All it takes is a need, sticky-note brain and customer service skills to be a triple-crown Tradebank winner.
Lisa Smith, owner of the Tradebank of Huntsville said those three things: a customer with a need, basic customer service skills and a sticky-note brain are the secret to her success!
The triple-crown winner of Tradebank’s President’s award, Rookie of the Year, and this year, the Ace award for growing her membership at an above average rate, Lisa turned a membership of about 50 into 225 members and continues to bring in an average of 10 new members a month.
“That’s what we are supposed to do,” said Lisa. “Everyone has specific needs, and it is my job to discover what those needs are; but it is my sticky-note brain that is the true secret to my success. Sticky-note brain (with a little help from Dale Carnegie) helps me remember who needs what so that when I see you or talk to you, I remember what you need and continue building that network for you.”
Lisa is a retired nurse and healthcare provider with a strong business background as well. She is a former account executive for a local radio station, accustomed to using fundamental customer service skills that work in any situation.
In 2019, Lisa had a need.
Lisa Smith had a new 11,000 square-foot office building that needed pest control.
The Huntsville region Tradebank owner at the time lived two hours away. They were looking for temporary or virtual office space for when they were in Huntsville.
“I got my pest control, and they got their virtual office space,” Lisa said. “My first impression? This is a fantastic way to accumulate trade dollars to use toward business expenses.”
That pest control grew into much bigger purchases for Lisa. The beautiful $10,000 decorative rock sign that can be seen from the road when you visit the Offices at Spenryn, and more recently, a new roof.
“From day one, the cost savings aspect of barter stood out for me,” she continued. “My customer service skills kicked in and I saw Tradebank as a means for networking.”
In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Tradebank of Huntsville was the brand’s fastest growing region, and it won the same recognition in 2021 post-pandemic.
“Only a healthy business can remain in Tradebank, so I refocused sales into finding ways for our restaurant members to survive,” Lisa recalls. “I focused on calling homeowners associations to advocate for getting food delivery and food trucks into HOA clubhouses. Some of them made enough to stay alive. I was posting on social media all the time for our restaurants.”
Lisa has a motto about starting something new: “Go Big or Go Home”.
“I have this office building full of people. There is no reason to have a big building unless you create a work family to occupy it, and that was also how I felt about Tradebank.”
By getting to know every member, Lisa can build personal networks that expand the overall network for all members.
“We brought in two clothing boutiques over the past two months and every piece of clothing I wear these days is from barter,” Lisa chuckles. “I love the clothes, but I also wanted to help her build up some trade dollars to get the things she needs too. It’s a win-win for everybody if you approach it that way.”
Lisa recently had an attorney from Atlanta lease office space. In talking to him she discovered he had just built a house and needed a landscaper, a gardener and someone to put up a fence. She hooked him up immediately with local Tradebank members in all three business categories.
“It was a full-on cash drop for him and only a referral from me.”
And if you were thinking attorneys may not be a frequent beneficiary of barter, Lisa has recruited three of them offering legal services ranging from setting up an LLC, to brokering three adoptions last month using full barter.
Lisa’s examples of success are voluminous.
“Two of our new members were looking for aesthetic services so I met with a doctor a couple of weeks ago and brought them in.
“I signed up a new member who had a great business going with a loyal customer base, but his number one need was a dentist because he did not have dental insurance. Right off the bat, we found him enough business to get $3,000 worth of dental work done.”
She said Tradebank can also take it on the flipside.
“I had a call today from a member who heard another member talking about a specific need. By sharing that information, it gave me and my awesome teleconnector the opportunity to reach out to them and say, ‘Hey! Let us help you with this.”
Nope! The term “teleconnector” cannot be found in the Tradebank how-to manual, but it is a term Lisa created to describe a new position she created for setting up appointments with potential new members.
And despite Lisa’s folksy vernacular, she said most of her success is due to the amazing region she owns in Huntsville and Madison and her senior broker, Tami Kent.
“Madison and Huntsville are growing so fast, there is plenty of room for businesses of all types. It’s then just a matter of connecting,” said Lisa. “Tradebank is not about me but it’s about what we can do when we all come together. Tami and I work together as a team to show what happens when you do. Tradebank is doing what I want it to do: offset my business costs.”