Last week, I was formally inducted into the French Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Here is a photo of me receiving my certificate from Chamber president, Bernard Delmas, CEO of Michelin Japan.
I’m not just a regular member, but rather a benefactor member, or bienfaiteur in French, the Chamber’s highest level of membership with exclusive privileges.
I joined the Chamber early last year as a regular member. Within a week, I was contacted by the French CEO of a French subsidiary in Japan who was referred to me by the Chamber. He and his company are now one of my best clients. The CEO of his head office in France also became a client of mine, and I have traveled to France to work with the French team.
People at the French Chamber often view themselves as playing second fiddle to the larger American Chamber. They don’t seem to fully realize the value they provide to their members here, and rarely encourage non-French to join, apart from the Japanese themselves. Their Website is only in French and Japanese, not English, even though at least half of their events are held in English! At the same time, many members of the American Chamber view it as the only game in town, and miss out on all the value that multiple chamber membership brings.
I can trace hundred’s of thousands of dollars of my business every year directly to activities I do with the French and American chambers. That’s huge ROI on my annual dues! Where else can you get that kind of return?
The path less traveled can often be the most lucrative. And you may be sitting on untapped value that you could be delivering to customers simply because you do not recognize it is there.