My friends at Marketing General Inc publish its Membership Marketing Benchmark Study every year. And, I really recommend you download it if you work in the membership marketing space. The report reveals the most effective recruitment methods as surveyed by associations. I’d like to share my thoughts on one of those.
Word-of-Mouth (WOM) Recommendations. I could not agree more. In fact, in every campaign we undertake at The Moery Company, we try to use word-of-mouth recommendations as much as we can. The challenge is in most trade associations or professional societies – the members just don’t have time to do that kind of work. If you think your members are going to pick up the phone and make calls for you – you’re wrong. It’s very hard to try and scale that methodology.
But, here is a few ideas on how to create and apply word-of-mouth opportunities without having your members do too much:
- First: Utilize an effective email that actually comes from a member. We helped an association in which a small business member wrote a very quick, but thoughtful message about his affiliation with the organization. It was sent as part of a marketing campaign. I’ll paraphrase:
“You may be thinking about joining this association. To be honest, I was very skeptical about the value when I joined. My business was small and money was tight. Here’s what happened when I joined: I began to meet people who were very successful in business. They taught me how to run my business better. But the greatest value is the technical expertise, which is a phone call away. My business has never been the same since joining.”
This was a killer letter of recommendation and received an incredible response.
- Second: Utilize word-of-mouth in personal sales calls. As we mentioned, it may be difficult for members to make actual phone calls – so, here’s what I’d say in a call on behalf of the organization:
“Frank, I just spoke to Bill Smith with ABC Manufacturing. He told me the legislative and regulatory updates he received about the regulatory situation in California, actually saved his business. This might help you too, but I’m not sure. Call me if you want to know more about what we are doing there. ”
This approach uses the member referral without the member having to make the call.
- My third and final recommendation is to find a way to get your members on video so they can share really good and authentic recommendations. Often, we see staged videos featuring the chairman in a coat and tie after the board meeting talking about the fantastic networking opportunities. It can come off as scripted or ingenuous.
Here’s an idea. Try turning on your phone and going live with one of your members. Ask them, “Hey, what’s the best thing that has happened to you as a part of this organization?” And, let them tell you a story. Because this is what we need . . . that authentic word-of-mouth recommendation. Just a few ideas. Now, go recruit some new members. Best of luck.
For more on sales, check out:
Overcoming the #1 Sales Objection
Sales Exercises for CEOs
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