Monday, December 11, 2017

Business Cards Are Not Customers

(blog from ChamberMaster)
Chamber networking events. Some people look forward to them, others may secretly groan when they show up on the schedule. The long and the short of it is: if you’re going to attend, make them count. The key is to have a plan before you even leave the office.
  • Set a goal of how many new contacts and how many previous acquaintances you will make contact with. This keeps you on track to maximize the opportunity.
  • Determine how and when you will follow up with people after the event.
  • Bring extra business cards. (Of course.).
  • Gathering cards is more important than handing out cards. Someone doesn’t have cards? Jot their info on one of yours.
  • Keep a permanent marker with you and jot down what you talked about and your next step (pens don’t write well on business cards).
  • Tell people that you will follow up (and then do). Then they will be more receptive to hearing from you. Plus you’ll be more apt to do it because you said you would.
  • As soon as you leave the event, take a moment to sort through the business cards you collected; rank and categorize them by how they fit into your network and how you can help one another.
  • Don’t just leave the cards you gathered on your desk. Enter them into your database and schedule contact dates in your calendar.
  • Add each new contact to your LinkedIn network.
  • Follow up with a quick email or phone call within 24-48 hours. Schedule this on your calendar. Seriously, set aside the time and make yourself do it. Remember, you told them you would.
  • Share a resource with them–something helpful (e.g. a blog, article, book suggestion, or person they should connect with)--not a sales piece. Give first and expect nothing in return.
  • Make it personal, “It was great meeting you at the Chamber event yesterday. Enjoy your family reunion this weekend.”
  • Following up once may not work. Touch base on a regular basis. You’re simply staying connected. Next time you see them, they’ll (hopefully) remember you.
  • Subscribe to and send a congratulations every time one of your contacts pops up.
  • Invite your new contact to another networking event you will attending. This is a great way to interact with more of your contacts face-to-face.
  • Continue to give and don’t expect reciprocity – it will come on its own. When you’re connecting with someone, you’re communicating with their network. The ideas is to keep your name and what you do at the top of their minds. Your product or service doesn’t have to apply to them, use the strength of that one connection to open many doors. 
Networking is part of business growth, and two important aspects go hand-in-hand:
  1. You’re creating awareness of your brand and your existence
  2. You must capitalize on that awareness through follow up.
To put it bluntly, without follow-up, you’ve wasted the opportunity.

Friday, March 24, 2017


2017 Citizen and Business of the Year Named

      Many members of the Irish Hills business community were honored at the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce’s 37th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on March 23 at Clark Lake Golf Course.

     Jackie Hubbard of Onsted was recognized as the Citizen of the Year for all she contributes to the Onsted and Irish Hills community.  Columbia Interiors was named 2017 Business of Year as they have been a community-minded anchor business in Brooklyn for 40 years. The Brooklyn Food Pantry was awards the Non-Profit Organization of the Year.  Stoney Green of RE/MAX Mid-Michigan received the Heart of the Community Award for being so charitable and for always being so ready to volunteer.  Hidden Lake Gardens received the Emerald Award—Gem of the Community for being one of the Irish Hills’ amazing hidden gems.

      There were a record number of Spruce Awards given out, eleven total.  Spruce Awards are given to chamber members who have shown  “substantial beatification or renovation” within the last year.  2017 Spruce Award recipients are: Borek Jennings Funeral Home, Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club, Grady’s Catering, Lake Columbia Property Owners Association, Napoleon Community Schools, Phillip Family Chiropractic, Rayba’s Tennis Retreat and Vellucci Vineyards, Salon Rushelle, Village of Onsted and Watkins Lake State Park.

      Many business anniversaries were recognized, from 5 years all the way up to 185 years.  There were special anniversaries that were honored: Brooklyn Lanes (50 years), Killarney Lutheran Campground (60 years), Irish Hills Dairy Bar, Judson Collins Center and Onsted Kiwanis Club (65 years), Walker Tavern Historic Site (95 years) and OSB Community Bank (110 years.  Senator Mike Shirkey presented the Village of Brooklyn with a Governors Tribute for their 185 anniversary.

      Todd Wanty, outgoing board president, presented Dave Turk of Walton Insurance Group with the President’s Award.  Cindy Hubbell gave her Executive Director’s Award to Cori Baumann of Cori B Photography.  The People Choice Award from the Taste of the Irish Hills event was presented to The Pointe Bar & Grill.

      Overall, standout business community members were honored for their efforts in strengthening  the business community and the quality of life in the Irish Hills through tourism, giving back, curb appeal, longevity and economic impact.