What I've Learned Calling 175 People - An Update on our Transition to Paid Membership Levels
Have any ideas on how we can increase members' upgrades to a paid membership level?
January 23, 2020 | Joe Moore
Having launched paid membership levels at the beginning of 2020, I decided this was just too important of an invitation to silently leave in our members' email inboxes, without any follow-up. So after soberly counting the cost, I decided to call each and every one of our 700 members and personally invite them to consider upgrading - a rather bold undertaking for a certified introvert!
After making 175 calls to TOCNYS members (yes, only 500+ to go!), some patterns have emerged that I'd like to share with the rest of the club, in order of importance:
1. In my opinion: some members are asking the wrong question about paid membership levels and the club in general - The top question I've gotten is "What benefits do I get?" or its related objection "I just don't see enough benefits that would entice me to move beyond the free level."
Here's the foundational truth about the club that the above statements betray as not being widely understood: TOCNYS is a member-driven organization where members, on the ground, at the local level, provide the real value. It's not just some top-down, corporate money-making business venture that's trying to suck all the value it can from its customers. Rather, its purpose is to facilitate a community of like-minded Tesla fans to generate value for themselves and others in NYS.
Like many things in life, what you get out of something is directly related to what you're willing to put into it. To those who say, "I'm not getting enough benefit", I'd ask: Have you hosted or attended a local meetup? Have you volunteered at a test ride/drive event? Have you written any articles for our website's blog? Because honestly those are the things that provide the real value for all of us in a way that a 20% discount on tires or a free T-shirt just can't come close to!
Sure, we're doing our best to structure things so that paid membership is an economic no-brainer, where one is receiving more benefit than they are spending, but the whole point is providing an easy way for members to invest in their club. If John F. Kennedy was a member of TOCNYS, he'd probably summarize with, "Ask not what your club can do for you, but what you can do for your club."
2. Friendly reminder (to myself): Many TOCNYS members are super nice and it's healthy for people to connect with each other - Yes, it's easier and more efficient to send out an email blast, but relationships are rarely what I'd describe as efficient, not the healthy ones at least. Through this process, problems have been vented, suggestions made, feedback given, and encouragements received. I really am proud to be part of this community that is TOCNYS :)
3. Reality check: Many intend to upgrade to a paid membership level, but forget to after putting it off - This is totally understandable and that's why I'm calling - to provide that reminder, if needed. (Hint: this blog post is another reminder, so just do it now if you're intending to!)
4. Fun fact: The majority of people don't pick up their phone any more - With the recent years of incessant cold-call spam, it looks like the robots have ruined it for those of us humans that actually still try to use the phone. I estimate around 60% of calls go directly to an answering service.
5. Funner fact: Of those who don't answer their phones, 10% have full inboxes and can't receive any more messages - So essentially there's no way to reach them at all by phone. Check your messages people - what if I were a legit Nigerian prince with a $10,000,000 favor to ask??
6. Funnest fact: 99% of people's answering messages are boring, but 1% are amazing - So yes, 97% are boring stock recordings "555-5555 isn't available right now..." and only 2% actually go so far to record themselves saying their name, but one message from one particular member was essentially an amazing Tesla pitch, complete with a recording of Elon Musk saying "I think a Tesla is the most fun thing you could possibly buy, ever. That's what it's meant to be. It's not exactly a car. It's actually a thing to maximize enjoyment. Make maximum fun."
Lest she get inundated with 700 calls to hear her message, she'll remain anonymous, but she knows who she is and she is awesome :)
Well that does it for my "Lessons Learned Calling 175 People". Just thought it might be interesting to others, as for better or for worse, it's simply an experience that the majority of people will never have the opportunity to have!
Love to hear your thoughts - please leave comments!