There is nothing better than getting some practical advice. I remember being interviewed for a job and was told by the interviewer that ‘experience is so much more important that theories, skills and training’. In short; “if you have done it before, all things being equal, I know you will be able to do it again”
In this spirit, I’m sharing the thoughts of Membership Chairperson Lion Wayne Oakes from Victoria about caring for those prospective members.
It’s worth a read.
Why would I join your club: Looking after those interested new volunteers
From Lion Wayne OAKES
The thing I like most about being Membership Chairman is talking to people about our great organization. Being proud to be a Lion is an essential element in your personality, your life when prospecting a potential new member. I have put together a few pointers that may be helpful when contacting prospective members, particularly those who make inquiries over the Internet.
With advances in technologies that are available to people today, interest in our organization can come from any direction, at any time and from almost anyone. Before I get carried away about these technologies though, let’s not forget the one vital piece of the prospecting puzzle. People like to speak to people!
Internet Membership Inquiries are an exciting stage of an entire process. Notice, I said, process because it is indeed a process that takes time, energy and involvement on a personal, one to one basis to develop an inquiry to its full potential.
Having received a number of these inquiries, several things have become self-evident:
- You have an inquiry from a person that may or may not know anything at all about what it means to be a Lion or what Lions do.
- An internet inquiry can be a step into the dark for some people, so it is vital that they are responded to quickly and with respect.
- Avoidable delays are usually fatal to an enquiry as it indicates to a potential member that we (Lions) are not interested.
- People like talking to people despite the reliance on emails and text messages in our lives. They seek personal contact.
The enquiry when it arrives will contain a number of pieces of information. You will know personal contact details of the inquirer, perhaps occupation, closest Lions Club and how and why the inquiry was made. All this is very important but of itself, sterile. It stands to reason that in most cases an emailed reply will be sterile also.
Ask yourself what you can do to warm things up a bit, to make the idea of becoming a Lion more inviting to your prospective new member, remembering of course that you only ever get one opportunity to make that first impression!
I have my inquiry, now what?
- Pick up the phone! Contact your prospective member in person. One of the greatest forms of motivation is recognition and one of the finest forms of recognition is the spoken word.
- A simple phone call can make your prospective member’s day. It says that you have placed enough importance on them and their inquiry to take time out from your schedule to make contact.
- A phone call or even better, a phone call followed up with a visit provides you with the perfect opportunity to learn about the person, their family, their hopes and goals. It re-enforces their sense of value to you as an individual and to Lions International as a whole.
- Three very powerful words in the whole process are “Listen and respond.” Whilst that may seem simplistic those who forget to listen do some of the greatest damage.
- Take the time to listen and find out what interests your potential member, why Lions membership is attractive to them. You can find out about their family, perhaps they have a partner who may be interested in becoming part of the organization also.
- What do they do for a living? The answer to this question may impact upon the club they choose to join as work schedules may conflict with meeting times.
- Don’t presume to know which club they may want to join, offer them alternatives if there are alternatives in the area.
- Seek their permission before you contact a club with their details.
- If possible make the club contact in person as well and follow it up by forwarding the enquiry.
One final thing which is very rewarding, although not always possible: – If you have been able to make that personal contact, suggest you may like to be present when your potential member gets inducted, should they decide that Lions is for them. Remember though, if you make that promise, keep it!
Remember, be respectful, reply promptly, contact in person.