If there is a serious weakness within most continuity programs I’m asked to evaluate it’s that the marketer stops selling after a customer buys and joins his continuity program. Look, I understand, it’s a lot of work to ship out the product purchased together with delivering on all of our commitments within the monthly continuity programs. It’s easy to forget about selling in addition to everything else you have to get done. Am I suggesting that you have to do more? No, not more. Just different.
Associations recognize that they are always selling. This can make them frustrating to deal with because they are so risk adverse. They don’t want to do anything to anger even a single member.
Twenty years ago when I started in the association industry, a leader sat me down and told me, “There are only so many potential members for our association, if we systematically piss them off, soon there won’t be anyone left who wants to join.” This permeated everything we delivered to our members.
How the phones were answered became critical. I was taught that a member might only call his association’s office once a year. We had to do everything possible to make that call a terrific experience. This was our one shot a year to make a positive impression for that particular member. This creates a culture geared to please members.
One of the most important lessons of marriage I learned from Dan Kennedy shortly after his divorce. When I was in Dan’s VIP group, 18 of us met around the conference table in the basement of his home in Cleveland. When asked what he learned from his divorce Dan said, “Always be selling.” He was frustrated that he knew he had to do this with customers but hadn’t thought to apply the lesson to his marriage.
I took that to heart. Within my marriage I focus on reselling myself. For my wife, I work hard to deliver great experiences and eliminate as much stress as possible. For my customers, the same.
Think of this, your spouse confronts you, you promised to do something and it’s not done, what do you say? Do you say, “Go online, visit my website, complete a support ticket and I’ll get back with you in a couple of days?” Of course you don’t do that with your spouse.
Why would you do this with a continuity member?
When I order something from you, 2 or 3 weeks pass by and I still don’t have what I ordered, don’t make me complete a support ticket to receive an answer. And, don’t explain to me some crazy process or mail delivery problems. My Amazon orders arrive within 48 hours, they don’t have a problem. Why you? Your customer wants what he ordered. If it takes a long time to get it, that causes frustration.
Always be selling. Use your fulfillment speed as a way to build trust with your member.
When I was handling fulfillment for the Information Marketing Association, the fulfillment system was built to deliver a great experienced that reduced stress for everyone involved. On the shelf, ready to get shipped, were 30 Priority Mail envelopes with books, inserts and labels, ready to drop into the mail at a moment’s notice. When we received an order, the address went directly to our fulfillment person, usually our office receptionist, a label got hand addressed, put on the envelope and dropped into the mail, usually on the same day as the order. Other steps of the fulfillment sequence took a few days and got customized letters with mail merging. But the primary deliverable, a book, got shipped immediately.
Always be selling.
Continuity goes far beyond selling customers on you. Leaders sell people on themselves. They help customers improve their productivity by acting with confidence and learning new skills.
Trying to learn something new for the first time is difficult, ugly work. The sense of accomplishment when it’s complete is wonderful. But getting there is hard.
Your customer knows this. He or she has tried new things. And, he’s reluctant because of the pain he faced in the past.
As part of your continuity program you’ve got to constantly keep reminding your customers about the dream they had when they joined. Show your customers success stories of other members who took action, who tried and who got results. Conduct interviews with successful students, show the work product of other members and perhaps even create a leaderboard recognizing the customers who are pushing through the frustration to achieve success through your program.
Always be selling.
You want a continuity program because of its long-term stability. The opportunity to get recurring revenue that is deposited into your bank account on the first day of the month. This way this month’s sales build upon your previous sales so you don’t have to start at zero each time you flip the page in the calendar. In addition to recurring revenue you want to build an asset you can sell one day. Recurring revenue is the best way to increase the value of what you are creating. You know how you do that?
Always be selling.