People buy from people they know, like, and trust. While you might be in the right place at the right time when someone is up against it, and they may buy from you once without knowing, liking, or trusting you, for them to return, you’ll need more than luck.

Know and trust generally come along when you establish yourself as a likeable business with a human behind it. It’s difficult for people to like you if they don’t trust you unless you’re a villain and then being untrustworthy is your business.

For most of us, that is not the case. You can’t like someone you don’t remember, so let’s get to work on establishing the like part of the sales equation.

Share Your Reason

Think of how filmmakers or storytellers get us to like the main character. One of the ways is that they place him or her on a quest, or up against a challenge, that we want them to succeed in.

Often it’s one we identify with. Share your reason for doing what you do. There’s probably someone in your audience or potential audience who can identify with your convictions and story. Passion is contagious.

Find Commonalities

In order to find commonalities, you need to share things about yourself outside of your business and how it came to be. Share your likes, be positive. Share what you love about your community or your love for bacon.

Be genuine and people who see your social media posts or read your content will begin to identify with what you’re sharing. They’ll jump in and say “me too” and you’re one step closer to getting them to like you.

Ask Questions

If they’re in your store or business ask them their opinion on something and really listen to their answer. On social media ask what they think or what their preferences are.

Involve them in your rebranding by crowdsourcing some of your marketing decisions. People like being involved and if you really listen to, and then act on, their advice, they’ll remember it and like you more because they see you as someone who values what they think. That’s all a lot of us are looking for.

Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs

As a business you are in a position to help, whether it’s helping someone look better, feel better, be entertained, or whatever it is you do for your customers. But you are also in a position to solve problems or answer questions. Use your content and social media to help customers with problems they face in their lives.

If you run a boutique, you can create posts about unique gifts for the women in your life. If you are an accountant,  create helpful checklists of things people should track throughout the year for effortless taxes. Be helpful. Anticipate what your customers need and then give it to them. If they know they can count on you, they will return again and again.

In today’s competitive market place it’s hard for your product alone to set you apart. Often it’s the things behind your product that will help you make a name for yourself. It’s the service, personality, and assistance you provide. These are the things that make people like you and they are also what keeps people coming back.

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When it comes to supplying Lambton County’s farm community with the equipment they need to keep their acreage in tip-top shape, it would be hard to find a better place for them to head than Advantage Farm Equipment Ltd., an enterprise owned by two stalwart families—Hendrick (local to Wyoming) and McNally (local to Inwood).

The business, which is the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce “Business of the Month,” has three locations, including Wyoming, London and Essex, with a total of 30 employees.

Currently an AGCO franchise, the business was formerly focused on Kubota, a brand they still service. AGCO brands featured include Massey Ferguson, Challenger, Fendt (a high-end line made in Germany), White planters, and Sunflower tillage tools.

Congratulations once again to our friends at Advantage Farm Equipment for becoming our “Member of the Month” for August 2019!

Pictured, left to right, are Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Murray Melton, Advantage general manager, Don Hendrick, president/owner, and Gail Ann Bondar, the Chamber’s manager of Member Engagement and Services.


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Just a few days remain for you to secure your ticket to next Tuesday’s Chamber Summer Cruise on the Duc D’Orleans II, a Sarnia-Lambton tradition guaranteed to have you seeing the St. Clair River and Lake Huron in one of the best ways possible.

The fun begins at 6 p.m. when the Duc D’Orleans II embarks with members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and our friends from Port Huron—at the Bluewater Area Chamber—for this truly “international” evening of fellowship, networking and entertainment.

DJ Fabien Jagoo, hors d’oeuvres, and cash bar are all featured elements of this great evening, which runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Just $30 a person ($45 a person for non-members).

Be sure to get your tickets by clicking HERE and we look forward to seeing you in just a few days!

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In just a matter of days now—my how the summer is flying by!—the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Summer Cruise on the Duc D’Orleans II and we’d love to count you among the fun-loving passengers.

The big evening comes around on Tuesday, August 13, and the ship’s captain and crew, along with organizers from the Chamber, are already anticipating a great two hours on the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, with food, live entertainment, and conversation.

Tickets for this event are just $30 (plus tax) for Chamber members ($45 plus tax for those who are not yet members).

Click HERE to purchase online.

We’ve also invited our friends from Port Huron’s Bluewater Chamber to come along, so consider this an “international” event that is filled with even more potential for networking than other Chamber events.

The Duc D’Orleans II is a wonderful venue for some summer fun and we hope you’ll join us on Tuesday, August 13—from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.—for an excellent time.


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Looking for a way to help celebrate some great achievements by business people in Sarnia-Lambton?

We know of no better way than to nominate a company or individual for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, a night of special recognition that takes place on Friday, October 18, 2019 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

But the first deadline in a months-long process leading up to that event is THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 2.

That’s the day when nominations close, which means you have just HOURS to complete your nomination form.

CLICK HERE to get started with our very brief, very easy to use online form.

And we’ll see you on Friday, October 18!

Looking for tickets to this event. CLICK HERE to purchase online.

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Robert Gee, who is now manager of Agriculture and Commercial Banking at CIBC, is relatively new in the Sarnia-Lambton community, having moved from London where he was employed as a tax consultant just two years ago.

But Robert has dived right into the business community, not only in his CIBC role but with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Community, where he is a member of the Board of Directors.

“It was in one of my first conversations with the Chamber that I discovered just how important the role of advocacy is, how the Chamber’s influence at various levels of government, municipally, provincially and federally, positively impacts the business of members,” he said.

“That really sold me on joining the Chamber and becoming active in what the organization does on behalf of small business,” said Robert.

He also appreciates how welcoming the business community has been as he finds his footing in his new home.

“People have really been extraordinarily welcome, which is something I very much appreciate.”

Robert Gee can be reached by email at

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It’s an annual event now in its ninth year and the Town of Petrolia expects this year’s “Shop Like Charlotte” which will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9;30 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019, to be one of the best yet.

The ticketed event—$25 at all Petrolia banks—includes a wine reception sponsored by Pelee Island Winery and the Victoria Hall.

“Shop Like Charlotte” features food sampling, giveaways, draws, and in-store demos, plus a grand prize worth more than $1,000 in gift certificates, one from each participating store.

The Petrolia Volunteer Business Group is organizing this longstanding event and all proceeds go to the CEE Hospital.

For more information, contact Denise Thibeault of the PVBG at (519) 464-8420.



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Organizers of this year’s Bluewater BorderFest, which takes place August 8-11, 2019 at Centennial Park, are offering a 15% discount on tickets purchased for members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The link to purchase tickets online can be found HERE and the 15% discount is valid until next Wednesday, July 31 (end of the day).

Use discount code SL CHAMBER at checkout.

Featured performers at Bluewater BorderFest include:

—Tyler Farr and Jerrod Neimann (Thursday, August 8)
—Big Wreck and Tokyo Police Club (Friday, August 9)
—Dennis DeYoung (pictured) and the music of STYX with Mark’s Farner’s American Band (Saturday, August 10)
—Lou Gramm (voice of Foreigner), Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger, and John Payne of ASIA (Sunday, August 11)


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Artificial intelligence (AI) has significant potential to solve complex problems in communities and sectors around the world. At the same time, it brings forward numerous risks, like bias in automated decision making, that create challenges for government, businesses, employees and individuals at home and abroad.

At the May 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial, the recommendation of the Council on AI was formally adopted. It is the first international standard for AI policies. OECD recommendations are non-binding but are influential statements that frequently form the basis of international standards and the design of national legislation.

This recommendation is significant for three reasons: First, since there were a large number of nations with significant expert input, it is likely to be adopted widely.

The OECD’s recommendations drew from an expert group of more than 50 members from governments, academia, business, civil society, international bodies, the tech community and trade unions to assist in developing the recommendation.

All OECD’s member countries—including the United States— approved this, alongside non-members Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Romania.

The process also underscores the importance of having Canadian businesses at the table early to influence discussions at international standards-setting bodies before the outcomes are enacted domestically. This OECD AI guidance was influenced by not only the OECD’s business advisory group but also from the recommendations from the Business-7 Summit we hosted in 2018.

Second, the recommendation is meaningful for what it contains. It is designed to ensure AI systems are trustworthy and engender confidence in a global framework.

The recommendation consists of two equally important parts:

—Principles for responsible stewardship, including commitments to inclusive growth, transparency, security and safety, human-centric values and accountability.

—National policy recommendations, including that governments invest in R&D, foster digital ecosystems, build human capacity, prepare for labour market transitions and promote international cooperation.

The fact that the recommendation is both value-based and operationally focused makes it both resilient to the test of time and adaptable across many jurisdictions.

Finally, the recommendation allows the OECD to monitor and compare signatories in their respective development and use of AI as well as support the creation of an AI Policy Observatory to allow countries to share tools and best practices, which is expected to be up and running later this year.

Canadian businesses and the burgeoning AI ecosystems across our country will have an important leadership role to play. As Canadian companies explore and adopt AI technology, they can do so in an environment where national and international AI systems are robust, fair and safe.

An early and continued international presence allows us to influence policy at the global level, which in turn builds confidence in our Canadian business community.

This is what will allow Canadian AI to thrive both throughout the country and around the world and what is ultimately needed to create the trustworthiness needed for global principles and national policies to succeed.

The above commentary was provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an organization that counts the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a member.

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It started with a recent visit by Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement & Services, with the senior leadership team at the Town of Petrolia, Lambton County’s second-largest municipality.

With the growing popularity of Petrolia—often billed as “Canada’s Victorian Oil Town—the Chamber is excited to pursue ways that we can build on its strengths and create a new dynamic.

Chamber representatives met with Petrolia Mayor Brad Loosley, CAO Rick Charlebois, as well as Laurissa Ellsworth, director of Marketing, and Denise Thibeault, who serves with the Petrolia Volunteer Business Group.

“Having this opportunity to reach out to our friends and colleagues at the Town of Petrolia was a very well-received opportunity to begin a renewal of our relationship,” said de Silva.

Stay tuned for more information as plans develop later this year.



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