Competition in Chamber Leads Groups

A member of the Chamber of Commerce Group on Facebook asked:Chamber networking with leads groups

For those of you with leads groups, do you allow multiple people from the same firm participate in multiple groups? In other words, could an insurance agency with four employees have each employee join a leads group, essentially cornering the market in your leads groups? We’ve never had this come up before and I can argue it either way.

Since the point of a leads group is to help members network, exchange ideas and provide an encouraging business space, having a business “over represented” can harm the group.

Regulating a Chamber Leads Group

 

While chambers don’t want to discourage the kind of networking that occurs in a leads group, allowing unlimited participation has negative effects as well. The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce requires that potential members of the leads group check their business category before joining. They limit the amount of businesses in a given category to ensure more valuable networking. They also offer a waiting list in categories.

For chambers with multiple leads groups, it’s not uncommon to limit a company to one representative in one of the groups. This eliminates the possibility of “cornering the market” as the chamber professional cautioned above.

Some chambers do make allowances for companies that have multiple locations as well as franchises. For instance, a bank on the south side of town could join one leads group, while a member from the north side could join another. In the case of franchises with different owners, the same business may be represented in the group.

Regulating the number of business representatives and the types of businesses in a category allows for better quality networking opportunities.  As your leads group grows in popularity, your members (especially those on the waiting list to enter) may call for additional groups. Once you add more groups, know that offering groups at multiple times, on different days, such as a Tuesday morning group, a Wednesday lunch group and a Thursday after hours group, works best to accommodate members’ differing schedules.

Guest post by Christina Green

Image via Wikimedia.org

 
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