By Tao Stadler, Senior Membership Management Executive at WebLink International
For business associations and chambers of commerce, selling memberships and sponsorships is a fact of life. You simply must do it in order to grow as an organization. Sometimes, you even need to sell new memberships just to maintain the status quo.
With so much riding on the success of your sales team, I'm continually surprised at how little focus associations place on developing good sales techniques and using an effective membership management system to ensure that new members get the most from your organization.
After all, happy members who are receiving value from your association are much more likely to renew each year. And, we've seen just how valuable member retention can be for business associations.
Over the past few years, I've noticed associations make a few key mistakes that limit their ability to maximize their sales efforts.
- Being afraid - Let's face it. Selling anything can be scary sometimes. Rejection can be hard to handle. One key is learning how to deliver a confident, educational message to your prospects to help them make an informed decision. Tension is a natural part of the selling process. Great sales teams learn how to create positive tension to drive decisions.
- Talking too early - Don't tell the prospect everything you can do for them at once. This can be intimidating to a prospect and they may feel like you don't understand their needs. Be sure to listen to what's important to them and highlight your associations programs and benefits that relate to their interests.
- Trying to read minds - Don't guess about what the prospects wants. You'll get it wrong more times than you'll get it right. Ask questions. And, be clear about expectations to create a strong first impression.
- Keeping secrets - Make sure all conversations with members are documented in your association management software. Track reasons for joining, benefits milestones and more to make sure your other staff members will be able to provide great service to your new members.
- Renewing at the renewal date - Effective retention efforts start way before the actual renewal date. Be sure to track benefits and set up retention plans using your membership management software to help your entire staff improve retention. What does this have to do with selling? Well, the more satisfied members who renew each year you have, the greater case you can build when selling new memberships.
Want to learn more?
WebLink International will be hosing a free webinar on Tuesday, June 25 at 1:00 pm EDT titled "10 Mistakes Associations Make When Selling." Click here to register for this webinar.
What mistakes have you seen associations make when selling memberships or sponsorships? Let us know in the comments below.