Revenue-driven or Member-focused?
Do you need to convince members to renew each year? What is your approach? Your mindset?
Do you have interactions throughout the year? Do they know what their membership delivers for them? When you do talk to them, how does that conversation go?
If you are like most people who are responsible for membership, you talk about what you do.
You must give them the full list! Otherwise, how will they know, right? You talk about your groups activities, events, networking opportunities or sponsorships and advertising … whatever.
Good to know you are busy. They don’t care. Really, they don’t.
Revenue-driven: a focus on making your numbers and organization’s goals.
Do you ask them about their company? Their year? Their successes? Their concerns?
Do you ask about their employees, customers, clients, patients or guests?
Try focusing on the other person. Focus on their business. They care about their business.
Connect them to other members that may help them.
Suggest where they might find value or specific opportunities with a targeted program or event.
They care about how your business helps their business. Frame it like that.
Member-focused: a focus on your member’s satisfaction, their growth and their success.
How do you frame your message or your organization’s value so they will listen?
Your mindset is clear in what you say. It frames what you think of me.
Are you targeting and selling me? I can tell if you want something, and it’s probably money.
Or are you genuinely supporting and helping me?
So, talk about them, not yourself. They will hear you better if you make them the subject. Literally. Or at least grammatically.
To focus on them, to connect with them: Make them the subject in your sentences.
Change your Pronouns, Change your Focus
You can force a change in your mindset easily with one simple step.
Stop using first person pronouns. Stop making yourself the subject in your conversations.
Stop saying: I, We, My and Our, to begin your sentences.
|We have great advertising possibilities. We give you opportunities to grow your business.
Our programs help you communicate. I will make sure you know what we are doing!
If I, We or Our are the subjects in your message, then what you say is about you!
You are focused on your goals and your objectives.
Consider the possibility that they don’t care about your actions … at all.
Consider that they are understandably focused on themselves.
Replace: I, We, My and Our, with You and Your.
Make your listener (You, Your) the subject. The one who gets to take action.
|You can be sure your membership will pay for itself in value, contacts and knowledge.
You can focus your participation directly at the events and programs that will benefit
your customers, your employees and your bottom line.
When You and Your are the subjects in your message, then what you say is about them!
You are focused on their goals and their objectives.
They like that.
But shouldn’t I tell them who we are?
- Yes, and you do when you make them the subject.
- You are a tool that your subject can use to be successful. That’s who you are.
- You don’t need to be the subject. They see your value better when you help them!
“You” feels wrong. Shouldn’t I say, “we” to be inclusive?
Few people hear We as inclusive. We is usually heard as, “The Royal We.”
It sounds like you are talking about yourself:
- We are going to make some changes around here.
- We can certainly consider your goals.
- We have been working very hard to have a great conference for you.
When you share a value, or make a pitch, make your listener the subject of your story.
Use You and Your as the subject in your sentences:
- Your participation in the association’s program will make a difference to your clients.
- Your employees will appreciate the training and certifications you will be able to provide.
- You can use the chamber as a tool to benefit your customers.
Don’t you listen better if you are the subject? They do too!
A friend, Joe Thomas of Impact Advantage, developed this model for sales. Associations and chambers have realized that his model also works for membership organizations. As Joe says,
- Don’t be like the little piggy that says, “we, we, we.”
- Remember, that’s the little piggy that didn’t stay in the market.
- That little piggy went crying all the way home.
Using I or we is not against the law. It has likable, sensory value for things that are personal, like compliments or apologies.
Using You and Your in your conversations is a game changer. Members, potential members and even employees will see you as focused on their success.
You won’t be able transition easily. Like anything, Member-focus takes time. You have to practice, but you will see a difference. Use it in email, in subject lines, in newsletters as well as conversations. It will change the way people see your impact on their lives.
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Bill Graham, delivers communication training, speeches and consulting. He is president of Graham Corporate Communications Inc., and regularly collaborates with Joe Thomas at Impact Advantage. For information, firstname.lastname@example.org, 917-705-0663 or www.GrahamCC.com