By: Eric Thorn
Today we pick up from our last blog left off: Non-Member Calls. In our part one series we covered difficult callers and how they can be beneficial to your organization. We continue this series with the wrap up on how to handle calls from future members.
It is important to identify whether a caller is a member because it tells members that their membership has value and it gives them the opportunity to say, “Yes, I am an association member”.
It may be even more important to know if a caller is a non-member. Through traditional recruitment efforts most associations spend a lot of time and money trying to identify and reach out to non-members who may be interested in the information, services and benefits that your association provides and then try to get these prospects to join your association as a member. This may require a call to the prospective member, interrupting their day in the hopes they will allow you the opportunity to present your association’s value proposition and ask them to join.
A non-member caller is someone right there, on the phone now, that is already interested in some information or service that your association can provide and who wants to talk to you. They are a prime candidate. It is crucial to identify this caller as an excellent opportunity to gain a new member and to seize the opportunity to invite them to join your association.
If a non-member is requesting information it is necessary to strike a balance between “giving away the store” and not being any help at all. Most who have been given an abrupt cold shoulder when calling an organization they were not a member of for information, usually remember it long after. Even if the caller is not a good candidate to join it is important that non-members callers be treated courteously. Unless they have a wrong number, the caller is likely to at least be in a related field or organization. Since they are likely to share their impression of how they were treated with others, how you treat them is them in likely to reflect negatively or positively or on your association. So give non–members caller a little taste of what to expect if they join and take the opportunity to reel them in.
Implementing the above and taking advantage of these excellent opportunities requires a little effort and really listening. The first step to taking advantage of these opportunities, of course, is recognizing these complaints or suggestions and non-member calls as excellent membership retention and recruitment opportunities.