“What will it take for you to walk away from this conference thinking that it was a good investment of your time and resources?” Lowell asked me. Lowell was going to be our facilitator the next day, and was getting a feel for the people in the room and what they were looking for.
I pondered for a second. We were sitting in the lobby of the hotel: the reception had long since finished, but many of us were still mingling and chatting. “I would think this was a good investment if….” I said slowly, trying to gather my thoughts into one all-encompassing statement. “If I walked away knowing how to show more value to our current contractors, and could use that strategy to show prospects why they should be a member of Independent Electrical Contractors.”
Lowell may have asked me that question for his own purposes, but I didn’t realize until that moment that I needed to be asked why I was there. What was I looking for? What was I hoping to accomplish. Being asked that question gave me the opportunity to reflect and set an intention for the next two days.
Bright and early we set to work, starting with meaningful Networking ideas that are effective, easy to put on, and cost-effective. One of the services that we provide contractors is the opportunity to network with other business owners, so we need to make sure that we’re doing this effectively. It takes, on average, six times meeting someone to truly feel like you know them (and no, playing “Business Card Roulette” doesn’t really count).
Then we hit on what I really needed: learning how to engage better with our current member contractors. People all over the room were already implementing great strategies. David Hittinger from IEC Cincinnati said, “A good ED doesn’t stay in their office. I’m out visiting my members, I’m out on job sites. And if I can’t do that, I’m on the phone with them. My members know that I care because I’m always in contact with them.”
We also discussed onboarding new members, taking that new energy and directing it towards the chapter: orientation, mentorship programs, invitations to board meetings and task force discussions. Not only does it have the potential to do great things for our chapter, but it shows the new member what all there is that IEC offers and increases the perceived value.
But more importantly, it showed me where we could do better. Some of these ideas don’t take a lot of time or resources to implement, but showing how much we appreciate our members and how badly we want them to succeed can make all the difference in the world.
Assistant Executive Director