How Gem and Mineral Clubs can Recruit More Members
American Geode team members have the good fortune of being members in good standing with many different gem and mineral clubs from New York to Pennsylvania, Vermont to Texas. We have also been vendors at many shows hosted by gem and mineral clubs, and supporters and buyers to even more different shows organized by gem and mineral clubs throughout the US and Canada.
In addition to gems, minerals, geodes, fossils and rockhounding, American Geode has decades of experience in SALES. With this essay, we would like to share tips, tricks and advice for gem and mineral clubs to recruit brand new members!
1. Less is More! We have been to many gem and mineral club tables at various shows, and while giving gifts to prospective members is a nice gesture, usually it’s too much too early. The result can backfire on you! The person has just arrived to the show, they don’t want right from the start to be carrying papers and flyers and bulletins and free sample minerals. That does not create a desire or need for that person to join your club!
Instead, try these steps:
a. Upon introduction, ask the prospective member what his or her interests are? Is it education and lectures? Is it field trips? Is the interest purely social? Find out WHY the prospect may want to join your club so that you can offer them a SOLUTION! Take notes. Are they interested in rockhounding field trip, fellowship or education? Tell the prospect to “Enjoy the show, and be sure to stop by before you leave to learn more about the club.”
2. Don’t “hot box” your prospective members when you meet them! The term “hot box” means expending undue pressure on a person to join your group or affiliation. To the person being “hot boxed,” they will call it a “turn off.” Again, “Less is More.” Educate the prospect about the club, ask questions, that shows mindful and sincere interest in them and will appeal to them, and then “hook” them on the return visit. While the prospective member is touring the show and dealers, plan and prepare a relevant gift, relevant information and means to sign up when they exit the show. For instance, if the prospect says they are interested in rockhounding, have your field trip leader or officer, or someone who has been a frequent field trip rockhound, talk to the prospect about the last trip. Have a schedule planned for the upcoming trips to share! If the person is interested in lapidary and jewelry, be ready to discuss access to equipment if that is a benefit of your club, or discuss the other members who are lapidary experts and how often your meetings are about lapidary. The trick is to make the conversation relevant. While your club has many, many great things to offer, satiating and fulfilling someone’s rockhound or mineral need is going to sign up more users than sharing the other great, but irrelevant strengths your club has to offer.
3. How do you “hook” your new members? Prepare, prepare, prepare! When you meet them the first time, write down their name, note if they are with someone or their family. Be prepared to offer a family membership at the lower price point. Be prepared to sign up people THAT DAY! Have the forms ready, have plenty of pens, have pocket cash to make change if someone pays their dues with cash, and have someone be ready to take credit cards via Paypal device you can attach to your phone. Does your club offer on-line sign-up and membership? Then have a laptop ready for someone to sign up right there! Whether it’s retail sales, high-end luxury good sales, memberships to any organization, when people walk away, and you don’t get the sale, the chances of them returning to complete the sale later are as low as 5%. That would be a terrible shame when you have someone who is a “hot prospect” because they are at your club show!
With these “sales tricks” we know you will succeed!