Ep. 197 INTERVIEW – Krystal Parker
Innovative Relationship Marketing: INTERVIEW with Krystal Parker president of the US & Central Florida Christian Chambers. Krystal provides new ideas for developing rapport and gaining long term clients and quality referrals.
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Joe Pici (JP):
Hey team, welcome back to The Sales Edge, and we’re so excited another great episode with a guest and we are sponsored by Pici and Pici, which is coaching, training, consulting, firm specializing in helping our clients recapture lost revenue, get in front of their target market, and just write more business. And SellMoreVirtually.com. That’s a membership platform that every Thursday night I’m live with coaching and training, tremendous downloads. This very interview will be all over that platform. And so we’re excited about the growth around the globe. It’s been amazing over a hundred countries and more and more downloads and that’s because of your loyalty. But we’re going to get right to our show. You know, we always promise you that we’re going to have special guests and rather than try to remember. I’m going to give some highlights as to Krystal Parker’s bio, you know Krystal Parker’s a former executive for Fortune 200 publicly traded oil and gas company. She offers over 20 years of experience in organizational management, leading hundreds of Union, non-union and contract employees in order to provide JD Powers award winning customer service to more than 2.1 million customers in the U.S.
Parker Advance her education at Harvard Business School for senior Executives with a focus on Innovation, globalization, and Leadership diversity. Today Krystal’s a professor teaching graduate and undergraduate level courses. Krystal serves as the president and board member for U.S. and Central Florida Christian chamber Commerce. Krystal loves to tell people that business is her sport. Welcome Krystal.
Krystal Parker (KP):
Thank you so much. That’s a mouthful Joe.
I left stuff out. You are a wealth of experience and a wealth of information Krystal. And I want to get right to it because you know, our audience, our team needs to know about you. And so if you’ll tell me something now about what you’re doing, who you do it for, and some uniqueness is about how you do it.
You bet. Actually I have a business Consulting business where it’s I work with companies and help them with their strategy and Innovation. And most of my market was in the midwest- oil and gas that’s where I was for most of my career, but I got tired to get on an airplane Joe. So I thought I have got to figure out how to meet some people where I live which is in Central Florida. So I joined this little thing called the Christian Chamber of Commerce and within a year later, I became the president. And what we do is we serve businesses, help them get exposure for their their business and let them tell their story and meet other like-minded like valued individuals to do business with.
There’s some uniqueness is that you bring to the table. When I was looking at some of your information. I know you’re very big on relationship marketing. Can you take a dive on that? Explain what it is and how you execute that?
You bet. So I have my masters in marketing and my undergrad is in Psychology. And so I understand the book side of marketing and it’s interesting because now with the internet and the digital type of marketing you really have to be refreshed. If you have a degree even a year ago, you’ve got to continue to get fresh on that. And the thing about it is there’s so much noise to get people’s attention. It’s almost like static and so the only way to really reach past that, what I believe is through relationships. And I think relationship marketing right now is one of the best ways to create business and do business with other people. So what is relationship marketing? It’s the opportunity to go and shake hands with people, get to know people, do business with people that you know, like and trust and as a result of that you’re going to be getting and giving referrals as well. And it creates what we call the Big Mo a little bit of momentum and it’s hard to create that out of nothing. And and that’s why I joined the the Christian chamber initially was because, I knew from a marketing budget with my competition, I couldn’t go blast up a billboard or two. And I also knew that that wasn’t going to get people’s attention and to do an effective integrated branding promotional strategy, which is marketing terms for put together some sort of mailers, flyers, posters, advertisements, and stuff like that.
Number one, there’s a big expense to it. And number two. There is the need to follow up and make sure that you have the right metrics in place for that. And the easiest thing for me is the time to do was to put on my high heels and get out there and meet people and that’s really what relationship marketing is all about.
Okay. Well, I’m gonna throw you a curve here, you know, I because I’ve watched you, you and I spent a lot of time together coaching on the phone and things like that, but I’ve watched you pull an entire chamber through this covid thing marrying the the live relationship building with the virtual. I’d like you spend a little time just on how you did that, your mind set, the strategy you executed?
Okay, you bet. Well, thanks for the curveball Joe. I’m not surprised. I have spent a lot of time with you and and I’m excited to be here today with your with your audience. The key was and I think what’s made me and helped me to be very successful in this, is my background in customer service. I understand you know, one of my favorite quotes is breathing is to life like profits are to a business. I’m going to say it again, breathing is to life like profits are to a business. See breathing is not as breathing is essential for living but it’s not the purpose for living. Just like profits are essential for business, but they’re not typically the reason that the business exists. So I had to really step back from that think about from a Chambers perspective or any customer service type of job. What is important and what does the customer value? And how do I provide more of that value for them?
Well people join a Chamber because they want to meet people, do relationship marketing, get exposure for their business, and network and give referrals. That’s why they join. Now in a covid situation what happens when you can’t open the doors, you can’t have these engagements and the reality was you can and we could but the but the fact of the matter was that not everybody felt comfortable in that environment. And so it was really about serving the customer. And being able to evolve enough, Innovative, and be customer centric and say we’re going to meet people where they are. We’re going to provide an audience and a place for people to come together that feel comfortable and then we’re going to also do what we call a hybrid event. Which is where in person and they have a nice virtual experience for those people that want to join online. And when we marry those two we found that it was very successful and very attractive to people and I don’t believe it’ll go away in the future.
What it did for us, it allowed us to kind of cut the fence, The Invisible Fence, of looking at this is just a central Florida organization, and we started to attract people from outside of the State of Florida. Saying we want to be a part of this we want to we want to network with other Christian based businesses and get exposure for our business. And I really believe that it was also a great improvement for people’s time management they said hey, I can get you a meeting and just take an hour and get some referrals and fill my tank without having to get in the car drive. So we meet people where they are. The virtual aspect of it isn’t for every meeting and always but, let me tell you having the flexibility. We’ve really been able to capture a lot of people in that model.
Okay, so another curveball for you. Over the course of years Dawn and I have, we’ve been part of associations and they’ve all had a certain strategy, but you have a more composite holistic approach. Whereby there’s a lot of things you have put together under this umbrella. Speak to some of the things you’re doing about your workshops. And I also want you to bring up this, this, Chamber Commerce Expo that you will be launching. So if you can just I want people to realize the scope of the services that you’re providing.
You bet. When I started about six and a half months ago. We had a one, what we call, the relationship building event. And that was the one main event that we had and then there were Fellowship Fridays. So there was a good what I would call good bones. There was already an inherent membership base line. So I already had customers.
And so what I had to do is I had to understand what is it that they need and how can I serve them best? And in doing so I realized and it is almost like a progressive revelation. It’s not something that just came overnight and like whoa, you just have to do it all at once. I could see it but it’s just me at the time working and trying to figure out how do I stair step this and put it in place progressively. So that it would build and build and build and build and so that’s exactly what we did. We put in professional development component and understanding and I’m a John Maxwell trainer, speaker, and coach. And I understand that when the leader gets better so does the team. And so if I want to create what we’re calling Kingdom Commerce, which is basically a Christian based Business Leaders doing business with each other first. If there is a business to do business with that, I want them doing business together. If we’re going to create Kingdom Commerce, we ought to be the best leaders, the best businesses, that are in the market.
And in doing so we have to continue to have a focus on professional development and and that’s just something I believe. So we put in a professional development series have brought in some of the biggest and best thought leaders in the industry and we’ve continued on in that relationship building event. But we took that hybrid so we are virtual and in person for that. We closed down multiple Fellowship Fridays and streamline that into one. And fellowship the audience is, basically within our chamber you have an opportunity to host an event and get leads and potential clients to walk through your door. And we do that every Friday. And I advertising market for you through social media, through our email, and through all of our platforms and then you open your doors and leads and potential clients walk in. It’s a fantastic thing. But what was happening is, before I got into the role that I was in there was multiple of these events happening. And so therefore we were we were kind of shotgunning in the same people ended up at the same one. So we closed it down and we went to one. We just had a fellowship Friday last week Joe 45 people were there. We’re seeing 20 plus every time. So it’s been fantastic to see the growth in that aspect of it. We also had an emerging group of Christian business women and just a real want and desire to connect. So we put a process in place. We partnered strategically with another organization.
And the last women’s event, Christian business women’s event. We had three countries represented at this event and we’re seeing growth in that. And then we saw the need for young Professional Network. Now our chamber, let’s face it, most chambers you look around. It’s a lot of gray hair. Sorry folks. It’s okay, but we wanted to do was we wanted to infuse some of this the youth and the youth are great because they have a real focus on Innovation, unity, and service. And so what we what we did was we partnered with our Christian nonprofits and we’re putting that that young Professional Network in. We had our first launch for that just this last month. We had over 20 plus young Professionals in the room our very first time. So there’s a hunger for it and that’s the future of the chamber. And then the next piece of this progressively is the U.S. Christian. Chamber of Commerce. Now, you’ll see a my information. It’s the the US and Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce. What happened is part of going forward is understanding the past. The very first thing I did when I started in this role was, I dug into the mission, vision, and values.
I dug into what was the company about and I realized we had a little bit of a mission issue. We put we flip that around and made it we’re serving the kingdom first. We’re building Kingdom. Went to business and then we went to the community where it was a little out of order before. And we’re proud. That’s our niche. So we leaned into that niche, But what we found was in 2003 when the doors open for this chamber the founder started it as the u.s. Christian chamber. So it’s the best-kept will jewel secret that’s out there, but I couldn’t just say were the u.s. Christian chamber. Hello everybody. We had to progressively build this, now we’re sitting at about a hundred value based engagements annually. So for a membership, somebody could if they wanted to exhaust themselves, they can get to a hundred different events a year. And and then we are revealing the u.s. Christian chamber and building on that so we can go out and help other Christian Chambers be successful because we are establishing the Prototype, the DNA, the future of what a Christian chamber looks like. Doing Kingdom Commerce and to your final Point.
That’s where we’re setting up the first ever u.s. Christian business expo. Where we will have 12 speaker symposiums because, again, it’s all about leaning into growth and development. Somebody I don’t know somebody just had a cup of joe with the other day. His name is Joe Pici, helped me realize, you know, what are we going to, what’s the foundation of that event? So that people can come and understand here’s where I’m going to find value in it. And we aligned it right in with our mission. It is about Kingdom. It’s about business and it’s about community. And we’re going to serve Business Leaders from all over the nation to come into this u.s. Christian business expo and be a part of our first event. We purposely are keeping it small it will sell out and that’s the idea behind it. We’re going to get really good at it and grow it next year.
When is that?
It is in October.
Let me ask you a question, another slider fastball. What do you see? Because you are in touch, you have such personal contact with so many businesses. What would you say is the single biggest challenge confronting businesses today?
That is it’s funny that you ask that because I’m right in the middle of writing a book. It’s a book series and if the series is called the “Best Robot Wins”. And the title of the book is “It ain’t personal, It’s just business”. And I think the biggest challenge that we’re seeing right now in business, is people. It’s your it’s your greatest expense. Okay. I mean when I was running when I was running 47 gas companies on the west side of Texas, you know, there was a lot of mechanics, a lot of engineering, a lot of pipeline, but at the end of the day the people of pulling the triggers were the one where I spent most of my time. It really comes down to leadership.
I’m big on swinging the pendulum from strategy to leadership, strategy to leadership. Maxwell said and he said, leaders determine the potential. People determine the potential in the organization. And and how important leadership is and I agree with that wholeheartedly. But strategy is equally important and Joe I was at an incredible boot camp with you and your bride and you guys really dug into the disc model and I’m huge on the disk model. And the disc model is there’s tasks in there’s people right, most people oriented individuals are not super strong at task and strategy. And that’s where that lies. And the people side of its were the leadership piece lies. And so what ends up happening, what I’ve seen in because, I work with companies is I see they lean one way or the other. Depends on who’s in charge and what their personality disposition is, and that’s Behavioral Science.
That’s not just the Krystal-Joe makeup of humans. It is Behavioral Science and that’s where I really lean into it because, I have that degree in Psychology. And so depending on who the leadership team is and who they surrounded themselves with it tends, it tends to be like attracts, like people attract people that they’re like, you know, they’re comfortable there unless there’s an awareness component. And so then the company starts to lean real heavy on strategy and forgets about the people. Or leans really heavy on the people and they forget they’re doing business. And so that’s really the the premise of why I’m writing this book too, is because I really want to help people lean into the fact that there is a need and an importance of artificial intelligence in an organization. Absolutely. But at the end of the day the people pulling the levers are the ones that are going to make the difference in that organization. So I can’t wait to tell you more about that. It will be out.
Well, I gotta I got a book title for you. I have a book title for you. After you get done with your first book, it’s called “From the Barnyard to the Boardroom”.
And because I said that I’d like you to take these people on a little ride from where you started your your your world and how you got to the boardroom.
Wow. I’m totally stealing that barnyard in the boardroom. It’s great. Now for your audience, why would you say from the Barnyard to the boardroom? Well, I My very first job that I had, started when I was 7 or 8 years old. I raised pigs every year for 4H and let me tell you I had the grand champion Pig. And we made enough money in doing pigs every summer to buy my first car. I had my lawn mowing business. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial and so it’s great to have those natural instincts of entrepreneurial spirit and intuition.
But when go in and put the book knowledge and you throw that, it’s so powerful, what can happen?
The one thing you wish you would have known or had access to before you started on this entrepreneur trek. That if you would have known some of those things maybe you could have gotten where you want to go quicker and more efficiently.
That is a hot seat. Okay. Well, I think if anybody’s been plugged into your audience long enough, they’ll know it. But this is this is true. I’ve had great mentors in my career life and having a mentor has been just key for me in the corporate career and help me sort of navigate The Labyrinth that existed. And I’ve always had really strong mentors when I went out on my own business. I didn’t know what I was doing Joe. I didn’t. I floundered around and played around just trying to figure out like, I like a lot of stuff and I’m good at a lot of stuff. But I didn’t know how to boil it down, I didn’t know how to sell it.
And so if there was one thing I wish I would have known when I started my business. It was to know you. Not just telling you that. What you’ve taught me in this business. I mean when I started working with you and I’m not just trying to sell this for your audience because it’s the honest truth you guuys. When I started working with Joe, just in that first month, we close more deals than I have three years prior on my own. One of the biggest things that I learned in working with you Joe, in this new season of my life because I was always working for somebody, not necessarily for myself. Is that people pay me for my intellect, my experience, and because it came easy for me. I was giving it away for free a lot. And I didn’t know how to Value it and I didn’t know that there was value in it. I don’t want to give all your training away, but you taught me a lot of things that that was really key for me, too.
Is busy people say yes a lot. The thing about that was, I was saying yes a lot when I should have been saying no. And you taught me that I’ll be more successful by what I say no to then when I say yes to. When you taught me that I looked and I had to really take a true assessment of all the things I was involved in and doing and I had to start saying no. And when I did it freed me up to go do the right things, for me, for my business.
Something else that I’ve really been blessed to learn from you, I didn’t have a process, I was a bounce around, right? And what you taught me was, get a process and bring people in through the funnel and help help them do business with you. And so having a process really helped me streamline my time and doing the things that were income-producing activities. The point is, for your audience, get somebody that’s where you want to be. If you’re out there and you’re maybe an individual contributor, maybe you’re in sales or whatever it is that you’re doing, find somebody that’s where you want to be. And I found Joe Pici three years after starting my business and the difference was you can see it, my tax guy knows. Oh, this is when you found Joe Pici, but not only that the quality of my life improved significantly and having somebody that will not only pick up the phone when I call them. That will call me and that I can work with him trust. I would just say to you and your audience find somebody to work with, find a coach, and there’s no shame in that.
If you want to be successful you’ve got to surround yourself with people that are where you want to be. You’re the average of your five closest friends. Take a look.
Wow. Wow. Well, you know, I’m very I said that big time speaker said you needed three ingredients to be hungry, humble, and persistent. You exemplify that and we want to thank you for being on our show. It’s been powerful and this will come out and I want people I encourage people to get in touch with Krystal. She can help you on so many levels. Krystal can you please share with our audience how do they get in touch with you?
You bet you can reach out to me at Krystal@USChristian chamber.com. You can also call me on my cell phone. I learned that from Joe Pici. I’ll pick up that phone and most of the time only answer it at 915 491 9898.
Well as Krystal gets ready for interview number two, I’d like you to do something for us. I know this has been a great value to me and we have a giveaway for you. We’re getting ready for a milestone in a couple weeks. Milestone number two, which is podcast number 200. In celebration for that, what we’re doing is, we’re going to offer a $197 e-course for $1. We’re going to have a drawing and all you have to do is like this podcast. Share this podcast and write a positive review. We’re going to do a drawing we’re going to give out two. And we’re going to have e-courses.
Only have to pay a dollar for $200 products. So take out your phone, put in the word sales edge to 55678, text it. There’s all kind of content on there. Free e-courses, links to our podcast, information on SellMoreVirttually.com. Krystal, this has been great. Let’s move over to interview number two.
Thanks for listening. New episodes will air each Tuesday and Thursday. So make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and give us a five star review. The Sales Edge is sponsored by Pici and Pici Incorporated. A firm which provides training, consulting, and keynote presentations. Empowering corporations and individuals to attract and retain quality clients, for higher revenues and growth. Make more money in sales, speak with Joe in person by calling 407 947 2590 or visit www.piciandpici.com