Yesterday I was asked by a friend to provide some material so they could do a short presentation on the value of building relationships with business customers. The lesson they were to provide was that positive relationships built by a business’s employees with customers will create a satisfied, long-term customer.
As I was searching my library, (there is tons of stuff on this subject), I begin to think about the three words the Masonic fraternity uses and refers to as “Membership;” Recruitment, Retention, and Restoration.
We have all witnessed a membership program initiated to bring in new members, so it focuses on recruitment. The cry is, “we have to work on membership” or a newly installed officer will say, “my focus this year will be on membership.” Some of these recruitment rallying cries have been successful, some have not.
So, much of the time when someone says, “we have to work on membership,” you assume they are talking about recruitment. Some recruitment efforts may be successful in the short term, but they don’t fare well in the long term.
So why don’t they?
It’s because they ignore, avoid, or otherwise never deal with the one thing that will make and keep a long-term, engaged member of the fraternity; focusing on building and maintaining a POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP.
By establishing a relationship with the new Mason as quickly as possible, and then nurturing and building on it over time, an almost unbreakable connection is created. Why would someone leave an organization that cares for them, provides for their needs and is truly designed to do what we say we do – make them a better man?
Maybe we all just don’t know how to establish relationships. Here is what I gave my friend.
The Seven Bs of Relationship Building – The Fred Factor – Mark Sanborn
1. Be Real – don’t try to impress someone by trying to be someone you are not.
2. Be Interested – when you are interested in people you attract appreciation.
3. Be a Better Listener – when you take an interest & listen, people, will share information you can use to create value for them.
4. Be Empathic – by carefully listening, you will better understand how a person feels. This is empathy. The need to be understood is one of the highest human needs.
5. Be Honest – say what you’ll do, and do what you say. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
6. Be Helpful – lots of small things cumulatively make a huge difference.
7. Be Prompt – helping people save time by being prompt & efficient is a gift of great value.
If you want a successful membership program, focus on the most important R-word, Relationships.
If you do, you won’t need to recruit – the good word will spread; you won’t have to worry about retention – as long as you concentrate on relationship building, who would want to leave; and finally, the need to restore goes away.