Since August 1, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Florida Farm Bureau Association. This is an association with approximately 145,000 members, with the goal of growing to 155,000 members by October 2016.
For 11 years, I’ve had the honor of consulting with Florida’s Harley-Davidson® dealers. I’ve conducted ambitious cooperative marketing programs together with training for all departments of motorcycle dealerships (sales, parts, service, accessories and general management.) While it may appear from the outside that the Harley-Davidson® brand is as strong as ever, if you’ve been following the stock price of the Harley-Davidson® Motor Company, you know that it’s down 30 percent from last summer. The dealers I work with in the great state of Florida are among the highest performing in the country. But, even within our Florida dealerships, there are some that aren’t performing well. Would you like to know the difference? I’ll tell you. High-performance dealerships hold their people to high standards. While the best dealerships are not perfect, they hold their people accountable for performance standards. There’s an expected level of productivity for managers, parts counter guys, service … Continued
I just finished a conversation with a membership marketer. His monthly churn rate is 10 percent. This is the percentage of members who are canceling their memberships each month. When I reviewed the numbers with him, I helped him discover that 60 percent of his members are dropping out within four months. Yes, you read that correctly, 60 percent! And, he didn’t even realize it based on the reports he received. What’s important about this is that now he knows. Until he allowed Denise McKinlay on my team to produce membership reports for him, he thought his retention was fine. Just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean it’s fine. When I first spoke with this membership marketer, he told me he didn’t have a retention problem. He wanted a system to attract and recruit more members. I offered to produce reports so we could see how his current membership … Continued
What’s more important for you? To recruit more new members or to work on retaining the members you have before you add more new members? Many tell me that they want to add new members now, and then as they grow, they’ll improve their member retention. You know what, in some situations this makes perfect sense. I’ve been working with one of my clients this year on building member recruitment programs. Although his business would be better if he had better retention, we have focused on recruiting new members. After all, there’s no reason to perfect a program we can’t sell. But once you are past the testing phase, then it’s time to improve. Larry Osborne, an expert in church marketing, is famous for saying, “There’s no reason to open the front door until you close the back door.” What he means is that until you are keeping the families … Continued
Today’s social media gives all of your members, current and former, a megaphone. Fair or not, they post. And increasingly, even your affluent members, especially the ones who have the education and the time, know where to look. Plus, you have the traditional rumor mill. One friend asking another, “Have you heard about that guy who published that book?” “Yeah. Tried his program. It didn’t work for me.” Does it matter that this member never opened your package and doesn’t want to admit that your system is great and the problem is he never worked your system? Not to his friend, it doesn’t.
Each night during my week in Ireland, I shared a room with Perry Marshall and Bill Hammond. We stayed in three different places, and at each one, the three of us shared a room. On the fourth night, as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I heard water running. I didn’t think much of it; I figured someone else within the bed and breakfast was taking a shower or something. But then at 2:36 a.m., when I got up to use the restroom, I heard the water running again.
There’s no one in a better position to help people than membership marketers. You are giving people the tools and motivation to help them improve their lives. I want to congratulate you and reward you with a secret of how to make your membership program grow. Popular radio hosts take on an advocacy position for their audience; they discuss a topic and stake out an opinion the majority of their audience will readily agree with. There’s no one better at this than Rush Limbaugh. He repeatedly tells his listeners he’s fighting for them against injustice and praises the intelligence of his listeners by denigrating non-listeners as the “low-information crowd.”
I think of myself as similar to a bug man. Think about it for a second — what would be the perfect testimonial for a bug man? Perhaps something like, “My house was full of roaches until I called Bug Man. He came in, killed the roaches, and vacuumed up the carcasses, and now when we turn on the light to our pantry, none of those buggers scurry around.” Who on earth is going to sign their name to that testimonial? No one wants to admit to their friends and neighbors that they had such a terrible roach problem in their home. I have a similar challenge as the “bug man” for membership programs. It’s hard for my clients to admit they need help. For membership marketers, their number of paid members and number of dropped members each month, as well as their rate of membership program growth, are very … Continued