One of the best tools available to a membership salesperson is the option to provide a “sneak peek” to the prospect. This could be allowing a non-member a glimpse at the association by attending a webinar, attending a conference or convention, or even getting some face/phone time with the valuable government affairs team. By allowing them a glimpse behind the curtain, the prospect gets an idea of the full value of membership and how much they could gain once they become a member.
In my experience, it only takes one to two of these special circumstances for a prospect to join. After more than two, the chances of that prospect joining continue to dwindle. At this point, you’ll need to “turn off the tap” or “quit giving away the farm.” You can do this a few ways – you can simply remove the prospect from receiving email invites for these types of events. Or, you can have a hard, but sometimes valuable, conversation with the prospect. “Hey, Joe. I’m really glad you could join us for that conference. It seems these areas of the event really resonated with you. We will be covering more of that topic at the next conference in March. We would love to have you there, but you will have to be a member to do so. Are you ready to join?”
Supposing you let the prospect know before the conference that their attendance was a special circumstance, then the request they join for further access is not unfair. Be sure not to let those free trials continue to sneak away. Provide those one or two opportunities and then put them back into the prospect pile for future follow-up.