Set aside performance metrics for a minute. Stop obsessing over AI and how to use it for greatest impact. Ignore the long list of tactics waiting to be executed.

Instead, let’s all pause for a moment of gratitude and consider how lucky we are to be in the business of continuity marketing.

Why? Because consumers who say “yes” to continuity marketing relationships generally do it because they want to, not because they have to. That means they are making a decision to affiliate with you because they believe you have something that will improve their lives or increase their enjoyment, and it’s not just a one-time boost of retail shopping endorphins. Continuity means again. And again. And again.

That doesn’t make it easy to get (and keep) constituents. It just frames the challenge and keeps the focus on finding ways to be chosen.

Look at your organization from the outside in

If you were a prospect, what’s your first impression of your organization? Are you choose-worthy? 

Give yourself a score on these three questions, with 10 being as good as it gets:

  1. Is affiliation with your organization worth it? Not just in terms of discounts, or premiums, but the fundamental “because” of saying yes.
    Yes, I will get value from affiliating with like-minded people because they will help me know more, do more, be more.
  2. Is the environment of your organization welcoming and committed to engaging with new participants?
    Yes, I can tell these are people who want the same things I do. I feel welcomed, and understand how to take full advantage of my opportunities.
  3. Is your organization visionary? Affiliating with an organization that is comfortable with “it’s always been done that way” isn’t inspiring or motivating. You don’t want to be on the bleeding edge, but you don’t want to be old news, either.
    Yes, I can tell this organization has an eye to the future. Together, we’ll create better ways to do things, be leaders in the field, and create a pathway to participation for the people coming after.

Will the reality match the perception?

Persuading someone to say Yes is an art. If you’ve done any A/B testing, you know how you position the offer can make a huge difference in your acquisition results. 

But there’s a catch. 

If your acquisition language oversells what you are able to deliver, you are behind before you start. Your prospect chose to say Yes because of a promise you made. Now the best thing you can do is not only deliver on that promise, but help them understand that it’s even better once they are in the community. 

It’s not just about making sure the colors match or the logo appears on the same corner of the page. It’s about tone. Voice. It’s about actively listening to what they think they want, and then guiding them to what they really need.

Do you know why your organization is choose-worthy?

Here’s where active listening really plays an important role. You might think you know why prospects said Yes. “We hear over and over again that people joined because another member recommended it.” So does that mean that member-get-a-member campaigns work?

History would say differently.

If that’s what you’re hearing, then you’re not maximizing your acquisition channels. Or you’re allowing your new constituents to tell you what they think you want to hear. 

There are two great reasons to have a disciplined active listening program in place at many points in your participants’ journey:

  1. You can measure attitude, awareness, and understanding as their exposure to your organization matures. Do they understand what they said Yes to better at six months than they did at three? Are other benefits rising in importance by the time they have been with you for a year? Two years? Three years? It’s often true that a participant will renew for reasons other than why they initially said Yes.
  2. It sends a message that you want to hear from them. Even if they don’t respond to a survey, the act of asking is a gesture of respect. Keep asking. It’s much better they know there is a way to give you feedback rather than having them resort to social media!

Do you make it easy to be chosen?

Are you putting up barriers to entry? 

  • Too many questions at the initial engagement point. 
  • Too much over-explaining/re-selling at renewal. 
  • Too many of the wrong kinds of communications. Do they feel like they are being used by you to sell other things (abuse)? Or are you bringing them opportunities they couldn’t get elsewhere (filtering)? 
  • Too much jargon. It’s an easy habit to fall into — shortcut language, acronyms or insider-speak. 

You want more participants, right? If that’s true, then look at all the points of contact and look for ways to remove friction. Don’t make them answer a question twice. Don’t ask them seemingly personal questions until you can show them why it will benefit them to share the information. Don’t talk to them like prospects when your system knows they are members. Don’t speak in code and make them feel like outsiders.

And finally, does saying Yes appear to be enjoyable? 

Why would someone say Yes to something that’s potentially unpleasant or too much work? In most continuity organizations, the fundamental goals are to fill a need, deliver value, and connect with like-minded individuals. 

If affiliation is a slog, information is too hard to find, and they don’t feel welcome, you’ll get one Yes and no more. You may be connected to the organization because it’s your job, but your constituents are connected because it’s their choice

Thanks for choosing to read this Next Yes Consulting Insights article. We’re here to talk if you have any questions about how to make your organization more choose-worthy.