Keys to Effective Guest Follow Up
After the meeting, approach the guest with a positive outlook and smile on your face. As you engage the guest in conversation, please remember there is a better way and a poorer way to ask questions. You will get better results by asking “What did you like best about the meeting?” Please do not ask the common ordinary “what do you think?” That leaves too much room for the guest to make comments for which you are not looking. Example: “I think networking is just for pushy salesmen.” Or other comments that don’t lead to an affirmation that PRE makes sense for a person or company looking to increase business.
Make sure the guest gets good material about PRE. Have your favorite support materials with you. Monthly newsletters are good if you have a good one to show. We have member testimonials gathered over the years from several different categories. A sharp membership chair will have those available to share with a guest if he or she needs a little more positive reinforcement. The annual report from PRE Corp. “Referrals Received By Category” helps illustrate the value to a member prospect of how much business might come from membership in PRE.
Use some positive comments you like to characterize how worthwhile PRE is for people. Statements such as “PRE chapters have a culture of helping others. The people who do the best in PRE chapters are the ones who give the most referrals. It always works out that the ones who give the most get the most. So PRE members are always diligently looking out for ways to help their fellow members.” You may say something else, but it should be similar.
Taking the temperature of a member prospect. After a few minutes conversation, you want to know how close the guest is to applying. So try this kind of question: “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your interest level in PRE?” This gives the guest an opportunity to express himself without making a commitment, and it helps you gauge the guest’s interest. If the person says below seven, she is probably not going to move ahead towards applying for membership in PRE. If the person says seven or eight, she is interested, but probably cautious about decision making. If the person says nine or ten, you should have her. A good way to uncover hidden objections is to ask the person who says below eight “what would it take to get you to eight and a half?” (said with a smile) Don’t say “ten”, that’s too pushy. What the guest says next will reveal what is holding her back from an affirmative decision.
Always review commitments we expect from member applicants. We are looking for good people, not warm bodies that take up room. Outlining commitments puts us in a strong professional position. Sometimes guests are uncertain about being able to produce two referrals per month. This is the point where reviewing second generation referrals and sphere of influence of 250 each is worthwhile. When the time comes that you collect the application and the money, I recommend you always say two things: “Congratulations on making a good decision and I know PRE can be good for you!”
In conversation with guests, maintain a position of strength. One way to do that is to refer to the process as applying for membership in PRE, not joining PRE. Just because a person visits, likes PRE and has the money does not automatically qualify them to be a member. Of course a small ambitious chapter will usually approve any decent applicant, but it is not automatic.
Within two days of a guest’s visit, a best practice is to have the person receive three touches from the chapter. Here’s an example of three touches: #1. The inviting member calls back to say thanks for visiting and has a brief positive conversation. #2. The membership chair sends a handwritten note similar to that. #3. The President or other designated person sends a “thanks for visiting” email.
Remember this: effective follow up dramatically increased conversion percentages from guests to members. This is the role of the Membership Chair. A committed, sincere, well-trained Membership Chair is the 2nd most important person in the chapter. In some cases, the most important person. So go for it, you valuable PRE person you !!