Patricia Bailey, Annie Matlock and Monica Walker were three women on a mission Thursday afternoon.

The longtime friends spent the afternoon checking out the booths at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual B2B Expo in Harvey Convention Center.

“We’re here to get some ideas,” Bailey said as they stood in front of the booth operated by Cable’s Roofing.

The women are set to open their own business, CDL School of Knowledge, later this year in Tyler. The school will help people get their commercial driver’s licenses.

Bailey said they were there to learn more about how businesses market their products and services and reach clients.

“We are here for a little bit of all that,” she said.

Matlock said that next year they hope to have their own booth at the Expo.

Janey Dobervich, owner of Beef Jerky Outlet, said setting up at the Expo “provides a lot of exposure.”

“We have people come by and say ‘We didn’t know you were here,’” she said.

Her booth had samples and information about the different types of beef jerky the store sells.

After taking part in the Expo last year, she said customers came in the store who had been to the company’s booth.

Amber Murray, the business director of BMW of Tyler, helped staff the auto dealership’s booth.

“We want to show everyone that we are a part of the community,” she said.

Having face-to-face interaction with potential new customers is a way to grow a business, she said.

About 150 retailers, service providers and nonprofit organizations were represented at the Expo, said Henry Bell, the chamber’s chief operating officer.

“This is a day that encourages networking, and networking is what we (at the chamber) are all about,” he said.

Many of the participants attended the chamber’s B2B Expo Luncheon, held just prior to the event.

Luncheon speaker Cory Procter encouraged those gathered in Rose Garden Center to develop deeper relationships with others.

“I promise you, business will come from it,” said Procter, a former professional football player who is now a financial adviser with Pro Capital Wealth Management.

He offered three steps to sharpen relationships.

“First identify your foundation,” said Procter, who played five years with the Dallas Cowboys and one year with the Miami Dolphins.

A strong foundation of faith and values helps people become strong leaders and effective workers who put family as a priority, he said. “You have to stand for something.”

People with strong foundations have the confidence to better deal with confrontation and not be controlled by emotions, he said.

He said a second step is to remember “the power of the tongue.”

When people show they care about others and offer words of encouragement they “will be blessed” in return, he said.

As the third step, Procter said to always remember: “It’s not about you.”

“Everything you do will benefit from that attitude,” he said.

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