How to Develop a Membership Plan - Association Hustle Podcast Episode 219 - The Moery Company

Developing a membership plan is not complicated, however, it takes work. Take a listen to this week’s episode for tips on how to get started, whether you’re starting from scratch or have been in the industry for a while, to reboot your membership plan for a successful 2020 and beyond.








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Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive in a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.

Here’s JP.

Today’s episode of Association Hustle is focused on membership growth. The ideas that I’m going to set forth are four steps with several steps within those. It’s the exact way that we launch a new project to sell memberships with our association clients. These steps are very scalable for most organizations. These steps work whether you’re starting out or if you need to evaluate your process again to make it a little bit better. Or, if you’ve been in the game for a long time, you need to reset.

First, we’re going to go through what I would call an association briefing. I want you to be really candid about these points. One, why should companies join your association? Second, compile specific circumstances of when you helped companies in each part of your value proposition. Let’s say it’s business development and networking, advocacy, and maybe education and training. Then, you need a testimonial from a member about how you help them and what happened when you did. The reason why they do not join is the third thing. Why are they not a participant in your organization? This is just as important to know as why they do join. And lastly, know your business model and dues model and get really specific about what works and what doesn’t.

The second point is really important that you should not skim over it: data collection. Your data sets should include the names of the companies to contact, both with digital and face-to-face marketing, email addresses of multiple people within that ecosystem that might be decision makers, and their titles. This information is absolutely critical to the sales process. Because, more and more, I no longer see the situation where it’s just one person making the call, it’s multiple people. Then, I want you to get really narrow. Identify the ten largest, or most strategic, companies that you would like to recruit in the next year. Look at your contact sheet, your relationships within that organization, and see where it’s really robust and gives you a chance to be successful. The third step within data collection: companies you don’t know, but should join, based on your value proposition and your experiences in regulations, advocacy, networking, in education, and other areas of your value proposition. The companies that you need to get in touch with, that you don’t have on the list now, that you’d like to attract. However, reach out only if they fit into your value proposition and you can move the needle for them in those critical areas.

The third part is the sales plan. What are the key issues, based on your plan, for the association and what you’re going to execute? What are the key issues to promote the association within this calendar year? Develop regular e-mail and communications campaigns about those key issues. Reach out at least once a month. Develop a plan to utilize live and in person events or webinars. How are you going to leverage when people get together? And, how are you going to utilize that for membership recruitment? Based on all these things, what are the specific sales talking points that you would use, or a volunteer would use, to talk about the organization? This is where I want to go back to those specific testimonials that you developed in the association briefing process. I want you to give a specific story about how you help organizations with government relations, how you help grow their business, how you help educate their workforce. That’s what’s going to sell and that’s going to be better than any kind of brochure you could ever develop. Those are the key items that go into your talking points.

The other thing is, remember when I asked you, “Why do they not join?” They’ll respond that dues are too expensive or that they don’t have time to participate. All of those value proposition talking points develop a narrative around the objections. You will hear them over and over again.

Final thing on the sales plan: develop recruiting reports for your colleagues within the association. One of the things that I think we miss sometimes is the ability to have a good conversation about who we’re recruiting in the organization. You might have folks in the government affairs department that are having regular communications with a key account and key prospect and you don’t know it. Develop reports that cover three of the following items:

One: the pipeline. Here are the people that we’re talking to and the likelihood of them joining.

Second: here’s the activity. Here’s what we’ve been doing in the last week.

Third: the narrative. Include the things that are really attracting people to the association or things that do not work, “Hey, we’ve got this member benefit that nobody really cares about, but we promoted all the time.” Those types of thing are really important to know.

The fourth part of the plan is execution. We develop weekly sales report, like I just talked about, that go out every Friday. I want commentary from the field, “This is what we’re hearing.” A monthly briefing on updates from the association about the value proposition, “Hey, Government Relations team, what’s happening right now that we ought to tell our prospects about?” Then adjust based on what you’re hearing in the field and from your association so you can marry those together to develop the very best story and go out to those prospects on that list that you have developed. In particular, those ten biggest companies that you want to recruit.

That’s how you build out a membership sales process that, when executed, will help with recruiting and retaining members.

Now, there’s a lot within each one of those sections, however, I think if you have these in place, you’re going to be very successful. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s actually very simple.

Association briefing. Why do they join and why did they not join? Know the business model. Data collection. What does the list look like and who are the most important companies within that list? The sales plan. What are we going to talk about and to whom? And how often are we going to do it? And then finally, executing all of that and reporting it out to your colleagues, your membership committee, and volunteers.

We’ve been selling, I’ll take the guess, as many trade association memberships as any outsource company for sure, out in the country. And, this is how we do it every day. I hope it’s helpful to you. If you got any questions about this, please reach out to me, the contact information is on the podcast notes. Thanks for listening today. Best of luck to you. Bye bye.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blogs at and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to