1. Ditch the “Ten Reasons to Join Association” brochure. We’ve contacted tens of thousands of prospects this year. And, most companies join an association for one reason and one only. Have a thoughtful dialogue to ID that reason, and stay focused on delivering the value around the key consideration.
2. It’s not in the budget. I’ve found this is actually an increasingly legitimate objection. Discretionary dollars are just scarce. Several responses are working for us:
“If budget wasn’t the issue, would you join for sure?” If it isn’t yes, you haven’t fulfilled the value proposition question correctly. If yes, then try these two tactics.
“I understand, but we have identified you need the Government Affairs help we provide. When you spend over budget, what is the process necessary to do so?” Even if it isn’t possible yet, you are beginning to learn more about decision making and who the players are in the process.
“We hear that occasionally. When is your budget process? And, since the cake is baked for this year, I’ll set up a provisional membership for the time being at this rate.” If you don’t have some flexibility, I would recommend it.
3. I really support you fellas and what you do, but I won’t be joining.”Well, the fact of the matter is, you don’t support us. So, let’s be clear about that. If you did join an organization what would it do for you?” This prospect is a “closed lost” right now. But, I’m trying to open the door for him to tell me what might get things moving. But, let’s just get straight on this one. People that say they support and don’t should be called on it with good manners.