The Next Yes Consulting Manifesto

In our world, “yes” is just the beginning.

“Yes!” is the first step in continuity marketing, a one-yes-at-a-time approach to building a strong and effective community of members, subscribers, donors or insureds.

You are absolutely in the continuity business if your organization is built on retention (attracting a customer with an expectation of keeping that customer for a predictable period of time). 

What we have discovered is that not every organization understands the “culture” of continuity, that every “yes” starts the journey to the next one, and the next, and the next. 

The Fundamentals that drive us:

People don’t join or subscribe because they have to, they do it because they want to.

Retention is all about building satisfaction and healthy relationships to achieve continuity success, and it starts the day someone says YES for the first time.

We believe in these transcendent building blocks:

You can want what you want, but if you don’t have what your audience needs, you won’t succeed. If you don’t offer something that demonstrates how engagement with your organization fulfills a need, then one of two things happens: your prospect ignores you, or says “yes” and is so underwhelmed or disappointed that they don’t say “yes” that second time (which is where continuity succeeds or fails). 

This is the basis of your positioning statement: what you do and for whom. WIIFM (What’s in it for me). Your “Why” and your “Because.”

Don’t make a promise you can’t or won’t keep. If the acquisition messaging makes a promise that the product (benefits, communications, networks, etc.) doesn’t deliver, that’s an egregious and avoidable violation of expectations.

This results in low satisfaction scores, failure to renew and potential reputation management problems.

Bravery and fear go hand in hand. Brave people acknowledge the fear, and do it anyway. We’ve succeeded when we can empower our clients to be brave, test the options, and then have confidence in the results.

Fear. Fear of change. Fear of failure. Fear of looking bad to the board or senior management. Even fear of success!

You versus We. When we see communication that consistently begins with “We” (such as “We’re pleased to announce…,” “We’re so proud …,” “We want you to…”), it’s obvious to us that the organization is unclear that they only exist because of their constituents or customers not the other way around. Rephrasing these statements with a focus toward a “You” culture helps both staff and audience keep priorities in order.

“We” is a guardian blocking the gate. “You” is the gate flung wide and the welcome mat rolled out.

Testing. More people will say “no” (or ignore the offer) than say “yes.” But how would just one more “yes” (or two, three, or 100) change your outcome? The only way to find out how many more yeses you can achieve is to test wisely. 

Our responsibility is to keep a client from wasting a good testing opportunity on something that won’t matter.

Meaningful dashboards. Not everyone likes a “wall of numbers” as much as the experts at Next Yes Consulting do, but if you don’t know what to watch, you end up making decisions based on the wrong data. It’s critically important to understand the metrics that drive your business (and yes, mission-based organizations are “businesses,” too). 

One immediate clue that your dashboard isn’t meaningful is a single renewal rate. People act very differently at different stages of their journey with you. A single number doesn’t tell you what needs to be fixed. A lot of clues come to the surface when we start peeling away at renewal by tenure. For example, a renewal rate that’s too high can actually be a bad answer for your organization.

Good survey design is built on active listening. Crafting questions that a participant is willing and able to answer is part of the art, followed by looking for clues to help us build better acquisition, engagement and retention strategies.

Achieving continuity success isn’t just doing one thing right.

It’s about understanding and reacting to multiple levers (big and small) that deliver that all-important Next Yes. In fact, sometimes it’s as important to STOP doing things as it is to START something new. Here are two examples we frequently encounter:

  • Barriers to entry. Most organizations don’t put up barriers intentionally. They sincerely believe they need all that information, or don’t understand why investing in a friction-free user experience is necessary. Or they just don’t realize the impact their requests have on human response. 
  • Waiting until the renewal communications begin to focus on retention, and then reselling in the messaging.

Retention, or positioning for the next “yes” begins on day one. How a person is treated from acquisition through to fulfillment, onboarding and ongoing communications all have to work together to make continuity a reality.

Our business isn’t “we wish.”  It’s “here’s what happens when…”

Brave and appropriate strategies, executed well, lead to satisfying and rewarding continuity marketing success.

Curious about the principals behind this Manifesto? Read our stories by clicking the photos below: