In addition to joining a referral networking group, you should also consider further diversifying your network by joining your local chamber of commerce. A chamber provides a broad membership base but usually within a defined geographic area, such as a town or a county. Depending on the nature of your business, this kind of local membership could be of significant importance.
Unlike a referral networking group, professional society or trade association, a chamber does not limit the number of people who can join from any one profession or industry. The local membership may include, for example, several commercial interior designers. Membership in this chamber of commerce would thus give you an opportunity too meet more than one prospect for your word-of-mouth marketing team.
Chambers conduct social and business events where you can socialize and develop relationships. Becoming a member of a chamber of commerce provides opportunities to give back to the community and capitalize on significant member benefits; serving in the leadership raises your recognition, visibility and credibility, as well as that of your business.
So make it a point to investigate your local chamber of commerce. Find out where the office is and request membership information. Ask for the names of members you can contact. Attend an event or two to see whether the membership is a good fit for you; for a small fee, you can probably visit a chamber mixer. Take your time, do your homework and locate a chamber that knows how to hold networking events and has strong membership. Membership is not free, but it’s far less expensive than traditional advertising.