In 2004, I participated in a small group mastermind led by Dan Kennedy. There were 20 of us who traveled from all over the country to Cleveland, Ohio, to meet with Dan in his basement. Dan had a nice basement, but it wasn’t the Hilton (or even the DoubleTree). Dan more than made up for the space accommodations, though, with his laser-sharp insights.
One of the members was going through a divorce, and as Dan had just recently divorced, he had some advice for navigating that particular challenge. A woman named Susan, who was sitting next to me, asked Dan if he had any advice for the members who were still married.
Dan’s response? “Always be selling.”
I’ve thought about his advice many times since. I’ve worked hard to apply it to my marriage. Most notably, I still work hard to woo my wife, the same as if she were a girlfriend and I was trying to win her affection for the first time. One of my daily goals — in addition to exercise, meditation, and journaling — is to do something nice for Kory.
I’ve also applied Dan’s “always be selling” advice within membership marketing. When I began focusing on retention in the late 90s with annual membership renewals, I discovered that we had the lowest renewal rates among our first-year members. They were excited when they joined, but less so when it came time for their first renewal. But, when I could get them beyond that first renewal, the third, fourth, fifth, and beyond were way higher renewal rates — above 95 percent in most cases. My answer was to always be selling.
I recently had the opportunity to consult with the excellent team at Agora Financial, Inc. They publish more than 20 publications serving primarily the financial investor sector. After I’d showed them what they were doing with their new member onboarding and monthly publications, Agora Financial’s president, Joe Scriefer, got excited.
“With our new member acquisition, our copywriters come up with ideas all the time. We’d never mail anything without first reviewing it and testing. Yet, with our editorial, we send it out without looking at it. Our buyers are our best prospects for renewals and other products. What we send our newest member is as much or more important than what we send our prospects,” Joe said.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
You do everything you can to maximize the transaction with upsells, down-sells, and all the rest. Then, the dust settles, and it comes time to fulfill your promises.
What you ship must first deliver on the promise you made in your sales materials. Second, you must sell your member on the value of what you are delivering.
Buying a diet program is a lot easier than going on a diet. I know I felt a lot of internal resistance to eating only slow carbs, because I love Cuban sandwiches. That bread is not a slow carb. I’d justify the Cuban by pairing it with black beans because the beans are slow carbs. Soon I forgot about the diet completely.
Your members are doing the same thing. They have habits and beliefs when they enter your world. When they try to implement what you teach, they have a little voice in their head giving them all the reasons why it won’t work (and likely an outside negative voice from a spouse, employee, or business partner). By becoming the voice that helps them overcome the resistance they face, you create a loyal relationship for life.
In the next couple of posts, I will reveal the anatomy of a member welcome product. This is the first time I’ve ever shared this outside of a client consult. Review this very carefully; it’s deceptively simple, and yet it powers all of the great tribal marketing in the world.