March 20, 2019   |   Vol. 18   |   Issue 2
By John Sample, CDM and CeM, MGI’s Relationship Director

The S Word

Coffee is for closers!

What image comes to mind when you think about the S word? If you grew up in the 70s or early 80s, it might be Herb Tarlek of WKRP in Cincinnati. For movie fans from the 90s, images of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross might come to mind. Perfectly slicked back hair, a plaid jacket perhaps, a slight aura of cigarette smoke in the air. It is the Hollywood image of the S-person. Power lunches, power ties, power suits, pinkie rings, high pressure closes, golden circle clubs, spiffs, expense accounts, blah, blah, blah. You went to college, got your MBA, and pursued a CAE so you wouldn’t have to do that horrible stuff… right? Not Sales!

IMOs – I am looking at you!

Many trade associations employ a sales team. Annual dues are substantial enough to support the expense, and often the value proposition is complicated enough that it takes more explanation than an email or brochure can provide to convince a potential member to make the investment.

I would like to ask representatives from the individual member organizations to stick with me for a minute please. I submit that there is room for direct sales (perhaps on a limited scale) in your membership marketing process as well.

Advanced data analytic capabilities have given rise to more sophisticated segmentation opportunities than ever before. We have always known that not all members are the same. We now have the ability to understand more about lifetime value and what specifically drives it. There are certain segments of your membership, certain profiles that have higher lifetime value than others. All members are valuable, but getting more members who attend conferences, buy products, renew every year, and truly engage with the association have a longer, more lasting impact on the organization. I think we can all agree on this.

How do we find more of these? First, we create the models of high value members, and then we can begin to develop look-a-like models for prospective members. Data science certainly gives us the opportunity to segment potential high value members from the larger pool of general prospects. Should we market to them all the same way? I hear the assembled shaking their heads – no!!

Time to pop the breath mints!

Once we have our pool of potential high value members, our next step is to send them another email. Just kidding! I believe this is where the transition can take place between marketing and selling. If we know that a high value member has an average lifetime value of $1,500.00 and our more typical member has a lifetime value of $450.00, it stands to reason that we could invest more to acquire the high value member. Perhaps we invest our time, the time of our colleagues, and perhaps even the time of our boards in reaching out to the pool of high value prospects. While personal phone calls or handwritten notes might be passé in our e-marketing culture, doesn’t the direct marketer in you think a test might be interesting? Perhaps we send a complimentary copy of a recent industry study or send a link to a password protected webinar that might be of interest to our high value prospect. The key is treating these prospects as the high value members that they might become. No need to invite them for 18 holes at Congressional, but a little personal attention can go a long way.

To learn more about data modeling and creating look-a-like prospect audiences, please contact John Sample at John also loves the opportunity to discuss pain free sales strategies, especially with introverts who do not feel like they could possibly do the S word. Introverts are revolutionizing the sales world!

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