Have you ever asked your chamber members why they joined your chamber? How insightful were their answers?
When people answer questions there are multiple sides to their answers.
- There’s the outward-facing, good student-type answers. These are answers people give as if they are playing Family Feud, answers that they think are the most common or most popular. They are widely accepted and may even bring smiles to the faces of the people asking.
- The true answer.
- The answer they believe is true but they don’t have enough insight to uncover what lies beneath.
Anything other than the middle answer doesn’t really help the chamber, does it?
Is “Why did you join?” still a viable question?
Asking why someone joined is still important. You have to play the lottery in order to win. You will have businesses who are very aware of how the chamber is helping and they’ll use the right words. You need to ask in order to find these self-aware businesses because you can apply what you learn from them to others.
For those who aren’t aware of their own reasons, or those who are unable to articulate it, listen closely:
Networking. Yes, people want to get to know others in the community, but why do you network? Because you’re lonely? Because no one wants to stand by themselves at a mixer? No, you network to get more customers. People do business with people they know. When someone tells you they joined the chamber for networking, they mean more business.
Reputation. This answer speaks very highly of your organization but it still says, “I want more customers.”
Advocacy and community. The cynic in me calls these the Family Feud answers because they are popular and make the businesses look good. They’re not joining for themselves. They’re doing it for the good of all. If that is truly the case, you needn’t worry about them leaving….ever.
Marketing and promotions. People need marketing not because they enjoy being seen as clever but because they want more customers/sales.
Knowing why someone joins the chamber helps you better meet expectations, but if they’re not entirely clear why themselves you have to listen to what’s beneath their answer.
A large percentage of your small businesses are joining for more customers/sales regardless of the words they use. However, that’s not always the case. Check out these top reasons of why members join according to the Chamber of Commerce Professionals.
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