Secrets to Selling to Associations

“So, how do you get association clients?” I hear this question quite a bit.  I’ve partnered with more than 100 associations over the years and have a pretty broad background in the space. And, I’ll be honest – a lot of association vendors often get out of the business because it’s a slow-moving industry. Associations, in general, want to do their due diligence.
These organizations often go through an RFP process and will turn to their boards on hires and approvals. The entire process adds up to a slower decision-making process as opposed to selling the CEO of a privately held company like The Moery Company. Believe me; I can make the call on a sale pretty quick.

Selling yourself to associations will take more time. So, how do you deal with that? Well, you should definitely position yourself as a solutions provider to problems. When you’re marketing your company, talk about the issues you are going to solve for the organization, not the services you provide. Do you get that?

Associations will most often move on an issue or seek help when there’s a fire – when there’s a problem they absolutely have to do address. So, service providers who are well-positioned to quell a crisis are better poised to be successful.

The third element is ‘what associations have you served?’ This piece is probably the biggest things an association will want to know. There’s a significant difference between doing something for a small community organization compared to a national organization. Associations look at the big dogs you’ve served in the past, your credibility, and profile. You must be able to promote your past work and the results you achieved for previous clients.

Finally,  and I’ve talked about this a lot, but ensure you use podcasting, Facebook live videos, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, every platform available to communicate your experiences in solving problems for organizations. The value of thought leadership and content delivery is the most valuable part of modern marketing, and as an expert in your field, you’ll attract more associations.

So, to best sell associations, 1) recognize that it will take time, 2) position yourself as a problem solver, 3) make sure you highlight the results you’ve delivered to other associations, and, 4) become a thought leader in the association space by generating your own content.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck in the market.

For more content by JP Moery, check out Association Sales are Changing. Ready?