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Why We Don’t Recommend Discounting Membership Prices

Over the past several weeks, we’ve received a lot of questions from chamber membership sales managers and reps about how to manage member renewals and recruitment as we are all working our way through the COVID-19 crisis.

One question that keeps coming up is “What about offering discounted memberships?”

Our answer: We don’t recommend it. Not now. Not ever.

No doubt, offering a discount can be a solution to a short-term cash flow problem. But, it’s the long-term effects of offering that discount that you need to consider.

The reason we don’t recommend discounting memberships is because of what we call the “Coupon Effect.”

Think about it. When a restaurant or retailer offers an irresistible discount, you may take advantage of the offer, but after you’ve enjoyed getting that meal or product for a lower price, you’re spoiled. You are never going to want to pay full price again.

The same goes for chamber membership, perhaps even more so.

If a discount is the reason a member decides to renew or join your chamber, you’re going to have a hard time getting them to pay full price the next time around.

We understand that your chamber may be facing some revenue challenges right now, and it may be tempting to put memberships “on sale” to get your organization through the rough patch. If that’s something you feel you need to do, may we offer an alternative?

Instead of discounting a regular membership, create and offer a temporary membership level at a lower price, for members or prospects that need a price break. This temporary membership level should provide value, but should not include all the same benefits that members who pay full price receive. By offering a “lighter” version of chamber membership, you’ll be able to keep the member in the fold, maintain the value of a full membership, and have the opportunity to upgrade them when renewal time comes around.  

We encourage you to try this technique and let us know how it goes. We’re easy to talk to, and we want to help. Feel free to reach out with questions you have about this technique or other membership sales issues.

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