Friday, 21 October 2011

Make Easy Sales - Non-Member Contact pt1

In this short series of 3 articles, we're going to look at contacting members outside your club - this focuses more on member sales than retention, but is driven by work we've been doing on member churn, and processes that can positively affect churn.

There are only a handful of clubs in the UK who currently have a waiting list for new members.  Most are working incredibly hard to bring in new prospects and trying to sign-up members with offers and promotions, and community and corporate outreach.

However, there are easier ways for you to bring in more new members.
 When we talk about the member database, we normally consider ‘Active’ members (who have visited recently), perhaps also including ‘Inactive’ members (who are still paying, but don’t visit).  There are two other critical segments of data – the ‘Prospects’ who never joined, and those ‘Ex-members’ who have joined and left.
Depending on how long a club has been open, and the sales conversion rate, a club with 1,000 Current members might have another 1,500 Prospects, and over 2,000 Ex-members.  By tapping into these two data segments properly, we can boost sales, and make more meaningful sales.

It might sound obvious, but collecting accurate contact data is paramount if you want to maximise potential.  Online forms are a great way of capturing member’s details.  But when data capture is manual, your staff need to understand the importance and value of the e-mail and mobile number fields.  Correcting or checking missing fields can be very time consuming – double checking the number someone has just given you takes a couple of seconds, but can be worth a lot.  All of your staff must know the reasons for recording accurate data and how it is used.

The other key factor, if available in your system, is to check the person’s preferred contact method, and if they would like to opt in or out of certain communication channels.  Generally speaking, the default is opt-in, but there must always be a facility to opt out at any time.  It’s good practice to send a “thanks for signing-up”, or “welcome to the club” message which gives them the opt-out choice straight away.

So be prepared to communicate with everyone in your database, particularly those who are not current members.  The next two articles will look at how to contact Prospects and Ex-members to encourage them back, and also to adapt and sharpen your offering.

Next week we're going to look at second chance sales...

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