While a lot of continuity marketers struggle with growing their lower priced, large number of member programs, I also hear frustration with retention within high-priced continuity programs. Coaching members get a big head, think they know everything, and drop out. Often, the coaching member is even resentful even though everything was delivered exactly as promised. The key to long-term retention is recognizing that your members’ needs change as they grow within your program.
One of the key leadership strategies is to have a common mission together with values. For years within the association world I knew it was important to create a set of shared values among the members. When members embraced the mission of the organization and the values, they put that way above the money to renew their memberships. In fact, it never occurred to them that they would ever not be a member of an organization that so closely aligned with their values.
However, I discovered that using these values with some members got me nowhere. In fact, some thought it was stupid.
It’s when I read the book Tribal Leadership that I learned leadership is a stage by stage process. I distilled the 5 stages presented in Tribal Leadership into 3 levels for you here.
Most of your new members are at level 1. They believe the world is a positive place but that they are stuck. This is why they are reaching out to you. Before they care at all about your mission or values you’ve got to help them believe in themselves. Help them get some results and get them liking who they are again. It’s at that point they move to level 2.
At level 2 your members have experienced success plus they’ve worked with people who don’t get it, mostly because those people are back at level 1 where they started. They can see that their productivity increased and they begin to believe everyone around them is a complete moron. You’ll see business people taking projects back from their team thinking, “I can get this done in less time then it would take me to explain it to you.” Your coaching members who believe they are “too smart for the room” are at Level 2.
For these members help them define success in terms of working with and through others, connect them with members at level 3 and encourage them by communicating your mission and values. These members are eagerly looking to be connected to other people “who get it.”
Finally, level 3 is where you’ll see the longest member retention. This is where members are constantly looking for a slight edge. They love the values and mission you stand for. They like how you connect them to other people with new ideas. And, they understand how one more contact could help them transform their life and business.
The key to the levels is to understand that people who have moved from level 1 to level 2, need something completely different to help them move up to level 3. And, people at level 3 are motivated by completely different things than people at levels 1 and 2.
Recognizing this helps you direct your new member welcome sequence to establishing the dream and creating fast wins. As your customers ascend into higher coaching levels you change the definition of a “win” from an individual victory to a victory through others. And, at level 3 you provide connections to other level 3 players and maintain a cooperative atmosphere.