Let’s say you’ve done your job as an association marketer and convinced a professional that membership in your organization is worthwhile. They want to join. (Woo hoo!)
But...dues are a bit of an issue. They either don’t have the funds right now or would simply rather their employer pay (since many companies out there do).
Consider this your organization’s first opportunity to provide them with value. Help them ask their employer to pay for a professional membership by passing along the following tips:
1. Start with the why
In some situations, starting with the “what” makes sense, but in this particular situation, starting with the “why” can often be more effective. For example, a professional may want to start out by saying something along the lines of…
“I’m really interested in developing professionally. As you know, the industry is constantly changing - in terms of technology, regulations, best practices, and all that - and I want to make sure I stay on top of those things so that I can do my job to the best of my ability.”
Employers want their staff members to be effective in their jobs, so hearing this should peak their interest.
2. Hit on the what...but keep it simple
Once the professional has stated the “problem” (potentially falling behind in the industry), it’s then important to present a solution (becoming a member of the organization). This is where it’s important to go over the details and cover…
What the organization does
How much a membership costs
What that membership includes
Now that last point is important for the following reason: If an employer isn’t too familiar with how professional memberships work, they may think the dues cover everything - webinars, conference registration, etc. Many organizations don’t operate that way, so it’s just important to be transparent about that up front so that there aren’t any surprises, and consequently, resentment. (After all, the goal here isn’t just to get approval once, but rather, year after year.)
3. Make it about the team and the company
The more people this membership will benefit, the more likely the employer is to approve it. So, to close out the conversation and really drive the advantages of this home, the professional may want to say something along the lines of…
“I’d be more than happy to share what I learn with the team. I could send out my notes, share updates in meetings, and even host lunch and learns, if that would be beneficial.”
But note: Follow-through here is a MUST. Employees should only commit to what they’ll actually deliver on.
Hopefully the employer will approve, and boom, that’s a new member for your organization! But remember, to get to this point, you have to successfully market your organization. You have to get the word out to prospects and make it so compelling they’ll want to take action. For tips and tricks on that, check out our free Small-Staff Guide to Association Marketing below!