This week JP Moery explains why it’s important to have a pulse on your organization’s culture followed by three incentives you can use to help recruit new members.
Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
We’re going to cover a couple of things on this episode of the Association Hustle Podcast.
First, I’m going to cover some internal developments that I’ve observed over the last several weeks and then then I’ll talk about membership recruitment.
Your business, whether it’s an association or a business that’s serving associations, is likely in a very different place than it was one year ago today. For example, you’re likely working remotely for an unforeseen amount of time. If you’re an association, your business model has been disrupted, specifically, non-dues revenue. Your membership renewals are probably a guessing game for 2021 at this time. You may not be sure how they’re going to come in. Will it be the same cadence as before? Will there be a different percentage of members renewing than previous years? A lot of unknowns there.
Recruitment will be a battle as we’re competing for discretionary budgets of our member companies that we’re trying to bring on board. So, with all that happening in the business side, here’s my advice: now is the perfect time to ask your employees about your organization’s culture. You’re working so that that you’ve probably forgotten to ask them how they’re doing. They’re working by themselves. They’re not together to pass on stories. They might feel like they’re out on an island and you’ve left them out there because you’re so focused on keeping the business operation afloat – changing, adding new programs, switching to virtual, all these things – and you haven’t thought about the people.
Recently, my team participate in a study with Heidrick and Struggles. The results were eye opening for me as a leader. I learned that the fact that we asked them about how they’re doing – and what the culture was like – had benefits to it in itself. Secondly, the importance of trust, honesty, and integrity with each other and our clients was our highest rated area. That’s great news because we put a lot of emphasis on that when we started the company 11 years ago. Frankly, if I go down with the ship and this company doesn’t live another year, I’ll know that we did the right things the right way by our team and our clients.
We ranked the lowest on diversity of opinions and thoughts and personal recognition. And our team is right. In fact, I thought about this a lot; I’ve been so proactive, assertive, and making many decisions –because I’ve seen organizations that were paralyzed by the pandemic – that I was, frankly, less collaborative. I was not asking my team for their views or getting their feedback and that’s big damn mistake. I didn’t even know it.
To respond to ranking in that area we are now having more discussions and more inclusion on decisions that we have to make about strategy and direction of the company. Sometimes, it’s just good to talk about the issues instead of the task and the project at hand. We were focusing so much of what’s out in front of us, we were missing some big issues and big opportunities long term.
As far as increasing public recognition, I think folks are so grateful that they’ve got a job that they’re really grinding it out and focused on it. However, they still need that feedback of, “Hey, you’re doing great work!” Have more discussions right now, even if it feels counterintuitive, about culture.
New Member Recruitment Incentives
Fourth quarter for us has always been a fairly successful time for new member recruitment. Companies have budgets, they are working on their plans for the new year, they’re looking upcoming elections, they are paying attention to advocacy and regulation, and more. We always have something good to lead with an open the door in the fourth quarter for new member recruitment.
One of the most successful things that we’ve been able to do with a number of our clients is – and this isn’t unusual or necessarily innovative – is 15 months of membership for a one year of fees starting in the fourth quarter. This incentive has been really good at cementing deals for us.
Make sure that you’re making this offer to companies that are already demonstrating interest, don’t make it a blanket discount, go to those folks who have been close to signing on or with those who are a viable deal. The 15 for 12 might tip them over.
Secondly, if you make the 15 for 12 offer, get some of the money up front. Your word is your bond and so is theirs, however, make sure to get some cash upfront to ensure that it is a true deal. The remainder can be paid during the regular billing cycle beginning in 2021, whether it’s in January or July or whenever it may be.
Lastly, think about your suppliers, how might you add incentive – with little or no cost to the association and to the 15 for 12 deal – for example, a basic entry level sponsorship that probably doesn’t cost you that much might be a difference maker for them. After all, the suppliers, vendors, associates, and allied members are probably joining because of the opportunity to sell and to develop new markets within your industry.
Often, the fourth quarter is good for recruitment and this year it may be absolutely essential for your business. So, those are my thoughts today on culture membership and recruitment. And I hope that’s successful for you. Thanks for listening. I can’t wait to speak with you next week.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to JPMoery.com.
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