“48% of salespeople never make a single follow-up attempt, and it takes an average of six attempts to convert a sale,” says Melissa Hansen, Director of Membership & Marketing at The Club at Olde Cypress in Naples, Fla. “Our culture has shifted to expect instant gratification, so when it comes to responding to your leads, timing is everything.”
By Melissa Hansen • Director of Membership & Marketing
The Club at Olde Cypress, Naples, Fla.
What are the key steps and stages for following up on membership inquiries?
I always use these seven steps:
1. Respond in a timely manner
2. Use a follow-up schedule
3. Create catchy subject lines to increase open rates
4. Make it personal, using their name and location
5. Utilize different channels of communication
6. Provide new and valuable information
7. Track e-mail open rates and click-throughs to measure your success
48% of salespeople never make a single follow-up attempt, and it takes an average of six attempts to convert a sale. Our culture has shifted to expect instant gratification, so when it comes to responding to your leads and form fills, timing is everything.
After the initial interaction, it is important to create a follow-up schedule for your leads. This can be done by creating reminders in your CRM system, or by setting notices on your calendar. I like to follow up after two weeks, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Prospects should also be added to monthly e-mail drip campaigns.
Creating catchy subject lines is essential! Shorter subject lines are best, and always remember to include their name. Prospects are more likely to open an e-mail that says, ‘Mr. Smith, here is the information that you requested’ rather than just ‘Membership Information.’
Be conscious of how your prospect is inquiring, and respond to them in the same fashion. It is important to continue to provide them with valuable information. Including links to new blog posts, your social-media platforms or recent photo albums of events is a great way to keep the prospect interested and coming back. Most importantly, always track your follow-up responses and open rates.
How should follow-up practices change and be handled based on how an inquiry was generated (member referral, response to ad, real estate lead, “cold” inquiry, etc.)?
Different forms of communication should be utilized when responding to leads. If you have a connection point such as a member referral or a lead from a realtor, it is always good to pick up the phone to discuss how you received their name and talk about the things/people you have in common.
If you receive an inquiry via the website or a landing page, those are usually fact-finding missions. Providing a resource where prospects can learn more than they did on your website is important. And always remember to ask for a time to connect (whether in person, on the phone or via teleconference).
What are some of the most common mistakes made when following up on membership inquiries?
The most common mistake is not following up at all. Once you have had the opportunity to connect with a lead, it is important to find out how they would like to communicate going forward.
Another mistake is not getting to the point fast enough. Clubs are often hesitant to give out pricing information, but it’s a great way to qualify a lead to see if they would be the right fit for your club. After all, if they can’t afford it or it’s more than they are willing to pay, there is no sense in wasting your time following up or bringing them in for a tour.
Lastly, starting e-mails with ‘just touching base’ or ‘just checking in’ can be a big turnoff. Always provide value to your buyer and give them a good reason to want to open your message and reply.
When and how is it best to involve others from the club staff, Board and membership in follow-up approaches?
Sometimes, follow-up should include other key members of your staff, committee, or members. If the prospective member played golf with other members, it is good to make one of your members the point person and have them follow up, saying how much they enjoyed the round together and how they would be a good fit to your club.
During your tour, if your prospect made a connection with other team members such as your head pro or a member of your management team, it would be a bonus to have them reach out and tell them how they would personally assist in onboarding them and integrating them into the club once they joined.
Has operating during the pandemic led to some new best practices that promise to help make inquiry follow-up more efficient and effective in the future?
Communication through the pandemic has been crucial! Everyone has craved a sense of connection and inclusivity. During the pandemic we implemented a video messaging tool that allowed us to build relationships and send personalized messages directly to the in-boxes of our prospects and members. The feedback has been tremendous—it’s truly been a new and innovative way to connect and set ourselves apart.