October 21 is National Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day. (We’ve never heard of this day until this year, but who can ignore those calendars of weird, obscure holidays – they are intriguing!)
We are taking this opportunity to really think about Chamber of Commerce Membership. Have you ever questioned the benefits of joining a chamber? Or have you joined and just not felt you got your money’s worth – or that it did not impact your business the way you had hoped? Ok, we admit it – we have joined and left, joined and left. Now we’ve joined again. Based on these past 28 years of chamber involvement and membership, we’re ready to share five ways that we think chamber membership can benefit a commercial real estate professional.
1. Your Stake in the Ground, and in the Town
If you have a successful real estate business, there is no possible way that you have run it, nurtured it and grown it without being very aware of what’s going on in your town. Noting who is moving in, who is expanding are givens. But more than that, being a member of the chamber shows that you want to be involved in decisions and growth of the community itself. Chamber membership gives you a voice when local government turns to businesses to hear their opinion and when issues can benefit from advocacy of the chamber. When you are a member of the local chamber, it shows other businesses and potential clients that you have a stake in the town...that you care about its future.
At Brenner, we just joined the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce. Why? Scott Brenner answers, “Because membership in the Pompano Beach chamber offers numerous benefits and keeps us on top of important, ever-changing issues and trends within Pompano Beach and the local marketplace. Membership in the Chamber provides various resources that enhance the value of our business.”
“The people that are active in the Chamber are active in the community,” he continues. “They care about making the community a better place to live and work. Being engaged gives us visibility and credibility. Doing business is an active sport, not one that you sit on the sidelines and watch!”
2. What’s Wrong with a Business Card Swapfest?
You’ve been there, we know you have. You’re at a networking event, chamber breakfast or not, and before you can say your name and company, someone is sticking their own business card toward you and you haven’t even established a rapport. Awkward, and a turn-off. But business card swapping handled right can truly be an advantage to your business. GO to the chamber breakfast, lunch and more. Meet people. Make it a goal to truly get to know them, or do your best to see how you can help their business through your contacts. It is a good thing to come home with several business cards presented in the spirit of “getting to know you.” Plus, and we’ll say what you knew we were thinking...once you get back to the office, pull out the cards and write a “nice to meet you” note to each and every one of them.
3. Get Out What You Put In
Like any organization, you will get out of it what you put into it. Go ahead and raise your hand and volunteer to do something. Head up a committee, or be responsible for making phone calls. A committee is better, because you will get to know other involved business people and they will get to know you. (Nothing wrong with phone calls though...you get to speak to people you don’t know and you can look them up at the next chamber event.) You could even run for an office. This will increase your community visibility. Be an Ambassador or join at the Trustee level. It gives you credibility, not to mention more interaction with other proactive members, and may also let you meet new members and new businesses in the community first. Our membership in the Pompano Beach Chamber is at the Trustee Level. As such, the company gets special recognition at each monthly Chamber membership breakfast, two free admissions to breakfasts and after hours events, free newsletter ads, business expo table, and much more.
4. Money Saving Benefits
Your local Chamber membership usually means you can benefit from a percentage savings on local services. There may be savings offers on financial plans, insurance plans and more, not to mention savings on admission fees to chamber events. If you look closely at the savings benefits, you might be surprised at the opportunities.
5. Spread Your Name Around
The local chamber typically offers numerous opportunities to promote your business. You can sponsor a meeting, which usually means you pay a fee to be able to put a brochure at every seat and hopefully speak for 5 minutes. As a member, you should also have the benefits of being able to participate in chamber email blasts, get reduced rate on advertising in the chamber newsletter, and of course, list your company name and link on the chamber website.
In honor of National Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day, these are just a few of the ways that chamber membership can be advantageous to a commercial real estate professional. Can you think of other reasons? Let us know!