During NAIFA’s Blueprint Leadership Training yesterday, participants received numerous tips on how to attract and retain members from NAIFA staff and volunteers.
From Corey Mathews, NAIFA’s Vice President of Member and Chapter Services, they learned some tips and techniques for improving their membership-acquisition strategies.
NAIFA is continuing to move the needle on membership growth, Mathews told the participants. Despite the negative effects of COVID-19 this year, the association still managed to experience a strong year and he remains bullish on NAIFA’s future.
But we must continue to build on our success, he added, and we must do so by figuring out the “magic” to acquiring and retaining more members. To grow membership, Mathews said, we have to build a sustainable model that allows us to grow because of our value proposition.
Mathews then shared some mistakes and assumptions that volunteers sometimes make when they are trying to get financial professionals to join NAIFA. For example, they assume that agents will join NAIFA for the same reasons they did, but this is not always the case.
People join associations largely because they want to be assured that you see them, you hear them, and what they say really matters. So, we must let prospects know that we see them, we hear them, and what they say really matters to us.
To successfully get this message across to prospects, we need to:
- Identify the correct medium.
- Use a clear message.
- Use a clear vision.
- Let them know our key value proposition.
- Ask them to take action.
When working to attract members, he added, we must remember that people can spend their membership money on other things besides membership in NAIFA. We are competing for a limited number of dollars.
So how do we get financial professionals to choose to become NAIFA members? A key step is to understand the four common “purchase motivators,” Mathews said.
- Greed. This is the desire to acquire more or to be more successful. Mathews referred to a company study that demonstrated that NAIFA members earned more than professionals who were not NAIFA members. “This is a good message to use,” he said. “There is a secret NAIFA sauce that works.”
- Pride. This is pride taken in an achievement, a possession or in belonging to an association.
- Guilt. This is powerful although it is tougher to use than the other methods and is often a more difficult sale to make. It implores prospects to do their fair share and is often associated with not doing the right thing.
- Fear. This is a feeling of agitation and anxiety and is often caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
All of these motivators can lead to some success, but the top motivator is the success motivator, he said. Although fear sometimes works, it does tend to have a short shelf life. As we work to acquire members, he added, we have to use all of these motivators if we want to achieve success.
Why people do not join associations
On the flip side, we need to understand why some people choose not to join associations, Mathews added. The three biggest obstacles are:
*Some people are freeloaders. To get them to change, you can limit their access to certain member benefits, create compelling benefits that are available only to members, and make it clear that you are working hard to give your members a competitive advantage.
*Membership is intangible. To make the intangible tangible, you can work to eliminate false assumptions, incentivize the use of your brand, and clearly demonstrate how the intangible value you provide exceeds the investment the members made.
*There is often a lack of urgency to join associations. To create a sense of urgency, you can use limited time offers, and sell and offer deals around events, conferences and meetings.