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What To Look For In A Membership Rep - Part 2

Over the years, we’ve coached and trained a lot of chamber of commerce membership reps.  And what we’ve found is that for people new to the job, personal qualities like attitude and resourcefulness can be more important to their success than having a background in sales.

That said, when recruiting membership reps, an ideal candidate is one with a balance of those personal traits we highlighted in our last Insights post, and professional experience to help them hit the ground running when they join your team.

Here’s a breakdown of what we feel is essential:


Prospecting Experience: Chambers aren’t typically able to supply expensive marketing support to drive new member leads.  As such, recruiting starts with prospecting calls; and more calls generally means more new members.

We find that hiring a membership rep that hasn’t recently made cold calls will result in wasting your time and effort on someone who never should have been hired.

Make sure candidates have the expertise needed to identify and pursue prospective members.

Candidates who are accustomed to uncovering their own leads have a higher probability of succeeding at most chambers.  Look for experience executing activities to generate needed leads.  

Value Proposition: Previous sales success doesn’t always translate to success recruiting members, particularly if the product or service the candidate was selling had a completely different value proposition.

Strive to find candidates who have sold to the same decision makers (business owners and executives), at comparable price points, with similar goals.  Candidates with a successful track record selling B2B to business owners and executives are worth considering.

Familiarity with target prospective members isn't enough, of course, but paired with other qualities, this attribute can be very helpful.

Comparable Sales Cycle:  Recruiting new members typically requires strategic and organized follow up – especially when pursuing prospective investors.

Candidates who are accustomed to a sales cycle that results in one-call closes may not be comfortable building the rapport and executing the essential follow-up required to recruit successfully for your chamber.

At the same time, candidates accustomed to a sales cycle that is longer than your recruiting cycle may be more lackadaisical and lose sight of short-term priorities and follow-up.

Seek out candidates whose previous sales experience reflects a selling cycle that required a similar amount of rapport building and follow-up necessary to successfully recruit new members and investors for your chamber.

Role Focus:  Just because someone has made 50 sales calls a day in a prior job doesn't mean they will be successful at your chamber.  

If a candidate was a sales account manager tending to existing customers, s/he may not be cut-out to acquire new members. These salespeople often make most of their income from existing accounts that are largely on cruise control.  They won't have these luxuries at your chamber.

Candidates whose role focused on uncovering new business as opposed to account management will have a higher probability of success at most chambers.

Look for candidates with experience executing comparable sales activities (prospecting, uncovering new opportunities, and booking business) needed to drive revenue for your chamber.

Much of your chamber's revenue likely rides on what happens in your membership department. You need more than a warm body to be working the phone.  And, sink or swim isn't an effective strategy either.

It's essential that you take the time and make the effort to find and hire individuals with the right combination of personal attributes and professional experience to be successful in membership recruitment at your chamber.

As always, we encourage you to practice these techniques, make them your own, and let us know how it goes.

Remember, we're easy to talk to.  Feel free to reach out with questions about these techniques or other issues.

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