Whether you were a golfer, a sponsor or a volunteer, no doubt you met lots of people at last week's golf outing. While I think we can all agree it was a really fun day, business is business. This was a community networking event as well as a fundraiser for the chambers. Our goal is always to create opportunities for you as a member to meet other business people and make connections.
What are a few ways to keep the momentum going?
A quick caveat: the Chambers do not supply people with a list of attendees or contact information. It's not about that. These events are meant to help you develop personal connections - the kind where you've shaken someone's hand or shared a beverage or tried their game or sampled their giveaway or somehow shared a moment. These events are opportunities to start a relationship or build on one that already exists in an informal, casual setting.
Take stock of who you met and what you enjoyed about the outing. Don't worry yet about who you might do business with in the future or who might make good prospects. What was fun? Do you remember any particularly enjoyable conversations? games? products? Did you see Scott hit that hole-in-one? Do you remember chatting with the Community Mental Health Board ladies at the turn? Did you run into anyone you hadn't seen in awhile at the dinner? Was there a raffle prize you really wanted to win but didn't?
Let people know. Reach out to people with a quick hand-written note or a phone call. Better yet, stop in if they have a storefront office, shop or restaurant. Just a quick "hello" and "wasn't that fun?" or "we loved the Kinslahger Pilsner, Keith" or "thanks for the margaritas Dorothy, April and Anna!" Let Chere know that you really needed those Fulcrom HR sunglasses or call Frazier Orthodontics to thank them for the lip balm. Did you visit with the ladies from Service Pro and play their "hit the marshmallow" game? Let them know it was fun. Make a name for yourself while "spreading the love" to fellow participants.
We've got quite a few pictures up on our website oprfchamber.org/golf-outing, on Facebook and even on youtube. Check them out and send an email with a link to anyone with whom you are building a relationship. It's always fun to get a picture! Or perhaps tag them in the Facebook photos, like the picture and add a nice comment.
Remember, it's always nice to meet someone who turns into an instant customer, but that is only one of the benefits of networking. And frankly, it is the least likely outcome. You may have met someone who could be a customer, but more likely you've met someone who could refer you at some point. Perhaps you met someone who is really a peer and could become part of your trusted circle of folks you rely on for advice and encouragement. You may even have met someone who could become a life-long friend. Or, you may have met someone who really wants to know YOU. You cannot predict how a relationship will develop - and maybe that might not even matter just yet. However it turns out, you are building connections within our community - connections that are as important for the community as a whole as they may be for your own business. You are establishing yourself as a leader in this business community. And that matters, more than you think.
The bottomline is follow-up. Use the shared experience of the golf outing to reach out to people and try to get to know them better. Be genuine. Be authentic. Be yourself. Build on the connections you made - without yet selling anything. Remember, relationship-building takes time and is a two-way street. Saying hi to someone at one event is just the first step. Now, you have to reach out and take that second step.
Finally, let us know at the Chamber what you liked about the outing and what ideas you have for improving it. We always appreciate feedback and take it pretty seriously. If you enjoyed the experience and are looking for more opportunities like it, let us know that too and we can work with you to find a good fit at our next event or program. We would love to hear from you!