you. Now is your chance to shine and prove why you were referral-worthy. Here are a few easy ways to make yourself stand out like the superstar you are.
Treat your clients like gold. Clients can easily work with someone else at any time. Besides doing great work, what will make them want to stay in a relationship with you? Standing out doesn’t mean spending a bunch of money, it means showing a genuine interest in another person. If a client is working with you on something challenging, send them an encouragement card. If you have tulips blooming in your yard, bring your client a little bouquet at your next meeting. Or, leave a few chocolates on their desk (my favorite) with a friendly note. All small efforts will say big things.
Follow through. Business doesn’t end because your transaction ends. Let your client know that you’ll check in at a specific time in the future to see how things are going and then do it. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks by adding a reminder to your calendar.
Send thank you notes:
Send a thank you card when you get business. As soon as you’ve worked with your new client, take a few minutes to write a thank you note. Make it easy for yourself by keeping note cards and stamps on hand at all times. A thank you note alone will make you stand out in the crowd.
Send a thank you note even when you don’t get business. It really doesn’t matter why someone chooses not to work with you. What will matter is the positive impression you will leave for being gracious, which may still lead to business down the road.
Send a thank you note for the referral. It really surprises me when a professional doesn’t show their appreciation to someone who proved to be a cheerleader for their services and increased their revenue. A gift card is an added bonus if you decide to go the extra mile.
Track referral sources:
Create a simple system to track where your business is coming from and how much revenue is being generated. Pay close attention to who is sending business your way. These are the people who are spreading the word about you, they are invaluable to you and they should be acknowledged for helping your business flourish.