Several of our major clients have business models based primarily on membership programs.

These take the form of monthly coaching programs, annual mastermind groups, and recurring-charge programs that provide needed business services for entrepreneurs and business creators.

Different programs, for sure, but one thing in common – they depend on the member continually feeling the need to stick around.

Let’s take a look at coaching, mastermind, and membership programs and what it takes to transform that “member” into a true customer for life.

4 Ways To Win Your Program Member As Your Lifetime Customer

All 4 of these purchaser-to-customer conversion strategies fall under the general header of making them feel “at home”.

As you read these strategies and find yourself gaining deeper understanding of what a “long term customer” might mean, realize these strategies may be as unorthodox and unscientific (compared to other teachings on this topic) as they are simple.

The first one hurts a little, but hey, like that Nazareth song says, love hurts:

1) Establish pain of disconnect.  What does your member lose if they quit?  Mentoring? Discounts? Access to resources they otherwise have to pay separately for (or cannot have at all)?  A “locked-in” rate they’ll lose if they quit and come back later? How will they find themselves on the outside looking in if they quit?

Figure out the reason they joined – the problem they want to solve, the result they want to achieve, for THEIR reasons based on THEIR truth – and determine the most profound way to make them feel further away from achieving their goal if they back out.

On the other hand, think about this…

2) What gets them in the door? Shamelessly use it.  Do members of your coaching program receive discounts on your products and courses?

Try this: give your prospects radical permission to blatantly join your program just to get their discount, then immediately use the discount.  Chances are, they won’t immediately turn around and quit.  They’ll be too excited about what they just bought with their member discount.

You now have 30 days to win the member as your customer – 30 days to “wow” them with the benefits and joys of membership – before their recurring charge comes due.

Think big!

3) Don’t get lazy now.  Remember the entire point of this series – moving your prospect to purchase from you is just one step in the sales conversion process.

Roll out the red carpet with these strategies:

  • Unleash the presses (so to speak). Everyone who gives you money should immediately be added to your social networks, in this case (preferably) a discussion group for members, if you guys aren’t already friends, followers, or connections with each other.  Put up a status update welcoming them to the fold.  Let them know how proud you are of them.  Again, they’ll remember this later when they’re looking for “extra” “expenses” they suddenly feel the need to cut.
  • Drop them a postcard. Or a letter, or welcome kit.  Something in a big envelope.  When they check their mailbox, they will (literally) make physical contact with your program, even if it’s delivered online or on the phone.  They’ll hold it in their hands.  They’ll be less likely to circular-file it in the next 3 months or so.
  • Assume nothing.  Take the time to make sure they get familiar with the features of your program.  Follow-up e-mails, phone calls, and tutorials go a long way.  Don’t let them look at “expenses” in 45 days, ask to cancel, only to discover they “never realized” what they were getting.

And here’s my perennial favorite, which has to do with mindset:

4) Welcome back thy Prodigal Son.  I fondly remember the episode of Cheers when Woody’s parents disapproved of his life choices and pressured him to move back to Hanover, Indiana.

Then, a regular at the bar (named Al, I believe) sent them a note stating “Let your son choose his own path, and it will always lead back to you.”

What does this mean for you?

  • If they want to cancel, let them cancel. No guilt trips, shame, hassle, or pressure.  Approach a cancellation request not as a rejection, but simply as them not needing your program right this minute.  Numerous studies of customer behavior for our clients with membership programs reveal patterns of previous members coming back later when their situations change.
  • The grass is always greener. They may quit your program to go somewhere else, then realize the grass on the other side of the fence wasn’t really any greener than yours.  Perhaps your lawn will look immaculate compared to the other side, and they’ll want to come back.  Hold the door open for them when they do.

Really Simple Stuff, I Know… But Super-Important To Start

I deliberately kept these strategies simple because I want you to start taking these actions right now.

You don’t need high-powered help to get moving on these right now.

Just remember: when your member looks at their credit card statement and decides they need to cut something, what will make them think twice about contacting you about that hassle-free cancellation/refund guarantee of yours?

Speaking of your membership program, let’s take a moment to make sure it doesn’t suck and people would actually pay for it.

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