When people say “no” to joining

When “Joining” just doesn’t work, try this..
When volunteer or professional membership representatives are meeting with potential members who are squirming in their chair, try changing the conversation from joining to hiring the Chamber or Association.
Now, instead of them joining us, they are looking at it from the point of view where we are joining them. We are an excellent addition to any business plan and this approach has us helping them as opposed to them helping us.
Try a different point of view

When we stop and think about our value and how we help our members, why not have the first impression be exactly that? Some sales representative will use “hiring us” while others may use “contracting with us” but both approaches suggest the agreement is for them and not for us.
I have blogged this idea in the past but recently presented it to the sales team at the Springdale, Arkansas (newly accredited) Five Star Chamber of Commerce and I realized it was time to bring it back for new readers. My congratulations and thanks to Perry Webb and his dynamic team for their accreditation and inviting me to offer my sales training program as they continue to grow.

Posted in Weekly Message

Ghost Members

What is a “Ghost Member?”


This should be an easy question to answer because a large percentage of our members are “Ghost Members” due to their invisibility. How many members would you guess never participate other than sending in their annual dues?
Ghost Members want to be invisible
Why is this? It doesn’t matter. It just is. So, let’s stop fighting this as a problem and start looking at it as an opportunity. There is a huge population of people who just don’t want to be involved so why not make that an option or.. a tier?
What if we could offer a membership option that allows members a “Ghost Status” promising to leave them off certain lists and promising not to call or survey or ??
When people object to joining the first objection is usually time and in recent years the second reason isn’t money as much as it it privacy. They want to support but they don’t want what comes with it! They don’t want to be on any list. This is something to think about but.. don’t let it scare you.

Posted in Weekly Message

The “Dropping the gym analogy” hit a nerve

Not only did we receive 10 to 1 positive responses to last week’s blog, we received emails sharing the frustration from chambers and associations of the fact that so many businesses just don’t get it!
Many Institute graduates may remember my friend and colleague Amber Schroeder when she was the Manager of the Federation Relations and today she is the executive director of the Madison(WI) Home Builders Association.
Here’s a snippet of the note she sent me:
Amber Schroeder Madison, WI HBA

Pat, If I may be so bold, I think the biggest problem with the gym membership analogy is that it’s wrong.  If you don’t show up and use the gym, you won’t be healthier, lose weight, etc.  If you don’t show up and physically use your chamber/trade association, it’s still working for you!
What Amber and other organization execs are saying is that we keep going and going whether members join or drop but if they drop a health club, it immediately stops serving you. If they drop a Chamber or Industry Association, it keeps working for them anyway. That’s frustration.
The frustration will continue until we can get them to realize that their investment of money doesn’t have to include the time. Their money supports those who do have the time and allows those members to use their time raising issues, not money.

Posted in Weekly Message

The “Gym Analogy” is great, but…

We’ve all used the “Gym Analogy” because it speaks the truth. If you join a local gym and don’t show up and participate, you won’t benefit. You won’t lose weight, you won’t get in shape and you won’t improve your life.
If you join a chamber or association and don’t show up and don’t participate the same is true; you won’t benefit, you won’t gain contacts, you won’t build your business and you won’t improve your business.
Membership is still easier said than done.
However, everyone knows that most people who join a gym, drop the gym. It was a good idea, it didn’t really cost that much but the reality of taking the time was just too much because they didn’t get instant results and gratification. And, if they did get a good feeling after that first or second visit, it still is seldom enough.
Dropping the gym membership is no longer embarrassing or humiliating. It’s just another thing. The subliminal negatives from the “Gym Analogy” are just too many and while it’s really the best most truthful analogy, it makes dropping the chamber or association as easy as dropping a health club membership.
Promote membership like financial planners; use long term analogies.

Posted in Weekly Message

You can harness the power of Twitter too..

I recently interviewed @JayByers from @DSMpartnership because I have been so impressed with his content, consistency and commitment to informing his members utilizing the power of his Twitter account. Jay has over 8,400 followers and over 19.2K Tweets since 2009.  Here are some of his key strategies in communicating with his members as he averages 4-6 posts each day…

My favorite is #5. Be profound and tweet important information. (No sunsets)
As a consultant, I use twitter every day as my instant news and information source and I am always impressed how @JayByers in Des Moines, IA and @BobDuffy in Rochester, NY consistently keep their members constantly informed.
I recommend following both Bob and Jay to help you harness the power of Twitter.

Posted in Weekly Message

Rules of Member Engagement? Did we leave their Wingman?

Seeing that Top Gun 2 is coming to a theater near you in 2018 and I couldn’t help but watch the original again and a thought came to mind..

A small percentage of member business owners and business managers actually participate (engage) in the organization because of time priorities. But what about their Wingmen? What about the COO? The Sales Director? The Marketing Director? The CFO? The Gatekeeper?!? What about that employee who needs a perk?

We need to consider changing our membership application and start listing our member’s Wingmen* and women so we get them on our mailing lists and our potential volunteer lists to keep our organizations fresh, strong and engaged.
And for sales, it’s a great response during the sales presentation when the objection of “I don’t have the time” comes up; “Well, who is your Wingman?” What a great way to give an employee a leadership role for any company.

* I really tried being gender neutral on this but if you try saying WingWoman ten times real fast … well, you’ll see.  pm


Posted in Weekly Message