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Sincerity Sets The Stage For Building Rapport With Prospects

Prospective members need to sense that you have sincere motives before they become comfortable enough to share their problems. Otherwise, they may conclude that your only motive is to make a sale. You can build rapport and nudge your membership recruitment process forward by asking what are called “Situation Questions.”


Situation questions are questions asked in the “get-to-know-you” stage of a conversation. They are essentially “icebreakers.” The answers provide context and a starting point for you to understand your prospective member’s potential problems and needs.


It’s important to do your homework to help frame the situation questions that you will ask your prospect. A quick online search can help you learn things about your prospect, their company, their markets, and their competitors. Use this knowledge to come up with questions that might reveal problems that your chamber’s resources and services can help resolve.

We recommend this simple three-step formula to frame situation questions that will help develop rapport and engage your prospective member in a meaningful conversation.


Begin by focusing questions on the individual, but ask about something relevant, such as a prospect’s role at the business.

     For example:

     What is your role with <COMPANY NAME>?

     How long have you been with <COMPANY NAME>?


Next, expand questions to focus on their company and the industry in which they operate.

     For example:

     How many employees does your company have in <YOUR COMMUNITY>.

     Who is your ideal prospect?


Follow up with questions about the prospect’s current circumstances.

     For example: 

     How do you make new business connections?

     What steps, if any, have you taken to improve < A POTENTIAL PROBLEM >?


Listen to their answers to help you guide the conversation and uncover more clues about how your chamber can help them.

This stage of the recruitment process is not about closing the sale or gushing about all the wonderful features and benefits of chamber membership. It’s about developing trust, uncovering the challenges that your prospect faces, and making him/her feel comfortable interacting with you.

Prospective members are more likely to invest with member services consultants who understand their needs as opposed to those who provide perfect information about their chamber's resources and services. 

Give it a shot, and let us know how it goes. As always, if you have questions about this technique or other membership recruitment and retention issues, get in touch. We’re easy to talk to, and we want to help.

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