It’s funny how things happen more often when you’re focused on them. I never used to see the Lexus RX330 on the road until I bought one, and now they’re EVERYWHERE! We talk about celebrity deaths occurring in threes. Patterns appear when we pay attention to them, and sometimes paying attention to them CREATES the pattern. That’s what happened to me today. I’m working with the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina on their membership campaign this week, and as a final piece of the puzzle, I facilitate an “engagement workshop” to help the staff, Board and Ambassadors figure out what they’re going to do over the next 12 months to ensure these new members are engaged long-term. During our discussion, a question came up about ways to make sure a business continues to value their membership when the manager leaves or the business-owner passes away or sells the business. Not 2 hours later, I saw the exact same question posed on the Chamber Professional’s Group page on Facebook. I figured I’d better practice what I preach and “let the data dictate my action”…it was time to write a short blog post.
So, here is my #1 Tip for Retaining Members Through Transition:
More Hooks In Lips: If the only connection you have to the business is the owner/manager or the Accounts Payable person, you MAY be in trouble. Now I know that the vast majority of our members are smaller employers, but where possible, I want you to focus on getting more hooks in lips. I suggest you go to the owner and ask him to introduce you to a couple of additional key employees. I want to meet the Finance Director (who might be perfect to sit on my Finance Committee) and the Sales Manager (who could sit on our Small Business Roundtable committee or send salespeople to our networking events). I want an introduction to the HR manager (who can piggyback her own need for staff development off our existing educational opportunities) and the Director of Marketing (who might just be able to help our Marketing Committee create that awesome new logo they’ve been struggling with). With these additional people on hand, all seeing a different view of what your organization is doing to benefit THEM, the likelihood of them dropping their membership when a change happens at the top of their company is diminished. For your larger employers, think about taking your Membership101 class on the road. Invite their entire staff to hear about all the great things you’re doing for them and all the wonderful opportunities for them to get involved for personal development reasons, community involvement opportunities, networking, etc. More hooks in lips!
Now it’s YOUR turn! What are you doing…or COULD you be doing…to get more hooks in lips? Share in the comments below so we can all learn best practices from around the world!