(Written for Toastmasters, but applicable to all local clubs in civic and service organizations.)

“But Wait. There’s More!”

Our excitement and anticipation would peak every time we heard those four simple words by the late TV pitchman Billy Mays.

We knew what would come next. More products (“not one, but two”), bonus products (“you also get”), free shipping or other amazing offers that left us wondering not only how could they make a profit, but also how could we turn it down!
Of course, this was followed by the caveat, “for a limited time” and “Order Now.”
That is value-added marketing: offering extra products or services “more than your money’s worth” as an incentive to prospective buyers to make the sale, but adding a deadline for action.

THE ORGANIZATION SALES PITCH

That’s not quite the Toastmasters club way, is it? What is our normal sales pitch?

The VP-Membership says:

“If you join today, you will get a New Member Packet from Toastmasters
International within a couple weeks. It will have manuals, brochures and
other important information to help you get the most of your membership.
Also, our club will appoint a mentor to help you get started, AND we will
schedule you for your Ice Breaker speech right away.”

The guest hears:
“Give me your money right now. Soon you will get some homework workbooks and
a tutor. Then we will push you into the public speaking torture chamber before
you are even ready.”

It’s true. We had the same thoughts when we joined.

Fortunately, the guest had a good time at your meeting, and saw your members having fun. Eventually, your guest becomes your next member.

Is that the only way to “close the sale”?

CAN WE BE MORE LIKE THEM?

This is my challenge to all club officers and members. Learn from television and internet marketers. “Add value” to our membership offer as a way to encourage them to join now, while maintaining our integrity as a club and part of Toastmasters.

All we need are some “bonus” items that would make the the initial membership cost (new member fee and dues) seem like a bargain.

Be creative. Prospective members must see the value in these offers for them. Also, the bonus products should be relevant to the Toastmasters’ experience. Some ideas:

Recognition: Send a letter to the member’s boss extolling the member’s commitment to growth. Submit a notice to newspapers or business periodicals of his/her choice announcing the membership (“John Doe has been accepted into membership of the Outstanding Toastmasters club, my city and state”). Offer the membership pin (I know – they get it anyway; get some credit in advance and use it as an incentive.)

You can include an info sheet in your club’s membership packets as a way of introducing the prospective member to the club members. The guest will see the networking value of communicating with such esteemed members of the community (and getting his/her name added to the next list).

Services (donations from current members): Club members can offer a limited number of free “introductory” services that are part of their business/employment. An interior decorator can offer a free home inspection. The realtor can give a free consultation to someone buying or selling a home. The CPA can offer a free short tax advice session. This also gives the current member a chance to use his/her Toastmasters skills. If the guest decides to hire the member for more help, that is good business for the member, too.

Your list could look like this:

CLUB MEMBER EXPERT ADVICE TOPIC (Select 1) VALUE
(30 minute consult unless noted)
Bob, CPA Business Accounting / Tax advice $ 40
Sharon, NAR Real Estate purchase/selling $ 40
Josie, MBA Personal Tax advice $ 40
Cindy, SGM Self improvement coaching $ 35
Becky,NHDA Home decoration (1 hour) $ 60

Products: Current members can offer free sample products that are part of their business or employment. A member who teaches a course can offer a free workbook. A writer can offer copies of his/her earlier book. This gives the members a chance to clean out their storage.

There are many books and ebooks available. Would a prospective member like a free copy of Dale Carnegie’s “THE ART OF PUBLIC SPEAKING”, instead of buying it on Amazon.com for $9.99 to $33.39? It is not hard to find other ebooks that would attract the interest of prospective and current members.

It is important to remember to place monetary value to each incentive. (Remember Billy Mays saying, “Normally $39.95, but you can get it for only $19.95 if you order today.”) If you offer the Dale Carnegie book, note its $9.99 (or $33.39) retail value. With little effort you can easily offer extra incentives worth the cost to the new member to join, including the Toastmasters $20 new member fee.
You do not need to offer these incentives all the time. Make these available when you need to recruit members, or when your club wants to reach a goal or claim a prize. Have a “prize list” and let the new member select one or two gifts from the list.

THE OFFER

What would happen if, when you explained to the guest how to join your club, you showed the list below? You offer them $151 in valuable items, including six months membership, IF they joined by the next meeting. Who can turn that down? Who will wait to make a decision?

YOUR COST (If you join by next meeting)
•New Member Kit - $20
•International Dues - $27
•Club Dues - $12
TOTAL COST $59

WHAT YOU WILL GET
New member manuals $20
Monthly magazine ($2.50/month) $15
Toastmasters Lapel Pin $ 5
Recognition Letter/Announcement $10

•2-for-1 discount at Alice’s Restaurant $25
•Dale Carnegie eBook $17
•ToastMentor weekly newsletter $12
•“As A Man Thinketh” eBook $17
•Consultation with club “expert” $40
TOTAL VALUE $161

Value-added marketing is a unique concept to Toastmasters or any service organization, but not to the marketing world. There are few drawbacks and many potential advantages, including membership growth, membership diversity, and two DCP goals.

“But Wait. There’s More!”

With a little imagination, you will “have fun doing it.”

Contact me if you would like more help at Fred@Toastmentor.com

Author's Bio: 

Fred Haley, published author and speaker, has been a member of Toastmasters for over 12 years. Fred has earned two Distinguished Toastmasters awards. His web site, www.TOASTMENTOR.net is “Every Toastmaster’s first stop for advice and resources.” Fred publishes a weekly ToastMentor newsletter. Contact Fred at Fred@Toastmentor.com.